POPULAR GAMES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: PT.4 – OVERVIEW
In part four of Popular Games from Around the World, I am going to be talking about games from Portugal and China. The games are called Sueca, from Portugal and Dou dizhu from China. Both of which have many variations and are popular across the globe.
Sueca is a point-trick game and is one, if not the most, played card game in Portugal. It’s also popular in Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro. It’s a game played by teams, four people in groups of two, with a modified standard 52 card deck.
In the deck for Sueca, there are 40 cards with the 8s, 9s, and 10s removed. The ranking system also differs greatly, having an Ace high, followed by 7s, King, Jacks, Queens, 6,5,4,3, and then 2. The 7s are called manilha in this game.
The goal of Sueca is to win tricks containing certain cards that have point values attached to them. Aces are worth 11 points, 7s worth 10, kings are worth 4, jacks are worth 3, queens are worth 2 and 6 through 2 are worth nothing. The total deck totals 120 points.
To play Sueca each player is dealt 10 cards and the last card which will belong to the dealer is revealed and is trump. The game begins with the player to the dealers right starting the first trick. Players must follow suit if able trying to win and gather points by other player’s played cards.
The goal of the game is to gather at least half of the deck’s total point value or 60 points. If a team ever exceeds 91 points, they count this win as 2 wins. It’s easy to see why it’s such a popular game. It’s fun and simple to learn.
The next game I’m talking about is called Dou dizhu and it’s from China. It’s described as easy to learn but hard to master and is a game of mathematical strategy. It can be played with a standard deck of 52 cards plus the 2 jokers or a traditional Dou dizhu deck can be used.
In Dou dizhu three players first try to outbid each other to be the “landlord” of the game, the remaining players are referred to as peasants. Peasants are teamed up against the landlord and the goal of the game is to be the first person with no cards in hand. A quick note for using a standard deck of cards, the suites won’t matter in this game, all you’re using them four is their numerical values.
Playing is simple, 54 cards are shuffled, and each player receives 17 cards, the additional three are left in the center face down for later. Each player then bids how much risk they are willing to take using numbers 1 (lowest risk) to 3 (highest risk) the player betting the highest risk first is the landlord and receives the cards in the center, but not before they are revealed to the other two players.
Dou dizhu is played similarly to poker except it has a different ranking system, which goes as such: Joker, black and white joker, 2 Ace, king, queen, jack, 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3. You play cards out of your hand by making hands sometimes involving large amounts of cards and then compare hands amongst the peasants and landlord. If the peasants have the winning hand the landlord pays up either in points or money, however it was decided before the game or if the landlord has the highest hand the peasants pay the landlord.
If you are a poker player you might be surprised to know that China has its own poker variation which is arguably even more fun that western poker. If this peaks your interested check out this introduction to Chinese poker.
Both games have their charms and adaptions that make them special to the countries that love them, and I think that’s fantastic. While both games are popular in various places, it’s a country’s ability to make it their own that brings a sense of individuality and speciality to it.