OBJECT OF FINNISH RISTIKLAPPI: The object of Finnish Ristiklappi is for your team to be the first to earn 7 game points.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players. 

MATERIALS: A standard deck of 52 cards, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Finnish Ristiklappi is a trick-taking card game for 4 players. There are two teams of 2 players each, and partners sit opposite of each other. The goal of the game is to earn 7 game points before the other team.

You can earn game points by winning rounds, and this is accomplished by earning more points than the other team. points are scored by winning valuable cards during tricks.


The first dealer is chosen at random and passes to the left for each new deal.

The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal each player a hand of 6 cards. The remaining cards form a stockpile and are kept face down in the center of the play area.

Card Ranking and Value

There is not a ranking in Finnish Ristiklappi, the only thing you look at is if a card is the same rank as another. There is a system of values attached to certain cards, however, and these are what gain players points during the rounds. Aces are worth 11 points, kings are worth 4 points, queens are worth 3 points, jacks are worth 2 points, 10s are worth 10 points, and the remaining cards have no worth. This leaves a total of 120 points available for each round.


The player left of the dealer starts the game and it continues clockwise from them. The tricks consist of each player playing one card each. The leading player may play any card they wish, as may the following players. The trick is won by the last card played of the same rank as the first. For example, if Player A plays a 2, Player B plays a 5, Player C plays a 2, and Player D plays a 4, Player C has won the trick. The winner of a trick leads the next.

Players want to win tricks that contain valuable cards, so keep that in mind when playing.

After each player plays their card, they will draw from the stock to refill their hand to 5 cards. when the stock is empty, players will not draw cards but will continue to play out the cards remaining in their hands.

There is only one rule for leading a trick that players must follow. A player may not lead 4 consecutive tricks with the same rank of card.

As long as there are cards in the stock a player may decide to lead or play with the top card of the stock. To do this a player reveals the top card of the stock and must play it to the trick. Once this action has been taken a player may not decide to change their mind. A player who does this will not draw a card afterward, as they still will have 5 cards in hand.


There is also an additional rule of play that affects gameplay. If either team wins a queen before the stock runs out, they will need to clean with a trick after the stock is exhausted.

To clean a player must win a king in a trick after the stock has run out. For this reason, it is illegal to play all 4 kings before the stock is emptied. If 3 kings are played before the stock is finished, then the player with the remaining king cannot play it until the stock has been depleted. The trick where a king is won cannot be won by a queen otherwise it is null. Therefore, if the trick is led by a queen, then any king played to it cannot be used to clean.  It is possible for one, both, or neither of the teams to need to clean after the stock is emptied. 


After all tricks have been played and won, players will tally the score of their tricks.

In addition to scoring, there are also the added levels of winning. If a team scores 61 or more points and has a clean game, they have earned a game point. If both teams score exactly 60 points, and both are clean, no game point is given.

For the losing team, there are different levels of loss determining how ridiculed you’ll be in the next hand. A clean game where the losing team scores 4 to 59 is an honorable point loss. If a team has more than 4 points and has a dirty game, they have shamefully lost a piss game. If you have less than 4 points and no queens you have lost a lappi game. A team that takes 0 tricks loses a kortiton lappi game, which is worse than a lappi. A team whose only point card is a queen loses a piss lappi, the worst and most shameful loss.


The game ends When a team earns 7 game points. The first team to do so wins the game. 

Amber Crook
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