Classical Cards






by Si Osgrove

Si's current jobs are full-time grad student in Educational Technology and Dad to a wonderful seven-year-old son, Benjamin. Si loves camping and creating things like computerized instructional products photographs, and poems.

Instructional Objective The learners will use this card game to build upon and reinforce previous information about the major classical music forms (e.g., sonata, overture, etc.), composers, and major examples of the musical forms.

Learners/Context The learners are primarily adults who have familiarity with classical music either from musical training (on an instrument or college music appreciation course), or listening to classical music in the home or by attending concerts. They are people who want a challenging game.

Rationale A card game is useful because


Object Of Game The underlining object of the game is to learn more about classical music forms, composers, and specific works. The overt object of Classical Cards is to be the first player to score 100 points or more. Players collect points by


A) correctly answering question cards

B) "Going Out" by correctly laying down a TRIO and FOUR OF A KIND.

Number of Players Two to four people.

Playing Rules The game is played as follows:

  1. A dealer is selected who divides the deck (except for the red Lose Points cards which are kept in a separate pile) into approximately two halves. He shuffles both and from one pile deals seven cards to each player. Cards are dealt clockwise. The remaining cards are combined and placed face down into one pile, THE DECK, for drawing during play. The top card is turned face up to form the DISCARD PILE.
  2. Players sort their cards into the four different categories:

    1) Composer 2) Musical Form 3) Composition (examples of musical forms) and 4 ) Question (?).

  3. After taking time to read the information on the cards, they then try to group cards by putting together three cards consisting of a musical form ( for example sonata), along with a composer who wrote in that form (for example, Beethoven), and a composition card--a specific work of music written by that composer (for example, Moonlight Sonata).

    The first player to the left of the dealer plays first (play goes clockwise).

  4. If any player has a question card (?), the player may ask the question, when it is his/her turn, to the player to his/her left. If other players agree that the question was answered correctly, or if the Correct Answers verify the answer, the player answering PUTS THE CARD ON THE TABLE IN FRONT OF HIM. It is scored when the hand is over.

    If answered incorrectly the card is put into the bottom of the deck , the player who answered incorrectly gets a Penalty card to put down on the table before him/her, and he or she looses their turn. The player asking the question draws another card so that he/she still has seven cards in his/her hand.
  5. When its his/her turn a player may either draw a card from the deck or from the face up discard pile. If the player can use a card s/he keeps it. Player then places one card onto the discard pile.
  6. Play continues clockwise until one player GOES OUT with both a TRIO and FOUR OF A KIND. (The player lays his seven cards face up on the table.)
  7. If the other players do not agree with the TRIO, or if the CORRECT ANSWERS say the TRIO is incorrect, then the player must pick up the cards. (It will be obvious if the FOUR OF A KIND are correct or not.) Play continues to the next player.
  8. In the unusual case where no one goes out before the deck is used up, the dealer reshuffles the pile of discards, puts them into a new deck and turns one card face up. Play continues.

Scoring A piece of paper can be used to keep a running score. A player who goes out CORRECTLY receives 30 points.

Each question card which was correctly answered gives the player 10 or 20 points. Each PENALTY card removes five or ten points from the player's score.

Card Design



Deck Design Cards are the size of regular playing cards. There are 140 in the deck consisting of: 20 for definitions of major musical forms cards, 40 question cards, 40 composer cards (not all different), and 40 examples of musical compositions. In addition there are 40 Penalty cards: 20 red 5-Point and 20 red 10-Point Penalty cards.

Design Process I began thinking about a card game about the environment, pollution, and players being responsible citizens of planet Earth. Most of the game's rules were written when I realized the game would have more variety and educational value if it became a board game--so it will for the next assignment in this course.

My mind next focused upon creating a card game that involved something I have loved since I was a college freshman, classical music.

The decision was made to use this not only to involve composers and examples of their compositions but also the musical forms of the compositions. I chose musical forms because I realized there were many I had heard about but really did not understand well. After seeing an example of a poorly designed card game , I knew my game had to get students to think, to do more than just find matching cards. I wanted them to read all the cards to learn more about a subject with which they already had some familiarity. This led to adding another type of card, the question card. Players would receive musical questions randomly throughout the game, which is modeled after Gin Rummy.

Not having previous experience with game design I asked our instructor for feedback. He said it was on the right track but did not involve the players enough--in terms of them bringing previous knowledge with them to the game. Therefore, I decided to remove more of the information from the cards. The player's, I decided would be people who already knew something about classical music. Most cards are randomly missing one essential fact, e.g., the composer's name, the musical form, the word name of the composition (if the number of composition is given or vice versa), or both the name and number of the composition. In order to have enough variety in questions, I decided the deck would have 140 cards,