I Doubt It

What do you see?

My daughter has discovered this card game that is also named after one of the products of male cattle…

And it’s an interesting study into lying.

Can you lie convincingly, or can you tell the truth in such a manner that someone else will think you’re lying?

Or beyond that, can you plan so that you have to do a minimum of either?


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The setup

So that everyone is on the same page here, take your ordinary deck of cards and deal them all out to the participants. Four to six players make a reasonable number, three is technically doable but not necessarily enjoyable, and two is not an alternative.

The first player starts with “Ones” and places 1-4 cards face down and announces the number of cards and rank – “Two Aces”.

The next player moves to the next highest rank and continues in the same fashion. (and should the rank of Kings be reached, Aces follow)

The first player to run out of cards (unchallenged – discussed in a bit) wins.

The lie

So what’s a player to do when they’ve got to play a certain rank, and they don’t have any?

That’s right, they lie.

They pull any card or two out of their hand, place them on the table and declare a number and a rank. “Two Sevens”

And things move one…

The other lie

And just because someone says they’ve played two cards doesn’t mean they couldn’t have actually set three cards down on the table!

(A little bit of skill helps make three cards look like two here…)

Calling a bluff

Each other player has the option to call out “I Doubt It” (or that other word we don’t want our kids shouting out).

And then the last play (and the last play only) is turned over and examined. If the play does not match the statement, all cards on the table go to the lier.

If it does match, all cards instead go to the doubter.

Once a new player has put cards on the table, the player before them is “off the hook” and can no longer be challenged.

And as you can see, as play continues unchallenged, the penalty becomes more severe.

Strategy, Lying, and Winning

And here’s where it gets interesting.

If you don’t plan, you end up with a collection of cards left that probably don’t match what you need to finish.

If you “intentionally” challenge to pick up cards – so that you can make your way through without lying – someone else may finish before you.

But more times than not, the winner has lied when they didn’t appear to need to – to set themselves up well.

Your last play will be challenged – the game is over otherwise – so you better plan to tell the truth in the end;-)

Bidding, Bluffing, and Calling

My daughter has been enjoying an activity that helps “teach” how to lie, but not just that – also how to spot liars and also how to plan.

And if she ever has to comment on some good friend’s wardrobe, she’ll be able to say “Looks great!” just fine.

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