COUILLON



OBJECT OF COUILLON: The object of Couillon is to be the first team to earn the needed number of points to win.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players

MATERIALS: One 24-card French-suited deck or a modified 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game

AUDIENCE: Adult


OVERVIEW OF COUILLON

Couillon is a trick-taking card game meant for 4 players split into two teams. Partners will sit opposite each other and can be chosen or determined randomly. The goal of Couillon is to earn the needed points required to win the game first. You do this by winning rounds. To win a round your team must score more points than your opponents. 

While the original game has a complex scoring system and uses a French-suited deck, in the rules below, however, I will explain how to score and use a 52-card deck for ease of access to the game. 

SETUP

The first dealer is chosen at random and passes clockwise for each new round. To modify a 52-card deck all cards 8 and lower are removed from the game. 

The dealer will shuffle the deck and have the player to their right cut the deck. Then they will deal each player a 4-card hand, 2 cards at a time. The remaining cards go into the center of the table face down.

The top card of the unused deck will be flipped this is the potential trump suit. Starting with the player to the dealers left each player will either accept the trump suit or pass. Passing allows the next player the same option, but once a player accepts the trump the game begins. 

If all players pass, then the bottom card of the unused deck is revealed and becomes the trump suit for the game. 

The game begins once trumps are determined. 

Card Rankings and Values

The ranking of cards is traditional. Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, and 9 (low). If using French cards, the ranking is 1 (high), Roi, Dame, Valet, 10, and 9 (low). 

The cards also have values associated with them for scoring purposes. In the above order, they are valued at 4 points, 3 points, 2 points, and 1 point. This means there’s a possibility of 40 points for each round. 

GAMEPLAY

The player to the dealer’s left will start the round and continue from them clockwise. The starting player may play any card and other players may either follow suit or play a trump if they have a card of the suit led. If they do not have a card of the suit led, they may play any card to the trick, this includes trumps. 

Tricks are won by the highest-ranked trump if applicable, if not then the highest-ranked card of the suit led wins the trick. The winner of a trick takes the cards and places them in a face-down pile for scoring later, and will lead the next trick. 

SCORING

Once all tricks have been won for the round scoring can start. I will discuss traditional scoring last in this section. For now, a more acceptable form of scoring will be detailed. 

Teams will first count their tricks together to come up with a combined score. The team who has scored the most points wins the round and receives one game point, which they can mark on their scoring sheet. Scores are kept cumulatively over several rounds and a point total to win should be discussed before the game begins. 

If the team who called trumps loses, they will lose a point from their game points. They can go into the negatives. 

If the round results in a tie where both teams’ scores are equal. Then another round will be played, this one worth 2 game points. 

For the traditional scoring, a chalkboard and chalk are needed. The board will be split down the middle, one side for each team. A number of horizontal lines equal to the number of game points needed to win will be drawn. When a player scores a game point, they will erase a line from their team’s side. If the team that called trumps loses a round, they will need to draw a loop at the end of one of their lines. This signifies two wins are needed to erase that line. In the result of a tie, the next round will let a team erase two lines or one line worth two game points. The first team to erase all their lines wins. 

END OF GAME

Once the needed game points are reached by a team they have won the game. 

Amber Crook
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