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My wife and I play Hand and Foot from time to time. We have toyed with the idea of allowing a book of 3's to count positive, with the caveat that they are only positive if the book is closed and clean. If the book is not closed and clean then each of the 3's has their usual negative score.

We have not found this particularly effective because if a player attempts it then the state of that book determines the winner of the game.

My question is if anyone else has tried a book of 3's in Hand and Foot and if they have found a way to make it work.

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Assuming you're playing with the Red (100) Black (5) variation (there are not official rules for hand and foot), then the purpose of the 3's is to add a bit of randomness to the game to offset player ability. If your goal is to remove this randomness, then you can simply treat all 3's as normal cards and the game will 'work' just fine. I have played that particular variation.

I'm not sure by which rules you're playing, but if you're allowing threes to hit the table singly, and also allowing the bonus for making a book of them, it's a bit of an unfair advantage to that random chance.

Pagat - Rules to Hand and Foot

  • We are playing with all 3's worth negative 500. Seems like when we learned it originally they were worth different amounts though. Is 100 and 5 the most common values? – Jim McKeeth May 17 '11 at 3:18
  • I'd suggest trying the rules in that link and seeing if it works for you. I haven't played with all 3's worth -500, but that seems awfully steep, and, as you say, would seem to cause a big enough point swing to make other parts of the game less relevant. – Neal Tibrewala May 17 '11 at 8:22
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I've played a variant where you are allowed to go out if in your foot by laying down 4 or more black 3's without a discard. This counts as 400 extra points.

You wouldn't be able to use them while in your hand, so you'd still have to discard them to get to your foot first.

In our games, typically the first person to reach the foot wants to pick up the pile as soon as possible and usually has a bunch of black 3's. We play simple requirements where you can pick up the whole pile if you can use the top card anywhere, which is usually always. If the partnership makes the book requirements quickly, before this player has discarded them all, then it's an extra bonus.

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We play a version where black threes can be melded under certain conditions. Everyone needs to play all their cards in their hand before they can pick up their foot. Because you cannot meld black threes, you must discard the black threes in your hand one at a time before you can pick up your foot. Because of this difficulty in getting rid of black threes, it becomes very dangerous to pick up the discard pile (it may have black threes in it). This problem of getting rid of your black threes needs to remain as a part of the game. However, if you can meld your black threes in the process of going out, it relieves some of the problems. It must be understood that only the person going out can meld black threes. If someone else goes out, the black threes still in your hand count against you. Because there are so many variations, it may be necessary to play variants where the problem has already been worked out. I have written down the rules we use and posted it here: http://gameofhandandfoot.blogspot.com

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