A relaxed circle game for small groups

How To Play Scum

Materials Needed

a deck of cards

How to play: get the appropriate number of seats for the people present. Have one chair be incredibly comfortable (king), one chair be very comfortable (queen), the rest of the chairs except for two peoples be neutral (neutrals), and then have one uncomfortable bench or chair (scum and vice scum). Put the chairs around the table in the order they were listed in, with the queen being to the king’s left and so on around the circle until you end up with the king on the scum’s left.

To start the game, it doesn’t matter who sits where that will be decided later so if you get the comfy chair good for you! The person in the scum seat deals, starting with the king and proceeding clockwise around the circle. Once everyone has their cards, the king will start, and place a card in the center of the table. The lowest card is a 3, after which the cards proceed to king as usual, and then are followed by ace, 2, and joker. Once the king has played, play proceeds to the player on his left or the queen. She may play the same number as the king, or a higher card. If she chooses to play the same card, the player to her immediate left is skipped. If the king were to play a 3 and the queen a 4, and the neutral (people who aren't king, queen, or scum) to her left played a 5, or any three numbers in a row, someone could call out “consecutive” and from that point on any card that a player wishes to place must be one higher than the card before it.

Note: There are multiple “sub-rounds” as part of a full round of play

If a player cannot or does not wish to play his or her card, he may say “pass” and then cannot play until the next sub-round. Play continues in a clockwise manner until everyone but one person has passed. The cards are moved to the edge of the table and whoever won the last sub-round by having the highest card on the table, starts. Play continues until somebody runs out of their cards. This person will be the king in the next round, and will sit in the most comfortable chair. Next person out will be the queen, the highest neutral, and so on until the last person with cards remaining is the scum. Once someone is designated in each role from king to scum, they move to their respective chairs. The vice-scum shares a chair with the scum, and the vice-scum gets all the room they want, while the scum gets whatever is left over.

Note: if the first player of a sub-round may play two, three, or four of the same card, and then until the end of said sub-round, every other player must play two cards. When this happens and a player wishes to play a two, he may play one less than the number of cards played otherwise. One joker is sufficient for any number of cards. The consecutive rule still applies.

The scum will have to shuffle and deal the cards, and once everyone has passed in a sub-round, will have to sweep the cards from the middle of the table to the edge. If he forgets the king can say “sweep it, scum” to remind him. When the cards are dealt from the second round until the end of the game, the scum must give his two highest cards to the king, and the king gives to the scum his two least favourite cards. This also applies to the queen and vice-scum, though with one card instead of two. The king may also order around the scum and tell him to do things during the shuffling and dealing phase of the game such as “get me a glass of water” if he is thirsty or “do 10 somersaults” if he wants some entertainment. The duty of shuffling and dealing then falls to the vice-scum. The queen may also order the scum around, although she must say please or the scum doesn’t have to do it.

The people move around after each round to a new spot, appropriate to when they got rid of all of their cards.

Game play ends when it stops being fun.



Added by
on 22 July 2021

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