OBJECTIVE OF ALUETTE: The objective of Aluette is to win the most tricks to score points for your team.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players
MATERIALS: A 48 card Spanish deck, a flat surface and a way to keep scores.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game
OVERVIEW OF ALUETTE
Aluette is a game played with 4 -players in two set partnerships. Though this game is different from most because the two players in the partnerships do not combine tricks and compete to an extent in the round.
The goal of the game is to win the most tricks in a round or if a tie is had, to be the first to have achieved the most.
To set up first partnerships and the dealer are determined. To do this all cards are shuffled, and any player will start to deal cards face up to each player. Once a player receives one of the 4 highest-ranking cards, they will be dealt no more cards. Once all four of the highest 4 cards have been assigned to the four players, partnerships have been assigned. The players who received monsieur and madame become partners as well as the players who got le borgne and la vache. The player to get madame becomes the dealer first and then left from them. Partners sit opposite each other.
Now that partnerships have been determined the dealing of cards can begin. The cards are shuffled again and cut by the dealer’s right. Then each player receives nine cards three at a time. There should be 12 cards remaining.
After this, all players may agree to the chanter. When this happens the 12 cards are alternating to the player on the dealer’s left and the dealer until all are dealt. Then these players will look at their hands, discarding back down to nine cards, keeping the highest ones for their hand. If a player wishes not to do the chant, then it is not done this round.
Rankings of Cards
Aluette has a ranking of cards to determine the winner of a trick. The ranking starts with the three of coins, the highest-ranking card, also known as monsieur. Then the ranking proceeds as follows: three of cups (madame), two of coins (le borgne), two of cups (la vache), nine of cups (grand-neuf), nine of coins (petit-neuf), two of batons (deux de chêne), two of swords (deux ďécrit), aces, kings, cavalières, jacks, nine of swords and batons, eights, sevens, sixes, fives, fours, three of swords and batons.
To start the player to the dealer’s left will lead the first trick, after this, it’s whoever won the previous trick will lead. Any card can lead, and any card can follow, there are no restrictions on what can be played. The first player will lead a card followed by the next three players. The highest-ranking card played is the winner. The won trick gets stacked face down in front of them and they will lead the next trick.
A tie for the highest card in a trick results in the trick being considered spoiled. No player wins this trick and the original leader of the trick will lead again.
There is an advantage to playing last, meaning if you can’t win going last, spoiling the trick is often an advantage.
Once the nine total tricks are finished scoring happens. The partnership with the player who won the most tricks gains a point. If there is a tie for the most tricks won whoever received this number first wins the point.
There is an optional rule called mordienne. This happens when a player wins the greatest number of tricks consecutively at the end after winning no tricks at the start of the game. For example, if you had lost the first four tricks but won the last 5 in a row you would have achieved mordienne. This is awarded 2 points instead of 1.
In Aluette, you and your partner are encouraged to signal to each other important cards in your hand. There is a set of fixed signals in the table below. You don’t want to signal anything nonimportant and want to be careful if you do signal not to let the other partnership notice.
|What is Being Signaled||The Signal|
|Monsieur||Look up without moving your head|
|Madame||Lean head to one side or smirk|
|La Vache||Pout or purse lips|
|Grand-neuf||Stick out thumb|
|Petit-neuf||Stick out pinkie|
|Deux de Chêne||Stick out index or middle finger|
|Deux ďécrit||Stick out ring finger or act as if you are writing|
|As (Aces)||Open your mouth for as many times as you have aces.|
|I have a useless hand||Shrug your shoulders|
|I’m going for mordienne||Bite your lip|
END OF GAME
A game consists of 5 deals, so the original dealer will deal twice. The partnership with the highest score is the winner.