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A card game, typically played by schoolchildren in Scotland on rainy days. What separates scabby queen from other card games is the violent and painful fate that awaits the loser.

To play scabby queen requires a conventional deck of 52 cards and at least 4 players, although ideally a larger group should play. Go through the pack and remove one of the queens. Then deal out the remaining 51 cards to the players. The object of the game is to not have the odd 'scabby' queen left in your hand.

Now each player examines their hand and can discard any pairs they have. Next the person on the dealers left picks a card from the dealers hand. If the player now has a pair he can discard two more cards. If not the person on their left picks a card from them. This continues round the circle of players.

The first person to discard all their cards is nominally the winner. But the game does not stop here. In scabby queen the vital goal is not to win, merely to avoid coming last. As the number of players left in dwindles it becomes easier to work out the position of the queen due to the other players reactions. The best moment to watch out for is when the remaining pair of queens is discarded.

Eventually the game is over and one unlucky person is left with the queen. This loser now has to be humiliated in accordance with the law of the playground. Now they must cut the deck and accept their punishment - to be struck on the knuckles with the deck of cards.

Although the actual degree of severity is very much dependent on the person inflicting the pain - the winner as described above - all authorities agree that the number of strokes coincides with the number on the card cut above. A black suit indicates clemency so the strikes should be soft. Red is the colour of blood and a red card means that considerable force can be applied. So selecting the king of hearts is not a good outcome, you will be hit 12 times. There are further variations that reflect differing tastes, for instance, using the short or long sides of the deck, or having the cards scraped across the knuckles in an attempt to inflict maximum scabbage.

As much as the player might wish to opt-out of a round of scabby queen, it is not a wise move if you wish to maintain any kind of status in the playground pecking order, but nor are the unwilling forced to play. Also teachers usually turned a blind eye to the game, except in such extreme cases where an unlucky loser is unable to hold a pencil for the rest of the day due to their lacerated fingers.

If anyone has come across other forms of the scabby queen game, or knows the game under a different name then please let me know.

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