08/04/2012 at 11:50 AM
1364, St. Gallen, Switzerland. A local ordinance forbids dice, allows board games, and leaves the subject of cards untouched. This is often cited as the date before which cards could not have been known in Europe.
These are the rules that you will most commonly find in books and on the inter-net, so they are a good place to start.
It is played with a full 78 card pack with rational ranking.
The Fool, I-XXI of trumps, and then in the suits:
All suits rank:
King, Queen, Cavalier, Valet, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Card points are:
All Others 1
At the end of the hand, the cards are counted in pairs, subtracting 1 for each pair, giving a total of 91 card points in the pack.
You might also find it easier to think of the cards as having one half point less, so that an honour or a King would be 4.5, a Queen, 3.5, etc. This way, you can pair one counter with one empty card for easier counting.
The first Dealer is chosen at random with deal moving to the right after each hand. Each player is dealt 18 cards in packets of 3, with 6 cards (neither the first, nor the last 6) dealt face down to the middle as the stock. A deal may be annulled if one player has no trumps bar the Pagat.
There follows a quick round of bidding to determine who will be Declarer pitted against the other players. There are four bids available:
Declarer turns the stock cards face up for all to see, then takes them into his/her hand and discards six cards into a scart pile that will be counted toward Declarer’s tricks. Kings, honours and trumps may not be discarded - though if this rule cannot be obeyed, then trumps may be discarded if they are shown to the other players and do not include any honours.
This is played as the Petite but for a higher reward and risk
Garde without the stock:
The stock cards go unseen and count toward Declarer’s tricks.
Garde against the stock:
The stock cards go unseen and count toward the defender’s tricks.
The player who bids for the highest game (petite being the lowest) becomes Declarer and leads to the first trick. The others play together as the defenders. If all pass, then the cards are re-dealt.
Before play commences, players have the opportunity to announce for bonuses. Only an Abundance has to be announced to score - but a Slam will score more points if it is announced. These are different from card points - only card points can count towards winning a hand. These are instead game points, won from your opposition.
If the Pagat is played to the last trick, then the side that wins it receives a bonus of 10 points.
200 points awarded for winning all the tricks in a hand. If playing for a Slam, then on the last trick, if all previous tricks have been won, the Fool may be played as though it were the highest trump. Before playing out the hand, players have the option of declaring that they intend to play for a Slam. In this instance, if won, the Slam scores 400 points, however, if lost, then the opponents score the bonus.
If players have 10 or more trumps in their hand, then they may declare them for bonus points. This is called an Abundance. There is no obligation to do so as it does reveal information about your hand to other players. Also, the bonus is scored for the side that wins the game - for example, if Declarer announces for an Abundance but fails to win the game, then the defenders will score for the bonus. When declared, the player must place the trumps face up on the table. Players are allowed to include the excuse for the bonus but only if they have not enough other trumps.
Single 10 trumps 20 points
Double 13 trumps 30 points
Triple 15 trumps 40 points
Declarer leads to the first trick, playing any card in his/her hand to the middle of the table. Each player in turn, moving to the right, must then play a card of the same suit (follow suit). If a player cannot follow suit, then they must play a trump, if they cannot play a trump, then they can play any card, though it will not win. If no trumps have been played, then the highest card of the suit led wins the trick and that player takes the cards and puts them into his/her trick pile. Otherwise, the highest trump played wins the trick.
When playing a trump, players must observe the overtrump rule. This states that if a trump has already been played to a trick, then, if another player wants to play a trump to it they must, if they can, play a higher trump than any already played.
The Fool may be played to any trick as an excuse for not playing a card you are obliged to play, but may be neither won nor lost. At the end of a trick to which the Fool has been played, the person who played it takes it into his/her own trick pile and gives the player who won the trick, an empty card from their trick pile in exchange.
The number of card points that Declarer needs to win the hand actually varies with the number of honours in his/her trick pile. Only card points count towards winning the hand, bonuses are game points won from the opposition.
No honours 56 points
One honour 51 points
Two honours 41 points
Three honours 36 points
So, the more honours you have, the easier it is to win.
Once the winner(s) have been determined, you must calculate the winnings in game points.
The winners score 25 game points for the hand, then they add the difference between the card points required by Declarer and those actually won - for example, if Declarer won 52 card points and had two honours, only 41 card points were needed to win, so 11 points are added. The Pagat Ultimo bonus, if won, is added to this and the total is multiplied according to the game being played:
Garde without the stock x4
Garde against the stock x6
Finally, the remaining bonuses of an abundance and slam are added or subtracted if won or lost.
If the Declarer has won, then the score is paid by each of the defenders, otherwise, this is what Declarer must pay to each of them.