OBJECT OF ÉCARTÉ: The object of Écarté is to be the first player to score 5 points.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players

MATERIALS: One modified 32-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game

AUDIENCE: Adult


OVERVIEW OF ÉCARTÉ

Écarté is a trick-taking game for 2 players. The goal of the game is to score a total of 5 points. Points can be earned over rounds by winning most of the tricks or by completing certain requirements. The game has in the past also been played as a bidding game but has evolved into a scored game.  

SETUP 

To make the modified deck, the 6s and lower should be removed from the deck. This leaves the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s, 9s, 8s, and 7s. 

The first dealer is chosen at random and is passed between players throughout the game. They will shuffle the deck and deal each player a 5-card hand. Then the next card is revealed to determine the trump suit of the round. If the revealed card is a kind, then the dealer may declare a point any time before the next deal. 

The nondealer can now look at their cards and decide if they are happy with the hand they were dealt. If not, then they may make a proposal. If the dealer accepts both players may discard any cards, they are unhappy with and get redealt cards to form their hands up to 5 cards gain. This can be redone as many times as both players agree. Once a player is happy with their hand or if the dealer refuses the proposal or the nondealer never makes a proposal the game begins. 

If either player, dealer or nondealer, holds the king of trumps in their hand they may declare it before the first card is played (or if nondealer, play it as the first card to declare it), and score a point. 

Cards Ranking 

Écarté has a ranking system of King (high), Queen, Jack, Ace, 10, 9, 8, and 7 (low). The trump ranks above all other suits but follows the same ranking order as the other suits. 

GAMEPLAY

The game starts with the non-dealer who may lead any card they wish for the first trick. The dealer must follow suit if able and must play to win the trick if they can. If they cannot follow suit, they may play any card. The highest trump wins the trick, or if no trumps were played the highest card of the suit lead wins. The winner leads the next trick. This continues until all 5 tricks are played and won. 

SCORING

The player to win 3 of the 5 tricks wins a point, and two points if they win all 5 tricks. If the nondealer did not propose or if the dealer refused their proposal, and the non-dealer wins at least 3 tricks, they score 2 points. No additional points are scored for winning all 5 tricks though. There is a total of 3 points available to win in a round. 

END OF GAME

The game ends when a player reaches 5 points earned and they have won the game. 

Amber Crook
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