OBJECTIVE OF THE BOTTLE IMP: The objective of The Bottle Imp is to be the player with the most points when the game comes to an end. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 4 Players 

MATERIALS: 36 Suit Cards, 1 Start Value Card, 4 Reference Cards, 1 Bottle Imp Card, and 1 Rulebook 

TYPE OF GAMETrick Taking Card Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 10 and Up 


As in typical trick taking games, the goal of The Bottle Imp is to accumulate the most points throughout the course of the game. The player who plays a card that is lower than the asking price will then take ownership of The Bottle Imp, but this is not the desired result. The player who owns the Imp when the hand ends, loses points, rather than earning them. Careful play can allow for avoidance of this curse. 


The start value card and Bottle Imp card are positioned on the table face up. This becomes the price for the Bottle Imp. A reference card is given to each player, showing the distribution of the numbers and colors found on the cards. The rest of the playing cards are dealt to the players.  

Each player will choose one card from their hand to discard. These cards are placed face down under the start value card, acting as the Imp’s trick. They will then trade a card with the players on both sides of them, ensuring that they hide the card. This is done by placing one card in front of each player beside them. After they have picked up those cards and organized their hands, the game is ready to begin.  


Gameplay will begin with the player found on the dealer’s left and continues clockwise around the group. Once the first card has been played, the other players must attempt to play a card of the same color. If they do not have a card of matching colors, they can play any card from their hand. If all cards are higher than the value of the Imp, the player with the highest numbered card wins the trick. The winner of the trick will begin the next trick.  

The Imp may only be resold if the price is lower than the previous price. The Imp will immediately be transferred to a player if their card is lower than the current price. It is placed in front of that player, and the card that wins the trick is placed on top of the Imp, indicating the new asking price.  

If numerous players play cards that are lower than the price of the Imp, the player with the highest of these cards will get the Imp. The card that states the Imp’s previous price will go to the previous owner, adding it to the cards that he has won. The new owner and old owner may be the same player.  


The game will come to an end when the agreed upon point total is met or a number of hands have been played. The players will tally their points, and the player with the most points will win the game.   

Ellie Phillips
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