OBJECT OF PHAT: The object of Phat is to be the first team to reach 181 points.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players
MATERIALS: One standard 52-card deck, a pegboard for scoring, and a flat surface.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game
OVERVIEW OF PHAT
Phat is a 4-player trick-taking card game. The game is played with two teams of 2. Partners sit opposite each other. The goal of the game is to have your team achieve a score of 181 points first. Players can achieve this by winning certain cards during tricks throughout several rounds. The score is kept on pegboards.
The first pitcher is determined randomly. The first dealer sits to the right of them. Each new round the dealer passes to the left, and the new pitcher is the player to the left of them.
The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal each player, clockwise, a hand of 13 cards each.
The pitcher’s partner may not look at their hand until the pitcher plays the first card. the card they play will determine trumps and the partner is not allowed to persuade them in any way.
Card Ranking and Values
Cards are ranked Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low). The cards are also separated into two categories. There is the phat which you receive scores for immediately and the muck, which is scored at the end of the round.
The phat includes the ace of trumps, which is worth 4 points, the king of trumps worth 3 points, the queen of trumps worth 2 points, the jack of trumps worth 1 point, the 9 of trumps worth 18 points, and the 5 of trumps worth 10 points. There are also all non-trump 9s worth 9 points each, and all non-trump 5s worth 5 points each.
The muck includes each ace worth 4 points each, each king worth 3 points, each queen worth 2 points, each jack worth 1 point, and each 10 worth 10 points. This leaves a total of 80 points in muck available to be won. The team that wins the majority of the muck scores 8 points.
The pitcher leads the first trick, with any card from their hand. This card determines the trump suit for the round. After the first card is played their partner may pick up their cards. following players must follow suit if able, but if not may play any card to the trick including trumps. The trick is won by the player who plays the highest-ranked trump if applicable. If not, the trick is won by the player who played the highest-ranked card of the suit led. The winner of a trick leads the next trick.
The scores are kept on a pegboard. To win you must go around the board twice. This is representative of earning 181 points. after each trick the phat is scores, and after each round, the muck is scored.
Since there is a total of 88 points per round, this includes the 80 for muck and 8 for having the majority of the muck, most games are won by the fourth round. It is possible to have a fifth round, but a team will win before the fifth round is completed.
If both teams score exactly 40 points of muck, then the 8 points that would have been won for the muck is carried over to the next round. so, next round having the majority of the much is worth 16 points.
END OF GAME
The game ends when a team reaches 181 points. This team has won the game.