OBJECTIVE: Be the first player to score 7 or more game points
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 24 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 9’s, J’s, Q’s. K’s, 10’s, Aces (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
Sixty Six is an older German trick taking game that evolved out of the game called Marriage. Marriage dates back to the early 1700’s, and Sixty Six is first documented as a variant for that game in the mid 1800’s.
Sixty Six is unique in that it is a trick taking game, but players score points in many different ways. There are also two different levels of scoring. Players work each round to accumulate 66 points. Once they do, they earn game points that go towards their actual game score. Each round, the players begin back at zero and work towards 66 again. The first player to earn 7 game points wins the game. Also, player’s need to remember a unique card ranking for this game. Aces are the highest rank with the 10’s as second highest.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Sixty Six is played with a portion of a standard 52 card French deck. Remove all of the cards from the deck except for the 9’s up through the Aces in each suit. This will leave you with a 24 card deck.
To determine the first dealer and the scorekeeper for the entire game, each player should take a card from the deck. The player who drew the lowest card must deal first and be the scorekeeper. Deal alternates each round.
The dealer should collect the cards and shuffle thoroughly. Deal six cards to each player three at a time. The rest of the cards are placed face down to become the draw pile. Flip the top card over and place it next to the draw pile. This card determines the trump suit for the round.
The non-dealer goes first. They choose any card from their hand and play it to the table. This leads the trick. The opposite player does not have to follow suit. They may play any card from their hand. Whoever played the highest card in the suit that was led or the highest trump card takes the trick. The winner of the trick draws the top card from the draw pile. The other player then draws from the draw pile. The player who took the trick also leads.
If a player is holding the trump suited 9 in their hand, they may exchange it for the trump card sitting beside the draw pile. This can be done only after that player has won a trick and drawn a card from the draw pile. The exchange must be done before the next lead.
Marriages may also be announced by the player who has the lead. To do so, that player must have a King and Queen of the same suit. They lead with one and show the other to their opponent. Announcing a marriage earns points toward the total of 66.
Play like this continues with each player keeping track of the points they’ve earned in their heads. You may not write this accumulating score down.
Once the draw pile has been depleted, players must begin following the suit that was led if able. If they cannot follow suit, they must play a trump card. If they cannot follow suit or play trump, they may play any card they wish. Also, once the draw pile is gone, marriages cannot be announced.
ENDING THE ROUND
There are a few ways that the round can end. First, once a player thinks they have 66 points, they can announce it and the round ends immediately.
Once a player has control of the lead, if they believe they can earn 66 points with the cards in their hand, they can close the round by flipping the trump card face down. At this point there are no more draws and the rules that occur after the draw pile runs out go into effect. In this case, the last trick does not score any points.
The final way a round can end is for the players to play all of the cards.
During a round, players earn points for accomplishing certain things and capturing certain cards. One of the challenges of Sixty Six is for players to keep track of their points during the round in their head.
Trump Marriage = 40 points
Non-Trump Marriage = 20 points each
Aces captured = 11 points each
Tens captured = 10 points each
Kings captured = 4 points each
Queens captured = 3 points each
Jacks captured = 2 points each
Winning the last trick = 10 points
Once a player earns 66 or more points and closes, they earn 1 game point. If they get 66 points before their opponent earns 33, 2 game points are earned. If the player ends the round before their opponent captures one trick, they get 3 game points.
If a player closes and fails to get 66 points, their opponent earns 2 game points. If a player closes, fails to get 66 points, and closes before their opponent captures a trick, their opponent earns 3 game points.
A game that is played out is scored as if someone closed. The player with 66 or more points earns 1 game point. If their opponent has less than 33 points, the winner earns 2 game points, and if the opponent did not capture a trick, the winner earns 3 game points.
If the round plays out and neither player scored 66 points, the game point is carried over to the next round. Whoever wins the next round wins an extra game point.
The first player to earn 7 game points wins.