OBJECT OF NLK: The object of NLK is to not lose by not being the last player with cards in hand.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 to 9 players

MATERIALS: A standard 52 card deck or a modified deck, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Beating Card Game



NLK is a beating card game for 4 to 9 players. The objective of the game is to not be the last player to have cards remaining in their hand.

NLK is played in two parts. In the first phase, you collect cards that will make up your hand for the second phase. In the second phase, you compete to, as quickly as [possible, empty your hand. As long as you’re not the last player with cards in hand you will not be the loser.  


The deck is modified based on the number of players. For a 4-player game, a 32 cards deck is used using Aces through 7s. For every additional player that is played the next set in rank is added. Nine-player games use a full 52-card deck.

The first dealer is chosen at random and for multiple rounds, the dealer becomes the previous loser.

For the first phase, the dealer will shuffle the deck and allows the player to their left to cut the deck. The dealer deals one faceup card to each player counterclockwise. The remaining cards form a talon and are placed face down in the center of the play.

Card Ranking

The ranking for the game is traditional. Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low). For the first phase, the rank is also continuous meaning once 2 is reached ace is the next rank followed by king, queen, etc.


The game is played in two phases. During the first phase, you are collecting and trying to give away cards. These cards you end up collecting will be the hand you will use for phase 2. During phase 2 you are competing with other players to try and beat other cards with ones from your hand to empty all cards from your hand.

Phase One

The game starts with the player to the dealer’s right and continues counterclockwise. On a player’s turn, they will draw the top card of the talon and place it face up on their faceup card pile. This ends the player’s turn. However, before you do this you may give away cards. This can be done either by giving away cards from your stack or giving away the cards you draw from the talon.

To give away cards from your stack, you can only give away the top card. To give it to another player there must be a card of one rank lower on the top of their faceup stack. So, if you had a 4 of hearts on top of your stack you can only place it on a stack with a 3 of any suit. You may continue to do this with the top card of your stack until you are out of cards or there is no legal place to place your top card.

You can give away cards you draw from the talon. The same requirements must be met. Once a drawn card is placed in another player’s pile you must draw another card from the talon. You can continue to place cards drawn from the talon into other piles until the talon is exhausted or there are no legal plays and you must place the card into your pile.

Once a card is placed into your pile your turn is over.

After the last card is drawn from the talon this card shows the trump suit for phase two. This card is revealed to all players and then the player who drew it places it in their pile. Phase two starts.

Phase Two

Phase two begins with all players collecting their piles into their hands. The player to draw the last card is the first player. they may lead any card to the trick. Players who follow must beat the card either by playing a higher-ranked card of the same suit or by playing any trump. If you cannot or do not wish to beat the previous card of the trick you must draw from the trick the lowest ranked card, then your turn is passed.

A trick ends either when a number of cards are played to it equal to the number of players in the game when the trick was started, or when all the cards from the trick have been drawn. If the trick is won by playing a number of cards, then the last player to play to the trick sets aside the cards and starts a new trick. If the trick hand all the cards are drawn from it then the next player in turn order starts a new trick.


Players who empty their hands are out of the game and safe. The game ends when only one player remains. This player is the loser.

Amber Crook
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