Goofspiel, also known as GOPS, which stands for Game of Pure Strategy, is the odd one out in the land of card games. It has been a popular subject for scientific publications in the areas of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence. Goofspiel is played with a 3-suit deck by two players, who bid to win as many auction cards as possible.
Only the diamonds are shuffled, then placed face down in the center of the table, forming the auction pile. One player takes all spades and the other all clubs. Hearts are not used.
The top card of the auction pile is put on auction by turning it face up next to the auction pile. Both players then make a bid for the card on auction, by choosing one of the cards in their hands. They show their cards simultaneously and the highest bidder wins the auction card. The game continues by turning the next card from the auction pile and players making a bid for it with one of their cards, until, after 13 auctions, the auction pile is exhausted.
If bids are equal, the auction card is added to the next auction.
The total value of the auction cards won by each player is calculated, using the following scheme: Ace is 1 point, Two to Ten are face value, Jack is 11 points, Queen 12 and King 13. There are 91 points in the game, so the winner will have at least 46 points.
Although one of its names suggests Goofspiel is a game of strategy, it's good to realize there is no single strategy that will always win you the game. For every strategy, there is a counter strategy. Below you'll find a few useful tips.
1) Memorize the cards played by your opponent.
2) Use your higher cards to make bids on higher auction cards.
3) Try to beat your opponent every auction by exactly one point.
4) If you must bid low, bid the lowest card you have, to avoid losing much bidding power.