Golden Rules of Interface Design


Deck: Standard 52 card deck, jokers not included
Players: 2 or more players (more than 4 players will probably require an additional deck of cards)
Difficulty: Average
Time: One hand takes approximately 5-15 minutes; one game takes approximately 30 minutes
Created: 1997
Overview: Players attempt to be the first player to go out, thus scoring points for all the cards they have obtained on the table and also points for each card remaining in the other players' hands.

Getting its name from a mistake in translating the games original name from Japanese, Underwear is a deceptively simple game; quick to learn but difficult to master. Underwear suits a wide variety of different play styles, and can be played to some extent with or without strategy. The game play revolves around playing cards of the same suit but a lower value on the main pile - known as the downpile. They can also steal the downpile with a card of the same value, making an up-pile that they can play cards onto with a higher value but the same suit.

Although the object of the game is to go out (thus scoring points, as only the player who gets out of cards scores in each hand), it is often strategic to delay going out in order to score more points - especially if the other players are stuck picking up cards, as every card in their hands at the end of the game scores for the player going out. Sometimes a player will delay the game in the hope of going out, only to discover they are trapped, ending up giving the game to another player.

Up-piles are the road to high points, and low value cards are vitally important to stealing the downpile to make up-piles, with Aces the lowest possible card. Because the common pile of cards can only go down in value, the downpile tends to get blocked around A-4 of the suit it is on. Low cards give you the best chance of stealing, but once the downpile gets low, some players may prefer to play a royalty and clear the downpile, rather than risk a big downpile being stolen by another player.

One of the most rewarding aspects of Underwear is that every player develops a completely different strategy. Some play conservatively, preferring to pick up cards rather than unblock the downpile for their opponents. Others play a fast-paced liberal game, keeping the momentum going and trying to go out quickly. All strategies can work - if they are played well. It's possible to plan ahead and develop tricks for stealing a downpile, or for blocking the game for other players (especially if you have a good memory for what has already been played), but don't be surprised if your master plan blows up in your face when one of the other players has just the card to spoil your schemes.

Rules of Underwear

1. Deal seven cards to each player
The first dealer is the player who suggested playing Underwear; the deal passes to the left after each hand.
2. Turn over the top card
This card forms the downpile. (If it is a royalty, discard it and the first player can play any card.)
3. Turns
Each turn, a player can do one of the following:

• Play a card (or a run of consecutive cards) onto the downpile.
These cards must be of the same suit, but a lower value (e.g. 4 hearts onto 7 hearts, or 3 and 4 hearts onto 9 hearts).
Royalties are special - they cannot be not played on the downpile.

• Play a card (or a run of consecutive cards) onto any of their own up-piles.
These cards must be of the same suit, but a higher value (e.g. 6, 7 and 8 diamonds onto A diamonds).
Royalties are special - they cannot be not played onto an up-pile.

• Play one or more royalties (not including aces) to remove the current downpile from play.

• Steal the current downpile using a card of the same value (the card in question becomes a new downpile).
The stolen downpile becomes a new up-pile in front of the player.

• Draw a card.

4. The Downpile
The downpile is the one place that all players can play onto.

Cards played onto the downpile must be of the same suit, but a lower value.

A single lower value card can be played, or a run of consecutive cards of the same suit, all lower than the card showing on the downpile.

Players may also steal the downpile to make an up-pile by replacing the downpile with a card with the same value as the card showing on top of the downpile (e.g. if the top card on the downpile is 2 clubs, a player could play a 2 hearts as a new downpile, and take the old downpile as an up-pile in front of them).

5. Up-piles
Any cards face up in front of a player are considered up-piles.

Cards played onto an up-pile must be of the same suit, but a higher value.

A single higher value card can be played, or a run of consecutive cards of the same suit, all higher than the card showing on the up-pile in question.

When a 10 is played on an up-pile, turn the up-pile face down.

Face-down up-piles score double if the player manages to go out.

6. Ending a hand
Each hand ends when a player plays their last card, either onto the downpile, or onto an up-pile.

The only player who scores it the player who goes out.

This player scores:

• 1 point for each card in a face-up up-pile.
• 2 points for each card in a face-down up-pile (one upon which a 10 has been played).
• 1 point for each card left in the hand of each of their opponents.

The player to the left of the last dealer deals the next hand.

First player to 49 points wins (or to another target, agreed before the game begins).

7. Royalties
When you play royalties, you can play as many or as few as you wish; the effect is the same.

You can always play royalties, regardless of their suit, or the suit of the downpile.

Whenever one or more royalties are played, the current downpile is discarded, including any royalties that have just been played.

The next player at the table can play any card they want to start a new downpile. (If they play a royalty, the player after them is faced with the same situation).

Optional Rules

1. Doubling
Any player with more cards in their hand than any other player may declare 'double' at any time.

Each player can only double once in the game, but each player may double (provided they had more cards in their hand than any other player at the time when they doubled).

For each double declared by players, the score of the player who goes out is doubled (e.g. if in a game with four players, two of them doubled at some point, whomever went out first would score four times the basic score).

2. Royalties on Up-piles
A variation of the game allows the player to play royalties onto up-piles of the same suit, with the same effect as playing a 10.
3. Seat Changes
Some players complain that they lose simply because of where they are in the turn sequence (especially if they get stuck next to a player who never players a royalty). If this happens, you may like to try this variant. After each hand, the player who went out exchanges seat with the player with the most cards left in their hand. This rule help avoids any suspicion that there is a 'losing seat'.

Underwear created by Chris Bateman (original name: Shitagi, pronounced 'shi-tang-i', which is Japanese for 'Underwear'; the word was constructed from Kanji with the intent to spell 'downpile', but only later was the error realised and the name of the game 'discovered'); this document is copyright 2000 International Hobo Ltd.


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