OBJECT OF KRAKEN: The object of Kraken is to score the most points by the end of the game.  

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players  

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

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game 

AUDIENCE: Teens, Adults 


Kraken is a trick-taking card game for 4 players in partnerships of 2. The goal of the game is to be the team to score the most points by the end of the game.  A game consists of 16 rounds, and each round is scored before the next starts.  

This version of Kraken has a betting element added to it. Players should determine before the game begins how much a stake is worth.  


The deck must be modified first by removing all cards 6s and lower. This leaves a deck of 32 cards.   

The first dealer is chosen at random and passes to the left for each new round. The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal each player a hand of 8 cards. this can be done in groups of 3,2 and 3 cards or two groups of 4 cards.  

Card Ranking and Values 

The card ranking differs between the trump suit and the other suits. The trump suit is ranked Jack (high), 9, Ace, 10, King, Queen, 8, and 7 (low). The other suits rank with Ace as the high card followed by 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, and 7 being the low card.  

Card also have values associated with them when won in tricks. These values also differ from trump and non-trump suits. For the trump suit jacks are worth 20 points, 9s are worth 14 points, aces are worth 11 points, 10s are worth 10 points, kings are worth 4 points, queens are worth 3 points and 8s and 7s are worth nothing.  

For the non-trump suits, aces are worth 11 points, 10s are worth 10 points, kings are worth 4 points, queens are worth 3 points, and jacks are worth 2 points. 9s, 8s, and 7s are worth nothing.  


The team of the player who chooses trumps becomes the declaring team and is responsible for winning more points during the round to score. The player to the dealer’s left must choose the trump suit. 


After the trumps are determined the player to the left of the trump decider may choose to challenge them by declaring contra. If they pass then the player tot eh right of the trump decider may also declare the challenge. They challenge states the opposing team does not think the trump makers team will get their contracted number of tricks, and double the score at the end.  

If a challenge is issued the trump decider’s team may challenge back, with either teammate issuing the challenge. Either player may declare re and again double the score at the end (multiply it by 4).  

There is a final possible challenge by the trump decider’s opponents who may declare superkraken and thus multiply the score by 8 at the end of the round.  

Each team must declare contra at least 4 times during the 16 rounds.  


Play starts with the player to the left of the dealer. They may lead any card to the first trick and all other players must follow suit if able. If all players follow suit or no trumps were played the trick is won by the player to play the highest card of the suit led. If there are trumps played to the trick, the highest-ranked trump wins the trick. The winner of the trick leads the next. Players are allowed to signal their partners as long as the signaling types were discussed before the game out loud.  

If you cannot follow suit, you must follow these rules when playing to the trick. If the opposing team is currently winning the trick and you can beat them by playing a trump or a higher trump, then you must. When you cannot beat their trumps, you must play a card of a different suit. You are not allowed to undertrump, or play a lower-ranked trump then the opponent unless that is all that is available to you.  

If your team is currently winning the trick and you cannot follow suit you may play any card to the trick. If your team is currently winning with a trump, however, you may not play a lower-valued trump unless that is all that is available to you.  

Given trumps were led then all following players must play a higher trump than the current one, if possible, even if your team is currently winning the trick. If you cannot play a higher trump, you must play a lower trump. If no trumps are available to you, you may play any card.  

Bonus Points 

Certain tricks can be achieved, which will earn the winners bonus points if declared. There are 7 types and they each have their score. If a bonus trick is won that team must declare it to score the points. Otherwise, it is not scored in the game, which can be useful if you are the declarers and know the other team will be scoring more than you.  

The first type is a run of three consecutive cards of the same suit. If three of the four cards are consecutive and of the same suit you can call this an earn an additional 20 points.  

The second type is a run of 4 consecutive cards of the same suit. This is worth 50 points.  

A run of 3 consecutive cards of the trump suit that includes a king and queen is worth 40 points.  

A run of 4 consecutive cards of the trump suit including the king and queen is worth 70 points.  

It is worth 100 points for 4 of a kind of kings, queens, aces, or 10s.  

It’s worth 200 for a four of a kind of jacks.  

Finally, a trick containing the king and queen of trumps is worth 20 points.  

If a team wins all the tricks in a round, they score an additional 100 bonus points.  

These bonus points are not affected by the challenges and are not multiplied, they are scored after the point for the round are multiplied and scored.  


In addition to the bonus points described above, players may also declare any combinations they hold in their hand. Before the first trick is played, each player may declare any combinations they hold. The team who has the player who has the highest-valued single combination may score all their combinations. The other team may score none.  

Outside of this the king and queen of trumps can always be declared during play, despite if the team had the highest combination. It may be declared whenever one of the cards is played to a trick. It is worth 20 points for scoring.  

The scoring for combinations is as follows. Four jacks are worth 200 points. Four Aces, Kings, Queens, or 10s is worth 100 points. A run of 5 or more consecutive cards of the same suit is worth 100 points. A run of 4 cards is worth 50 points and a run of 3 cards is worth 20 points.  


Scoring is done after each round. Each team tally their declaration points along with the points for the cards won in tricks. For a standard game with no challenges, if the declarers score higher than the other team both teams score their points. If they did not than the opponents score all points.  

If there were challenges the last team to challenge needs to score more points than the opposing team. Given they do, they tally their points. If they do not, the opposing team scores all points.  

If the trump suit was spades and extra doubling of the points is added to the score.  

Once scores are tallied and before multipliers are added to the scares each team will divide their score by 10, rounding to the nearest whole number. Then all multipliers are added.  

After points for round are scored each team scores their bonus points for the round.  


Crosses are used in the game to determine the payouts of each team. If a team wins all the tricks in a round the opposing team scores 1 cross (or two if spades are trumps). If there was a challenge in the round the losing team scores crosses. 2 for contra, 4 for re, and 8 for superkraken. These crosses are doubled if spades were trumps.  

At the end of the 16 deals the team with the lowest score scores 4 crosses.  


After 16 rounds the game ends and the team with the highest score wins. The team with the most crosses must pay the other team. The difference between the two teams’ crosses are found and a stake is paid for each cross.  

Amber Crook
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