How to Play the Card Game "Up and Down the River"

By D. Wright

Need a fun card game but are tired of Go Fish and Solitaire? Try the game Up and Down the River on for size. It is simple, can be played with lots of people and can be adjusted to play as long as you need to play.

What You'll Need

1-2 decks of playing cards Four or more players Notebook paper and a pen to keep score

Preparing Your Scoreboard

To begin, write every player’s name along the top row. On the left hand side, make a column for the rounds, numbering them starting at 10 and working your way down. Once you reach the number 1, continue on by counting back up to 10. The rounds on the scoreboard should start with 10 and end with 10, making 19 rounds.

Playing the Game

For the first round, the dealer will pass out 10 cards to each player, which they are allowed to look at, and the rest of the deck will be put face-down in the middle of the table, then the top card of the deck will be flipped over. The suit of the card will designate the “trump” suit for the round, meaning any cards of that suit will automatically beat any other cards for that round.

An action in Up and Down the River is called a “trick.” Similar to the games of Spades or Hearts, a trick is when each player lays down a card and tries to lay the highest one of all the cards, with Ace being the highest and 2 being the lowest. Players look at their hand and predict the number of tricks they will be able to win. For the first trick, the player to the left of the dealer lays down a card of any suit except the trump suit face-up. Each subsequent player must play a card of that suit unless they do not have a card in that suit, in which case they play a card of another suit and forfeit their chance to win that trick, unless they lay down a card of the trump suit. In that case, any player can now lay down a card of the original or trump suit.

Winning a Round and Winning the Game

Winning a trick means you were able to successfully place a card of the correct suit. At the end of all the tricks, which for the first round is 10, the points are tallied. If a player achieved the exact amount of tricks that they predicted, then they will win that many points, plus 10 bonus points. For instance, if a player predicted and won 5 tricks, they get 15 points. If a player does not make the number of tricks they predicted, or goes over the amount, then they take a positive point for the number they managed to take and a negative point for their missed prediction. For instance, if someone predicts 5 tricks and takes 7, then their point total is 2 for the round. If a player predicts they will take 0 tricks and succeeds in winning no tricks, they win 5 points for that round.

This continues for the rest of the rounds on the score sheet, with the number on the left being the amount of cards dealt out at the beginning of the round. The first round is 10 cards, the second is 9 cards, and so on. At the end of 19 rounds, the player with the most points wins.

About the Author

D. Wright has been covering the video game industry since 2007. Since then, he has written video game guides, editorials, hosted several video game-focused podcasts, interviewed some of the brightest minds in the industry, consulted with indie developers to fine-tune their games and more.