OBJECTIVE OF BOON: Be the player with the highest number of Victory Cards at the end of the game

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 or 4 players

CONTENTS: 32 playing cards, 20 Victory Cards

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 1 – 6, Trump Color 1 – 14 (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Trick Taking



Boon is a commercial version of Sheepshead created by Alex Lau and Jess Warren in Austin, Texas.  Sheepshead is a popular German trick taking game in the Northern United States, and when Alex moved south, he found himself surrounded by people who did not know how to play.  He also found the game difficult to teach, so Boon was created to make it easier. 


The deck consists of 32 cards.  There are four colored suits: green, red, blue, and gold.  The gold suit is the special trump suit and consists of 14 cards ranked 1 – 14.  The other three suits each have 6 cards ranked 1 – 6.  Each card also has a point value located in the center of the card.

At the beginning of the game, each player will have Victory Cards in their possession.  The winner of each hand will be paid victory cards by the losers.


Pass out five Victory Cards to each player.

For a 3 player game, separate the Green 1 and the Red 1 from the deck.  They will not be used.  Deal 9 cards to each player.  The remaining 3 cards are placed face down to make the Boon.  The Boon acts as a kitty.

If 4 players are at the table, no cards will be removed.  Deal each player 7 cards, and the 4 remaining cards will make up the Boon.

Deal passes left each round.


Beginning with the person left of the dealer, each player will have the option to pick up the Boon and add it to their hand.  Only one player may do this.  Any player that does not want to pick up the Boon simply passes. 

The player that picks up the Boon chooses an equal number of cards from their hand to discard face down. They should begin the round with the same number of cards as they were dealt. 

The player that picks up the Boon is considered a solo player for the round.  They are trying to collect the majority of available points.  The remaining players at the table are now on a team playing to stop the solo player from winning the majority of points.

If all of the players pass without picking up the Boon, the round enters Leaster Mode.  In this mode, each player is playing solo trying to win the round on their own.  In Leaster Mode, players are trying to capture as few points as possible.  Each player must win at least one trick or else they are disqualified from the scoring portion of the round.


The player left of the dealer leads the first trick.  Following players must play the same color if they can.  If the player is unable to match the color, they can play any card they wish.  The highest card in the color that was led or the highest trump suited card wins the trick.  The trick winner leads next, and play continues until all of the tricks are captured.

After the final trick is played, it is time to tally up the score. 

Continue playing rounds until the win condition is met.


Each player adds up the points they have captured at the end of the round.  There are 120 possible points each round.  Victory Cards are then paid out based on the scores.

If the player who picked up the Boon captured 0-29 points, they must pay the other players 2 victory cards each.  If that player scores 30-60 points, they must pay each other player 1 victory card. 

The player that picks up the Boon wins Victory Cards for earning more than half of the possible points.  If they capture 61-90 points, they get 1 victory card from each player.  If they capture 91-120 points, they receive 2 Victory Cards from the other players.

In Leaster Mode, the player who earned the least amount of points while also capturing at least one trick is paid one Victory Card from each player.

The game ends once a player has run out of Victory Cards.


The player with the highest number of Victory Cards wins the game.

Mark Ball
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