DA BAI FEN



OBJECT OF DA BAI FEN: The object of Da Bai Fen is to be the first team to score above rank Ace.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players

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

TYPE OF GAME: Point-Tick Card Game

AUDIENCE: Adult


OVERVIEW OF DA BAI FEN

Da Bai Fen is a point-trick card game for 4 players. The players will split into two teams of two sitting opposite of their partner. The goal of the game is to increase your score through the card rankings above the rank of ace. Teams do this by winning tricks through several hands to score points. The winners of each round may score points dependent on their final score. 

SETUP AND TRUMPS

The dealer of the first round is random but will be determined by the scores for future rounds. The dealer will shuffle the deck and have any player cut the deck. The deck is then placed centrally on the playing space. The player to the right of the dealer will be the first to draw and then counterclockwise from them each player will draw, one card at a time a hand of 12 cards each. 

While drawing cards if a player draws a card of the trump rank (which in future rounds will be equal to the declarer’s current score rank, but for the first round it is 2 for both teams) they may reveal that card and its suit will become the trump suit for the round. For the first round only, this makes the player expose the 2 the leader and their team the declarers. 

You do not have to reveal the card immediately or at all during the drawing step but if another player exposes a card to determine trump you can no longer take this action. 

Once all players have their full hands there should be 6 cards remaining in the deck. If no player has declared trumps the dealer may start to reveal cards from the remaining deck one at a time until a card of the trump rank is revealed, and that suit becomes trumps or until all cards are revealed. If all cards are revealed the highest-ranked card determines trumps and if more than one of equal rank the first to be revealed will determine the trump suit. In this case, the dealer becomes the leader and their team the declarers.

Once trump suit has been determined the leader will take the 6 remaining deck cards, revealed or not, and exchange them with cards from their hand. The 6 cards exchanged will be replaced into the center of the table facedown. 

Before the game officially begins any player with no trumps in their hand may show this to the table. This results in a draw; no points are scored, and the partner of the leader becomes the new dealer. During this new deal, the newest player to determine trumps becomes the new leader and their team the declarers.

Cards Ranking and Values

In Da Bai Fen there are two rankings, two trumps and cards have values attached to them for scoring. The two trumps are the trump suit and the trump rank. The trump rank is equal to the declarers’ team score rank and the trump suit is determined during the deal. 

For rankings non-trump suits all rank Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low). The trumps however will include the same ranking cards of the other suits along with the jokers. The ranking for trump is Red Joker (high), Black Joker, The rank trump of the trump suit, the other rank trumps, Ace, King, Queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low). So for example, if the Trump rank is Aces and the suit is Spades the ranking of the trump suit would be Red Joker, Black Joker, Ace of spades, all other aces, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. 

Cards also have values attached to them. These are what will determine who earns points at the end of the round, so winning tricks with points cards is important. Kings are worth 10 points, 10s are worth 10 points, 5s are worth 5 points and all other cards are not worth any points. 

GAMEPLAY

Remember when playing that cards belonging to the trump suit that they are trumps and do not belong to the suits they have on their card. 

The leader will start the game and can lead any card they wish from their hand. The winner of a trick will lead the next. When leading a player may lead a single card or a group of cards of the same suit, but when leading a group of cards, no player, including your partner, may hold a card of a higher rank of the same suit as any of the cards in your group. If they do the round is lost by you and the opposing team scores max. 

Following players must follow suit if able, but if not may play any card, including trumps to the trick. If a group of cards was led then players must follow suit while also playing a matching number of cards, if unable to completely follow suit any card may be used in the group. 

Tricks are won by the player who plays the highest trump or if not trumps, by the highest-ranked card of the suit led. The only way to win a trick led by a group is to have no cards of the suit led and play a full group of trumps. 

When tricks are won, the point cards are separated and kept face up in front of the winning player. Other cards are placed in a face-down pile to the side. When all tricks are won the team that wins the last trick gets any point cards in the facedown pile of 6 cards in the center of the table. These cards are worth double their value. 

SCORING

Once all tricks are won players may tally up their team’s scores. The declarers’ opponents’ scores are used to determine the winners of the round. If the opponents’ score is 0 then the declarers score two ranks, they remain the declarers for the next round and the dealer becomes the leader’s partner. If the opponents score 5 to 35 points the declarers score one rank, remain the declarers, and the leader’s partner deals. If the opponents score 40 to 75 points no one scores a rank, the opponents become the declarers and the new dealer is the player to the leaders right. If 80 to 95 points are scored by the opponents, they score one rank, they become the new dealers and the dealer is the player to the right of the leader. If the opponents score over 100 points, they earn two ranks, become the declarers and the dealer is the player to the right of the leader. 

When a team scores a rank, it increases them to the next rank of card. the ranking is 2 (where you start), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. Once you score above ace you have won the game. 

END OF GAME

The game ends once a team successfully increases its rank above ace. The first team to do this wins. 

Amber Crook
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