Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh Heck!

My grandma (my dad's mom) loves to play a card game we call "Oh Heck." (Not everyone calls it that.) She doesn't hear very well and she can't see much of anything, but neither of those things deters her from wanting to play. Not just wanting to play but wanting to win (because she is a Gustavson, after all.)

Basically it's a game of bidding and trying to take tricks. We do simultaneous bidding which is like playing rock-paper-scissors except at the end you put out fingers for how many tricks you want to bid. A new trump suit is picked with every hand and you can only trump if you don't have a card of the suit that was led. (If you want a more thorough explanation of the game go here.)

Now, playing this with my grandma is ALWAYS interesting. Some hands involve her trying to sneak extra fingers on to her bid, or take back fingers if she thinks she bid too high. Other hands have her asking my dad (the scorekeeper) to change her bid in the middle of the hand. She asks at least once a hand what the trump suit is (again.) And, of course, she wants us to tell her every card as it's played. Because apparently despite the giant playing cards (courtesy of Kari and Jonathan) she still can't see what's on the table.

Since playing Oh Heck is pretty much my grandma's favorite (fun) thing to do, we play every time the family gets together. Thanksgiving was no exception; we made sure to get in a couple of games.

As we're playing the last game of the trip, we get to one round where my grandma was going to be the last one to play a card. She asks what was led (diamonds), what trump is (hearts), and what the high card on the table is. We tell her the high card and let her know it's just been trumped. She proceeds to lay down a trump card higher than the one already on the table. We remind her that diamonds was led and if she has one she has to play it. She insists that she doesn't, so we motion for Kari (who is sitting next to her) to peek over at her cards and check. (It's not like it's hard to see them-- giant cards remember?) Kari sees that she does, in fact, have the nine of diamonds in her hand. So we ask again, "are you SURE you don't have any diamonds?" As she's using both hands to scoop the cards on the table toward her, she looks up at us and asks, "Would I lie to you?"

Apparently yes.

P.S. For the curious, here are the variations we use: We start with the maximum number of cards, go down to one then back up to the max. We do simultaneous bidding (as I mentioned before.) We also score a little differently. Players who miss their bid get no points. Players who make their bid get one point per trick and one bonus point. So someone who bids 0 and takes 0 gets 1 point. Someone who bids 2 and takes 2 gets 3 points. But someone who bids 2 and takes 3 gets no points. You've got to be right on.

P.P.S. Did you click on the giant cards link? What is with the creepy guy?


  1. We play that game but we call it "Tricks." Super creative eh?

  2. That creepy guy is probably the one who told Mom to lie about the 9 of diamonds.

  3. Love this game, only we call it Trump.

  4. I only went to the link when you mentioned the creepy guy in the ad. Creepy people abound in internet ads. You just have to wonder who thought it would be a good idea to choose THAT picture out of the dozens-to-hundreds that they took.


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