OBJECTIVE OF STOVKAHRA: The objective of Stovkahra is to be the first team to reach 100 points.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 Players
MATERIALS: One modified 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.
TYPE OF GAME: Point-Trick Card Game
OVERVIEW OF STOVKAHRA
Stovkahra is a Point-trick card game for 4 players. Players will be in 2 fixed partnerships of 2. The goal of the game is to be the first partnerships to reach 100 points. Teams do this by individual players compiling their scores for declared combinations, cards won in tricks, and other miscellaneous point values gathered during rounds of play.
To set up a 52-card deck will need to be modified to be a 32-card deck. This is done by removing all cards 6 and lower. This leaves Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s, 9s, 8s, and 7s.
For the first deal, a random player is made dealer, this passes to the left each round after. For the first deal, the cards are shuffled and cut by the player to the dealer’s right. For future deals, cards are not shuffled and are instead just gathered together and cut by the player to the dealer’s right.
Once cut the bottom card of the deck is exposed and this card determines trumps for the round. Then the dealer will deal cards to each player in clockwise order in batches of 3, then 2, then 3 again. Each player should have 8 cards in total. The player left of the dealer will have their first 3 cards dealt faceup, but all other cards are dealt facedown.
Once all players have their cards the game can begin.
Card Rankings, Combinations, and Values
In Stovkahra the cards have values attached to them as well as their ranking. There are also combinations of cards that can be declared that have values attached to them.
The ranking for Stovkahra is traditional with Ace being high followed by King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, and 7s being low. These cards have values attached to them that are used to score points for cards won in tricks. these values are respectively 6 points, 5 points, 4, 3, 0, 0, 0, and 0 points.
For combinations, certain cards are needed to declare them. A player does not have to declare their combinations but if not declared a player will not score the point values associated with the combination. Available combinations are four aces, three aces, four 10s, four 7s, three 10s, three 7s, four kings, four Queens, four Jacks, three Kings, three Queens, and three Jacks. These combinations, once declared, are scored by the players. To declare a team must declare the number and card rank but does not have to specifically name cards. The above combinations are worth these amounts respectively, 40 points, 30 points, 20, 10, 12, and 6 points.
Once all combinations have been declared, the game can begin. The player left of the dealer will start and continue clockwise. They may lead any card.
Players who follow must follow suit if able, if not able the must play a trump. If they cannot play a trump, then they may play any card. when following suit players must attempt to beat the highest card and must try to beat if when playing trumps as well. If the highest card is a trump, players must still follow suit if able before trying to beat the highest trump. If the highest card cannot be beaten, then any card following the above restrictions can be played.
The trick is won by the highest trump or if not applicable the highest card of the suit led. The winner of this trick leads the next until all tricks have been played.
Some tricks are worth points for winning them, namely the first and last trick, or tricks won with 7s.
The last trick is worth 6 points when won and if won by a 7 is worth 26 points. The first trick if won by a 7 is worth 52 points, and any trick, not the first or the last, won by a 7 is worth 10 points.
Scores are tallied at the end of the round and are compiled over multiple rounds. The first team to reach 100 points wins the game.
Some people play multiple games in a row and to keep these scores they use points called matchsticks. If a team reaches 100 points and the other team has more than 50 points, they gain 1 matchstick, but if the other team has less than 50 points the winning team gets 2 matchsticks.
Sometimes players may reach 100 points before the end of a round. In this case, a team can call enough and end the game. Their points will be scored and if they are correct, they will gain matchsticks according to their opponent’s score, but if wrong the other team scores 2 matchsticks.
When a team earns matchsticks, they may either score them to their total or take the same number of matchsticks from their opponent’s score.
END OF GAME
The game ends when 100 points are reached. If playing multiple games, the winner is the first team to reach 10 matchsticks.