OBJECTIVE OF INDIAN CHIEF: The objective of Indian Chief is to score the most points by the end of the game.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 3 Players

MATERIALS: 1 Standard 52 Card Deck

TYPE OF GAME: Melding Card Game



Indian Chief is a card game named after an American nursery rhyme. Be warned, it should not be seen as a children’s game and is great for adult gameplay. There are numerous variations that allow for accommodations for more players.


Firstly, the dealer is decided. The dealer will deal the cards and keep up with the score throughout the game. Drawing for the high card is the most common method of determining the dealer, with the player with the highest card being the dealer.

Players will then choose their seating arrangement using the high card method as well. The player who draws the highest card will get to choose their seat first, and the player who gets the lowest card will choose last.

The dealer will then shuffle the deck, allowing the person on their right to cut. The dealer will then deal the cards one at a time, clockwise around the group. Each player will get eight cards. The rest of the deck will be placed in the middle of the table, creating the draw pile.

The Scoresheet

The game needs a special scoresheet to keep up with the scores of each player. To create the scoresheet, create one row for each of the following scoring categories: Thief, Begger Man, Poor Man, Lawyer, Rich Man, Doctor, and Indian Chief. Allow a column for each player.


Players will take time to get comfortable with the cards in their hands. This is when they should decide which melds they will play during the hand, as planning ahead is always the best option. Each player will then play the cards that make up their melds face down in front of them.

Once all players are ready, at the dealer’s nod, all players will reveal their cards. Players attempt to create one of the seven melds each hand. Players score no points if they do not meet the criteria for the meld. Players cannot create melds that they have previously created during that hand.

Throughout the course of seven hands, each player should try to complete each meld type. Players that do not have cards that will create a meld may choose to play and score no points for that hand. Each rank of card has its own scoring value which determine the score of the meld.

Aces are worth one point, numerical cards are worth their face value, and face cards are worth ten points. Each card is ranked differently even if they have the same point value. At the end of each hand, the dealer will then replenish the players’ hand, ensuring they have eight cards. The game will continue for seven hands. At this point, each player should have a score recorded for each category and the scores are totaled!

Meld Types

Thief- One card from the players hand which is equal to the point value of the card. The first player who played the thief meld gets to take one card from another meld at the end of the hand. They will earn the point value of that card and add it to their score.

Beggar Man- Two cards from their hand. The player earns points for the two cards played. They also earn two points for each card played by other players that has the same rank as either card they played.

Poor Man- Three cards from their hand. Only cards of Spades can be scored. The total points are equal to the point value of each card.

Lawyer- Four cards from each hand. To earn points, the four cards should equal to twenty-five points. Players score twenty-five points for this meld.

Rich Man- Five cards from the hand. The total point value of this meld is subtracted from the player’s total score, so making it as low as possible is the goal.

Doctor- 6 cards from the hand. In order for it to score, it must contain an ace, one card of hearts, and no two cards the same. Each card of the most represented rank scores ten points.

Indian Chief- Seven cards from the hand. It consists of a two card meld and a five card meld. Two card melds are scored as the sum of the two cards, and the ones digit of the total is counted. Five card melds may be made in a variety of ways.

Five Card Melds

Straight Flush- 45 points- five cards in a sequence that are the same suit

Four of a Kind- 40 points- four cards of the same suit and a random card

Full House- 35 points- three cards of the same rank and two other cards of the same rank

Flush- 30 points- five cards of the same suit

Straight- 25 points- five cards in sequence

Three of a Kind- 20 points- three cards of the same rank, two random cards

Two Pairs- 15 points- two cards of the same rank, two identical cards, and one random card

One Pair- 10 points- two cards of the same rank and three random cards

Mixed Cards- 5 points- five random cards


At the end of seven hands, the game comes to an end. Each player will then tally their points. The player with the most points at the end of the game, wins!

Nakoa Davis