COMET



OBJECTIVE OF COMET:  Be the player with the highest score at the end of the game

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 48 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: 2 (low) – K (high), Aces removed

TYPE OF GAME: Stops, Hand Shedding

AUDIENCE: Kids, Adults


INTRODUCTION TO COMET

Feelings on comets changed thanks to a scientist named Edmund Halley.  He theorized that many of the comets throughout history were in in fact the same object passing by.  In 1705, Edmund Halley published his idea that the comets recorded throughout history were in fact the same object making periodic passes by the Earth.  Prior to this theory, comets were seen as eventful omens.  Based on Halley’s calculations, the same comet that appeared throughout history would once again whiz by the earth in late 1758 or early 1759.  Right on schedule, Halley’s Comet appeared on Christmas in 1758.

The appearance of a comet is exciting enough, but the scientific revelation that this particular appearance was part of caused quite a sensation.  Combine that sensation with one of the most popular pastimes of the era, and you end up with the card game Comet.  Fast forward more than 250 years, and Comet is still an entertaining game for both kids and adults.

SET UP

The first thing to do is agree upon the number of rounds that will be played.  It must be an even number, so each player deals the same amount of times.

In order to play, you will need to construct a special deck out of two standard fifty two card decks.  It is helpful if the decks have identical backs, but it is not necessary.

Separate all of the black suited cards and combine them into one stack.  From that stack remove the aces.  They will not be used.  Finally, removed one black nine from the deck and replace it with the 9 of diamonds.  You should have a forty eight card deck.

The 9 of diamonds is called the Comet, and it will cause mayhem during the game.

Give the cards a good shuffle and deal eighteen cards to each player.  The remaining twelve cards are set aside for the rest of the game.

THE PLAY

The player opposite of the dealer will go first.  They begin their turn by placing one card of their choice to the center of the playing space.  This begins the discard pile.  That same player may then begin discarding one card at a time in ascending order.  Suits do not matter in this game.  For example, if they chose to start with a 2, they would then continue playing a 3, 4, 5, 6 and so on until they are no longer able to build upward. 

Once that player is unable to continue playing cards in an ascending order, they are stopped, and their turn is over.  Play returns to the dealer, and that player must continue building the discard pile in ascending order.  For example, if the previous player stopped at an 8, the dealer must play the 9.

When the discard pile is built up to a king, the pile is stopped.  Whoever played the king immediately starts a new run by playing a card of their choice and building up the stack in ascending order as far as possible.

Play like this continues until one player is able to shed all of their cards or until both players are stopped. Both players are stopped if neither of them are able to play the next card in ascending order.

Special Rules

The 9 of diamonds is called the Comet.  This card is wild, and it can be played any time during a player’s turn.  When it is played, it also acts as a stop.  Whoever played it may immediately start a new run.  For example, if someone plays 2, 3, 4, 5 but does not have the 6, they may play the Comet.  This stops the run.  That player may then begin a new run with whichever card they choose. 

If a player has all four copies of a card, they may play all four of them in a single turn. For example, a player may play a 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6 and so on.  A player may also do this if they have all three black 9’s.

SCORING

Card Values:

K, Q, J, 10 = Ten points

2 – 9 = Face value

If a player ends the round by shedding all of their cards, they earn points based on their opponent’s total remaining card value. 

If a round ends with both players being stopped, the player with the lowest remaining card value wins the hand.  That player subtracts their hand value from their opponent’s and earns that many points. 

If a player wins the round, and their opponent still has the Comet in their hand, the winning player scores double the amount of points.

If a player wins the round by playing the Comet, their score is doubled.  If a player wins the round by playing the Comet as a sequential nine, their score is quadrupled.  For example, if player two was stopped on an 8, and player one had the Comet as their final card, they would play the Comet as a natural 9.  Their score would then be multiplied by four.

Players alternate as dealer each round, and the player with the highest score at the end of the agreed upon number of rounds is the winner.

Mark Ball
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