This instructable documents our quest to create a scoring device that can be used for multiple card games.
Several games such as bezique, canasta and cribbage have rather complex scoring and dedicated devices.
Nowadays there are even smartphone apps which can serve as card game scorers, but these seem to defeat one of the purposes of playing cards in the first place - to escape the smartphone!
This card scorer is designed to score in relatively straightforward games where a simple tally and maybe a bidding record is required.
After much research and many prototypes we came up with this two sided design that allows scoring up to 159 on one side and on the other side a bidding indicator from zero to 13 as well as a suit indicator.
This makes it perfect for scoring Oh Hell!, which was the original intention, but also useful for games such as Hearts, California Jack, Gin Rummy.
There is more about the game Oh Hell! at the end.
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Step 1: Download and Print the Files
The Universal Card Scorer consists of several rotating parts.
Everything you need is on the attached pdf. This is in layers so that if you have a plotter cutter you can set it up to cut out the parts for you. If not, you can still make the scorer by cutting out the parts by hand.
Step 2: Print and Cut All the Parts You Need
Each print makes one Card Scorer. We printed out and cut 5 of these on our cutter plotter.
Step 3: Assemble the Parts
Each part is labelled and should be fairly clear how to assemble.
The first stage is to glue parts A and B to the largest circle G
Then selector masks for each side fit together as shown.
Step 4: Fix the Parts Together
We fixed the rotating elements together using these small rivets which you can get from a haberdashery. These are just hammered together. They should probably have a special mould, but they work fine if hammered onto a flat surface. (the image with the hammer, above, is from an earlier prototype)
If you can't get any suitable rivets, the picture above shows some alternatives - brass paper fasteners or plastic fittings. You could even use a nut and bolt if you were really stuck.
The important thing is to get sufficient friction between the parts so that they don't move accidentally.
Step 5: Play!
Have fun using your Universal Card Scorer.
Let us know in the comments if you make one, what games you have found it useful for, and if you can suggest any improvements!
When using the Universal Card Scorer, you need to take a bit of care not to accidentally move the scoring wheel when bidding and vice-versa. This means holding the scorer on a flat surface to move the selector, or holding around the edge rather than twisting with thumb and forefinger.
Step 6: Oh Hell! Original Markers
As mentioned, we created these markers in order to play Oh Hell!
This is an excellent game. The pictures above are from a commercial version that was available in the 1980's.
You can still buy a boxed version of the game, but really all you need is a regular pack of cards.
Part of the game involves revealing your bid at the same time as the other players. In the example shown, each player had a set of bidding cards and a little plastic stand in which to place the relevant card. This is a terrible design really - the cards would fray where they needed to slot into the plastic holder and the most often used cards would quickly sustain creases that became recognisable.
Why is Oh Hell such a good game?
It is a trick taking game with some similarities to whist or bridge, but with a simpler scoring system;
You can play with 3 to 7 players;
It is easy to pick up;
Each hand is different, as it uses a different number of cards;
The strategy for play changes on each hand;
There are infinite variations that you can play depending on the time you have.
Below are the rules that we use, but an internet search will yield many variations.
Players: 3 to 7
Deck: Standard 52 Card Deck
Goal: To score the most points by accurately predicting how many tricks you will win from each hand.
Play: Shuffle the cards & choose a dealer.
Each new hand will be dealt by the player to the left of the previous dealer.
For the first hand, deal out as many cards as you want to have rounds.
The remaining cards are placed in a stack, and the uppermost card turned up. This indicates the trump suit.
(If all cards are dealt out (e.g. 13 cards for 4 players), this hand may be played as a no-trump hand.
Each player must then decide how many tricks they think they will win in that hand.
They indicate this on the Oh Hell! Marker.
When all players are ready, all are revealed at the same time.
Play commences with the player to dealer’s left and continues until all tricks are taken, after which that hand is scored.
Scoring: Each player receives one point for each trick taken.
Players who achieve their stated target receive a bonus TEN points.
Play continues with each subsequent hand being one less card than the previous round. In this way, the final hand consists of each player holding just one hand.
There are endless possible adjustments that can be made to the play and the scoring e.g:
Ascending/descending numbers of cards per hand;
Bidding rules ensuring that there is at least one loser per round;
Playing just the even or odd numbers is a good idea if you don't have time for a full game.
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