OBJECTIVE OF LAUGAVATNSMANNI: Players want to have the most points at the end of the game.


MATERIALS: One standard 52 card deck (with all the 2s removed), a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-taking Game



Laugavatnsmanni is a trick-taking card game playable by three players. The object of the game is to have the most points at the end. The game is finished once a player reaches 10 or more points.


To set up for Laugavatnsmanni you must first remove all the twos from a standard 52 card deck. After this, the remaining deck is shuffled and dealt. The twos are kept to the side to signify what suite is trump for the game.

To deal hands, the dealer will hand each player 16 cards dealt in sections of 4 cards each. After each player receives their hand the remaining 4 cards are placed face down in the center of all players. These 4 cards are called the Manni and will be used later.


Once the hands have been dealt trump is chosen. In Laugavatnsmanni, the player to the dealer’s left will choose a contract to play under. Each player must choose each of the contracts once during the game. There will be a total of 18 rounds of play.

The contracts include Nullo, Grand, Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds. In Nullo, players will try to avoid winning tricks and there will be no trumps for the round.  For Grand, players will try to win tricks but there is still no trump suit. In Spades, the goal is to win tricks and the trump suit is spades. For Hearts the trump suit is hearts, and you will attempt to win tricks. In Clubs the trump suit will be clubs and you will try to win tricks, and for Hearts the trump suit is hearts, and you will try to win tricks as well.

After the contract is picked, a player may attempt to steal the declaration by calling a great deal. This can only be done when a declaration of Grande or one of the four suits is made. A player can only call a great deal once during the whole game as well. This makes the new player the declarer and they must win 14 tricks to score any points.

If either of the players takes on the great contract the original declarer can retain declaration by also claiming a great contract and naming a contract of any of the suits or Grand this player has not used yet.

If the original declarer does not wish to retain as described above the other player may still call a great contract. They can then steal to become the declarer by declaring a higher-ranked contract that the one already established from the original declaration, and that they have not used yet. The contracts rank Grand (high), Heart, Spades, Diamonds, and Clubs (low).


After trump is determined the declarer decides if they would prefer to keep their hand or exchange with the Manni. If they choose to exchange, they may discard cards from their hand to draw from the Manni. No other players may exchange.

Once the exchanging of cards is finished the player to the declarer leads the first trick. Players must always try to follow suit if possible but if not may play any card they desire. Hands are won by the player with the highest trump, or if no trumps exist then the highest cards of the suit led with.

The winner of the hand will lead the next hand and that continues until all cards have been played out of hands.


The score is kept throughout the game and is counted at the end of each round. All players start the game with 0 points and score points based on how many tricks they win (or avoid) a round.

For contracts of Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, and Grand players are trying to win at least 4 tricks, except the contracted player who must win 8. Players score 1 point for each trick above their requirement the win and lose 1 point for each trick under their requirement they are.

For Nullo, each player’s limit is 6 tricks and the contracted player’s limit is 4. Players score 1 point for each trick under their limit they are and lose a point for each trick above their limit they win.

For great contracts, the declarer must win at least 14 tricks to score points, while other players only need to score 1. If the declarer wins 14 or fewer tricks the scoring is done as above, where every trick over the requirement scores them one point, and every trick under loses them a point. If the declarer won 15 tricks, they score 4 points, and all other players lose 2 points. If the declarer wins all 16 tricks, they score 8 points, and all other players lose 4 points.

The game ends once one or more players have reached 10 points, and the player with the highest number of points is the winner.

Amber Crook
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