CLABBER



OBJECTIVE OF CLABBER: The objective of Clabber is to be the first team to reach 500 points.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 Players

MATERIALS: A modified 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game

AUDIENCE: 10+


OVERVIEW OF CLABBER

Clabber is a trick-taking card game for 4 players. These 4 players will split into two partnerships of 2 players and teammates will sit opposite of each other. 

The goal of the game is to reach 500 points before the other team. Teams do this by winning tricks and declaring melds.

SETUP

A deck will need to be modified. This is done by removing all cards 8 and below leaving a deck of Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s, and 9s. this should make a deck of 24 cards in total. 

The first dealer can be chosen at random or the cards can be shuffled and dealt one at a time face up to each player until a jack is revealed. The first jack revealed is the first dealer. More cards are dealt until a second jack is revealed. This will be the dealer’s partner. After this round the dealer will pass to the left.

The dealer will shuffle the deck and have the player to their right cut the deck. Then cards are dealt one at a time until all players have a 6-card hand. The last card dealt, which should be the dealer’s 6th card will be dealt faceup. This card will be used in the bidding round. 

Card Rankings and Values

There are three sperate rankings used in Clabber. One for trump suit, one for non-trump suits and one for melds. These cards also have values associated with them that change depending on which ranking system they belong to. 

The trump suit is ranked Jack (high), 9, Ace, 10, King, and Queen (low). The values of these cards are 20 points, 14 points, 11 points, 10 points, 4 points, and 3 points respectively. 

The ranking for non-trump suits is Ace (high), 10, King, Queen, Jack, and 9 (low). The values associated with them are 11 points, 10 points, 4, 3, 2, and 0 points respectively. 

The melds use the ranking of Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, and 9 (low). The values for melds will be discussed below in the scoring section. 

BIDDING

The bidding starts with the player to the dealer’s left. Players are bidding to see who will accept trump and take the challenge to score more points than the opposing team this round. In the first round of bidding the trump will be the last card dealt to the dealer.

On their turn a player may say they will play or pass. if all players pass a second round of bidding starts. The trump will now be determined by the player who accepts to play but must be a different suit than the revealed card, and that player must hold at least one card of the new trump suit. If all players pass again, cards are collected, the dealer moves to the left and a new round is started. 

Whenever a player accepts to play the game begins. If a second round of bidding was played, then the player who accepts will now declare the trump suit. 

GAMEPLAY

The player to the dealer’s left starts the game continuing clockwise from them. They may lead any card and players must follow suit if able. If not able to follow suit, or if trumps were led, a player must play a trump and try to beat the current highest ranked trump if able. If no trumps are available to a player either than they may play whatever card they wish. The player who plays the highest-ranked trump or, if not applicable, the highest-ranked card of the suit led wins. The winner of the trick leads the next one. 

During the first trick, before a player plays their card for the turn, players will declare all their possible melds. The team with the highest-ranked meld will be able to score all their melds, while the opposing team scores none. The only exception to this rule is the special meld called Bell. It will be described in more detail below in the scoring section.

If a player misplays or cheats, they are penalized. The round ends immediately and the opposing team scores 162 points plus any melds they have. If both teams are guilty then no points are scored this round. 

SCORING

Once all tricks have been played out players will score points. They score for all point valued cards, melds if applicable and the players to win the last trick score an additional 10 points. The non-bidding team always scores their points. If the winning bidders completed their bid and scored more points, then their opposing team they may score all their points. If not, they score 

nothing. 

Melds

Melds are used for scoring and are declared before you play in the first trick. To score melds a player must declare all their melds and their team must have the highest-ranked meld to score them. The exception being the Bell Meld. A single card can only belong to one meld, and the melds are ranked highest to lowest in the order they are described below. If teams are tied for the highest meld, then no melds are scored this round. 

The highest-ranked meld is four Jacks. It’s worth 200 points

Next there four 9s. It is worth 100 points. 

Then four aces, worth 100 points. 

Four tens are worth 100 points. 

Four kings are worth 100 points.

Four Queens is worth 100 points.

A sequence of 5 cards of the same suit is worth 100 points. The trump suit will be ranked higher than non-trump suits. 

A sequence of 4 cards in one suit is worth 50 points. Trump suits are ranked higher than non-trump suits. 

And the lowest-ranked meld is a sequence of 3 cards in one suit. This is worth 20 points, and the trump suit is ranked higher than non-trump suits. 

The Bell meld is when the King and Queen of trumps are declared. It can only be declared once a player has played the second half of it from their hand. It is worth 20 points and is always scored by the player who declares it. 

END OF GAME

The game ends once a team scores a cumulative score of 500 or higher. If both teams reach the same score in the same round the game is tied. 

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