OBJECT OF KOIRA: The object of Koira is to not be the last player holding cards.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 to 8 players

MATERIALS: A standard 52 card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Koira is a trick-taking card game playable by 3 to 8 players. The goal of the game is to collect cards in phase one and then empty your hand as quickly as possible in phase two. The last player with cards in hand is the loser.

The game is played in two phases, and there is not a winner, only the loser.


The dealer is chosen at random. They will shuffle the deck and deal each player a hand of 3 cards. the remaining cards form a face-down stockpile.

Card Ranking

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


The game has two phases. After the first phase is completed the second phase starts immediately. You will be using the first round to collects cards for your hand, and the second round to empty your hand as quickly as possible.

Phase One

The first phase involves playing tricks. The suit does not matter, and players are not required to follow suit or try to win tricks. The player to the dealer’s left starts the first trick by playing any card. Then all other players follow to the trick by playing a card from their hand. The player to play the highest-ranked card regardless of suit wins the trick. if multiple people tie for the highest card the tied players must all play an additional card to the trick until a winner is found. After the trick, all players draw from the stock so that you always have 3 cards in hand. The cards from the trick are collected into a pile next to the winner’s facedown and the winner must start the next trick.

A player may choose instead of playing from their hand to reveal the top card of the discard and use that for the trick. This can only be done if there is more than 1 card remaining in the stock. Once a card is revealed this way it must be played and cannot be taken into the player’s hand.

The player who would draw the last card from the stock instead reveals it to all players. It is their card to play but it must stay revealed until the end of the first phase. This card’s suit determined the trump suit for the second phase.

Once the stock is emptied the play continues until all cards have been played to trick. if a player has no cards in hand they are skipped.

If a player uses their last card in a tie and the trick is not resolved all the cards are taken, shuffled and dealt evenly to all players involved.

Phase Two

The full deck is now dealt to each player. The hands will be uneven as some players will have won more cards in phase one than others. Players that have no cards in hand from phase one care called Blue Mattis, they still must participate in phase two.

The goal now is to empty your hand as quickly as possible by playing tricks.

The first trick is led by the last player to win a trick in phase one. To play to the trick the following players must either beat the card with one of higher rank of the same suit or a trump. Any trump beats a regular card.

Sequences can also be played. When a sequence is played a player must play 2 (in some variations 3) or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order. Sequences are beaten by a higher card or sequence of the same suit or any card or sequence of the trump suit.

If a player cannot or wishes not to play a card (or sequence) to the trick, they must draw the lowest-ranked card or sequence of the current trick. Then their turn is over, and the next player plays. A trick is finished either when a number of cards equal to the number of players when the trick started are played, or all the cards from the trick have been drawn by players. Since Blue Mattis does not have a card to play for the first trick, they must always draw the lowest ranked card from the first trick.

If the trick is finished by number of cards, then the last player to play in the trick has won and will set aside all of the cards used in this trick and start the next trick. If all cards are drawn, then the player left of the player who drew the last card starts the next trick.

Once a player has played out their last card they are out of the game and can no longer be the loser.


The game is played till only one player remains. This player is the loser.


There are a few variations that can be played that change the course of play.

One variation is that when there is a tie in phase one the players involved do not keep playing to the trick. Instead, the two players take back their tied cards and the remainder of the cards played to the trick are ordered in ascending order. The last player to play to the trick gets the lowest card and the remaining cards are as evenly dealt as possible to the tied players.

Another variation is for phase two. It says that if a trump is played to a non-trump led trick the trick immediately ends. The player who played the trump wins the trick.

This variation says only single card plays and sequences started with a 2 are valid.

Another phase 2 variations states that only the lowest ranked card is drawn when unable to play to a trick. if the lowest played is a sequence, then the first card of the sequence is taken. Also, the sequence counts to the trick until all its cards are taken.

Amber Crook
Latest posts by Amber Crook (see all)