OBJECT OF GAN DENG YAN: The object of Gan Deng Yan is to empty your hand first or have the smallest amount of cards possible when another player does. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 6 players

MATERIALS: One standard 52-card deck plus 2 jokers, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Climbing Card Game



Gan Deng Yan is a climbing game for 2 to 6 players. The goal of the game is to play out combinations of cards from your hand to tricks. Ideally, you want to be the first player to empty their hand, but if not possible, you want to have a low number of cards in hand for scoring. 

The game is played over several rounds, but it is up to players to determine how long the game is played. You may settle on a number of rounds, or timeframe before the game begins to ensure a fair game for everyone. 


The dealer is chosen at random to start and becomes the previous winner of the round for each new deal. The dealer shuffles the cards and has the player to their left cut the deck. Then setting the deck in the middle of all players they draw the top card into their hand. Counterclockwise each player draws a single card in order until the dealer has a hand of 6 cards and all other players have a hand of 5. The remaining cards are left face down in the center for the talon to be drawn from later. 

Card Rank and Melds

Cards are ranked Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3. 2s and Jokers are not in the ranking because they have special rules the must follow to be played. 

2s can only be played to single and pair melds (described below), and jokers are wild cards that can equal the rank of any card when played with at least one other card. They have no rank if played as a single card 

Melds are how players play cards out of their hands. To lead a meld to a trick, it must be of a legal combination described in this section. To follow with a meld, it must be of the same type of meld with the same number of cards and must only be one rank higher than the last meld played to the trick. There are exceptions to this rule described throughout the rules below. 

There are two types of melds, ordinary and bombs, and there are 4 ordinary melds and 3 bombs. The ordinary melds include, from the lowest rank to highest, single cards, pairs, sequences, and double sequences. Bombs include in ranking order from lowest to highest, triplets, four of a kinds, and double joker bombs. 

A single card is a card from ace to 3 lead to a trick. They rank based on the ranking described above. 2s can also be played as a single card and doing so makes them the highest-ranking card. They also can be played to the trick whenever despite the previously played card. Jokers cannot be played as a single card unless they are the only card remaining in your hand and the talon is empty then you may lead the joker to win the game. A single card is the lowest-ranked ordinary meld. 

A pair of cards can include two of the same rank of cards from Ace to 3s. 2s can also be played as pairs and are the highest-ranking pair possible. 

A sequence is three or more cards in ranking order of any combination of suits. 2s cannot be used in sequences. 

Double sequences require two pairs of same rank cards in consecutive order. For example, 2 aces and 2 kings. 2s cannot be used in double sequences. A double sequence is the highest-ranked ordinary meld. 

Triplets required three cards of the same rank. A triplet is a bomb, meaning it can be played in a trick following a lower-ranked bomb or after any ordinary meld. 2s are the highest-ranked triplet.

Four of a kind requires all four cards of the same rank. A four of a kind is a bomb, meaning it can be played in a trick following a lower-ranked bomb or after any ordinary meld 2s are the highest four of a kind. 

A double joker bomb requires both jokers. It’s the highest-ranked bomb and nothing can follow it in a trick. 


The game starts with the dealer leading any meld to the trick. The clockwise players may play a legal meld to follow. To have a legal meld when following it must meet certain conditions. If you’re following a regular meld you may play a higher-ranking meld of the same type with the same number of cards, or you may play any bomb meld. If following a bomb, you must play a higher-ranked meld of the same type or a higher ranked bomb. 

If you cannot legally play to a trick you may pass. Turns continue for the trick until all other players pass. The last meld played wins the trick. The game board is cleared and starting with the winner of the trick each player draws the top card of the talon to add to their hand. The winner may now lead the next trick. 

If at some point the talon does not contain enough cards for everyone to draw cards are drawn as normal until a player cannot draw one. The remaining player proceeds without a new card. The rest of the round is played with only the cards in players’ hands. 

The round ends once a person empties their hand. This often happens during the middle of a trick. The player to run out of cards is the winner of the round. 


After the end of each round players tally their new scores that are kept cumulatively over several rounds. The player with no cards in hand receives one point for each card in their hand from each player. 


After the end of the game is reached the player with the highest positive score is declared the winner. 

Amber Crook
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