Lórum

Lórum is a card game for four players. Lórum is a great example of a compendium game, rolling seven different styles of game play into one game. In Lórum’s case, the first four hands are played as a trick-taking game. Then, it’s followed up with a point-counting game. The two final hands are Stops games. Then, the cycle begins anew, with a new dealer.

Lórum originated in Hungary at the very beginning of the 20th century. It is the oldest member of a group of compendium games that all involve avoiding tricks. Other games likely descended from Lórum are the French game Barbu and the Russian game King.

Object of Lórum

The object of Lórum is to have the most chips after 28 hands. On some hands, players collect chips by avoiding taking certain cards, which vary from hand to hand. On others, the goal is to run out of cards first.

Setup

To play Lórum, you’ll need a 32-card deck of cards. You can easily make such a deck out of a sturdy deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards by removing all the 6s through 2s. You’ll be left with a deck that has only aces, face cards, and 10s through 7s in each of the four suits.

Lórum is typically played with hard scoring, so you’ll need a bunch of tokens or chips. An amount of real money may be attached to each chip, if desired. If so, each player purchases however many chips they’d like to start the game with. Otherwise, distribute the same number of chips to each player.

Determine the first dealer randomly. This dealer will deal the first seven hands, then pass to the next dealer, who will deal the next seven, and so on. Shuffle and deal eight cards to each player, exhausting the whole pack.

Game play

A game of Lórum cycles through seven different types of hands. Several of these are trick-taking games. The player to the dealer’s left leads to the first trick. Each player, proceeding clockwise, plays one card to the trick. They must follow suit if able; otherwise, they can play any card they wish. Whoever played the highest card of the suit led wins the trick; they take the cards and place them in a face-down won-tricks pile in front of them. That player then leads to the next trick.

Cards rank in their usual order, with aces high.

The seven hands

1. No hearts

The first hand is played as a trick-taking game. Hearts cannot be led to the first trick.

After all eight tricks have been played, each player counts up the number of hearts in their won-tricks pile. What happens next depends on how many players captured hearts:

  • All players took at least one heart: For each heart captured, a player pays one chip to the pot.
  • Three players took hearts, and one didn’t: For each heart captured, a player pays one chip directly to the person who didn’t take any hearts. The player who didn’t take any hearts will collect eight chips from their opponents.
  • Two players took hearts, two didn’t: For each heart captured, a player pays one chip. The two players who didn’t take hearts each get four of these chips.
  • One player took all eight hearts: Each player who didn’t take hearts has to pay the one who took the hearts eight chips! They’ll end up receiving a total of 24 chips from their opponents.

2. Queens

In this trick-taking hand, players must pay when they capture queens. Capturing the Q♥ costs four points, the Q♦ three, the Q♠ two, and the Q♣ one.

  • All players took one queen: Players pay into the pot.
  • Three players took queens, and one didn’t: The players who took queens pay the person who didn’t directly. The player who didn’t take any queens will collect ten chips from their opponents.
  • Two players took hearts, two didn’t: The two players who captured queens pay, and the ten chips are split between the two players who didn’t take queens.
  • One player took all four queens: Each player who didn’t take queens has to pay the one who took the queens ten chips! The player who captured all four queens gets a total of 30 chips from their opponents.

3. No tricks

A trick-taking hand where the aim is to avoid taking any tricks at all. Be sure to keep the tricks separate in the won-tricks pile by placing them atop each other at right angles to one another. Payments are made the same as on the no-hearts hand.

4. Hairy Ape

Players do not look at their cards as they’re being dealt. Instead, they pick their cards up and hold them with their backs facing them. This means that they can only see their opponents’ hands and not their own. Players then play a faintly ridiculous trick-taking game. If at least one of the cards played follows suit to the lead, the trick is captured by the highest card of the suit led, as normal. Otherwise, each player captures their own card. Whoever captures the K♥ pays four chips into the pot.

For a more serious game, hold the cards facing toward you and just play a normal trick-taking game, avoiding capturing the K♥.

In any case, once the K♥ has been captured, there’s no point in playing the hand out. The deal can be abandoned at that point.

5. Train

For this hand, aces count eleven each, kings count four, queens are worth three, jacks two, and 10s one. The remaining ranks (9s, 8s, and 7s) have no value. The player to the dealer’s left plays any card they wish, and call out its value. The next player to the left plays a card, calling out the combined total of their card and the one before it, and so on.

The player who makes the running total greater than or equal to 25 must pay a chip into the pot. The player who brings the count to 50 pays two chips, to 75 three chips, and to 100 four chips.

6. Quart

The player to the dealer’s left plays any card they wish. The player who holds the next higher card of the same suit plays it, regardless of turn order. When an ace is played, it is followed by the 7 of that suit. This continues until either four cards have been played, or play cannot continue because the card continuing the sequence has already been played. When this happens, the cards are turned face down, and the last person to play may play whatever they like, starting a new sequence.

The hand continues until someone runs out of cards. Each of their opponents pays that player one chip for every card they hold.

7. Domino

The player to the dealer’s left begins by playing any card they want. The next player must then play a card of the same suit either one rank below or one rank above the starter, placing it to the left or the right of the starter respectively. They may also play another card of the same rank as the starter, placing it below the starter to begin a new row. Game play continues in this manner, with the players laying the deck onto the table in a grid-like layout. If a player has no valid card to play on their turn, they pass.

When a player runs out of cards, each of their opponents pays one chip into the pot for every card they hold. The winning player then takes the entire pot.

The eighth hand onward

After playing seven hands with the same dealer, the deal passes to the left. The new dealer will then deal the next seven hands, starting with a no-hearts hand, and running through the above cycle. Then they pass the deck off to the next dealer, and so on. The game continues until all four players have dealt seven hands. Whichever player has the most chips at that point wins the game.

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Chinese Ten

Chinese Ten layout

Chinese Ten, also known in Chinese as Jian Hong Dian (拣红点), which translates to Pick Up Red Spots, is a simple card game for two to four players. It is a member of the fishing family of games, where players try to capture cards from the table using cards in their hand. In Chinese Ten, players are trying to make pairs of cards whose values total ten. However, there’s one other little quirk of this game—the red cards are worth the vast majority of the points; the black cards are mostly worthless!

Object of Chinese Ten

The object of Chinese Ten is to amass the highest score by capturing red cards from the layout. Cards are captured by pairing them with another card, such that the total pip value of the pair is ten. Cards that already have a pip value of ten are paired by matching.

Setup

To play Chinese Ten, all you need is a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. To make sure your deck of cards stands up to the rigors of extended play, always make sure you play with a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.

Divide 24 by the number of players in the game. This number is the number of cards to deal each player. That is, in a two player game, deal twelve cards to each. In a three-player game, deal eight cards to each. In a four-player game, deal six to each. Place the stub in the center of the table, face down, forming the stock. Turn four cards face up from the top of the stock, putting them at the corners of the stock, as shown in the diagram above.

Game play

The player to the dealer’s left goes first. A player’s turn begins with them playing a card from their hand face up to the table. If the pip value of this card plus the pip value of a card already on the table add up to ten, the player captures both cards. For example, a 7 on the table can be captured by playing a 3. A player can capture face cards and 10s on the table by playing another card of the same rank.

When a player captures a card, they place both it and the card used to capture it in a face-down won-cards pile on the table in front of them. Players do not add cards to their hands; the cards they are dealt initially are the only cards they will have for the whole game.

After playing a card from their hand, the player turns a card up from the stock. If this card can capture a card on the table, the player makes the capture. Otherwise, the card is simply left on the table with the others. The turn then passes to the left.

Special rules apply to face cards, 10s, and 5s, to prevent them from becoming uncapturable. If the initial layout includes a three-of-a-kind of one of these ranks, the fourth card of that rank captures the other three. When the four cards of the initial layout are all face cards, 10s, or 5s, the dealer captures all four of these cards before the first player’s turn.

Scoring

The game should end with the last player running out of cards on the same turn the deck runs out, with the last card in the deck capturing the last card in the layout. Each player then turns over their won-cards pile and calculates its value, as follows:

  • The A♣: 40 points in a four-player game, 0 points in a two- or three-player game
  • The A♠: 30 points in a four- or three-player game, 0 points in a two-player game
  • All other black cards: 0 points
  • Red aces: 20 points each
  • Red face cards, 10s, and 9s: 10 points each
  • All other red cards: Pip value

The player with the highest score wins the game.

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Commune

Commune is a card game for two to ten players. In Commune, each player declares progressively higher poker hands, hoping all the while that the hand they declared can be formed by the combination of all of the cards dealt out on that hand. That means that to make a good Commune declaration, you need to take into account not only the cards in your hand, but based on your opponents’ declarations, what you think they may have as well!

Object of Commune

The object of Commune is to accurately predict whether a given poker hand can be formed from all of the cards that have been dealt.

Setup

To play a game of Commune, you’ll need a standard deck of playing cards with two jokers, a deck of 54 cards in all. A set of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards is durable and easy to clean, and will give you exactly what you need to play the game. You’ll also need some form of token. Poker chips are perfect, but you can also use beans, toothpicks, pop can tabs, or anything else you have handy.

Give each player three tokens. Deal each player one card, face down. (On later hands, you’ll deal each player four cards minus the number of tokens they hold. Players will get more cards as they lose tokens.) The stub is set aside and takes no further part in game play.

Game play

All players look at their hand. Their hand, combined with the hands of all of the other players in the game, will be used to form a standard five-card poker hand. Jokers and 2s are wild, substituting for any other rank of card.

The player to the dealer’s left states any standard five-card poker hand that they believe the combined poker hand may include. Their declaration must include the rank of any relevant cards (e.g. ace high, pair of 6s, 5-high straight, etc.). Irrelevant cards (kickers) are not specified. The next player to the left must then name a higher poker hand, as must the next player to the left, and so on.

When a player believes that the last declaration made will not be found in the combined hand, they may say “Call.” All of the cards are turned face-up and combined. If the declared poker hand is present in the combined cards, the player that called loses one token. If it is not, the player that made the declaration loses a token. Note that the declared hand does not necessarily have to be the best poker hand that can be formed out of all the cards. It merely has to be possible to form it with the cards given.

The deal then passes to the left. The cards are gathered and shuffled, and a new hand is dealt. As the game continues, players will gradually run out of tokens. When a player runs out of tokens, they drop out of the game. The last player with remaining tokens wins the game.

See also

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