QUODLIBET



OBJECTIVE: Be the player with the lowest score at the end of the game. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 32 playing cards

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 7 – Ace (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking

AUDIENCE: Adults


INTRODUCTION OF QUODLIBET

Quodlibet is a four player trick taking game from the 1800’s that is still played in Austria today.  This game is considered a drinking game and a popular choice for college aged students.  As you will see, this game is played over a a dozen rounds and there are a dozen different ways to play.  Combine this with drinking, and you will come to see why this game is so popular at universities.

While typically played with German suited cards, this game is easily played with an adjusted French suited deck.

THE CARDS & THE DEAL

In order to play Quodlibet with a French deck, you will need to remove the 2’s through the 6’s.  This leaves the 7’s up through the Aces.  

To determine who will be the first dealer and the scorekeeper, each player should take a card from the draw pile.  The player who has the lowest card deals first and keeps score for the game.

The dealer should shuffle the cards thoroughly and dole out eight cards to each player. 

THE PLAY

After dealing and looking at their hand, the dealer may choose one of the four contracts belonging to the first round.  After the contract is completed, the deal passes to the next player on the left, and they can choose one of the three remaining contracts after the cards have been dealt.  This continues until all four contracts have been completed.

When beginning the second round, a new set of contracts become available to choose from.  The same goes for round three.  At the beginning of a new round, whoever has the highest score becomes the first dealer.  Deal passes to the left for each new contract.  

A running score is kept throughout the entire game.   

When playing through the trick taking contracts, typical trick taking rules apply.  Begin with the player on the left side of the dealer.  Other players must follow suit if able.  If they cannot follow suit, they may play any card of their choice.

THE CONTRACTS 

Round One

PLUS

During this contract, players are trying to win as many tricks as possible.  A player loses 10 points for every trick they capture.  If a player fails to win any tricks, they earn 100 points to their score.

MINUS

During this contract, players are trying to win as few tricks as possible.  A player adds 10 points to their score for every trick they capture.  If a player takes all of the tricks, they add 100 points to their score.

BAD NEIGHBOR

During this contract, players are trying to win as many tricks as possible, but this time the points that you earn go to the player on your left.  They are added to their score.  How bad of a neighbor will you be?

RED RUFFIANS

During this contract, the player who captures the King of hearts adds 50 points to their score.  The player who captures the Queen of diamonds adds 30 points to their score.  If both are captured in the same trick, that player adds 100 points to their score instead.

Round Two

FIRST THREE AND LAST

During this contract, the player that captures the first trick adds 10 points to their score, the second trick adds 20 points to their score, the third adds 30 points, and the last trick adds 50 points to their score.

NO HEARTS

During this contract, players are trying not to capture any hearts.  The 7 – 10 of hearts earns the player 20 points each.  The J – A of hearts earns the player 10 points each.  A captured trick that is all heart cards earns 100 points.

QUEENS & JACKS

Players are trying not to capture any Queens or Jacks.  Each Queen is worth 30 points, and each Jack is worth 20 points.  Capturing a Queen and a Jack in the same trick earns an extra 100 points.

BRIBE

Every captured trick adds 30 points to a player’s score.  The player who plays the lowest card to a trick scores 20 points.  If a player takes the trick with the lowest card, they earn an extra 100 points.

Round Three

OPEN TROUSERS

For this contract, players hold their cards facing their opponents.  The player cannot see their own card.  While playing Open Trousers, players are not required to follow the suit that was led.  A player loses ten points for each trick they capture, but if they capture all eight tricks, they instead add 100 points to their score.

GOOD HUNTING

Now players place their hand face up on the table for all to see.  Each trick captured adds 10 points to that player’s score.  Taking all 8 tricks earns 100 points.

QUADRATURE

This is a trick taking contract in which players are trying to take the fourth and eighth trick of the hand.  The player who wins the fourth trick may subtract 40 points from their score.  The player who captures the final trick may subtract 80 points from their score.       

SNACK

This contract will always be played last, and it requires a special deal.  Each player is dealt four cards, and five piles of three are dealt face down on the table.  The remaining card is also placed face down to form the sixth pile.  

Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, they must start a row with a Jack.  If they do not have a Jack.  Once a Jack has been played, the cards of the same suit may be built from it.    The 10 will be placed below the Jack, the Queen will be placed on top of it.  Rows will continue to build outward in both directions.  If the player is unable to add cards to an existing row or start a new one with a Jack, they pick up one of the piles of three from the table.  Any Jacks in the pile must be played.  If a player is again unable to add to an existing row or play another Jack to the table, they pick up another pile.

This continues until the first player to get rid of their cards does so.  When this occurs, the remaining players add 10 points to their hands for each card they hold.  After the second player goes out, the remaining two players add 20 points to their score per card.  Finally, when there is only one player left in the game, they pick up any of the remaining cards from the table and add 30 points per card in their hand.

WINNING

The player with the lowest score at the end of the game is the winner.

Mark Ball
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