Popular Games from Around the World: Pt 3


This has quickly become my favorite series to write. Not only am I bringing you diverse and fun games from around the world, but in most cases, I get to learn and experience a new game for myself. I am a lover of culture and diversity so seeing all these games new to me is such a treat month after month. If you haven’t read the previous articles check them out here.

In this part, we have games from Iceland and Russia, two beautiful countries in my opinion. The game from Iceland is called Trjamann and loosely translates to “tree man”. It’s a variation on the card game Manni also originating from Iceland.

The other game I have for you today is Durak, arguably the most popular card game in Russia. The word Durak translates to “fool”, which in the case of this game is the loser. No one said we had to be good sports, all’s fair in love and card games, right?


Trjamann is a variation of Manni, another Icelandic game. In Trjamann three players are dealt hands of 16 cards each and the goal is to win or lose tricks based on bets and contracts made before the game. Sound confusing? Let me explain.

 In Trjamann instead of the trump suit making a rotation like in regular Manni, the trump is determined by a declarer, who is the player left of the dealer. The declarer starts the round by deciding on one of four different contracts that this round will be played under. Throughout the game though, which consist of 12 rounds, each player will have to pick each of the contracts.

The contracts consist of the following. There is the Nullo contract in which players are trying to not win tricks at all, and there is no trump suit. There is also the Grand contract which means there’s no trump suit, but players are now trying to win tricks. In the contract Spades, players try to win tricks and the trump suit is spades. In the final contract called Other, the declarer may choose a suit to be trump, but it’s up to the players to decide before the game if spades can be chosen. In others, the goal is still to win tricks.

Following the contract being called the declarer can exchange cards with the “manni”, which is just the four leftover cards from the deal. After this, the round is played according to the contract made. All in all a very fun game and if you already know how to play Manni, not the much more complicated.


In Russia, Durak is probably the most popular card game, and it’s easy to see why it’s a really fun and spirited game. In Durak there can be 2, 4 or 6 players either playing individually in two players or being on even teams in games with more.

Durak is a pretty complex game but to give you the overview of it, Durak is a strategy game involving bouts where there is an attacking player, who can be aided by other players and a defender, who is on their own. The goal of the game is to win attacks so that the defender must pick up the cards. In the end, players are trying to not be the last person holding cards because this person is the Durak.

There is no winner only losers and the individual or team that had cards remaining is usually made to do something embarrassing such as crawling under the table and making animal sounds. There are also traditionally ridiculed by the winning team, but of course, it’s all in good fun.


In my opinion, some astounding games. If you would like me to write some more in-depth instructions for any of these games I post, just let me know. It’s been an absolute joy getting to read and learn about all these different games and these two were no exception.

Nakoa Davis