OBJECTIVE OF CATCHING FARMERS: Be the player with the most points at the end of the game
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 or 5 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 20 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 10 – Ace (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
Catching Farmers, also known as Bauernfangen, is a trick taking card game played in Austria. It can be played with 4 or 5 players, and it uses a small 20 card deck. In this game, there is no trump suit, and the deck ranges from 10’s (low) up through Ace (high) in each suit.
The game is played for 8 rounds. During the first four rounds, players are trying to avoid the Jacks. In the last four rounds, players are trying to capture as many Jacks as possible. Traditionally, this game is played for money with each Jack given a monetary value.
To determine the first dealer, each player takes a card from the pack. The player with the lowest ranking card deals first. Shuffle and deal out the entire deck evenly. In a four player game, each player will have 5 cards. In a five player game, each player will have 4 cards.
The player left of the dealer plays a card from their hand to the trick. Each other player must follow suit if they can. Once players cannot follow suit, they can play any card they want. The highest card in the suit that led the trick wins. The trick-winner leads.
Play continues as described for eight rounds with the deal passing left each round. At the end of each round, tally up the score.
During the first four rounds, players lose points for each Jack they capture.
Jack of Hearts = -4 points
Jack of Diamonds = -3 points
Jack of Spades = -2 points
Jack of Clubs = = -1 point
For the last four rounds, players win points for each Jack they capture.
Jack of Hearts = 4 points
Jack of Diamonds = 3 points
Jack of Spades = 2 points
Jack of Clubs = = 1 point
The player with the most points at the end of the eighth round wins the game.