OBJECTIVE OF GONG ZHU: The objective of Gong Zhu is to not lose and become the pig.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 to 5 Players
MATERIALS: Standard 52-card deck, away to keep score, and a flat surface.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game
OVERVIEW OF GONG ZHU
Gong Zhu is a very similar card game to Hearts. It is a trick-taking card game for 4 to 5 players. If playing with 4 players it is possible to play with partners, with teams sitting opposite of each other.
The goal of the game is to not reach a score of negative 1000. If you do you have lost and become the “pig”. The pig is usually made to do something or wear something embarrassing to signify they have lost the game.
To set up for a 5-player game, the 2 of clubs and diamonds will need to be removed. For a 4-player game, all cards are kept. The dealer is chosen randomly and passes after each hand to the left. The dealer will shuffle, then deal all cards out to the players one at a time in clockwise order. Once hands are received the game can begin.
Card Rankings and Values
The cards are Ranked traditionally in Gong Zhu. The Aces is the highest followed by King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and finally 2, the lowest. There are no trumps in this game so there is no suit that outranks another.
There are also values attached to some cards. The Queen of Spades is worth -100 points if won in a trick. The ace of hearts is worth -50 points. The King of hearts is worth -40 points. The queen of hearts is worth -30. The Jack of hearts is worth -20. The 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5 of hearts are worth -10 points. The 4, 3, and 2 of hearts are worth nothing. The jack of diamonds is worth +100 points. Some cards are worth points in certain conditions are certain circumstances that change points scored for certain cards. The 10 of clubs is worth +50 points if it is the only card won by a player worth (positive or negative) points. If other scoring cards are won, then the 10 of clubs is worth nothing but doubles all the point values of other cards for that player. If a player wins all the hearts, that player scores +200 points. If the queen of spades is also won, they score +300 points.
The gameplay is standard for a trick-taking game. The player holding the 2 of hearts starts the game, in future hands the player who previously won the queen of spades starts the round.
A player may lead any card from their hand. All following players must follow suit if able, but if not may play any card. the player to play the highest-ranked card of the suit led wins the trick and leads the next. When cards are won from tricks, any cards worth points are kept face up in front of the player, all other cards are kept in a facedown pile next to the player.
Before the game players holding the Ace of hearts, Queen of Spades, Jack of diamonds, and 10 of clubs may expose them to gain certain benefits. When a card is exposed it will change the number of points scored. The ace of hearts makes all hearts worth double points, this includes if all hearts are scored. The queen of spades will double its point value. The jack of diamonds is also doubled in value. The 10 of clubs will quadruple the value of cards if applicable or will be worth +100 points.
When a card is exposed you cannot use it in the first trick unless it is the only card playable. Also, if you are the first player to lead the suit of your exposed card, you cannot play that card until it is your only option.
After all, tricks are won players can determine their scores. A running score is kept over several hands for the game.
END OF GAME
The game ends when a player reaches negative 1000 points. This player is the “pig” and is usually embarrassed in some way.