Yes, I know my slogan is “just puzzles”. So I shouldn’t be writing about games. Having said that, let me first explain the game of Eleusis before proceeding to the puzzles.

The game of Eleusis was invented by Robert Abbott in 1956, and is totally different from such games as bridge or poker. Eleusis is played with a standard card deck of 52 cards. One player thinks of a secret rule and preferably writes this down. He playes two cards which obey the secret rule. All other players receive a number of cards, for example each player receives 5 cards.

The two cards are the beginning of a line of cards. The other players now take turns in playing a card to the end of the line. When a player plays a card, the Rule Inventor indicates whether the card obeys the rule. If it does, it is added to the end of the line. If it does not, the card is placed below the line and the player draws two extra cards from the deck. In both cases, the turn passes to the next player. The player who first gets rid of all his cards wins.

Eleusis - demo

In this sample game, the Rule Inventor played Ace of diamnonds and 2 of Hearts. The first player played 3 of diamonds, which the Rule inventor turned down. The second player played Jack of diamonds, which turned out to be also incorrect. The 3rd player tried 3 of clubs, which the Rule Inventor added to the top row. The next two cards played were a 9 of hearts and a 10 of diamonds, which the Rule Inventor both declared to be wrong. The last card played was the Ace of spades.

Now here is a rule to find out.
1) Rule 1*
Eleusis - problem 1 - exercise

In your hand you have:
Eleusis - problem 1 - hand

Which of them do you play? And why?

2) Rule 2**
Eleusis - problem 2 - exercise

In your hand you have:
Eleusis - problem 2 - hand

Which of them do you play? And why?

In the explantion of the game above I omitted 2 complications:
– if the player thinks he can not play a valid card, he may claim this and exchange his hand. If he is right, he exchanges his hand for a hand with one card less from the deck. If he is wrong, the RuleInventor plays a correct card and the player draws two cards from the deck.
– if a player thinks he knows the secret rule, he may declare himself prophet. The prophet now first judges all cards played, before the Rule Inventor. If he keeps his job till the end of the game, he wins the game instead of the player who first gets rid of all his cards.

Though I am out of touch with him now, I have very good memories of my correspondence with him about two decades ago, and he is a very kind man.

As usual, you are welcome to report your solution times and comment on the solution, but please do not give away the answer – that may spoil the fun for others. I will publish the solution in one or two weeks after posting the puzzle.

You can check your solution here and


New puzzles are published every Friday, at which time also the solution to the previous weeks puzzle is published.

You can expect more Eleusis based puzzles in one of the upcoming free e-books.

Incidentally, this is the 100th post on this blog. The game Eleusis is an old favourite of mine, and thus a worthy subject of this celebration.


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