Screwed, the Card Game

February 27, 2005

Once upon a time (Christmas-ish), in a land far, far away (Bavaria), Mr. Marsters and I decided to invent a card game. Our criteria were simple: it had to be a group game, fast paced (without being a “reflex” game), easy to learn, and .. well .. somewhat malicious. In a fun way, of course.

What we cooked up worked rather well. After several hours of play testing with Nova and Vanny, we ended up with an as-of-yet unnamed game, which I will simply refer to as “Screwed.”

The Goal

Get rid of all your cards!


Grab a deck (or two) of normal playing cards, and strip out the Jokers. Shuffle ‘em, and deal out the entire deck equally around the playing table, face down so the players can’t see ‘em. If there are any spare cards, place them face up in a stack in the middle; this is the discard pile.

Playing a Hand

The player left of the dealer takes a card from the top of their pile, and places it face up in the middle of the table. This card is now in play. If the card doesn’t win the hand (don’t worry, I’ll get to that below), the next player to the left repeats the same motion, taking a card from the top of their hand, and putting it next to the other card(s) in play.

Winning a Hand

You remember your poker hands, right? We’re using something similar in Screwed. To win the hand, the card you put in play must complete one of the following:

  • Two of a kind (two matching face values, for example, a pair of Eights)
  • Straights (three cards with sequential face values, for example, King, Queen, Ace)
  • Flushes (three cards with matching suits, for example, Two of Hearts, King of Hearts, Nine of Hearts)

Any of the cards in play count towards the hand, as does the card face up on the top of the discard pile.

What happens when you win a hand … ?

Screw Your Friends

The winner decides who gets to pick up all of the cards in play, excluding the discard pile. As a consolation prize, the screwee gets to discard one card, face up, to the discard pile. The game resumes normal play with the player to the left of the screwee takes a card from their pile to start a new hand in play.

But Wait! There’s More!

These extra rules are optional, but they add a bit more excitement to the game:

  • The Spade Bonus — If you win a hand by completing a Spade Flush, you not only get to screw a friend with the cards in play, but you also get to discard the same number of cards from your personal pile. For example, if five cards are in play and you complete a spade flush, you can hand those five cards to anyone you like, and discard five cards from your pile!
  • The Bitch Queen — The ultimate screw! If the Queen of Spades is played during a hand, the winner decides who takes all the cards from that hand, and all of the cards in the discard pile. The hand doesn’t have to be won with the Queen of Spades — it just has to be on the table.

So, that’s Screwed. Enjoy it!


Jack Johnson – On & On

February 21, 2005

Why do I have a hard time finding good music? I don’t know. I guess I don’t have the patience to sort through heaps of crap to find the good nuggets. Regardless, every now and then I get lucky and a friend pops something on the stereo that strikes my fancy.

My most recent nugget is Jack Johnson, a trio with a laid back acoustic sound, somewhat reminiscent of Nick Drake. A touch of reggae. A touch of Sublime? I must have heard “On & On” a dozen times without knowing what it was, rolling around town with my buddy Justin. What can I say? It’s one of those albums I can listen to it straight through without irritation or regrets. Perfect for a long ride in the middle of nowhere with a head full of nothing.

Five stars for anyone with too much goin’ on.

Howard Ahoy!

February 20, 2005

I spent the evening with a lost acquaintance, a fellow I haven’t seen since I left my first start-up in 2000. He was the director of engineering at Immunix ( WireX) who has since moved on to a few other budding companies (and a pair of delightful kids). I’ve always respected his abilities and personal philosophies, so it was fabulous to get together and catch up over dinner, scotch, and a cigar.

Anyway. We’ll see what develops. In the meantime, here’s a link to the fabulous world of Howard