CLAG



OBJECTIVE OF CLAG: The objective of Clag is to be the player who scored the highest score at the end of the game.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 to 7 Players

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

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game

AUDIENCE: Adult


OVERVIEW OF CLAG

Clag is a trick-taking card game where 4 to 7 players compete to earn the most points over 22 rounds of gameplay. Players earn points by winning tricks and completing contracts. 

Of the 22 rounds 8 through 15 are played with different rules than the other rounds. These might affect scoring, but this is discussed later in the scoring and gameplay sections. 

SETUP

For the first round the dealer is chosen at random and then passed to the left after each new round begins. The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal out the cards clockwise from their left.  The hand size for the round depends on the round they are dealing for. For round one, each player receives 1 card, in round two, 2 cards are given. 3 cards in round three and 4 in four, and so on until round 8 where players will receive again a 7-card hand. Through round 16, players will receive seven-card hands. Then 6 cards in round 17, 5 in round 18, and so on until player receive 1 card hands in round 22. 

Card Rankings and Values

The ranking for cards is traditional with Ace being high followed by, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 being the lowest. 

GAMEPLAY

The game is played in different styles. Rounds 1 through 7 are played the same as rounds 16 through 22. Rounds 8 through 15 are special rounds where the gameplay changes slightly. 

To start a regular round the dealer will flip the next card from the deck to determine the trump suit for the round. The rest of the cards are placed away from the table facedown and not used. 

The round begins with the player to the dealer’s left and continues from them clockwise. Each player will make a contract by stating how many tricks they think they will win during the round. The dealer will make their contract last and must commit to winning enough tricks so they the sum of all players’ tricks is greater than the number of cards dealt in a hand. This ensures at least one person will not be able to complete their contract. For example, if during a round where each player has 7 cards, the three players before the dealer committed to winning one trick each then the dealer would have to commit to 5 tricks. This brings the total of tricks in contracts to 8, one greater than the number in a dealt hand.  After this gameplay starts.

The player to the left of the dealer starts by playing any card from their hand. All other players must follow suit if able; if not any card may be played. The trick is won by the highest trump if applicable, if not, then it is won by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of the trick will place the cards into a pile near then and lead the next trick. 

Special Rounds

The special rounds have their own rules for gameplay. In round 8 there are no trumps, all other gameplay remains the same. 

In round 9, all players must make a contract of zero. This means only the player who wins no tricks can complete their contract. All other gameplay remains the same. 

In round 10, the trump is not revealed until all players have already made their contracts. All other gameplay remains the same. 

In round 11, contracts are made before cards are dealt out to players. All other gameplay is the same. 

In round 12, twos are wild cards. This means when they are played a player will name any card from any suit for it to act as a copy of. This copy ranks higher than the original card as well. There are some rules to abide by. If multiple twos are played to a trick, they cannot represent the same card. If a player has a card of the suit led in hand, then they must play their 2 to be a wild of that suit. For example, if Player C holds a 3 of hearts (which is the suit led), if they play their 2, it must be a heart as well. All other gameplay remains the same.

In round 13, the ranking is changed so that Ace is low making the new ranking King (high), Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and Ace (low). All other gameplay is the same.

In round 14, the dealer will choose trumps instead of flipping a card before contracts are made. All other gameplay is the same. 

In round 15, there are no contracts. The player who wins the most tricks is considered to have completed their contract. If there is a tie, then all have failed to complete their contract. 

SCORING

After each round, players will score points. Each player will have their cumulative score. They should also keep track of how many contracts they have completed. For all rounds except 9 and 15 players score a point for each trick they won and will earn an extra 10 points if they got the exact number of tricks as they made their contract for. For example, if Player A made a contract for 3 tricks and they won three tricks, they would score 13 points. Three for the tricks won and 10 for winning exactly their contracted amount. This would also be marked as a completed contract. 

In round 9 if a player wins no tricks, they score 10 points. All tricks are worth 1 point for their winner. 

In round 15 only the player who wins the most tricks scores 10 points. There are no other points awarded for this round. If there is a tie then no player receives the 10 points. 

END OF GAME

The game ends after the 22nd round is scored. The player with the highest score is the winner. If there are multiple people with the same high score the player to complete more contracts wins. If there is still a tie, all tied players share the victory. 

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