OBJECTIVE OF MAINE CHARLEMAGNE: The objective of Maine Charlemagne is to be the first team to reach 32 points. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players  

MATERIALS: A modified 52 card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.  

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game 



Maine Charlemagne is a trick-taking card game for 4 players. The goal of the game is to make and complete bids to score points. The first team to reach 32 points is the victor.  

This game is played with partnerships, so there will be two teams of 2 players each. Teammates will sit opposite each other.  


The deck is modified only keeping the cards ranked Ace through 7. This leaves you with a 32-card deck. 

The first player is determined randomly, then passes to the left for each new deal.  

The player to the right of the dealer cuts the deck once it has been shuffled, the dealer passes each player 8 cards.  

Card Ranking  

The ranking for trumps is different than the other suits. The trump ranking is 9 (high), Big Jack, Little jack (the jack of the same color as the trump suit), Ace, King, Queen, 10, 8, and 7 (low). 

The other suits rank Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, and 7 (low).  


Before play, there is a single bidding round. The bidding begins with the player to the left of the dealer and closes with the dealer. One at a time, players either pass or place a bid. Bids placed must be higher than the previous one. The minimum bid is 1 but if no bid higher than 4 is placed the dealer must bid 5. Numeric bids are placed with a trump suit. For example, a bid of 5 spades means 5 tricks must be won and the trump suit is spades.  Numeric bids up to 7 are allowed, then after that, players may bid Le Petit, High Card with No trump, and the highest possible bid, Charlemagne.  

Numeric bids mean that your team will be contracted to win that many tricks during the round.

Le Petit means the bidder will play without their partner, who sits out the round and folds their hand face down. The bidder must lose every trick of the round to be successful.

High Card, No Trump means your team must win all 8 tricks, and there is no trump suit.

Finally, Charlemagne means that the bidder’s team must win all 8 tricks with a trump suit. The bidder may also choose to play alone. To do this they call for their partner to give them an Ace or a suit. The suit they call will be trumps, and their partner may give them one card from their hand before discarding the rest face down. The opponents may choose to both play or one may play alone, with one opponent giving the other a single card. If given an extra card players must discard down to 8 cards.  


The bidder may lead any card to the first trick. Clockwise players follow. The following players must follow suit if able, and if they cannot, may play any card including trumps (if applicable).  

The trick is won by the highest-ranked trump, or if not applicable, then the highest-ranked card of the suit led. The winner of the trick leads the next.  


After all 8 tricks are played, the scoring begins. Scores are kept cumulatively. If a bidding team was successful in making a numeric bid, they score a number of points equal to the bid. If they failed, the opposing team scores the points. When a team completes a bid of Le Petit or High Card, No trump, they score 8 points. If they failed, the opposing team scores 8 points. If a bid of Charlemagne was successful, they win the game, but if they fail the opponents win the game.   


The first team to score 32+ points or successfully complete a bid of Charlemagne, wins the game.  

Amber Crook
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