OBJECTIVE ABSTRAC:  Be the first player to reach 500 points or more



RANK OF CARDS: (low) 9 – Ace (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Meld Building

AUDIENCE: Kids, Adults


Abstrac, a card game created by David Parlett,  is a two player card game that challenges players to form melds from a given set of cards.  The goal is to make melds while drawing as few extraneous cards as possible.  

This game is special because all of the cards are known.  Winning comes down to the player’s ability to analyze the field and make good choices.


Using a small deck of 24 cards (9 – Ace of each suit), shuffle thoroughly and deal out all of the cards face up in an overlapping row.  Deal alternates between players each round.


The non-dealer gets to decide whether they want to go first or second.  On a player’s turn, analyze the layout of cards and decide whether they wish to take one, two or three cards.  Cards are collected from right to left beginning with the top most card.  Cards collected must be set out in front of the player who took them in such a way that they can be seen by their opponent.

Play like this continues until all of the cards have been collected. 


After the cards have been collected, it is time to tally up the score.  Players earn points for all of the sets and runs they are able to construct.  Cards may be used more than once.  This makes cards able to be played in both a set and a run.  For example, if a player has J♠,J♣,J♦, as well as the 9♦ & 10♦, they may use the J♦ to score points for a set and a run.

Points are awarded as follows:

Sets of 3 = 2 points

Sets of 4 = 8 points

Runs of 3 = 3 points

Runs of 4 = 4 points

Runs of 5 = 6 points

Runs of 6 = 12 points

After calculating points earned for sets and runs, players take their score and multiply it by the total number of cards their opponent collected.  This is their score for the round.  For example, if a player earned 12 points, and their opponent took 9 cards, their score for the round would be (12×9) 108.


The first player to earn 500 or more points wins the game.  If both players earn 500 or more at the same time, the player with the highest score wins.

Mark Ball
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