Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flipping cards and scoring leaners

When I was a kid, my brother and our friends played several games with our baseball cards.  The two I remember most are "Flipping" and "Leaners."

Now, we played these games in ways that other people probably didn't simply because we just made up the rules as we went along and I don't recall ever being shown or taught how to play prior to our own game creation.

"Flipping" is a common card game.  Before starting, each participant would have a stack of his or her own baseball cards.  Yes, we knew girls our age that collected!  The first person would stand in the designated spot, hold a single card in front of him/her, then flick the wrist and let go of the card.  It would twirl and flutter to the ground.  The next player would then take a turn.  If a player's card landed on another player's card, then the thrower of card which landed on top would get all the cards it touched.  For the most part, it was straight forward, and we played no favorites as to "heads" or "tails" - if your card landed touching any part of any other card, you got your card back plus the one(s) it touched.  Of course, we often fought over situations where it was hard to determine if a card's edge was actually touching or not on the really close calls.  If the card thrown did not actually flip during flight, it was either left on the ground (even if it touched other cards) or was given back for a "do-over."  These situations also led to several scuffles because yells of "cheater!" were not met in a welcoming manner. 

I think the first few times we played, some notable players were among the cards being flipped.  Before long though, it was mostly commons and players you'd never hear of again.  I mean, come on, who wants to lose their Pete Rose or Yaz cards to a flip!?

"Leaners" closely resembled the tossing game where players took turns flipping their cards at the wall.  Whoever got closest to the wall won all the cards on the floor.  We called it "leaners" because many times, the cards would lean up against the wall and other players would try to knock it down.  As in "Flipping," many an argument ensued as to just which card was the closest to the wall.  We also played it like "Flipping" in that the card had to turn over in the air as it traveled.  One could not just chuck the card across the room.  It had to flutter and spin and turn over.  There was an art to it.  Let me say that I was no Rembrandt or Picasso.  I was more like the kid who only paints in blue and you cant tell what the painting was supposed to be.  I don't remember ever winning a single card while playing "Leaners."  I didn't care, though.  It was great fun, and we learned various techniques for dispute resolution.

Oh, I just remembered that we also played a version of the card game "War" with baseball cards.  I don't remember the exact rules, but each player had a stack of cards and they were placed to the right side of each player (so the other players couldn't see what was next, or that was the idea anyway).  Each person would take their top card and put it in the middle.  I don't remember how we determined who won the pool of cards.  The game was over, however, when one person finally walked away with everyone else's cards.  We didn't play that one too much.


  1. I never played any games with my cards. It's a shame. Hm. Maybe I could get a game going at the next card show using a cheap box of cards. Flipping sounds fun. And of course these days you have pack wars, and playing a version of that would be fun.

    It's funny you make this post today, because I just found an app for my iPod called ToppsFlipp (it's free). It's just like Leaners as you described above. The physics aren't excellent, so it's not too tricky.

  2. We played "war" as well. Cards with an "all-star" designation were at the top of the heap, followed by leader cards. Then I think we had "record breaker" cards, followed by team cards. Those were followed by favorite team cards (we each picked one team). Then we had regular cards, and checklists were at the bottom. If there was a tie, we would break it by something like batting average or ERA.

  3. Ryan - Haha, man I gotta check out the app! That would be cool to start a "flipping" game at a card show!!

    Matt - I think we played by similar rules now that you spelled them out! I think a tie for us just meant no one won that round and play kept going. Somehow, I think our goal was to simply get all of our friends' cards... :-)

  4. Flipping depends on the ruling of the players as well. Baseball cards are of great value to the fans.

  5. Flipping baseball cards is fun if you will get your cards back afterward. For me I would not risk my best players on the game. But I have an idea! I can gather all players that I do not like and bet them to "flipping".

    poker tips