OBJECTIVE OF ALL FOURS: Win valuable tricks.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players, 2 partnerships or 2 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52-card
RANK OF CARDS: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking
INTRODUCTION TO ALL FOURS
All Fours was born in England around the 17th century. After, it was brought to the United States where it became quite popular in the 19th century and spawned many similar games. All Fours is also the national game of Trinidad, where it is commonly referred to as All Foes. Below are the Trinidadian rules.
The goal of All Fours is to win tricks with valuable cards and score points. The team or player that has the most valuable cards at the end of the trick-taking scores a single game point. There are extra points dealt for taking the jack from the trump suit, holding the highest and lowest card from the trump suit, the dealer may score for the card that is flipped for trumps in the deal.
Player cut to be the dealer. Which ever player cuts the deck at the highest card is the first dealer. The deal and play move to the right or counterclockwise. The dealer deals each player 6 cards. The dealer can decide how they would like to deal them, one at a time or in sets of three. The method, however, must be consistent throughout the game.
After each player has their 6 cards, the dealer flips over the next card. This card indicates what suit will be the trump suit. If the card is an ace, 6, or a jack, the dealer’s team scores as follows:
Ace: 1 points
Six: 2 points
Jack: 3 points
The player to the dealer’s right decides if they are satisfied with the trump suit, if so they say “stand.” If not, they can ask for another trump by saying, “I beg.” The dealer can flip over a new trump, but is not required to. If the dealer keeps the trump suit they say, “take one.” The player who begged earns 1 point and the game begins. However, if the dealer changes the trump suit, they discard the current trump card, deal 3 extra cards to each player, and flips over the next trump card. The dealer can score for this trump card following the scheme above.
- If the new trump suit is different, play begins with the new trump
- If the suit is the same, the dealer repeats. Deals 3 more cards to players and flips over a new trump, possibly scoring again. This is repeated until a new trump is procured.
- If the deck runs dry before a new trump is turned up, reshuffles and redeal. Dealer retains any points earned thus far.
The player to the right of the dealer leads on the first trick, after the winner of the previous trick leads the next one. Players can pick any card to lead, but players must follow these constraints:
- If a trump is led with, all other plays must play a trump if possible. If not, they may play any card in hand.
- If a non-trump card is led with, players must follow suit if possible or play a trump card. If they can do neither they can play any card at all.
A trick is won by playing the highest trump card, or if there are no trumps played the highest ranking card in the suit led with.
Play continues until all tricks have been played (each player has played all their cards). Generally, the game has 6 tricks (1 trick per card), but if the dealer dealt more cards there can be 6 or 12 tricks, possibly more.
After all tricks have been taken, cards are scored as follows:
High: 1 point, won by the team who had the highest trump card dealt.
Low: 1 point, won by the team with the lowest trump card dealt. This goes to the original holder of the card, not the winner of it.
Game: 1 point, winning the most amount of valuable cards by taking tricks. Only the top 5 cards of each suit are given values. Ace = 4 points, King = 3 points, Queen = 2 points, Jack = 1 point, 10 = 10 points, 2-9 = 0 points. Teams sum their total value of cards, whoever has the highest number of points wins the game point.
The first team to earn 14 or more points wins the game in general.
Calling happens whenever a card is revealed by a player out of turn. if this happens the reveled card must remain reveled on the table in front of the revealing player. At any point during the game, another player can call for the card to be played to a trick if a legal play. The player who owns the card must then play the revealed card instead of a card from their hand to the trick.
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