OBJECTIVE OF ETORI: Be the team to win all of the scoring chips
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – Ace, Trump Suit 2 – Ace, Ace of Clubs (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF ETORI
Etori (pronounced like “eh-toe-ree”), is a partnership trick taking game played in Japan. Also known as Kakeya Toranpu (Kakeya being the town in which the game is played, and Toranpu which is a Japanization of the word trump), the game can be played with four or six players in teams of two. However, in a six player game, two players sit out each hand which makes the four player count preferred. There are some superfluous rules regarding making teams and establishing the trump suit, but they are not necessary for the game to be enjoyed. For more information on that, check out the Japanese site, Game Farm.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Etori uses a 52 card deck. In this game, teams are trying to capture as many face cards as possible. Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces are all considered face cards. Spades are always trump, and the Ace of Clubs (known as the Rensho) is the highest trump card at all times. The Rensho still counts as a Club.
Give each team five tokens or counters. These will be used for scoring purposes. Determine a dealer, and that person doles out the entire deck evenly, so each player has thirteen cards. Teams are described as the Dealing Team and the Defending Team.
Play begins with the Defending Team leading the first trick. Either player from the team can lead first. They can discuss who goes first, but they cannot give any information about their cards.
The player that leads the first trick may do so with any card from their hand. Play then continues left around the table with each player following suit if they can. If they cannot follow suit, they can play any card.
Who ever played the highest ranking card in the lead suit, or Spades takes the trick. If the Rensho is played, it automatically wins the trick. Remember, if Clubs are led, and a player only has the Rensho, it must be played because it counts as a Club.
One player from each team will keep any captured face cards near them on the table face up. The rest of the cards from completed tricks are kept face down in a pile.
The trick-winner leads the next trick with any card they choose, and play continues until all of the face cards are captured. When the sixteenth face card is captured, the round ends.
The team that captures 9 face cards first wins the round. If both teams capture 8 face cards, the team that is not holding the Rensho wins.
The winning team wins chips from their opponents based on the cards remaining in their hand. If the winning team has no Aces left in their hands, they win 4 chips. If they have one or two Aces, and neither of them are the Rensho of the Ace of Spades, they receive 2 chips. If the winning team has the Rensho and/or the Ace of Spades, they win 1 chip for taking 11 or fewer face cards, 2 chips for capturing 12-15 face cards, or 4 stones for taking all 16 face cards.
When a team runs out of chips, the game ends. The team with all of the chips wins.