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
Setup: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.
Dealing: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:
Bidding: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...
Gameplay: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:
- If you have a card from the same suit as the initiating card, you must play a card from that same suit.
- 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.
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.
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.
|9 (Nel): 14||-|
|A: 11||A: 11|
|10: 10||10: 10|
|K: 4||K: 4|
|Q: 3||Q: 3|
|8: 0||8: 0|
|7: 0||7: 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.
Jack+Jill | Mel+Kim
I 15 | 147
I 162 | -
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)