This deck was purchased as a set of three in a remote town in Australia. These cards display several unusual features. These arise from a need for economy, and attractiveness. This deck is by far the most unusual of the three.
Hearts is a game that is typically played with a normal deck of 52 cards. The aim of the game is to avoid capturing cards with the suit of hearts, and the queen of spades. However, it appears that printing a full set of 52 cards was well beyond the budget of its maker. A deck of 36 cards was all that they could afford. So what was one to do?
One solution would be to stick to the structure of a standard deck of cards. Instead of 13 ranks in 4 suits, print 9 ranks in a 4 suits. That would result in a deck of 36 cards.
But if one did that, the scoring system would no longer work. There would not be enough cards.
Instead, the maker chose to print a deck with Three Suits .
Each of the three suits contains 12 cards..The three suits are clover-leaves (seen above), yellow diamonds and Red hearts.
Apart from the indices, all the cards of each suit are identical. In the middle of each card, is a cutesy cartoon animal. A pig for the clovers, a bear for the diamonds, and a rabbit for the hearts.
The suit of hearts, It is interesting to observe, that the cards are all double-faced.
The rules for the game are given on a card, printed with this deck. I transcribe it below.
The heart deck has three suit ( hearts, clovers and diamonds) of twelve cards each, including a number 6 star card which is the Jinx card.
The object of the game is to avoid taking tricks containing the hearts or the Jinx card.
1. Dealer shuffles and deals one card at a time, face down. an equal number of cards to each player. The remaining cards, if any are placed face down, and taken in by the player who takes the first trick.
2. Each player selects two cards from his hand, and passes them to the person on his left.
3. Dealer starts the [play by leading any card except a heart. after the frist trick is taken, any suite [sic] including hearts may be led.
Play moves to th left, everyone following suite. If the player cannot follow suite, he may discard 3 hearts, the jinx card, or any card he chooses.
Highest card of the suite [led] takes the trick.
The player taking the trick with the highest card leads a card for the next round.
Winner: is the player with the least points.
Each heart counts one point, and the jinx card counts 6 points.
Note: Contrast this scoring system with the standard game. Each heart scores one point, the queen of spades 13 points.