OBJECT OF KWAJONGEN: The object of Kwajongen is to be the first team to reach zero points.


MATERIALS: One 24-card French-suited deck or a modified 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Kwajongen is a trick-taking card game meant for 4 players split into two teams. Partners will sit opposite each other and can be chosen or determined randomly. The goal of Kwajongen is to decrease your score to 0 first. You do this by winning rounds. To win a round your team must score more points than your opponents.

While the original game uses a French-suited deck, in the rules below, however, I will explain how to use a 52-card deck for ease of access to the game.


The first dealer is chosen at random and passes clockwise for each new round. To modify a 52-card deck all cards 8 and lower are removed from the game.

The dealer will shuffle the deck and have the player to their right cut the deck. Then they will deal each player a 4-card hand, 2 cards at a time. The remaining cards go into the center of the table face down.

The dealer deals each player 2 cards, and themselves 1 face-up. Then each player will receive 2 more cards and the dealer will receive 3. The face-up card dealt to the dealer will show the first suggested trump suit.

Starting with the player left of the dealer, each player may say play or pass. A player saying play means they accept the trump suit and will undertake the goal to score more points in the round than the other team. If a player says play the game immediately begins. If all players pass, the cards are collected and redealt.

Card Rankings and Values

The ranking of cards is traditional. Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, and 9 (low). If using French cards, the ranking is 1 (high), Roi, Dame, Valet, 10, and 9 (low).

The cards also have values associated with them for scoring purposes. In the above order, they are valued at 4 points, 3 points, 2 points, and 1 point. This means there’s a possibility of 40 points for each round.


The player to the dealer’s left will start the round and continue from them clockwise. The starting player may play any card and other players must follow suit if able.  If they cannot follow suit they must play a trump if able, and if not able to do either they may play any card to the trick.

Tricks are won by the highest-ranked trump if applicable, if not then the highest-ranked card of the suit led wins the trick. The winner of a trick takes the cards and places them in a face-down pile for scoring later, and will lead the next trick.


Once all tricks have been won for the round scoring can start.

Each team starts with a score of 10 points. After each round is completed, the teams will tally their scores. The team that scores the majority of points decreases their score by 1, or 2 if they won all 4 tricks. If the play caller’s team did not score the most points, they must increase their score by 1 point, and if there is a tie the play caller’s team adds one point to their score, but the other team does not decrease their score by any amount.

If at the start of this round all players passed and a redeal was necessary the point values for scoring the most points are added to. The teams will instead decrease their score by 2, or by 3 of all 4 tricks are won. However, this does not stack and resets to standard scoring if a second redeal is needed.


The game ends when a team reaches 0 or fewer points. They are the winners.

Amber Crook
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