Zioncheck is a card game with roots in gin rummy, and a card game my family has played all of my life.

Players: minimum of 3, although I have played a two-person game many times

Decks: 2

I. Terms

  Set: minimum three cards of the same number (three-of-a-kind)
   Example: Three sixes, or three kings

  Run: minimum four consecutive cards of the same suit (four-card straight flush)
   Example: 8-9-10-Jack of diamonds

  May I: taking a card from the discard pile out-of-turn, with permission

II. Hands by round

  1. Two sets
  2. One set, one run
  3. Two runs
  4. Three sets
  (short games can end here)
  5. Two sets, one run
  6. One set, two runs
  7. Three runs, no discard

III. Game play

  Deal eleven cards to each player. After dealing, turn over the top card on the deck to begin the discard pile. Players will either draw from the deck or the discard pile, then place a card from their hand into the discard pile.

  Once a player has collected the requirements of the round (i.e., two sets), the player places those sets or runs on the table and places a card in the discard pile.

  The object, once you have placed your sets and runs down, is to discard the remaining cards in your hand. You may do so by collecting additional cards for your sets and runs, or by playing cards on the sets and runs of other players already on the table.

  A player may take a card from the deck or discard pile out of turn. Simply say "may I?" The person currently playing can permit your request or deny it. If you "may I" you must also take a penalty card. This is essential in the last round, when you will need more than the initial eleven cards to complete the hand.

  In the last round, "no discard" means you must play your hand without having to discard any cards. The first to play wins that final round.

IV.  Scoring

  Low score wins. Tabulate the remaining cards in your hand by number, using ten points for face cards, 15 for aces, and 20 for jokers. The low score over however many hands you play wins the game. My folks, being advanced in age, sometimes simplify by counting all cards below ten as "five points."

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