OBJECT OF KNAVES: The object of Knaves is to be the first player to score 20 points.


MATERIALS: A standard deck of 52-cards, a way to keeps score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game

AUDIENCE: Teens, Adults


Knaves is a trick-taking game for 3 players. The goal of the game is to be the first player to score 20 or more points.

Players play for themselves, though losing players may form temporary alliances. Players will try to win as many tricks as possible while simultaneously trying to not win jacks.


The first dealer is chosen at random and passes to the left for each new round. The deck will be shuffled, and each player will receive a hand of 13 cards. cards are dealt clockwise one card at a time.

The next card is revealed to determine the trump suit, and the game will begin.

Card Ranking and Values

The ranking for Knaves is traditional. It is Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low).

In this game jacks if won give that player a penalty to their score. The jack of hearts is worth negative 4 points. The jack of diamonds is worth negative 3 points. The jack of clubs is worth negative 2 points, and the jack of spades is worth negative 1 point.


The game starts with the player left of the dealer. They may lead any card and the following players must follow suit if able. If not able to follow suit you may play any card including trumps. The trick is won by the player who plays the highest trump if applicable, if not then by the player who plays the highest card of the suit originally led. The winner of the trick takes it into their score pile and leads the next trick.


There are two types of penalties that may happen. These include revokes and calls.

If a player plays a card out of suit to a trick when he could have followed suit this can cause a revoke. If it is corrected before the trick is revealed. Once it’s revealed but before the next trick is played another player may call for a revoke. If called the offending player loses 3 points.

If a player ever reveals a card out of normal play, then that card is played faceup in front of them. At any point, another player may call for the offender to play it to a trick in which it is a legal play for the player to do so.


After the round is over players will score their tricks. A player receives 1 point for every trick they have won. This is kept cumulatively over several rounds. The penalties for jacks are also scored for those who won them in tricks. A player’s score can be negative.


The game ends when a player reaches 20 or more points. This player is the winner.

Amber Crook
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