OBJECTIVE OF JEST: Be the player with the highest valued collection of cards
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 18 cards
RANKING OF CARDS: A – 5, Joker
TYPE OF GAME: Set Collection
INTRODUCTION OF JEST
Jest is a light little set collection game designed by Brett Gilbert of Good Little Games. Any eighteen card print and play game, Jest has players attempting to collect cards and build the highest valued hand by the end of the final round. At the end of the game, two trophies are awarded to players who meet specific objectives. That’s not always a good thing! The trophy cards are added to the player’s collection which might affect the value positively or negatively. Click here to print the cards and the rules.
Although it is possible to play this game with regular playing cards, the print and play cards contain a lot of extra information that makes gameplay much easier. For example, a player would have to keep track of trophy requirements, scoring rules, and suit hierarchy. The print and play file makes Jest a much more enjoyable experience.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Separate the reference card from the pack and place it face up in the center of the playing space. Shuffle the cards and deal two face up next to the reference card. These two cards are trophy cards, and they will be awarded to the player who meets the objective illustrated at the bottom of the card.
From the rest of the pack, deal each player two cards face down. They may look at the cards, but they should not let opponents see them. After the deal, place the remaining cards face down near the reference card. They will be used later.
Each round will have three phases: the deal (as described above), the offer, and taking cards.
After the deal, each player looks at the two cards they were dealt and chooses one to flip face up and one to keep face down. The two cards and their orientation make up the offer.
The player with the highest ranking card showing in their offer gets to go first. If more than one card of the same rank is showing, the player who is showing the highest suited card of that rank goes first. When displayed face up, the Joker is worth zero. Aces are worth 1.
The player that chooses first looks at all of the cards offered by their opponents and chooses one. They can pick any face up or face down card. That card is collected and placed to the side face down to begin that player’s collection. The player who had a card taken from their offering goes next. They can choose one card from any other offering that still consists of two cards. They take the card and begin their own collection. The third player will only have one offering option to choose from. They must choose the face up or face down card from that remaining player.
Once each player has chosen a card for their collection, it is time for a new round. The remaining cards from the offerings are collected, and three more cards from the pack are added. Shuffle the six cards and deal out two to each player. Continue making offers, building collections, and dealing out cards until all of the cards have been dealt.
Remember, players are not allowed to look at their opponents’ face down cards. However, they are allowed to look at their own face down offering cards as well as their collection.
ENDING THE GAME
After all of the cards have been dealt, and each player has chosen cards to add to their collection one final time, each player will be left with one offering card in front of them. That card is automatically added to their collection for scoring purposes. This marks the end of the game.
AWARDING TROPHY CARDS
At the bottom of the two trophy cards are conditions for winning them. Each trophy is awarded at the same time, and a player cannot win one of the trophies after winning the first. There are some conditions that keep both trophies from being won. This means that either two players will win one trophy each, or one of the trophies will remain unclaimed. Once the trophies have been awarded, it is time to score the collections.
Spades and Clubs increase the value of a player’s collection by the value of the card. Diamonds reduce the value of a player’s collection by the value of the card. Hearts are typically worth zero points unless the player also has the Joker.
If a collection contains the Joker and no Heart cards, the Joker is 4 points. Collecting the Joker with 1, 2, or 3 Heart cards makes the Joker worth zero and the Heart cards reduce the value of the collection by the value of each card. Finally, if a player collects the Joker and all four Heart cards, the Joker is worth zero, and the Hearts increase the value of the collection.
Aces are worth 5 if it is the only card of that suit in the collection. If the collection has more cards of the same suit, the Ace is worth 1 point.
If the player collects a Spade and a Club of the same rank, that pair is worth the total value of their rank plus two bonus points.
The player with the highest value collection wins the game.