OBJECT OF DON’T BUG ME: The object of Don’t Bug Me is to be the first player to score a total of 20 points to win the game.


MATERIALS: A standard deck of 52 cards, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Don’t Bug Me is a trick-taking card game for 3 players. The goal of the game is to win by scoring 20 or more points before your opponents do.

The game is played over a series of rounds where the players compete to see who can win the most tricks while avoiding the bugs, aka penalty points.


The first dealer is chosen at random and passes to the left for each new deal. The dealer will shuffle. The dealer can then deal each player a hand of 17 cards. The last card is revealed to all players and determines the trump suit. It is then removed from the game.

Card Ranking and Values

The ranking for this game is Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low). The trump suit ranks higher than any other suit.

Each trick that is won is worth 1 point to the winner, but there are bugs amongst the cards eating away at your score. All jacks are penalty cards and depending on which jack is won in a trick determines the penalty lost.

The jack of hearts is worth negative 4 points, the jack of diamonds is worth negative 3 points, the jack of clubs is worth negative 2 points, and the jack of spades is worth one negative point.


The game starts with the player to the left of the dealer. They may lead any card to start the first trick. All following players must follow suit if able and may play a trump or any card they wish if not able to follow suit.

The trick is won by the player who plays the highest trump, if applicable. If no trumps were played the trick is won by the highest card of the suit originally led. The winner of a trick takes it to put in their score pile and leads to the next trick.


After the 17th trick is won a round is over. Players will score the A point for each trick they have won in their score pile. after these points are tallied players will then deduct from their score the points missing due to the bugs.

Scores are kept cumulatively over several rounds. Once a round is over and a player has scored 20 or more points the game has ended.


The game ends once a score of 20 points is reached by a player at the end of a round. This player wins the game. If multiple players reach 20 or more points, then the player with the highest score wins.

Amber Crook
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