New Eleusis

(4 to 8+ players)
Summary copyright 1995 by David Matuszek

This just gives the rules; the notes and a brief introduction are on a separate page.


  1. Make up and write down a rule that tells which cards may be played when. The rule must depend only on the cards already correctly played.
  2. Shuffle two decks and deal 14 cards to every player except yourself.
  3. If you like, give a hint about the rule.
  4. Turn up one card for a starter.
  5. Choose player to start (count clockwise the number of the starter card). Dealer may, if required by the rule, choose another card to start the sequence.


Player (Scientist):

  1. Play a card from your hand. (Usually it's best to play a card you think is right.) If you feel confident, you may play a sequence of 2, 3, or 4 cards. If you think you have no ``right'' card, you may declare ``no play'' and show your hand to everyone.
  2. Just after you play (any play, regardless of consequences), if you think you know the rule, you may declare yourself Prophet, provided: (1) there isn't already a prophet, (2) you haven't already been prophet this round, and (3) there are still two or more players besides yourself and the dealer.

Dealer (God):

  1. If there is no prophet, call each play ``right'' or ``wrong,'' and give two penalty cards for each ``wrong'' card. A sequence of 2 to 4 cards is right only if each card played sequentially would be right. Give two penalty cards for each card in a wrong sequence. Don't tell which card or cards made the sequence wrong.
  2. If there is a prophet, s/he makes the calls, and you ``approve'' or ``disapprove'' each call. If you disapprove a call, overthrow the prophet and give him/her 5 penalty cards; the player (scientist) who just played gets no penalty for a wrong play.
  3. Put a white marker on each 10th card played, and call a ``sudden death'' period after 40 cards played. During sudden death, any player who makes a wrong play is expelled. (When there is a prophet, sudden death is based only on the black markers.)


  1. When you first become Prophet, put a black marker on the last card you just played. Put the rest of your cards aside (you may need them again).
  2. Take over the job of calling plays ``right'' or ``wrong''--carefully!
  3. Put a black marker on every 10th card played after you became prophet, and call a ``sudden death'' period after 30 cards played.
  4. If overthrown, pick up your cards and resume your role as a player.
Special Rule: A player who correctly claims ``no play'' puts his cards on the table and is dealt a new hand with 4 fewer cards (this may put the player out and end the round). If the player is wrong, Prophet or Dealer plays a correct card from the hand and deals the player a 5 card penalty. [But if prophet calls incorrectly, the card is returned to the player's hand without penalty, and Prophet is overthrown.]


A round ends when either (1) some player runs out of cards, or (2) all players have been expelled for wrong plays during ``sudden death'' period. The game ends when everyone has been dealer once (but you can end earlier).


  1. Find the high count: the largest number of cards held by any player (including the prophet). Everyone except the dealer gets points equal to the high count minus the number of cards in his/her hand.
  2. Anyone (except the dealer) with no cards at all gets a 4 point bonus.
  3. A True Prophet also gets 1 point for each right card and 2 points for each wrong card played after s/he became prophet.
  4. Dealer's score is the smaller of (a) the highest player's score, or (b) twice the number of cards played before the True Prophet started.
  5. If you end the game early, anyone who has never been dealer gets 10 extra points.
  6. The person with the largest number of points wins.