Eleusis (Card Game) (Educational)

Eleusis (Card Game) (Educational)

Great way to introduce and experience inductive reasoning

Game for three or more players. Many games call for deductive reasoning but Eleusis is exceptional because it gives players an opportunity to experience inductive reasoning. It stands by itself as a fun game to play, but you can also discuss afterwards the analogies with the ways in which scientific hypotheses arise and are tested

Dealer shuffles a pack of cards and deals the whole pack out to the players. The last card dealt is turned face up in the middle of the table; this forms the basis of the starter pile (it may be necessary to remove a few cards so that all players get equal numbers, however we have played it with uneven numbers and it works just as well).

The players pick up their cards and look at them, organising them into any order if they wish. The dealer invents a secret rule or law which determines which cards can be played on the starter pile and writes it down in secret on a piece of paper and hides it until the game is over.

Stage 1
Players taking turns, choose a card from their hand and place it face up on the middle pile, overlapping but not hiding the previous cards. If the card fits the secret rule the dealer says “right” and leaves the card there. If it breaks the rule, the dealer says “wrong” and the player takes the card back and places face up on the table to form a mistake pile (Each player creates their own mistake pile). Play continues by turns until players have used all the cards in their hands.

Stage 2
Players then use the cards from their mistake piles, which are lying face up and fanned out in front of them. They play in turn and can use any of the cards in their pile.

Game ends when a player has no cards left or when the dealer declares that it is impossible for anyone to play a card which conforms to the secret rule. A set of games is complete when each player has had the chance to be dealer once.

Best to keep the secret rule simple, eg ‘alternate black and red cards‘ or ‘if top card red play an even card‘. Ace counts as 1 Jack as eleven and so on. At least 1/5 (one fifth) of the cards in the pack of 52 should be playable each turn, so avoid restrictive rules such as ‘play a card with a value one unit above the value of the top card’. This limits players to one of four in the pack each turn. Dealer may wish to give a hint.


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