Ranter-Go-Round

Last updated
Ranter-Go-Round
Delarue-king-diamonds.jpg
Cuckoo!
Origin England
Alternative namesCuckoo, Chase the Ace, Screw Your Neighbor
Typesocial game, game of chance
FamilyShedding game
Playersany
Age range6+
Cards52
Deck French-suited pack
PlayClockwise
Card rank (highest first)K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A
Playing time10 – 45 minutes
Related games
Coucou, Cuccú, Gnav, Hexenspiel, Kille

Ranter-Go-Round is a primitive gambling game and children's game using playing cards. [1] It is known in most European countries as Cuckoo; [1] the French variant being called Coucou. Other English-language names include Chase the Ace and, in America, Screw Your Neighbor. [2]

Contents

It is related to the dedicated deck card or tile games of Gnav and Killekort. [1]

History

Ranter Go Round is described as early as 1881. [3] The game "is said to have been first played in Cornwall," [4] however Cuckoo has been played in Europe since at least the 17th century, often with special cards. [5] An 1882 account describes Ranter Go Round as "a first-rate game for a winter evening." Players have 3 lives in the form of counters, receive one card each and exchange with their left-hand neighbours, the dealer exchanging with the stock. Players may stand i.e. refuse to exchange with their left-hand neighbour if they believe their card is high enough not to lose. There are no cards with special privileges. [4]

Confusingly, at about the same time the name Ranter-Go-Round appears in the literature associated with the different game of Snip, Snap, Snorem. For example, in 1879 in a publication by the English Dialect Society it is described as "an old-fashioned game of cards, marked with chalk upon a bellows or tea-tray. Now at a table, and called Miss Joan." This is followed by the lines "Here's a card, as you may see! Here's another as good as he! Here's the best of all the three; And here's Miss Joan, come tickle me. Wee, wee!" [6] The same description appears in the West Cornwall Glossary of 1880. [7]

Play

Any number of players may participate, using a standard deck of 52 cards without jokers. The card rankings (from highest to lowest) are K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A, or alternately A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. Suits are irrelevant. The goal in each hand is to avoid ending up with a lower-valued card than any other player. [8]

Each player starts the game with the same number of chips or counters, usually two to four. When the game is played for money, all players contribute the same amount to a central pot. Each player is dealt one card face-down, after which play begins with the player to the left of the dealer. After examining his/her card, a player may either keep it or exchange it with the player to his/her left. However, if the intended recipient is holding a card of the highest value (depending on which set of rankings is being used), he/she turns it face-up and the trade is nullified. Any player who shows a top-value card in this manner is considered to have completed his/her play for the hand. Play proceeds clockwise around the table, with the dealer playing last; instead of trading cards with someone else, though, the dealer may exchange his/her card for the top one from the deck.

After all players have taken a turn, they turn their cards face-up and the one with the lowest-valued card loses one chip. If two or more players tie for lowest card, they each lose one chip, except in variants that include "pairing up". The dealer rotates one position clockwise around the table for each new hand. Players who lose all their chips are out of the game; the last remaining player wins and collects all the money in the pot. However, if the last two players both lose their final chip in a tie, the game has no winner; the money remains in the pot, and all players make a further bet and start a new game.

Variants

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Parlett 2008, pp. 482/483.
  2. Ranter-Go-Round at Pagat.com
  3. Cassell's Book of In-Door Amusements, Card Games and Fireside Fun 1881, p. 125.
  4. 1 2 Cassell's Book of Sports and Pastimes 1882, pp. 869/870.
  5. Arnold 2011.
  6. Specimens of English Dialects, 1879 & p 46.
  7. West Cornwall Glossary 1880, p. 46.
  8. Hoyle's Games, Edmond Hoyle, revised and brought up to date by R. F. Foster, 1926. A. L. Burt Company, New York.

Bibliography