OBJECTIVE OF KURKO: The objective of Kurko is to not win the last trick of each round and to be the last player to reach 30 points.


MATERIALS: A standard 52 card deck, 2 or 3 jokers, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game 

AUDIENCE: 8+           


Kurko is a trick-taking game for 2 to 9 players. It is related to the game Kurkku.


To set up a player will be the dealer for the round. They will shuffle the deck and deal each player 6 cards facedown. The remaining cards are placed in a facedown pile near all players. The cards are ranked with Ace being the highest and 2 being the lowest rank of card. The full ranking is Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. The suit of the cards doesn’t matter in this game.

Jokers rank and function the same as aces. In this game, aces are the highest-ranked card, except for the last trick in which they are the lowest-ranked card.


Kurko is played over a series of rounds and in these rounds, you will play 6 tricks. To start the game the player to the dealer’s left will play the first card of the trick. From then on, the winner of the trick will start the next one. 

When playing a trick in Kurko the player who starts the trick may play any card they would like. The remaining players must then play a card that is the same or higher rank. If they cannot play an equal or higher-ranked card then they must play their lowest ranking card. The player with the highest-ranked card or the highest-ranked card played last. 

The cards played by players will remain in front of them. Anyone can look through other players’ cards when deciding what cards to play for their turn. 


When the last trick of the round is won, the player who won the trick is penalized. They receive a score equal to the rank of the card the trick was won with. Aces and Jokers are worth 1 point, king 13, queen 12, jack 11, and the remaining cards are worth face value. 

The game is played till all, but one player has reached or exceeded 30 points. No players are ever eliminated if a player reaches 30 points they just continue playing.


The game ends once all but a single player has reached or exceeded 30 points. The player with the lowest penalty score is the winner.

Amber Crook
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