OBJECTIVE OF SPARTS: The player with the most points after the agreed upon number of rounds wins the game.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 – 6 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – Ace (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF SPARTS
Sparts is a modern day amalgamation of Spades and Hearts. It combines the bidding and trump suit of Spades with the trick avoidance and penalty points of Hearts to make an interesting game.
Players will bid on how many tricks they think can take while also avoiding the collection of Heart cards. Points are earned for bidding accuracy and trick collection, but points are deducted for the Heart cards and the Queen of Spades. Balancing the two during play can be very tricky.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Sparts uses a 52 card deck. Shuffle the cards and dole out the hands according to how many players are in the game.
4 players – 13 cards each
5 players – 10 cards each (2 card kitty)
6 players – 8 cards each (4 card kitty)
Three cards will be passed each hand. On the first hand, pass three cards to the player on your left. For the next hand, pass three cards two players to the left. Continue following the pass structure each hand. For hands that you would pass to yourself, simply keep the three cards.
Bidding begins with the player seated to the immediate left of the dealer. Each player bids on how many tricks they are going to take. This number is written down by the scorekeeper. Players may bid as low as zero and as high as there are tricks. Bid wisely because points will be deducted if a player falls short of their bid.
THE FIRST TRICK
The player that is dealt the 2 of Clubs leads the first trick. If no one has the 2 of Clubs, the player with the 3 of Clubs leads first and so on. In this game, Spades are always trump. Hearts cannot be led until the suit is broken. The suit is broken when a player cannot follow suit and chooses to play a Heart.
Whoever plays the highest card in the suit that is led or the highest Spade captures the trick. The Trick-winner leads the next trick.
Continue play until all of the tricks are captured.
Player 1 leads with the 2 of Clubs. Player 2 follows suit with a 3 of Clubs. Player 3 does not have any Clubs, so they play the Ace of Hearts. Player 4 follows suit with the 10 of Clubs. The 10 of Clubs takes the trick and Hearts are now broken.
Player 4 leads the next trick with a 3 of Hearts. Hearts can now be led since it was broken last trick. Player 1 follows suit with a 2 of Hearts. Player 2 follows suit with a 5 of Hearts. Player 3 takes the trick with a King of Hearts. Player 3 leads the next trick.
Scoring for the round is done in two phases.
First, players earn or lose points based on their bid and captured tricks.
Bid zero and capture zero = +10 points
Capture exact bid = +10 points
Each trick captured beyond bid = +1 point
Fail to meet bid = -10 points
Second, points are deducted for Hearts and the Queen of Spades. The Jack of Diamonds offers a point bonus when captured.
Queen of Spades = -13 points
10 of Hearts = -10 points
All other Hearts = -1 point
Jack of Diamonds = +10 points
The player with the most points after an agreed upon number of rounds wins the game. Try playing one round for each player in the game.