Saturday, January 22, 2011

King Cut-Throat Euchre Card Game Rules


SHORT DESCRIPTION

Teamless 3 or 2 Player Euchre variant with an additional scoring condition and a unique showdown mechanic.

STORY

Throughout the land, the Kings of the valleys wanted supporters. But most of all, they wanted the farmers to make them rich and bow in service. So the Kings came together and awarded three lucky farmers great honor. One was named the Best Bower, the second The Right Bower, and the third The Left Bower. And they were looked upon highly. The people that lived in the valleys and the other farmers were torn, however, and sometimes quarreled in the streets. Should they have supported their Kings? Or should they have persuaded the farmers to join their march?


INTRODUCTION

King Cut-Throat is a trick taking game. The first player to score 10 points wins.

PLAYERS

3 or 2 players, each playing for themselves. 3 highly recommended.

CARDS & RANK

A pack of 33 cards is used, consisting of:
  A K Q J 10 9 8 7 of each suit, Spades, Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts
  One Joker

The named trump suit has 10 cards, highest to lowest as follows:

  Joker, always the highest trump, "The Best Bower"
  Jack #1, Jack of the trump suit, "The Right Bower"
  Jack #2, Other Jack that's the same color as the trump suit*, "The Left Bower"
  Ace
  King
  Queen
  10
  9
  8
  7

All cards of the trump suit rank higher than cards of the other 3 suits. There is always a trump suit.

The other 3 suits rank in standard order from Ace high down to 7, except the other suit same color as trump has no Jack.

* For Example, if the trump suit becomes Spades, the Jack of Clubs is considered a Spade for that hand, 3rd highest card. If the trump suit becomes Hearts, the Jack of Diamonds is considered a Heart for that hand, etc., The Left Bower does NOT behave as a member of its native suit.

BEFORE DEALING

Before the cards are dealt the players should decide if they want to play "polite" (all cards played in tricks remain revealed). A dealer should be chosen at random. Optional rules should be discussed.

THE DEAL   

The turn to deal rotates clockwise after each hand. The cards should be shuffled and cut. 10 cards are dealt to each player as follows:

A batch of 3 to each player
A batch of 3 to the kitty, center of table
A batch of 4 to each player
A batch of 3 to each player

If only 2 are playing, a phantom 3rd player should be dealt. There should be no cards left over.

NAMING TRUMP

Before each hand is played a trump suit is named. Each player discards 3 cards from the their hand and places them "outside", a face-down pile separate from the kitty. After each player confirms they have discarded and hold seven cards, the dealer flips the top card of the kitty. A flipped Joker causes a re-deal.

The player to the left of the dealer decides if they want the suit of flipped card to be named trump.

If they DO, the card is added to the hand of the player to their left**. The receiving player must then send one card "outside" returning their hand to 7 cards. The unseen, remaining two cards of the kitty then go "outside" as well at this time.

If they DO NOT chose the flipped card to be trump, they pass and the decision moves clockwise, see above.

If all players pass, dealer included, on naming the suit of the flipped card as trump, the card is moved to the bottom of the kitty, partially revealed to signify that suit can no longer be named trump. The player left of the dealer then has the option to name any of the 3 remaining suits as trump.

If they DO name a suit as trump, the 2 face down cards of the kitty are added to the hand of the player to their left. The receiving player must then send 2 cards "outside" returning their hand to 7 cards. The last card of the kitty joins the "outside" pile at this time, also facedown.

If they DO NOT name a suit as trump, they chose to pass and the decision moves clockwise, see above. If all players decline to name one of the three remaining suits as trump in this second round of naming, the cards are collected and deal moves to the left.

** Always to the left (not to the dealer, as typical of Euchre).

PLAY (f,tr)

Before play begins, dealer may elect to count (not view) the cards "outside" and confirm there are 12 and they're all face down. In a two player game the 9 card "outside" pile is unused and can be collected with the dead hand if desired.

Each hand is played in 7 tricks. A trick is a single card played by each player with the highest ranking card taking/winning the trick. The winner of the trick takes it and lays it in front of them. A player who has won multiple tricks arranges them as to keep count.

Player to the left of the dealer leads (plays first card) and play proceeds clockwise. The other players in turn MUST follow the suit led, if able. If unable to follow suit, a player may play any card (any rank of trump in attempt to win the trick, or any rank of any other suit to concede). A trick is won by the highest trump, or if it contains no trump by the highest card of the suit led.

Winner of a trick leads next trick.

Example 1, Spades as trump:
Player A leads the trick with 10 of Diamonds
Player B declares "I have no Diamonds" and plays 9 of trumps (Nine of Spades)
Player C holds 9 of Diamonds and 10 of trumps (Ten of Spades)
Player C MUST play 9 of Diamonds to follow the suit led and loose the trick

Example 2, Diamonds as trump:
Player A leads the trick with Jack of Hearts (the Left Bower, 3rd highest trump)
Player B holds Queen of Hearts and Queen of Diamonds
Player B MUST play Queen of Diamonds and lose the trick. During this hand the Jack of Hearts has become a Diamond, part of the trump suit, and the Left Bower is ranked higher than the Queen of trumps.
Player C holds 7 of Clubs and the Joker (the Best Bower, the highest trump & considered a Diamond for this hand)
Player C MUST play the Joker and win the trick to follow led suit

Example 3, Diamonds as trump:
Player A leads the trick with Jack of Hearts (the Left Bower, 3rd highest trump)
Player B holds King of Diamonds and Ace of Diamonds
Player B will loose regardless of card played because the Left Bower ranks higher than both the King and Ace of trumps.
Player C holds the Joker and Jack of Diamonds, Best Bower and Right Bower
Player C will win the trick regardless card played

Example 4, Clubs as trump:
Player A leads the trick with 8 of Spades
Player B plays King of Hearts
Player C plays 8 of Diamonds
Player A wins the trick because players B and C cannot match suit and chose not to play trump.

The player who wins the most tricks at the end of the hand is awarded point(s). In a three player game, two players may end up taking 3 tricks, while the remaining player a single trick. This triggers...

THE SHOWDOWN

The Showdown is an additional hand between the two players with 3 tricks. Players "take it outside" and procede as follows:

Acting as mediator, the player that had the single trick shuffles the "outside" pile and deals 6 cards to each remaining player. Each discard 1 reducing their hand to 5. A best 3 of 5 tricks hand ensues. Of the two players in The Showdown, the last to win a trick leads. The trump suit carries over.

Two player games are clearly decided.

OBJECTIVE

Reaching a score of 10 points wins and ends play immediately. Score is typically kept via pips of a 4 and 6 card set for each player.

SCORING AT THE END OF THE HAND

3 Points, Non-Namer of trump wins ALL 7 tricks
2 Points, Namer of trump wins ALL 7 tricks
1 Point, Best of 7 tricks, clearly decided
1 Point, Winner of The Showdown
-1 Point, Loser of The Showdown, score cannot become negative


SCORING DURING PLAY WITH THE KING

Any player that takes/wins a trick with a King of ANY suit immediately scores 1. Taking another players King does not score. Player A does not score for taking player B's King in Example 4.



OPTIONAL RULES

1. Mediator decides lead in The Showdown
2. A flipped Joker from the kitty acts as Spade, or other suit

FAQ's

Q. Do I have to lead with the trump suit?
A. No. Lead with any card.

Q. Do both players with 3 tricks score 1 point before the The Showdown starts?
A. No.

Q. If Player A has won 4 tricks and Player B has won 1 trick, can we just "throw them in"?
A. Only if all Kings have been played.