OBJECTIVE OF ALKORT: The objective of Alkort is to win tricks to score points.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 or 4 players
MATERIALS: A modified 52 card deck, a flat surface and a way to keep scores.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game
OVERVIEW OF ALKORT
Alkort is a very old Icelandic card game. There are two versions of this games. You can play as a two-player game or a four-player game with two partnerships. Below I will describe 4-player Alkort, but the two-player version remains the same minus the use of partners.
Alkort is a trick-taking game, and your goal is to score points by winning 5 or more tricks. Your score will depend on the number of wins you receive and what order they were in. you score more for taking the first 5 or scoring more than 5 in a row.
To set up a 52-card deck will be modified taking out the 10s and 5s leaving a 44-card deck. The deck should be shuffled and cut then the dealing may begin. The dealer will deal each player 9 cards in batches of 3s. this will be done clockwise from the dealer.
The remaining cards go into a face down stockpile. It should contain 8 cards. If a player has a hand not capable of beating one of the low eights when a low eight is led (discussed below in rankings) they may show their hand to confirm and discard all but one card taking up the stockpile as a new hand.
Rankings of Cards
Alkort has a very non-traditional ranking system for cards. It may seem confusing at first and a few games may have to be played before it comes naturally.
The highest-ranking card of the game is the king of diamonds, except when a trick is led by a 7. This is followed by the 2 of hearts, 4 of clubs, 8 of spades, 9 of hearts and 9 of diamonds. The rank continues with the Aces, jacks, 6s and finally the 8s (except the 8 of spades).
All other cards are not ranked and are considered useless except when leading a trick. If you lead a trick with a useless card and all other cards are not ranked, then you win the trick. The only exception to this is kings (except the king of diamonds) and queens. If you lead a trick with a king, and no cards of rank are played, it can be beaten by a 2. A queen can be beaten with a 2 or a 3 if no cards of rank are played.
7s are special cards. When they are used to lead a trick, no other card can beat them. However, they are useless if played any other time. You cannot use a 7 to lead a trick until you have won a trick.
When the game begins all players will show their highest-ranking card. The player to the dealer’s left will start the game, and unlike other trick-taking games, play precedes clockwise, not with who wins the trick.
The first card will be led, and players are not required to follow suit or try to win the trick. The highest-ranking card wins the trick. If there is a tie the card played first will win the trick.
When the round is over the winners will score points. A partnership has won (or player in a 2-player game) reaches 5 won tricks. If the partnership wins the first 5 tricks, they score 5 points. If they win more than 5 tricks in a row before the other team can win one, they score points equal to the number of tricks won (i.e. if 6 tricks are won in a row then 6 points are earned). If only 5 tricks were won but not in order or not the first 5 then 1 point is awarded.
END OF GAME
The game ends when a settled score is reached.