Amy’s sister became friends with a couple from China that attended her University. They introduced her to a game from their homeland. Amy’s sister taught their mother who taught us this game. There seems to have been some inaccuracy in the re-teaching. What we play is a fast paced game requiring vigilance and quick action. The original was evidently a sedate game a group could play during casual conversation. If it has a proper name we were never told what it is, so mostly we call it the “Chinese card game”. Dan being Dan, he has tried a couple of different rebandings over the years.
Four or more. Players are split as evenly as possible between tables, best with four or five per table.
We try to avoid six, seven, or eleven.
Each table gets a standard pack of 52 with jokers. Cards are ranked low to high as follows:
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A, 2, Little Joker, Big Joker
On the first trick of the first hand, the person who holds the 3 of clubs leads, but is not required to lead with it; otherwise suits are ignored.
Amy writes “Little” or “Big” on the jokers since it can be hard to tell which is which if you don’t have both in your hand. Amy’s writing is more legible than Dan’s.
The entire deck is dealt out one card at a time beginning with the player to the dealer’s left and continuing clockwise. The first dealer is chosen by drawing cards, low card deals. In all other hands, the LOSER of the previous hand deals.
The Exchange is omitted for the first hand.
After dealing, the LOSER of the previous hand must pass their highest-ranking card to the winner. The winner returns any card of his choice. If the LOSER passes a Joker, they may request a specific rank of card (3-10) in exchange. The winner must comply if possible. (see exceptions below) If the winner cannot comply, the LOSER may request a different card. All cards during the exchange are passed face up. The LOSER leads the first trick of the hand.
- Winner’s Privilege: The winner, if they so desire, may refuse to accept the high card passed by the loser. If they refuse the exchange, the winner leads the first trick.
- Loser’s Revolt: If the loser has both Jokers they may keep them and lead the first trick.
The object of the game is to play all of your cards before the other players.
The game is played in tricks. The player with the lead plays a card or cards from his hand that follows one of the Forms or Bombs. Play passes to the left. Subsequent players have two options:
- Follow Form – They may take their turn by playing a card or cards from their hands that follow form.
– or –
- Pass – If unable or just not wanting to Follow Form a player can decline to play on their turn by saying “Pass”. Passing only affects the player’s current turn. The player may play later in the same trick.
The trick continues until one of the players follows form and all other players pass. This player takes the current trick by setting the played cards aside and leading the next one.
When a player plays their last card(s) the trick continues. If the player that played their last card takes the trick, the lead passes to the left.
The hand continues until only one player has cards in their hand. The first player to play all of his cards is the winner. The last player with cards in his hand is the LOSER. If playing multiple tables the LOSERS rotate to the next table.
The game is over after 12 hands. The player with the highest score wins.
Single: One card may lead a trick. To follow form requires a single card of rank higher than the last one played.
Pair: Two cards of the same rank may lead a trick. To follow form requires a pair of rank higher than the last pair played.
Run: Three or more cards of sequential rank may lead the trick. To follow form requires a Run made of the same number of sequential cards with the lowest card higher than the lowest card of the last Run played. The highest card allowed in any run is an ace.
Double Run: Three or more pairs of sequential rank may lead the trick. To follow form requires a Double Run made of the same number of sequential pairs with the lowest pair higher than the lowest pair of the last Double Run played. The highest pair allowed in any Double Run is a pair of aces.
All Bomb forms may be played out of turn, but to do so, the bomb must hit the played card pile before the person whose turn it is follows form. Whichever player plays their card(s) first takes the turn. Play passes to the left.
Bomb: Three cards of the same rank may lead a trick. To follow form requires a bomb higher than the last one played. Any Bomb follows form for a Single, Pair, Run or Double Run and changes the form mid-trick to Bomb.
Completing a Bomb: Two cards of the same rank as the last Single played may be played to complete a bomb. This changes the form mid-trick to Bomb.
Big Bomb: Four cards of the same rank may lead the trick. To follow form requires a Big Bomb higher than the last one played. Any Big Bomb follows form for a Single, Pair, Bomb, Run or Double Run and changes the form mid-trick to Big Bomb.
Super Bomb: Both Jokers, played together, may lead the trick, follows all other forms, and always takes the trick.