Napoleon is a deceptively simple bidding and trick-taking game. Although it is relatively easy compared to more sophisticated games like Bridge or Whist, what Napoleon lacks in finesse it makes up for in fast pace and player interaction. The scoring system, using chips, also lends itself well to wagering. The delightful difference of using "Wellington" and "Blucher" in the bidding refers, of course, to other famous generals of Napoleon's day; but the card game itself is said to date back only to the late 1800s - well after the French leader's death.
This is an amusing game that has a large following world wide. There are many variant rules, but the most popular way of playing is presented here.
Based on the basic game of Hearts, this version adds two features to standard Hearts whereby a player may actually score plus. The play of the cards takes on heightened interest, since it combines "nullo" play (to avoid gathering hearts and the Q♠) with positive play to win plus points.
Although other interesting variations follow this description, Partnership Auction Pinochle for four players is considered the classic form of the game.
The basic game of Partnership Pinochle is described first. Several variations have grown in such popularity that they are also described below, including Partnership Auction Pinochle and Double-Pack Pinochle.
Partnership Pinochle game rules, in which four people can play, two against two as partners.
Six players form two partnerships of three each, sitting alternately. Eight players form two partnerships of four each, also sitting alternately. A double Pinochle pack (96 cards) is used, and the cards are dealt out four at a time, so that each player has 16 cards in the six-hand game and 12 cards in the eight-hand game.
Based on the rules and play of Napoleon, this game is a version of Pool Nap. In this version of Pool Nap, one card only is dealt to make a widow, usually on the first round. By adding one chip to the pool, any player may "peep" at this card before bidding or passing. The highest bidder may take the widow card but must discard one card to reduce his hand to five cards before play begins.
Pinochle is a classic two-player game developed in the United States, and it is still one of the country's most popular games. The basic game of Pinochle is Two-Hand Pinochle, which derives from the European game Bezique. It is explained first.
One of the most popular forms of Auction Pitch, this game was formerly called Smudge. Now, it is usually called Pitch by those who play it.
Based on the rules and play of Napoleon.
Preference is played in parts of Europe, including summer resorts in Russia and the Ukraine. There are several versions of the game.
Railroad Euchre is the name given to any number of versions designed to speed up the scoring. Some of the features that have been added in various localities are as follows:
This game is the forerunner of the Six-Pack and Eight-Pack variations.
n this variation, the Tournee game is eliminated, and the Player has the option of "handplay" - playing without the skat - or of picking up the skat and then naming the "game." In either case, he has a choice between naming a suit or only the jacks as trumps.
In one of the popular early forms of Auction Pitch, the player on the dealer's left has the right to "sell" the right to pitch. The player on the dealer's left may either assume the contract for a bid of 4, or give each player, beginning on his left, one bid as in Auction Pitch. The player on the dealer's left may then sell to the highest bidder, in which case that player becomes the pitcher, and the player on the dealer's left immediately scores the amount of the bid; or that player may become the pitcher at the highest bid made, in which case the high bidder immediately scores the amount of the bid.
This is an Americanized version of All-Fours, the classic English pub game.
Shasta Sam is the same game as California Jack, except that the stock is kept face down so that the winner of each trick does not know what card will be drawn. Before the deal, a card is cut or turned from the pack to determine the trump suit for that deal.
Based on the rules and play of Napoleon. In this a popular version of Napoleon, an extra hand of five cards is dealt to the right of the dealer's location.
Based on the standard rules of Five Hundred
Six people play in two partnerships of three each; each player has an opponent to his right and left. Three regular Pinochle packs, without the nines, are mixed together, making a pack of 120 cards. Each player is dealt 20 cards, and the rules of Double-Pack Pinochle apply, except that game is 4,550, the minimum bid is 750, and the last trick counts 30. Most of the extra melds made possible by the triple pack do not count extra; if a player should hold twenty aces, five of each suit, the value would be 2,500 (that is, 1,500 for triple aces plus 1,000 for double aces). However, a quintuple pinochle counts 4,000, and all six pinochles count 5,000 (which is more than enough for game, if the side is not 500 in the hole).
Sixty-Six is an ancestor of Bezique and dates back to the 17th century. Played in its original form, it is still a very enjoyable game.
First described in 1674 as "Five Fingers" (which, in this game, is a slang term for the five of trumps), Spoil Five is ancient and features elements that date back much further in time. The game's long popularity attests to its excellent play value. One variation, Twenty-Five, is a prominent game in Ireland. Yet another version, Forty-Five, is extremely popular in Nova Scotia.
Three 32-card packs are shuffled together to make a 96-card deck. The player to the dealer's left leads first, and thereafter, the winner of each trick leads next. The three participants play in clockwise rotation. Only the winner of the trick may declare. A triple bezique counts 1,500; a player having counted 500 for a double bezique may add the third and count 1,500. Game is usually set at 2,000.
Based on rules and play of standard Euchre. Also known as Cutthroat Euchre.
A Pinochle game on the order of the two-hand game was once played by three players, usually with a 64-card pack. Each player received 12 cards in the deal and played in turn. Game was 1,000, as in the two-hand game. This version has been superseded by Auction Pinochle.
The dealer takes no cards and scores as many game points as are won on his deal by either of the other two players. If neither active player scores 66, or both score 66 or more but they fail to announce it, the dealer scores 1 game point, and active players do not score. The game is 7 game points. A dealer may not score enough to win the game; he must win his seventh point when he is an active player.
Based on rules and play of standard Euchre
Based on the standard rules of Five Hundred. The two-hand game of Five Hundred. The pack and the deal are the same as in the three-hand game, except that the hand to the dealer's left is dealt face down on the table and is "dead." With these 10 cards out of play, the bidding is largely guesswork. Not to be left "at home" by a bold opponent, a player is bound to be forward in bidding and to speculate on getting the cards he needs from the widow. If a player's score reaches minus 500, his opponent wins the game.
Two or three centuries ago, Loo was the leading card game in England, "a favorite alike of the idle rich and industrious poor," reported Albert H. Morehead
Klaberjass, also known as Kalabrias, Klob, Klab, Clob, Clabber, Clobber, and Clubby, is the famous two-hand game played by the Broadway characters in Damon Runyon's stories. It is essentially the same as the French game Belotte. "Klaberjass" means "clover jack" (that is, the jack of clubs).
I Doubt It is excellent for children - and even for adults or for mixed groups - because it is easy to learn and can be played either haphazardly or scientifically.
Hearts may be played without scoring the Queen of spades as a counting card.
Many trick-taking games are not directly related to Bridge or Whist. Perhaps the foremost one is Hearts, which is truly one of the greatest card games ever devised for four players, each playing individually. The game is fairly easy to play, yet there is plenty of scope for high strategy.
General Rules That Apply to All Card Games
Extremely popular in Mexico and the southern United States, this variation of Solo makes an excellent introduction to both Six-Bid Solo and Skat. Essentially, it's the same as Six-Bid Solo.
The scoring is the same as in the two-hand game, except that there are no marriages
Based on the basic rules of Five Hundred
Four 32-card packs are shuffled together to make a 128-card deck. The four players play in clockwise rotation. Participants may play as individuals or two against two as partners.
This version uses the same rules and, with exceptions noted below, the same scoring as standard Contract Bridge.
Based on the rules and play of Spoil Five.
The five-hand game of Five Hundred. Five players use a standard 52-card pack, usually with the joker added, so that each player receives 10 cards and the widow has three cards, as in the the three-hand version.
In the early part of this century, Five Hundred was the favorite social game of the United States. It was finally eclipsed by Bridge but is still played worldwide by millions, particularly in Australia. It was devised and introduced in 1904 by the United States Playing Card Company, which held the copyright for 56 years but never charged anyone for its use
This is the game from which Check Pinochle was derived
Euchre is an offshoot of Juckerspiel, a game that became widely popular throughout Europe during the Napoleonic era.
This zany variation is exactly the same as Six-Pack Bezique, except for the greater number of cards.
Duplicate Bridge is the only form of Bridge played in tournaments, but it is equally adapted to play in homes and clubs. It is considered the supreme test of skill among card games for the "luck of the deal" is eliminated to the extent that all of the competitors get to play the same cards.
A variation of basic Hearts. Standard elements of Hearts still apply as outlined through the rules.
The most popular form of Partnership Pinochle, Double Pack Pinochle evolved during the 1940s and produced two innovations: a double pack, with no nines or lower cards, and bidding during which a player can tell his partner about the contents of his hand.
Darda is a variation of Klabberjass for two, three or four people.
This version of Euchre borrows from many of the other Euchre games. It is for four players - two partnerships - determined by agreement among the players. Trump is made as in Auction Euchre, by bidding.
Once the most popular game of the All Fours family, Cinch eventually gave way to Auction Bridge and finally to Contract Bridge among serious card players.
Chouette Bezique is a variation that allows three or more people to play Rubicon, Six-Pack Bezique, or Eight-Pack Bezique. The game is similar in format to a game called Chouette, a version of Backgammon which is played when more than two players want to participate in the same game.
This is a Partnership Auction Pinochle game in which special bonuses are paid in checks (chips) for unusual melds and for making or defeating the bid.
A variation of basic Hearts. Standard elements of Hearts still apply as outlined through the rules.
In this version for four, five or six players, partnerships are determined in secret. Trump is made as in the four-hand game by acceptance of the turn-up as trump, or declaration of another trump if the turn-up is rejected.
This game is a variation on the All Fours theme with the following twist: players replenish their hands from the stock after each trick, and the stock, unlike virtually all other card games, is always face up instead of face down.
Bridgette was invented by Joli Quentin Kansil who was the protege of Albert H. Morehead, the first Bridge editor of The New York Times. It is the only two-hand Bridge game that has been endorsed by many Bridge experts, and it has had a wide following since its introduction in 1970.
Since the 1930's, Bridge has been one of the most popular card games in the world. Today, perhaps only Poker has more participants. Countless newspapers have daily Bridge columns, and there are more books about Bridge than any other game, except Chess. Bridge tournaments continue to attract thousands of players who compete with each other to become Life Masters.
This game combines features of both Bridge and Poker and is thus a good link between these two frequently played games. Booray is also related to an old card game called "cart." Booray is popular in Louisiana and with French-speaking Canadians.
Bid Whist is a comparatively new game of the Whist family. In certain regions, it has gained a considerable following. The original version was invented by Hubert Phillips. Since then, some of the rules have changed.
This game is like regular Bezique except that no trump card is turned. The first marriage declared establishes the trump suit, and there is no count for the seven of trumps.
The original game of Bezique is the ancestor of American Pinochle, which, along with other versions - most notably, Rubicon Bezique and Six-Pack Bezique - have become more popular than the parent game. Three- and Four-Hand Bezique variations are described later.
Belotte is the most popular two-hand game in France. It is identical to Klaberjass, although the "schmeiss" is called "valse" (waltz).
This is a version of Schafskopf for four people who play two against two as partners. The cards are dealt four at a time, each hand receiving eight cards.
An enhanced version of Auction Pitch may be played with a 53-card pack, which includes the joker. There are 5 points in play, with the joker counting as 1 point to the player who wins it in a trick. The joker is the lowest trump in the play, but does not score for Low; that point goes to the holder of the lowest natural trump card. If the joker is pitched, it is a spade. The first player to score 10 points wins the game.
All Fours is a game of English origin and dates from the 17th century. Once known to virtually every card-playing American, it survives today, principally as Auction Pitch. It is still a popular game in the United States and has also evolved into Seven-Up, Cinch, and other games. There are many versions of Auction Pitch, and while the rules have changed greatly over the years, the essential feature has always been the scoring of high, low, jack, and the game.
This is the most popular form of Pinochle for three players and is played with the standard Pinochle pack.
This game is the same as Hearts Without Black Lady, except that players bid after the deal for the privilege of naming the suit to be avoided.
Whist is the direct forerunner of Bridge and is of English origin. Before the days of auction bridge and contract bridge it was a very popular game indeed, but today Whist has been superseded by Bridge.
This variation of Spoil Five and Forty-Five is one of the most popular games in Nova Scotia. The number 45 is no longer relevant to the game.
Auction Euchre: Also known as Five-Handed Euchre, Six-Handed Euchre or Seven-Handed Euchre. The Pack. For a five-hand game, 32 cards are used, as in Four-Hand Euchre. For six players, 36 cards are used - the usual pack with sixes added. For a seven-hand game, 52 cards are used. In each instance, the joker may be added if desired (and it will rank as the highest trump).
There is no difference whatsoever between Auction Bridge and Contract Bridge except in the scoring. Whereas in Contract Bridge the declarer's tricks count toward game or slam only if he bid for them, in Auction Bridge the declarer's overtricks also count toward game or slam.