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I love playing the card game BS, but sometimes, it just doesn't have enough oomph for my short attention span. Instead, let's play some Russian BS.


Here is a quick guide to the rules.

  • The game begins with a random player declaring the card type of the round (out of 14 options: A,2,3...10,J,Q,K,j where the j stands for joker)
  • The same player starts the round, placing down as many cards as he or she wants, which all have to be of the declared card type.
  • Any player can call BS on the play. If multiple players call BS, the player closest to the player who put down the cards to the right will be the one to call BS
  • If BS is called on the play, then the cards played there are checked by the moderator. If the cards were indeed valid (i.e., all of the declared type or jokers), the player who called BS will take all of the cards played in the round. Otherwise, the player who played the invalid cards will take all of them.
  • If no BS is called, the next player is up to play, and must also play the declared card type.
  • We also allow players to pass their turn if they don't wish to play. However, if they pass, they are not allowed to play for the rest of the round (although they can call BS)
  • If every player passes, then the round ends, and the player who played the last cards will start the next round by declaring the card type.
  • If BS is called, the player who played the cards will start the next round and declare if he played valid cards, else the player who called BS will start.
  • The player who has no cards at the end of the game wins.

I like these rules because they don't force you to lie, but usually, players tend to lie more than in the original version of BS


This challenge will be a challenge, with submissions providing bots to play the game. The bots will be written in Python 3, although I'll try my best to accommodate all submissions.

The submissions should consist of the following three functions:

CallBS - determines whether you seek to call BS or not on a play
PlayCards - determines what cards you want to play
StartRound - determines what the declared type of the round is, if you are chosen to pick it.

The submitted functions should be named such that their names are ***_CallBS, ***_PlayCards, and ***_StartRound, where *** is the name of your bot.

Below are example functions that describe the inputs and outputs:

def example_CallBS(self,pos,player,handSize,currCard,numCards,numPile):
    '''This function will output True if the bot seeks to call BS on the
       current move, or False if not. The parameters are
       - self: class variable
       - pos: int - how many positions away you are to the right of the player (Note: if 
         your function got called, that means everyone to your left before the player decided 
         not to call BS)
       - player: str - holds the name of the bot who just played cards
       - handSize: int - how many cards playing bot holds
       - currCard: str - current card in play (One of A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,j)
       - numCards: int - number of cards just played by player
       - numPile: int - number of cards in the pile (not including played cards this turn)
    return True
def example_PlayCards(self,currCard,numPile,stillPlaying):
    '''This function will output a sublist of the hand of the bot to play this turn, or None to pass.
       The parameters are
       - self: class variable
       - currCard: str - current card in play (One of A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,j)
       - numPile: int - number of cards in the pile
       - stillPlaying: list of str - players who haven't passed this round
    return self.hand[:]
def example_StartRound(self):
    '''This function will output a string representing the card that will be played for the coming round (One of A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,j)
       The parameters are
       - self: class variable
    return 'A'

In addition, you will be provided with the following utilities

self.obj - A blank object for your usage to store knowledge between calls
self.hand: list of card objects - Your current hand in card objects (calling card.val gives you the str value of the card)
self.numBots: int - number of competitors you have
self.getRandom(): function - outputs a random number from 0 to 1.

If you want to use any sort of randomness, you must use the self.getRandom() function provided. You may not edit any of these objects except for self.obj

Parameters and more Rules

  • The cards in this game (you'll see the class that the cards belong to in the controller below) don't have a suit since suits don't matter to this game.
  • The number of cards in the game will be 14*number of bots (numBots of each type of card)
  • In the output of PlayCards, you must output cards that are in your hand. The program will not like you otherwise. You also must output card objects, not strings.
  • You may take at most 10 ms on average over 5 turns for StartRound, 50 ms averaged over 5 turns for PlayCards, and 20 ms averaged over 5 turns for CallBS.


In this Controller, you add your functions to the top of the program, then add a tuple of all three functions, in the order of (CallBS, PlayCards, StartRound) to the list BotParams. The Controller should take it from there.

Below is the controller with the example bot from earlier. This bot will not be participating, nor will any bots that obviously aren't aiming the win the competition.

import random as rn
rn.seed(12321)#Subject to change

def example_CallBS(self,pos,player,handSize,currCard,numCards,numPile):
    return True
def example_PlayCards(self,currCard,numPile,stillPlaying):
    return self.hand[:]
def example_StartRound(self):
    return 'A'

#This is how you add your bot to the competition. Add the tuple of all three of your functions to BotParams
BotParams = [(example_CallBS,example_PlayCards,example_StartRound)]

#This is the controller
class Obj:
class card:
    def __init__(self, val):
    def __eq__(self,other):
        return (self.val==other or self.val=='j')
    def __str__(self):
        return self.val
class BSgame:
    def __init__(self,BotParams):
        self.numBots = len(BotParams)
        self.AllCards = ['A','J','Q','K','j']+[str(i) for i in range(2,11)]
        x=[card(j) for j in self.AllCards*self.numBots]
        self.hands = [x[14*i:14*i+14] for i in range(self.numBots)]
        self.BotList = [BSBot(self.hands[i],len(BotParams),*BotParams[i]) for i in range(self.numBots)]
        self.play = []
        self.pile = []
        self.isRound = False
        self.isTurn = 0
        self.currCard = None
        self.GameSummary = [str(i) for i in self.BotList]
    def results(self):
        print("The winner is "+self.winner)
        print("Final Standings:")
        for i in self.BotList:
    def checkBS(self, caller):
        if min([i==self.currCard for i in self.play]):
            self.GameSummary.append(self.BotList[caller].name+" called BS but was wrong!")
            if self.BotList[self.isTurn].hand==[]:
                self.GameSummary.append(self.BotList[self.isTurn].name+" has won the game!")
            self.GameSummary.append(self.BotList[caller].name+" called BS and was right!")
    def isBS(self):
        for i in range(1,self.numBots):
            if self.BotList[(i+self.isTurn)%self.numBots].callBS(i,self.BotList[self.isTurn].name,len(self.BotList[self.isTurn].hand),self.currCard,len(self.play),len(self.pile)):
        if self.isRound:
            if self.BotList[self.isTurn].hand==[]:
                self.GameSummary.append(self.BotList[self.isTurn].name+" has won the game!")
    def startRound(self):
        self.currCard = self.BotList[self.isTurn].startRound()
        for i in self.BotList:
            i.inRound = True
        self.GameSummary.append(self.BotList[self.isTurn].name+" started the round by picking "+self.currCard+" for the round.")
    def __iter__(self):
        return self
    def __next__(self):
        if not self.isRound:
        passList = [i.name for i in self.BotList if i.inRound]
        self.play =self.BotList[self.isTurn].playCards(self.currCard,len(self.pile),passList)
        if self.play == None:
            self.GameSummary.append(self.BotList[self.isTurn].name+" passed its turn.")
                for i in self.play:
                raise Exception("You can't play a card you don't have, you dimwit")
            self.GameSummary.append(self.BotList[self.isTurn].name+" played "+",".join(i.val for i in self.play)+".")
        if self.winner!=None:
            raise StopIteration
        if set(passList)!={False}:
            while True:
                if self.BotList[self.isTurn].inRound:
            self.GameSummary.append("Everyone passed. "+self.BotList[self.isTurn].name+" starts the next round.")
class BSBot:
    def __init__(self,myHand,numBots,CallBS,PlayCards,StartRound):
        self.hand = myHand
        self.numBots = numBots
        self.name = CallBS.__name__.split('_')[0]
        self.callBS = lambda pos, player, handSize, currCard, numCards, numPile: CallBS(self,pos,player, handSize, currCard, numCards, numPile)
        self.playCards = lambda currCard, numPile, stillPlaying: PlayCards(self,currCard, numPile, stillPlaying)
        self.startRound= lambda:StartRound(self)
    def __str__(self):
        if self.hand==[]:
            return(self.name+': WINNER!')
        return(self.name+": "+", ".join(str(i) for i in self.hand))
    def getRandom(self):
        return rn.random()
Mod = BSgame(BotParams)
for i in Mod:

Additionally, if you want to see a summary of the game, type in the following command at the end of the program:

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is self.numBots including yourself or not? \$\endgroup\$ – Quintec Sep 21 '18 at 20:39
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I thought this was going to be a pre-US midterm election social media analysis challenge. \$\endgroup\$ – ngm Sep 21 '18 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quintec yes and ngm, lmaooo \$\endgroup\$ – Don Thousand Sep 21 '18 at 21:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In the controller, in the isBS function, "if self.BotList[(i+self.isTurn)%self.numBots].callBS(i,self.BotList[self.isTurn].name,len(self.BotList[isTurn].hand),self.currCard,len(self.play),len(self.pile)):" should be "if self.BotList[(i+self.isTurn)%self.numBots].callBS(i,self.BotList[self.isTurn].name,len(self.BotList[self.isTurn].hand),self.currCard,len(self.play),len(self.pile)):" It's just missing a self. Apologies for the formatting; I'm not sure how to make it nicer. \$\endgroup\$ – Spitemaster Sep 22 '18 at 13:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also in the checkBS function, you should add a default in the min() because otherwise it throws a 'ValueError: min() arg is an empty sequence' error. \$\endgroup\$ – Spitemaster Sep 22 '18 at 13:13

Naive Bot

def naive_CallBS(self,pos,player,handSize,currCard,numCards,numPile):
    return False
def naive_PlayCards(self,currCard,numPile,stillPlaying):
    return [card(currCard)] * self.hand.count(currCard)
def naive_StartRound(self):
    return self.hand[0].val

Never calls BS, never lies, and lets the game play out, while trying its best to win. Will always play all of the current card, and will start the round with the first card in its hand.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ naive_StartRound() should return string. Change it to self.hand[0].val \$\endgroup\$ – DobromirM Sep 21 '18 at 21:53


def asshole_CallBS(self,pos,player,handSize,currCard,numCards,numPile):

    if not hasattr(self.obj, "flag"):
        self.obj.flag2 = False
        self.obj.flag = False
    if len(self.hand) < self.numBots * 14 * 1.5 / 4 and self.obj.flag:
        self.obj.flag = False
        if len(set(self.hand)) * self.numBots * 3.0 / 4 < len(self.hand):
            self.obj.flag2 = True
    if len(self.hand) < self.numBots * 14 * 3.0 / 4:
        if not self.obj.flag:
            self.obj.flag = True
        return False
        return self.hand.count(currCard) * 1.0 / self.numBots > 0.75
def asshole_PlayCards(self,currCard,numPile,stillPlaying):
    if not hasattr(self.obj, "flag"):
        self.obj.flag2 = False
        self.obj.flag = False
    if not self.obj.flag:
        return [card(currCard)] * self.hand.count(currCard) if len(self.hand) > self.numBots * 14 * 3.0 / 4 else self.hand
        if self.obj.flag2 and len(self.hand) < 3:
            return self.hand
        return [card(currCard)] * self.hand.count(currCard)
def asshole_StartRound(self):
    if not hasattr(self.obj, "flag"):
        self.obj.flag2 = False
        self.obj.flag = False
    card = ""
    max_cards = 0
    for i in "A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,j".split(","):
        if self.hand.count(i) > max_cards:
            max_cards = self.hand.count(i)
            card = i
    return card

Have you ever been that one player in BS who tries to get all the cards? No? Just me? Well, let me tell you it's just as fun. Trust me, this is a legitimate winning strategy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In asshole_PlayCards() line 4 you should change if times < 3 and not self.obj.flag: to if self.obj.times < 3 and not self.obj.flag: \$\endgroup\$ – DobromirM Sep 22 '18 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DobromirM good catch, thanks. i need to rework a bit of the endgame logic of this bot after this anyway :) \$\endgroup\$ – Quintec Sep 22 '18 at 1:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ In your StartRound function, you probably don't want to return i - I'm guessing you would rather return card. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Spitemaster Sep 22 '18 at 13:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Spitemaster thanks :) my brain is malfunctioning \$\endgroup\$ – Quintec Sep 22 '18 at 13:37


def moniathan_CallBS(self, pos, player, handSize, currCard, numCards, numPile):
    if numCards > self.numBots * 0.5:
        return True
    if self.hand.count(currCard) == self.numBots:
        return True
    if self.hand.count(currCard) + numCards > self.numBots * 0.5:
        return True
    if numPile > self.numBots * 2:
        return True
    return False

def moniathan_PlayCards(self, currCard, numPile, stillPlaying):
    cards = [c.val for c in self.hand]

    if cards.count(currCard) > 1:
        return cards.count(currCard) * [card(currCard)]

    if cards.count(currCard) == 1:
        if len(self.hand) > 1:
            add_more = self.getRandom() > 0.75
            if add_more:
                return [card(currCard), [c for c in self.hand if c.val != currCard][0]]
                return [card(currCard)]
            return [card(currCard)]
        if self.getRandom() > 0.5:
            if self.getRandom() > 0.5 and len(self.hand) > 1:
                return [self.hand[0], self.hand[1]]
                return [self.hand[0]]
            return []

def moniathan_StartRound(self):
    return max(self.hand, key=lambda x: self.hand.count(x.val)).val

It mostly tries to play safe but sometimes it will take small risks to get ahead.

  • \$\begingroup\$ if self.hand.count(currCard) > self.numBots: This will never trigger, as you can't have more cards of that type than there are in the game. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Spitemaster Sep 22 '18 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes it should be ==. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – DobromirM Sep 22 '18 at 14:36


def halfwit_CallBS(self,pos,player,handSize,currCard,numCards,numPile):
    # Call if I know he's lying
    if numCards + self.hand.count(currCard) > self.numBots:
        return True
    # Call if he'd win otherwise
    if handSize == 0:
        return True
    # Call if that would be more than half of the remaining cards, more than 3, and he's got lots of cards
    if handSize > 14 and numCards > 3 and numCards + self.hand.count(currCard) > (self.numBots - numPile) / 2:
        return True
    return False
def halfwit_PlayCards(self,currCard,numPile,stillPlaying):
    # If I have this card, play all that I've got.
    if self.hand.count(currCard) > 0:
        return [card(currCard)] * self.hand.count(currCard)
    # If more than half of the cards of this value are allegedly already out, play nothing
    if numPile * 2 >= self.numBots:
    # Play the smallest stack I've got.
    counts = [self.hand.count(i) for i in "A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,j".split(",")]
    choice = "A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,j".split(",")[counts.index(min([x if x != 0 else 100 for x in counts]))]
    return [card(choice)] * min([x for x in counts if x != 0])
def halfwit_StartRound(self):
    # Play the card I have the most of
    return max(self.hand, key=lambda x: self.hand.count(x.val)).val

Halfwit always plays something - and he cheats if he doesn't have any of the right cards to play. Right now there's a few issues with the controller and with the bot and I'm not sure which is which, so I'll have to come back and fix some bugs later.


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