Polignac

Polignac is a French trick-taking game for three to six players. In many respects, it is a rather straightforward example of the trick-taking genre. However, much like Hearts, the aim is to avoid taking certain cards, in this case, jacks. Watch out for the Polignac, the J♠. Capturing him is twice as bad as any other jack!

Object of Polignac

The object of Polignac is to avoid taking tricks containing jacks, especially the J♠.

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Setup

To play Polignac, you’ll need a 30- or 32-card deck of cards, depending on how many you’re playing with. Starting from a standard 52-card deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, remove all of the 2s through 6s. If you’re playing with any number besides four players, also remove the black 7s. You’ll be left with a deck of aces through 8s in each of the four suits, making 28 cards. Then you’ll also have either the two red 7s, making 30 cards, or all four of them, making 32 cards.

You also need something to keep score with. Pencil and paper works well, but tokens will also work. You’ll need at least ten tokens for each player.

Shuffle and deal the entire deck out, as far as it will go. Each player should have the same number of cards.

Card ranking

Polignac uses a somewhat unusual card ranking. The ace ranks below the jack and above the 10. This leads to a full card ranking of (high) K, Q, J, A, 10, 9, 8, 7 (low).

Game play

Game play starts with the player to the dealer’s left. They may lead any card they wish to the first trick. Each player in turn plays a card to the trick, following suit if able, and playing any card they wish if they can’t.

After everyone has played, whoever played the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. They take the cards and place them into a won-tricks pile in front of them. Then, they lead to the next trick.

Scoring

After enough tricks have been played that the players’ hands are exhausted, the hand is over. Players look through their won-trick piles for the four jacks. Capturing the Polignac, the J♠, is worth two points. Each other jack is worth one point.

Game play continues until at least one player has scored ten or more points. Whoever has the lowest score at that point wins.

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