OBJECTIVE OF ALLEY CAT: Be the first player to reach 44 points
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 27 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) Ace – King (high), Clubs beat Spades
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF ALLEY CAT
Alley Cat is a two player trick taking game created by Andrew Walker. This is a fast paced game that puts a fun spin on some trick taking basics. The game was born out of a love for trick taking games along with the difficulty in getting four people together to play as most games require. After some time spent developing the game and playtesting with friends, Andrew was able to refine the rules and scoring to make a very well rounded two player game.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Alley Cat uses a modified French deck. To prepare the deck for the game, separate all of the Clubs, Spades, and the 5 of Diamonds. The rest of the cards may be placed aside. They will not be used. Aces are low, Kings are high, and Clubs always beat Spades when two cards of the same rank are played to the trick. The 5 of Diamonds beats both the 5 of Clubs and Spades.
Following a thorough shuffle, each player takes a card. Low card deals first and keeps score for the entire game. Deal six cards to each player and place the rest of the deck in the center as the draw pile. Deal alternates each round.
The non-dealer leads the trick by choosing any card they wish and playing it face up to the center. The opposite player may follow with any card they wish. They do not have to follow suit. Whoever plays the higher ranked card takes the trick. If both players play cards of the same rank, the Club takes the trick. For example, if a player leads with the Queen of Spades, and the opposite player plays the Queen of Clubs, the Queen of Clubs takes the trick. Keep the tricks organized because the cards in the trick determine the score.
The loser of the trick draws the top card from the draw pile. The winner does not draw. The winner of the trick leads. Play continues until one of the players runs out of cards. Once this occurs, it is time to tally up the score for the round.
The 5 of Diamonds is the Alley Cat, and it has a special effect on the game. When the Alley Cat is played, the winner of the trick must draw a card instead of the loser, and the loser leads the next trick. The trick containing the Alley Cat is worth negative points. Determine the point total for the trick like normal but subtract that total from the score.
Each trick is worth the difference in points between the two cards. For example, if a trick contains a 3 and an 8, that trick is worth 5 points. For scoring purposes, Aces are worth 1 point, numbered cards are worth the value of the card, Jacks are 11 points, Queens are 12 points, and Kings are 13 points. If a trick consists of two cards of the same rank, that trick’s value is zero points.
Remember, the Alley Cat is worth 5 points, but the point value of the trick it was captured in is subtracted from the score. For example, if a player leads with a King, and the Alley Cat is played, the King takes the trick, and the trick is worth -8 points. If the Alley Cat is in a trick with another 5, that trick is worth zero points.
The first player to reach 44 points or more wins the game. If a tie occurs, play rounds until the tie is broken.