Monday, June 24, 2019


Klaverjassen is a very traditional Dutch card game which also exists in similar or slightly different forms in other countries. There are several variants played in the Netherlands, this is the one I know. It's an interesting and fun game to play, especially since with practice, cleverness and a good memory you can influence the game a lot and become very good at it. It is often played in sets of 16 games or more, and even after playing it for a long time, it remains an interesting game with a social side to it as well, especially since it is played two in teams of 2 players.

Number of players: 4 (there are special rules to make it playable with 2 or 3 players).
Needed for play:
  • an ordinary deck of 52 cards, no Jokers
  • paper and pen to keep score


The 4 players sit at a square table and form two teams. Each team's players are sitting opposite each other. Teams score points together and win or lose as a team.
Take an ordinary deck of cards and separate the cards numbered 2-6 out into a separate pile. Shuffle this pile and put it at the side of the table, closed. This pile is used to indicate the trump colour. The remaining 32 cards will be the main deck to play with.


Shuffle the 32 main cards and deal them out to all 4 players so that each player has a hand of 8 cards. When playing multiple games, each next game the dealer will be the player left to the current dealer.

The table will look like this now:


Draw the top card of the pile with the cards numbered 2-6 and place it open. The suit of this card will be the trump suite for this game.
The player to the left of the dealer looks at their cards and either says 'pass' or 'play'. If you think you can win the game, that is, get more than half of the points, you normally say 'play'. If you think it's too risky you'll say pass and the next player gets a turn to say if they want to play or not. Even if you passed, your partner may still decide to play, which means that you'll play as a team anyway.
If one of the players says 'play', the game starts immediately and the player to the left of the dealer comes out.
If none of the players wants to play, i.e. they all said 'pass' when it was their turn to declare their intentions, then the next card from the pile of cards numbered 2-6 is turned and the suit of this card will be used instead as trump. In this case there is no option for players to declare if they 'want' to play: the team of the player to the left of the dealer is required to play, whether the trump colour suits them or not.
If you are playing, you are required to gather more than half of the points, otherwise you go 'Nat' and lose all the points to the other team.

After playing a few games you'll find out that always passing and never playing is not the safest option, as this may turn against you when all players pass and you are forced to play with a suit that may be worse...


The game is played in rounds where each player in turn adds exactly one card to the round until there are 4 cards. The first round is started by the player to the left of the dealer. Subsequent rounds are started by the player that added the winning card to the previous round.
The starting player plays the initiating card of this round from their hand and puts it open in the middle of the table.
Then the other players respond by adding cards one by one to that round in clockwise order, until there are 4 cards in the round - one from each player.
Responding cards can only be played according to these rules:
  1. If you have a card from the same suit as the initiating card, you must play a card from that same suit.
  2. If you don't have a card from the same suit, you must play a card of the trump suit, if you have one. However there are some additional conditions:
    • If a player from your opponent's team already played a trump card then you must play a higher trump card. If you don't have a higher trump card, you don't need to play a trump card here and play any card you like.
    • If your partner already played the highest card in this round, you don't need to play a trump card, as your team is already winning this round.
  3. If the initiating card is of the trump suit, you must also play a trump card if you have one, even if it's a lower one. Like with any initiating card, if you have a card of the same suit, you must play it.
  4. If none of the above apply, you can play any card you like.
Once all 4 cards of the round are played, a player of the team winning this round picks up the cards and places them face-down next to them for later counting.
The winning card of the round is the card that is the highest card of the initiating suit, or, if a trump card was played, the highest trump card in the round. So even if there is a very high card of the initiating suit in the round, say an Ace, a low trump card in that round, e.g. an 8, will still win the round.
Note that normally the Ace is the highest card of a suit, but for the trump suit the Jack is the highest. See Card order and Points below.
Now the player that added the winning card to the previous round can start the next round by playing the initiating card, to which the other players will respond.


If a round of cards contains a sequence of 3 or more cards of the same suit, or 4 of the same cards, the team winning that round can call Roem (pronounced Room). For Roem sequences the 'traditional' order of the cards is used, i.e. 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. Roem adds bonus points for this set of cards to the round as follows:
  • Sequence of 3 cards of the same suit (e.g. 9, 10, J): 20 points
  • Sequence of 4 cards of the same suit (e.g. J, Q, K, A): 50 points
  • 4 of the same cards, different suits (e.g. 7♤, 7♧, 7♡, 7♢): 50 points
  • 'Stuk': King and Queen of the trump suit: 20 points
It is possible to call out 'Stuk' and together with other Roem, in which case the points are added together. However other types of Roem cannot be combined.
If Roem is called, make a note of this on the scorecard. Normally 20 Roem is marked as a vertical bar I and 50 Roem is marked as a capital V beside where the score of this game will go.
Note that calling Roem is not required, and the team winning the round may decide not to if they think they will lose the game and they are playing. See 'Nat' in scoring.


Each team counts the cards of their winning rounds according to the table below. In addition to the points of the cards, the last round is worth an extra 10 points. In total each game is worth 162 points, including the points for the last round but excluding the points for Roem.
The team that is playing must have more than half of the total points in the game. So excluding Roem, they must have 82 points or more. If Roem is called, all of the Roem called by both teams is included in this calculation, so if 40 Roem was called in total, the playing team must have 102 points or more, and so on.
If the team that is playing has more than half of the points in the game they write down their points, and the other team writes down their points too for this game.
If the team that is playing did not manage to get more than half the points in the game, they are 'Nat' (means 'wet') and all of the points in this game, including all Roem go to the other team. So the other team will get 162 points for this game plus any Roem called.

If a team has won all the rounds of this game, so not a single round was won by the other team, they have a 'Pit'. This means that they get an extra 100 points for this game, usually marked beside the game's scores with double capital VV.

For an example scorecard, see below.

Card order and Points:

The table below shows the card order. The cards at the top of the table are the highest cards and at the bottom the lowest. I.e. the highest card of the game is the trump Jack, and then the trump 9 (called 'Nel'). For non-trump suits the highest card is the Ace and then the 10.

Trump                         Normal
J: 20-
9 (Nel): 14-
A: 11A: 11
10: 1010: 10
K: 4K: 4
Q: 3Q: 3
-J: 2
-9: 0
8: 08: 0
7: 07: 0

Game sets:

Normally game sets are played over 16 games or even 16 times 16 games, sometimes changing partners in teams. In the end all the scores of all the games are counted up and the winners or winning teams are announced.

Example scorecard:

Jack+Jill | Mel+Kim
I      15 |      147
I     162 |       -  I   (M+K went 'Nat': all the points, including Roem to the others)
       80 |       82 VII
VVI   162 |       -      (J+J got all rounds: a 'Pit', an extra 100 points)
      419 |      229     (Points in rounds)
      160 |       90     (Roem)
      579 |      319     (Total points, J+J win these 4 games)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dumbal - the Nepalese Card Game

During my recent trek to Nepal I learned a really fun card game from my Nepalese friends. The game is called Dumbal and pretty much everyone in Nepal knows how to play it. Although the rules are quite simple it's a really fun game to play and we spent hours every day playing it. Especially the fact that the personality of the players comes into it makes it interesting and also because you have to change your strategy as a round gets closer to the end.

The game can be played with 2+ players. It's really good for 4-6.


  • Use a normal deck of 52 cards - no jokers
  • Agree target score, e.g. 200 points
  • Deal each player 5 cards
Leave the rest of the cards on a stack in the middle.


Finish a game by getting the lowest points of all the players in hand.
All cards are worth their face value. A is 1 point, J=11, Q=12, K=13.
You are allowed to finish when you have 5 points or less, but you don't have to. E.g. you can decide not to finish if you have only 4 points and wait until you have even less.


Rounds are played clockwise, the person left from the person dealing the cards starts.

  • You first dispose (openly) of 1 or more cards from your hand by putting them in front of you.
  • If you dispose of more than 1 card they have to be the same rank (e.g. two 9s, 4 Qs) or a sequence of at least three (6,7,8 of the same suit or Q,K,A,2 of the same suit etc).
  • Then you need to pick up 1 card, either by picking from the (openly visible) cards disposed by the player to your right during his/her last round or from the stack of unused cards in the middle.
After disposing and picking up 1 card, the player to the left gets a go.
Note that it can happen that you dispose all the cards in your hand. But this means you still have to pick up a card.

Ending the game

If you have less than 5 points in your hand you can end the game, but you don't have to.
You end the game at the start of your turn by showing everyone your card(s) - note that you will always have at least one card in your hand at the start of a turn.
If you have the lowest hand you win the game and get 0 points. Everyone else gets the amount of points they have in their hand.
If you ended the game and someone else has the same amount or less points you don't win but that person does. You will get your own points plus a penalty of 20 points.
If there is more than one player with less points the lowest wins. In case of a draw the on with the least cards wins.

You can also end the game before the very first round if you have 15 points or less in your hands. Same penalty rule applies if someone else has less than or equal points as you.


Add everyone's scores up on a piece of paper and repeat the game until you've reached the set amount.
The first one to reach the set amount is out and cannot continue playing. The remaining players continue until another person reaches the set amount and so on.
The last one standing is the winner.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Casa Grande - English Rules

This is a fun game and the production quality is great, as you would expect from Ravensburger.
Contrary to what other reviews suggest, you can nicely tidy the whole thing up in the box, we didn't have any problem with that.

We have the German version, that only comes with a German manual but this is not a problem since there is no text on the actual game. We tried a number of variations on the rules but in the end we really like the following variation. I'm describing it here in detail for those who like to try it or those who don't have an English manual. The main deviation from the 'official' manual is that we chose not to play the bonus rules, as we find that they are really just a distraction from the main game...

So here are the rules we play with:

Preparation. Each player starts with all the building blocks of one colour and the associated building floors. Each player uses one marker piece in the same colour and places it in one corner of the playing board, where every player starts in a different corner.

Youngest player starts. The game is played in turns, players take turns clockwise.

Every turn consists of the following:
1. Player throws the dice and moves his or her marker the number of places clockwise as on the dice on the square path on the board. If you finish on a 'sun spot', a corner place, you move your marker the same amount of spaces again.
2. The player must place a building block in one of the 16 places that are visible when looking through a straight line from the place where the marker has landed. The building block may be placed on the bottom layer, on another building block or on a floor that may exist on a higher level. Building blocks may also be placed under where floors might exist on higher levels as long as they can easily be placed there (without removing that higher level floor).
3. Then the player may place a building floor if this is possible given the location of his building blocks in the game. The white rectangles on a building floor must be underpinned with the player's own pieces. Other rectangles on the floor may or may no be underpinned by any pieces, also from other players. The player may only place a building floor if all the rectangles of that floor are directly on a brick or without any piece under it (if they don't have a white rectangle) - however a floor may not be placed directly on another floor, there must always either be a brick or some space in between. The player then receives money to the amount of the number of rectangles multiplied by the height, so 1st level = times 1, 2nd level = times 2 etc.

The game is over when all the building blocks have been placed. When a player places his last brick he may also put a building floor somewhere this turn. All players finish their bricks during the same round. Then the player with the most money wins.
If you're playing with 2 players it's actually quite fun to continue playing with a second colour for each player once the first colour has run out. That way you can make really high buildings, even with 2 players. It makes the game a little bit longer (which we usually appreciate) and is really fun.

The simplicity makes this game very playable and there is a bit of strategy in there too. A pretty good and fun game for anyone over 8 or so.