OBJECTIVE OF MPOURLOTO: The objective of Mpourloto is for your team to reach 1000 points first.
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
OVERVIEW OF MPOURLOTO
Mpourloto is a 4-player trick-taking game where players will be in two fixed partnerships of 2. Partners will sit across from each other during the game and their goal together is to reach 1000 points before the other team can. This is achieved by winning tricks with certain cards in them as well as playing certain melds of cards together.
To setup Mpourloto you will need to modify a 52-card deck to a 32-card deck. You can do this by removing all 7s and below leaving a deck of Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s, 9s, 8s, and 7s.
A dealer should be chosen at random and then the dealer will pass to the left each round. The dealer will shuffle the deck and the player to their right should cut the deck. Then the dealer will deal each player a 5-card hand. After hands are dealt the next card will be flipped to show the potential trump suit. The remaining cards are placed in the center of the table facedown.
The player to the left of the dealer will be the first to either accept the trump or pass. If they pass this chance is given to the next player to their left who can also pass or take the trump, this continues until a player accepts the trump or all 4 players pass.
If all 4 players pass another round around the table starts where a player may accept and name any suit as the trump suit or pass. If all players pass again then all cards are collected and redealt.
Once the trump suit has been decided if a player holds the 7 of the trump suit they may exchange the 7 for the card that was flipped in the center of the table. After this, the dealer will continue to deal and give each player 3 more cards and taking the final card left in the center as their final card.
Card Rankings and Values
There are three ranking systems for Mpourloto. There are rankings and values for the trump suit, non-trump suits, and the ranking used for melding cards.
The trump suits rank is Jack (high), 9, Ace, 10, King, Queen, 8, and 7 (low). The values for each card are respectively 20 points, 14 points, 11, 10, 3, 4, 0, and 0 points.
The ranking for non-trump suits is Ace (high), 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, and 7 (low). Their values are respectively 11 points, 10 points, 4, 3, 2, 0, 0, and 0 points.
The ranking used for melding cards is traditional, Ace (high), King, Queen, King, 10, 9, 8, and 7 (low). The values for melding will be discussed below under gameplay.
The game begins with players announcing their melds. Players must announce and show their melds to score their values and may announce as many as they have in their hands. The melds available are sequences of 3, 4, and 5 cards, 4 of a kind, and the Mpourloto.
The sequences must contain cards of the same suit in the ranking discussed above used for melding. An example of an acceptable sequence is Ace of hearts, King of hearts, Queen of hearts, and Jack of hearts. Sequences of three are worth 20 points. Sequences of 4 are worth 50 points, and sequences of 5 are worth 100 points.
For melds of 4 of a kind, all cards must be of the same rank. An example of a 4 of a kind is the 6 of hearts, the 6 of clubs, the 6 of diamonds, and the 6 of spades. A 4 of a kind is worth 100 points.
Mpourlotos are when a player holds the king and queen of the trump suit. These are worth 20 points.
The game begins once all melds have been announced. It starts with the player to the left of the dealer and continues clockwise. The starting player may lead any card from their hand and following players must follow suit if able. If they cannot follow suit, they will need to play a trump, and if they cannot play a trump, they may play any card. When players play cards to follow, they must always attempt to beat the current highest card, but if not able to may play any card following the above rules. So, if the highest card is a card of the suit lead you must attempt to beat that with a card of the same suit, and if you cannot, may play any card of that suit. For trumps, you must follow suit if able, but if not then you must try to beat the trump, and if you cannot you may play any trump.
Once all players have played a card to the trick the winner if the player who played the highest trump, or if no trumps were played, the player who played the highest card of the suit led. The winner of this trick will lead the next.
All tricks will be played, and the last trick is worth 10 points to the team that wins it. Additionally, if the other team has taken no tricks the last trick is worth 90 points.
Once a round is finished both teams will tally their scores. This includes all melds announced, the values of all cards won in tricks, and the team that won the last trick.
If the team that determined trump has more points than the other team then both teams will score their points to their total game scores.
If the team that determined trumps scores equal to or less than the other team, the other team will score all the points for the game
END OF GAME
The first team to reach a total of 1000 points wins the game. If both teams reach 1000 during the same turn the team with the higher total wins. If there is a tie, two more rounds are played to determine a winner.