Flaps (card game)

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FLAPS
MegaFlap.JPG
Origin England
Type Shedding-type
Players 2+
Skill(s) required Tactics, Communication
Cards 148
Deck Anglo-American
Play Clockwise and Counter-clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) Mega-Flap Ace'n'Lay Ace'n'End Ace Ace-Jack Up Jacks K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Playing time Various
Random chance Low
Related games
Crazy Eights

FLAPS, originally based on Two Four Jacks or Black Jack,[1] is a shedding-type card game for two or more players that is popular in the United Kingdom and Czech Republic. The sole aim of Flaps is to discard all of the cards in one's hand; the first player to play his final card, and ergo have no cards left, wins the game.

The game uses a custom deck of cards written in both English and Czech. The game has seven levels, each level adding new functionality.

Object[edit]

FLAPS is played with a custom deck of playing cards.

Each player at his turn may play any card from his hand that matches the suit or the rank of the card previously played; for example, if the previous card was a seven of clubs, the next player may put down any seven card, or any club card, from his hand. Should the player not have any card available to play or not wish to go, he must pick up one card.

Game Rules[edit]

Players are initially dealt seven cards. The remainder of the deck is placed face down and serve as a "pool" or drawing stack. At the beginning of the game the topmost card from the "pool" is revealed and play begins.

The first to play (generally, the player on the dealer's left) should select from his or her hand a card that matches either, the suit or the rank of the open card (the card that is "top"); for example, on a 10 of spades, only a spade card or a 10 may be played. If a player is not able to place a card or doesn't want to lay a card, he takes a card from the drawing stack.

If the drawing stack is empty or nearly so, the playing stack or discard pile (except for the topmost card) is inverted and placed face down beneath the remaining drawing stack, preserving the order of the cards previously played.

When a FLAP card is laid, anyone can lay FLAPS cards in any order, so long as they interleave (i.e. take turns) with the other players.

When the Flapping is finished, play continues in the same direction, following suit or number as normal.

Level 1 Cards[edit]

FLAPS Level 1 cards are as follows:

  • ACE, ACE'N'END and ACE'N'LAY:

There are three ACEs; no ACE of Diamonds. There are two ACE'N'ENDs; one Diamonds, one Spades. There are four ACE'N'LAYs one of each suit. Players can lay any type of ACE on any suit and on any type of ACE. If they lay an ACE they can choose the suit to be played. As an ACE is easy to lay, it would be easy to finish on - so players can't finish on it. If it is laid as a last card then player must call a suit First and pick up from the drawing stack Second. An ACE'N'END works the same way as an ACE except players can finish on it. If players lay an ACE'N'LAY (ANY RED CARD) they can choose the suit to be played as either Diamonds or Hearts and then lay a Diamond, Heart or any type of ACE (including any ACE'N'LAY). If players lay an ACE'N'LAY (ANY BLACK CARD) they can choose the suit to be played as either Clubs or Spades and then lay a Club, Spade or any type of ACE (including any ACE'N'LAY). If players do not have another playable card or just don't want to go, they must call the suit First and pick up Second. As it would be easy to finish using an ACE'N'LAY, it can't be used as last or penultimate card.

  • 2s, 3s, 7s and 9s:

There are eight 2s, eight 3s, eight 7s and eight 9s; two of each suit. The 2s and 3s can be considered as 'attacking' cards, while 7s and 9s are 'defensive'. Penalties arising from played 2s and 3s are cumulative in the direction of play. If a player lays a 2, then the next player must pick up 2 cards from the drawing stack unless that player has one of the following and wants to lay it: Any other 2. That means the next player must pick up four (2 + 2) cards, or lay a 3, 7 or 9 of the same suit or any other 2. A 3 of the same suit. That means the next player must pick up five (2 + 3) cards, or lay a 2, 7 or 9 of the same suit or any other 3. A 7 of the same suit. The direction of play is reversed. That means the player who laid the 2 must pick up those cards from the drawing stack, or lay a 2, 3 or 9 of the same suit or any other 7. A seven only reverses direction of play when preceded by a 2, 3 or 7. A 9 of the same suit. That means that the effect of the cards is cancelled and the next player just follows suit or number as normal. No one has to pick up any cards this time.

The same rules apply to 3 - pick up three cards etc. Players can choose to pick up the sum of penalty cards laid, even if they could pass them on (2 or 3), reverse them (7) or stop them (9).

  • 4 - FLAPS and MF - MEGA-FLAP:

There are sixteen FLAPS cards; four of each suit. There is only one MEGA-FLAP card, in the suit of hearts. If a player lays a 4 - FLAPS, the normal rules of next player to go are abandoned temporarily and any player can lay a FLAP card, although no one has to. No player can lay a FLAP on their own previously laid FLAP - it's a bit like taking turns. After all Flapping has apparently ceased, the next player must ask "any more Flapping ?" and then lay, following suit or number as normal. The direction of play is the same as before, with suit and number determined by the last FLAP card laid. The next player can also lay a FLAP, even if his FLAP was the last laid in the previous Flapping; that would be a new start of Flapping. There is one way of laying up to three FLAPS, without waiting for other players to interleave and that is by using the MEGA-FLAP card. When a player lays the MEGA-FLAP card, they can then lay up to three more FLAPS, one at a time, whether or not other players are able to interleave their own FLAP cards.

  • 8s:

There are eight 8s; two of each suit. If a player lays an eight, the next player must miss a go (and knock on the table) or lay another 8. Players can choose to 'knock' or go as they please, they do not have to lay an 8 if they have one.

  • 10s and Qs - HOOFERS-DOOFERS:

There are eight 10s; two of each suit. There are four HOOFERS-DOOFERS Queens; one of each suit. The 10s can be considered as 'attacking' cards, while HOOFERS-DOOFERS are 'defensive'. If a player lays a 10 they can choose any other player to pick up one penalty card from the drawing stack. That is, unless the player chosen has a HOOFERS-DOOFERS card of any suit and wants to lay it. Then it is their turn to choose a player to pick up the penalty card. Thus, the penalty arising from a played 10 is singular, while HOOFERS-DOOFERS can be used to redirect the penalty to another player. The penalty effect of a played 10 persists until a targeted player is unable to play a HOOFERS-DOOFERS. After the scuffle is over, play resumes as normal, in the same direction as before, with suit and number determined by last card laid.

  • JACKS, UP-JACKS and ACE-JACKS:

There are four JACKS; one of each suit. There are three UP-JACKS; UP-JACKS of Hearts is missing. There are two ACE-JACKS and they are suit-less. If a player lays a JACK, the direction of play is reversed. If there are only two players, this naturally makes no difference. If a player lays an UP-JACKS, the direction of play is reversed and all players, except the player who laid the card, must pick up one card. An ACE-JACK can be laid on any suit. If a player lays an ACE-JACK, the direction of play is reversed and they can choose the suit to be played. The reason this card is called an ACE-JACK is because it has the function of a JACK and an ACE (see ACE). As an ACE-JACK is easy to lay, it can't be used as a last card. Players can lay a JACK or UP-JACKS of any suit on an ACE-JACK.

  • 5s, QUEENS and KINGS:

There are eight fives; two of each suit. There are four Kings; one of each suit. There are four Queens; one of each suit. These cards are boring because they don't do anything.

Endgame[edit]

As soon as a player plays their last card, so long as the card is eligible as a last card, they win the game. If the last card is a card that cannot be finished on, they must take another card from the drawing stack.

Last Card rule[edit]

When a player lays their second-to-last card they must say "Last Card". This gives the other players time to collaborate and find a way to stop that last card being laid; conspiracy between players when another player is low on cards is positively encouraged.

If someone forgets to say "Last Card" before the next player lays a card, then that forgetful player must take another card from the drawing stack as soon as their error is discovered.

Variations[edit]

Original FLAPS Game[edit]

The original FLAPS game published in 1994 was in English only.

Additional Levels[edit]

Level 2 Cards[edit]

FLAPS Level 2 cards are shuffled into the Level 1 pack when players agree they have mastered Level 1. The cards are as follows:

  • K - TRUMPS:

There are four TRUMPS cards; one of each suit.

If a player lays a TRUMPS card, a separate game is started. The initiating player must declare which suit will be TRUMPS; a card of the suit which is TRUMPS will beat the same card of any other suit. Each player, starting with the player to the left of the player initiating the TRUMPS game, lays a card, face down on the table, not on the upturned pack. When all players have completed this step, the cards are turned face up, in the same sequence. The player who lays the lowest-scoring card must pick up all the cards laid as part of the Trumps game. It is important to note that it is not necessary to win a game of TRUMPS, it is only desirable to not lose. If any player is on last card when a game of TRUMPS is initiated, the act of laying that last card does not constitute a win until the game of TRUMPS has finished and that player did not lose. If that last card is ineligible for finishing, such as an Ace, then that player must take another card from the drawing stack unless the player loses the TRUMPS game.

The highest value card in TRUMPS is OL' MAID 1, then OL' MAIDs 2, 3 and 4. Next highest is the King of the chosen TRUMPS suit, down to the Ace of the chosen TRUMPS suit. Next highest is the King of any of the other suits that are not TRUMPS. ACE-JACKS are lowest of the low.

If two or more cards laid in a game of TRUMPS are the same, the players with those cards must cut the drawing stack to determine the holder of the higher value card. The suit declared as TRUMPS still applies OL' MAIDS are still high. The player who cuts the lowest value card must pick up all cards laid as part of the TRUMPS game.

  • OL' MAID:

There are four OL' MAIDs, numbered 1 to 4. During normal play, Ol' MAIDs can only be laid on the following cards; JACK, UP-JACKS, ACE-JACK, QUEEN, HOOFERS-DOOFERS, KING (but not TRUMPS). The only reason the OL' MAIDS are numbered is to determine which is highest in a TRUMPS game. The rest of the time they are a mixed-blessing. On one hand, players need an OL' MAID to give them a chance of not losing TRUMPS. On the other hand, they cannot finish using an OL' MAID as last card and it can be difficult to get rid of.

OL' MAIDS cannot be laid on OL' MAIDS. Players cannot play an Ace'N'Lay ANY BLACK CARD and then an OL' MAID, even if an OL' MAID is a black card. The reason players cannot lay an OL' MAID on TRUMPS is to stop players from getting rid of the OL' MAID that they just received by losing a TRUMPS game.

If a player lays an OL' MAID as their last card, they must pick up another card from the drawing stack.

Level 3 Cards[edit]

FLAPS Level 3 cards are shuffled into the Level 1 and 2 pack when players agree they have mastered Level 1 and 2. The cards are as follows:

  • 0 - QUACK:

The QUACK card is suitless and is the only 0 in the pack. The card can only be laid when a player is attacked with a 2, 3 or 7 of any suit, thus enabling that player to 'duck' and pass on the sum of the penalty cards laid. The reason the card is a 0, is that it does not add to the sum like a 2 or a 3 but otherwise works in the same way. Players can finish on a QUACK, but only if they are under attack by a 2, 3 or 7. QUACK is scored lower than an ACE-JACK in a game of TRUMPS.

  • 4 - STOP THAT FLAPPING:

The STOP THAT FLAPPING card can be laid like any other 4 - FLAPS card, except that it stops all flapping. The same rules of interleaving apply, so players cannot lay STOP THAT FLAPPING on their own FLAPS unless it is part of a MEGA-FLAP sequence. If someone else lays the MEGA-FLAP card, laying STOP THAT FLAPPING reduces the number of FLAPS that can follow the MEGA-FLAP card to two. To have any effect in a MEGA-FLAP sequence, STOP THAT FLAPPING must therefore be laid before the third FLAPS is laid in the sequence. It is permissible for one player to lay MEGA-FLAP, FLAPS, FLAPS, STOP THAT FLAPPING.

  • 5 - DUMP THOSE FIVES:

The DUMP THOSE FIVES card is similar to the MEGA-FLAP card, in that up to three more 5s can follow. Players cannot finish by laying DUMP THOSE FIVES, 5, 5, 5 but can of course go down to last card that way. If players do play their last card in a DUMP THOSE FIVES sequence, they must take another card from the drawing stack. The last 5 laid in the sequence is the active card.

  • 6 - SIX OF THE BEST:

The SIX OF THE BEST card is a challenge to experienced FLAPS players. This is the only six in the pack, it doesn't have any special properties and is harder to lay than other cards. If a player lays this as their last card then they score a double win.

  • King 'N' Lay:

The King 'N' Lay card works a bit like an Ace 'N' Lay card only it is much more restrictive. This card is a King of Clubs and can only be laid on a King, a Club or an Ace with Clubs called. When laid, the only cards that can follow are Kings, Clubs, OL' MAIDS and Aces. Players cannot finish by laying King 'N' Lay as their last-but-one card.

Level 4 Cards[edit]

FLAPS Level 4 cards are shuffled into the Level 1 - 3 pack when players agree they have mastered Level 1 - 3. The cards are as follows:

  • K - SPOOF:

There are two SPOOF cards; in the suits of clubs and spades.

If a player lays a SPOOF card, a separate game is started (similar to TRUMPS) which players should aim to not lose. Each player lays a card face down, not on the upturned pack. Then, each player, starting with the one to the left of the player who initiated the SPOOF game, calls a number that they think is the total score of all cards laid in the SPOOF game. All OL' MAIDs score 20 in SPOOF. Aces and Ace-Jacks score 1. Picture cards (JACK, QUEEN, KING) score 10, all other cards score their face-value. For example, if there are four players, the total score could be a maximum of 80 (four OL'MAIDS) or a minimum of 3 (three Aces and a QUACK). So, if the first person says 33, the next person should say 32 or 34. Saying 35 would leave 34 open for the next player and that would make them safe even if the total was exactly 35.

Players then turn over the cards laid in the SPOOF game. The person who chose a score furthest from the actual score picks up all the cards laid in the SPOOF game.

If any player is on last card when a game of SPOOF is called, the act of laying that last card does not constitute a win until the game of SPOOF has finished and that player did not lose. If the last card is a card ineligible for finishing, such as an Ace, then that player must pick another card from the drawing stack unless they lose the SPOOF game.


  • LOW OL' MAID:

There are two LOW OL' MAIDs.

LOW OL' MAIDs and regular OL' MAIDs can only be laid on the following cards; JACK, UP-JACKS, ACE-JACK, QUEEN, HOOFERS-DOOFERS, KING (but not TRUMPS or SPOOF). The reason players cannot lay an OL' MAID on TRUMPS or SPOOF is to stop players from getting rid of any penalty OL' MAID that they just received during a TRUMPS or SPOOF game.

The only good thing about a LOW OL' MAID is that it has such a high value in SPOOF and makes it easier for players to call higher or lower than the player before them. Apart from that, players cannot finish on a LOW OL' MAID and it is difficult to get rid of. LOW OL' MAIDS cannot be laid on LOW OL' MAIDS or OL'MAIDS.

Level 5 Cards[edit]

FLAPS Level 5 cards are shuffled into the Level 1 - 4 pack when players agree they have mastered Level 1 - 4. The cards are as follows:

  • 5 -LOSE A SECRET:

Each player chooses a card from the hand of the player to their left and (without looking) places it face down next to the drawing stack. This small pile of cards is called the Solve the Mystery Pile. If a player lays LOSE A SECRET as their last but one card, they must pick up another card from the drawing stack after their last card is put into the Solve the Mystery Pile.

  • 5 -PICK A SECRET:

The player chooses a card from their own hand and places it face down on the Solve the Mystery Pile. If a player lays PICK A SECRET as their last but one card, they must pick up another card from the drawing stack after they put their last card into the Solve the Mystery Pile.

  • 5 -START GUESSING - DO NOT LOOK:

The player takes a card from the top of the drawing stack, doesn't look at it and places it face down on the Solve the Mystery Pile.

  • 5 - START GUESSING - LOOK:

The player takes a card from the top of the drawing stack, looks at it and places it face down on the Solve the Mystery Pile.

  • 5 - SHARE A SECRET:

The player takes a card from the hand of a player of their choice, looks at the card and places it face down on the Solve the Mystery Pile.

  • 5 - SOLVE THE MYSTERY:

The player must pick up the Solve the Mystery Pile. There are two SOLVE THE MYSTERY cards.

Level 6 Cards[edit]

FLAPS Level 6 cards are shuffled into the Level 1 - 5 pack when players agree they have mastered Level 1 - 5. The cards are as follows:

  • 1 - DOWN:

The player takes a card from the pack, looks at it and then places it face-down in front of any player. If that player already has a 1-DOWN card in front of them, this new card should go on top. There are eight 1-DOWN cards.

  • 1 - RIGHT:

Each player moves any 1-DOWN cards in front of them so that they are in front of the player on their right. There are two 1-RIGHT cards.

  • 1 - LEFT:

Each player moves any 1-DOWN cards in front of them so that they are in front of the player on their left. There are two 1-LEFT cards.

  • 1 - OVER:

The player turns over any 1-DOWN card that is face-down in front of any player. This doesn't have to be the card at the top of a 1-DOWN pile. Leave the card face-up. There is one 1-OVER card.

  • 1 - LOOK:

The player can look at any 1-DOWN card that is face-down in front of any player. This doesn't have to be the card at the top of a 1-DOWN pile. The card is then put back, face-down, on top of the 1-DOWN pile from whence it came. If there are no 1-DOWN cards, the player can look at any one card from the hand of any player. There is one 1-LOOK card.

  • 1 - SWAP:

The player can Swap any card in their own hand with a 1-down card of any player. This doesn't have to be the card at the top of a 1-DOWN pile and can also be a face-up card. There is one 1-SWAP card.

  • 1 - UP:

The player can hoose any player to pick up the uppermost 1-DOWN card in front of them. There are four 1 - UP cards.

Level 7 Cards[edit]

FLAPS Level 7 cards are shuffled into the Level 1 - 6 pack when players agree they have mastered Level 1 - 6. The cards are as follows:

  • FULL MONTY:

The player needs to have at least three cards remaining in their hand to use the FULL MONTY card, otherwise it has no effect. The player lays three of their cards face down, then chooses another player to indicate, but not take, a card. The initiating player then reveals one of the other two cards.

The selected player can then take their original choice or the other face-down card. Only the player who started FULL MONTY and the other selected player know what card was taken.

The initiating player takes back the other two cards. All players know what one of the cards is.

Players can't lay an OL'MAID on the FULL MONTY card. This is to stop players from getting rid of an OL' MAID that they may have just received during a FULL MONTY game.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of Card Games, David Parlett pg. 291 Oxford University Press (1996) ISBN 0-19-869173-4

External links[edit]