Iceberg:

A new card game


Iceberg is a member of the rummy family, wherein points are earned for playing sets of the same rank or sequences of cards from the same suit. There are a couple of new twists in the scoring and play, however, that set Iceberg apart from all other members of the rummy family.

Any number from two up to about five or six can play. With 2 or 3, use a single deck; with 4 or more, shuffle two regular decks together. Each player is dealt seven cards initially. The remainder of the pack is placed face-down in the middle of the table.

Play rotates clockwise around the table, beginning with the player at dealer's right. Each player, at his turn, does the following:

  1. Picks up the card lying face-down at his left (except at his first turn -- see step 5);
  2. Draws one card from the top of the stock;
  3. Immediately places any aces in his hand face up in front of him;
  4. Makes any legal melds that he wishes. He may lay off on other players' melds at any time. Melding is never obligatory.
  5. Discards one card face-down and places it face-down between himself and his right-hand opponent (unless he has no cards remaining.)

A hand ends when someone goes out, or when the last ace in the deck is exposed, whichever comes first. (The player holding the last ace finishes his turn.) Scoring is as follows; the game is named because the small point award for starting a set or sequence is only "the tip of the iceberg."

Cards left in one's hand at the end of the game count -10 each. Any playable cards left in one's hand are an additional minus: however much they would have counted for you, had you been given another turn, they now count against you.

Aces do not take part in any of the above melds. They act as multipliers -- with no aces, you receive your score as earned above. Each player holding one ace earns double the above scores; two aces, triple; three aces, quadruple; and so on.

Recommended finishing score for a 2-person game is 5000. I haven't played the 3+ player versions enough to know what an appropriate finishing score for them is.


An example hand (3-player game)

Player A is dealt S987, HJ3, DQA and draws the C3. He plays his DA and the S9-8-7, scoring 30. He discards the HJ.

Player B was dealt SKJ3 HQ DJ8 CJ and draws the C6. He plays the DJ and CJ, scoring 10, holding onto the SJ, which will be worth 50 if someone plays the ten. He discards the D8.

Player C was dealt: S6 D10942 CKQ. He draws the CA from the stock and picks up the HJ discarded by player A. He plays the ace; his jack of hearts, which is worth 20 when added to B's pair; and the S6, worth 40 on A's run. He discards the D2.

Player A holds H3 DQ C3, picks up the D8, and draws the SQ. He plays his two pairs for 10 each and goes out by throwing the diamond away.

SCORE: Player A earned 30+10+10=50, which is doubled to 100 because he had one ace. Player B is stuck holding SKJ3 HQ C6. He earned 10, but loses 50 for holding 5 cards; 40 for the playable jack of spades; and 20 for the playable queen of hearts, for a total of -100. Player C is stuck holding D1094 CKQ. The queen of clubs counts -20 (only two queens actually got played) and the 5 cards count -50. His net score is (20+40-20-50)x2=-20.


This game is simple, but there is scope for a lot of technical and psychological strategy. I can usually do fairly well at it, but I have not discovered the secret of winning consistently at it. Enjoy! Please feel free to tell me what you think of the game!

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This page was last updated on 02.12.97.