OBJECTIVE OF CHINKWAY:  Be the player with the highest score at the end of the game


NUMBER OF CARDS: 104 cards

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – A (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking

AUDIENCE: Kids, adults


Chinkway is a trick taking game for five players with revolving partnerships created by Derek Carver.  It captures the essence of Dungeons and Dragons in that the dealer acts alone and is given much power over the round.  Although this game is played in partnerships, players are still trying to win on their own.  This creates an interesting dynamic when the two players in the lead are partnered together.  Not all tricks are created equal in this game as only certain cards have a point value.


Chinkway uses two 52 cards decks.  One deck will be used for playing (referred to as the game deck), and the second deck will be used to determine the target cards for the round (referred to as the quest deck).

before the game begins two picture cards are removed randomly. This leaves the quest deck with 50 cards,


Partnerships change each round.  To help determine the partnerships, the dealer is always considered player 1.  For rounds 1 – 5, players 2 & 3 are partners, and players 4 & 5 are partners.  Deal passes left each round causing partners to change.  For rounds 6 – 11, players 2 & 4 are partners, and players 3 & 5 are partners. 


The dealer shuffles the game deck and deals.  Ten cards are dealt to each player except for the dealer who is dealt twelve.  The dealer chooses 2 cards to discard from their hand and then declares a trump suit for the round.  The dealer may also call no trumps.


After determining the trump suit (or no trumps) for the round, the dealer turns over five quest cards.  These cards are used to determine points earned for the round.  Quest cards can be broken down into five categories: Spades Ace – 10, Hearts Ace – 10, Diamonds Ace – 10, Clubs Ace – 10, and Court Cards.  The Court Card category includes all of the face cards from each suit.


Player 2 leads the first trick.  They play any card they want from their hand.  The players that follow must play a card in the same suit if they can.  If they can’t follow suit, they can play any card.  The highest ranked card in the lead suit or the highest ranked trump card captures the trick.  Whoever captures a trick leads.


Each quest card represents part of the quest that players are trying to complete.  A part of the quest is completed when a player captures a trick that contains a card of the same category.  After a player captures the trick, they can choose one card from it that matches the category of a quest card.  That card is placed in front of them face up.  Partners are not allowed to help decide which card to choose when the trick contains more than one.  The rest of the trick is set aside.  

Example trick: If the quest cards included the  3♣, A, J♣, Q, 9, and player 2 captures a trick that contains the 5♣, they would be able to claim the 5♣ from the trick and place it in front of them.   

Play until all ten tricks have been captured.  During the round, teams are trying to capture a card for each part of the quest.  In the above example, a team that captures a numbered Club, Heart, Diamond, and two court cards would have completed the entire quest. 

At the completion of the final trick, it is time to tally up the score.


When keeping score, players earn points based on all of the parts of the quest their partnership completed.  The dealer scores points based on what they completed on their own.  

1 quest card met = 1 point

2 quest cards met = 3 points

3 quest cards met = 6 points

4 quest cards met = 10 points

5 quest cards met = 15 points

Each player in a partnership earns the total amount of points.  The score is not split between the two.


The individual player with the highest score at the end of the game is the winner.

Mark Ball
Latest posts by Mark Ball (see all)