OBJECT OF KOZEL: The object of Kozel is to not be eliminated from the game. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 4 players

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

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Kozel is a trick-taking card game for 2 to 4 players. The goal of the game is to score as few penalty points as possible to be the last remaining player.

In a four-player game, there will be two teams of two. Partners will sit opposite of each other.


The deck must also be modified taking out all cards ranked 5 and lower. This leaves you with a 36-card deck.

The first dealer is chosen at random. The deck will be shuffled, and the dealer will give each player a 4-card hand. Cards are dealt one at a time. 

The next card is then revealed to determine the trump suit and the remaining stock is placed on top so that the suit still shows.

Card Ranking and Points

The ranking is 6 of Spades (high), Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, 7, and 6 (low). The aces are worth 11 points, 10s are worth 10, kings are worth 4 points, queens are worth 3 and jacks are worth 2 points. All other cards have no point value.


The game starts with the player left of the dealer and passes clockwise around the table.

The first player will lead a trick by playing any card or a set of cards (2 to 4) of the same suit.

Following players do not need to follow suit but must play the same number of cards to the trick.

A single card is beaten by any higher-ranked card of the same suit or by any trump if the led card is not a trump. To beat a set of cards you must beat each card of the set individually with one of your cards played to the trick. If you are playing a nonwinning card or set of cards to a trick, they are played facedown.

The player to win a trick collects all the cards that were played to it to their score pile. No player may look back at their score pile after the cards have been added. It is up to each individual to keep a mental count of their score.

All players will then refresh their hand back to 4 cards from the stockpile, pulling one card at a time in clockwise order starting from the winner of the trick. When the stock is emptied the players finish the game with the remaining cards in their hands.

The next trick is led by the winner of the previous one.


After the round has concluded and all tricks have been played and won, the players tally their scores. The winner is the player with the most points. If there is a tie the pot is then divided amongst all winners.

They collect the ante, and a new round is started with everyone paying an equal number of stakes once again. The player who won the pot becomes the new dealer. In the case of the tie, the closest to the left of the last dealer becomes the new one.


There are two special combinations you can play that allow you to lead to the trick even if you did not win the last trick. These include the Moscow and Molodka.

The Moscow is a set of four cards containing nothing but aces, 10s, and possibly the 6 of spades. It must include at least one ace.

The Molodka consists of 4 cards of the same suit, or three cards of the same suit, and the 6 of spades.

A player may declare it to take the lead of a trick, and a Moscow ranks higher over a Molodka. If two players have the same type of combination the player closest to the previous winner of the trick takes the lead.


After all tricks are played, the player or teams tally their score piles. The player or team who score the most points score no penalty points.

In a game with 2 or 4 players, the losers score penalty points based on their score. If it is 31 or more, they score 2 penalty points. Less than 30 points scores 4 penalty points, and if the team or player did not win any tricks they score 6 penalty points. If both players/teams tie with 60 points each, they both score 2 penalty points.

In a game with 3 players, each player who loses scores penalty points based on their score. If they score 21 or more points, they score 2 penalty points. Less than 20 points, scores 4 penalty points, and if a player did not win any tricks, they score 6 penalty points. If multiple people tie for most points, then they all score 2 penalty points.

Once a player or team score 12 or more penalty points, they are eliminated from the game. if all teams or players would be over 12 points at the end of a round, the player with the most penalty points is eliminated.


The game ends when only one team or player remains. This player/team is the winner.

Amber Crook
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