Basic Rules
                                     by Bruce Gourley

Scum Party Main Page

Number of Players:  5 to 50

Object of the Game:  Become King or Queen while avoiding becoming Scum

The Cards: Regular playing cards, including Jokers, are required for this game.  For 5-8 players, use 2 decks.  For 9-12 players, use three decks.  For 13-15 players, use four decks.  If more than 15 players are present, divide into two groups, with each group using its own table.

Joker is the highest card at the table, and one Joker will be anything on the table.  Nothing can trump a Joker.  Ace is the second highest, then King, and so forth down to the Two card.  There are no wild cards in the original game, although some variations use a variety of wild cards.  Suits do not matter in this game, only the value of the cards.

Beginning Play
Seating positions are of utmost importance in this game.  Initial positions at the table are assigned by a random draw.  The player with the highest draw becomes King or Queen, the second assumes the Assistant King or Queen chair (sitting to the right of the King or Queen), and on down to Assistant Scum, and, lastly, Scum.  Players in between these positions are known as Commoners.

The Deal
The King or Queen takes the seat at the head of the table, and everyone else sits as noted above.  The cards are handed to Scum, who shuffles the decks thoroughly, then deals the cards one at a time, beginning with himself and going to the left (that is, dealing up the ranks, through the Commoners and on to the King or Queen).  All cards are dealt before play begins.  It does not matter to whom the last card is dealt, and the hands do not need be equal in number.  Players should look at their cards and arrange them in numerical order.

The Play
Once all cards are dealt, Scum must give his or her two highest cards to the King or Queen.  The King or Queen in turn must give his or her two lowest cards to Scum.  The Assistants likewise trade their highest and lowest.

During the course of play, Scum may be referred to as "Scum," and has the responsibility of "pulling" the "dead" cards from each trick (the cards are not added to Scum's card total, but are rather turned upside down in front of Scum, and are no longer in play).

The King or Queen begins play by placing a single, pair, three of a kind, etc., on the table.  Suits do not matter, only face (numerical) value counts. If more than one card is played, all cards played must have the same face value (for example: 2 Threes or 3 Nines).  The player on the right then has the opportunity to play.  If he or she plays, the play must be the same number of cards (single, pair, three of a kind, etc.) but must be of a higher value than the previous cards played.  Making a play is always optional. 

Play goes around the table once per trick.  At that point, the player with the highest card(s) wins the trick, and thus the privilege of leading the next trick.  Play thus continues until everyone runs out of cards, with the object being to become the first person to get rid of all your cards. 

The first person to dispose of his or her cards becomes the new King or Queen when the next round begins.  But play does not stop at this point!  Play continues until there is only one person left holding a card or cards.  The second person out becomes the new Assistant King or Queen, the third person assumes the third position at the table, and so forth, until only one person is left ... the Scum! 

Important:  Everyone must keep track of the order in which they run out of cards!

The game continues as long as the players want to play, with everyone changing seats as determined by order of playing out in the previous trick.

NOTE: If a player runs out of cards and at the same time wins the trick (that is, the player would have begun the next trick if he or she had any cards left), then the lead goes to the highest ranking player remaining at the table.                                                                   

Basic Strategy
The most basic advice is this:
1) Lead with the lower cards in your hand when you win a trick
2) Do not play all your high cards too quickly, or you will be left with trashy cards
3) Rarely break up sets of cards (pairs, 3 of a kind, etc.); just be patient.
4) If the person to your immediate left wins a trick, it is usually to your advantage

Multiple Table Games
Establish a hierarchy of tables, with an upper and a lower table.  Play a hand as usual, waiting for players at both tables to finish.  At the end of the hand, the top half from each table will move (or remain) at the upper table, while the lower half of each table assumes seats at the lower table. 

Specifically, at the upper table, the winning half of that table assumes the top half of all positions at the table, in accordance with the positions they ended in at the conclusion of their prior hand.  The winning half of the lower table joins them, but assumes the lower half of all positions at the table, in accordance with the positions they ended in at the conclusion of their prior hand.  The same formula is applied to the lower table, but with the second half of each table (this means the second half of the upper table assumes the first half of the lower table). 

If there are more than two tables of players, players move up or down one table only at the conclusion of each hand, as outlined in the above paragraph.

Play thus continues repeatedly.

Tournament Play for Multiple Table Games
Tournament play for multiple table games scores as follows (scores are tallied only when players at take place in their newly earned positions; the initial seating at the beginning of the Tournament is not scored):

1) The number of possible points that can be earned on any one hand is determined by the number of tables.  For example, in a four table tournament, a player remaining at the top table (otherwise known as the Throne Room) upon completion of a round would earn 4 points; 3 points would be earned for remaining at the third level, 2 at the second level, and only 1 at the bottom level (otherwise known as the Scum Pit).

2) Points are also earned, or lost, for obtaining certain positions at any of the game tables, as follows:
King or Queen = 2 points
Assistant King or Queen = 1 point
Assistant Scum = -1 point
Scum = -2 points

At the end of the Tournament, the high score is the Tournament winner.