OBJECT OF TARTLI: The object of Tartli is to be the first player to reach 5 or 10 victory points.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players
MATERIALS: One 32-card Hungarian deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.
TYPE OF GAME: Point-Trick Card Game
OVERVIEW OF TARTLI
Tartli is a 2-player Point-trick card game. It is played with a Hungarian deck of 32 cards and involves several rounds of play.
The goal of the game is to be the first player to reach the targeted score of either 5 or 10 victory points. this should be determined before the start of the game.
Players can earn victory points by playing through rounds and winning cards worth points. There are also points awarded by declaring melds during the rounds. When a certain point total is reached by a player, they receive one or two victory points.
The first dealer is chosen randomly and switches for each new round. The dealer will shuffle the deck and the non-dealer will cut the deck. Then each player is dealt an 8-card hand. The remaining 14 cards are left in the center of the table for drawing in the first phase of the round.
The top card is flipped to reveal the trump suit and is placed faceup at the bottom of the deck where the suit is visible to players.
Card Ranking and Values
There are three rankings in Tartli, and certain cards also hold point values. The three rankings are for sequencing, trumps, and non-trumps.
The ranking for sequencing is Ace (high), King, Over, Under, 10, 9, 8, and 7.
The ranking for trumps is Over (high), 9, Ace, 10, King, Under, 8, and 7 (low). They have point values associated with them. In above order the values are 20, 14, 11, 10, 4, 2, 0, and 0 points.
The ranking for the non-trump suit is Ace (high), 10, King, Over, Under, 9, 8, and 7 (low). They have values associated with them as well. These values in above order are 11, 10, 4, 3, 2, 0, 0, and 0 points.
There are also 10 points awarded to the player who wins the last trick. This means in each round there is a total of 161 points available to score through tricks.
Tartli also involves players declaring melds during the rounds to score additional points. There are three different kinds of melds that can be made. They are sets, sequences, and the bela.
The lowest ranking melds are the sequences. They involve three or more cards in the same suit in consecutive order. They use the sequencing ranking described above. They have names and values associated with them depending on how many cards are involved. A 3-card sequence is called a terc and is worth 20 points. A 4-card sequence is called a kvart and is worth 50 points. 5 cards are called kvint and are worth 100 points. 6 cards are szext and are worth 100 points. 7 is called a szept and is worth 100 points, and an 8-card sequence is called an okt and is worth 100 points. For ranking sequences longer ranks higher. If the same length the one with the highest-ranked card ranks higher. If the same high cards, then trumps rank higher. If the same size, high card, and neither are trump the one declared first is ranked higher.
The highest-ranking melds are the sets. Sets involve all 4 cards of the same rank, though 7s and 8s cannot be used as sets. The sets have values attached to them. Sets of Aces, 10s, Kings, and Unders are worth 100 points each. Sets of 9s are worth 150, and sets of Overs are worth 200 points. When ranking sets. Sets always outrank sequences. Sets outrank other sets by being higher rank based on the trump ranking. So, Overs (high), 9s, Aces, 10s, Kings, and Unders (low).
Belas are the King and Overs of trumps. They are special and are not ranked on the other melds. They are worth 40 points to the player who declares them.
Tartli is played in 2 phases. The first phase is 7 tricks, and then on the 8th trick the rules of the game change.
Phase one starts with the non-dealer player leading the first trick. They may lead any card. The second player during phase one is not required to follow suit and may play any card to the trick from their hand. The highest trump, if applicable, and if not the highest card of the suit lead wins the trick. The winner of the trick draws the top card of the remaining deck, then the loser does as well. Both players should still have 9 cards in hand. The trick is collected by the winner and placed into their score pile face down and the winner leads the next trick.
During the first 7 tricks before they lead a trick, the player holding the 7 of trumps may reveal it and exchange it with the revealed card that determined trumps. They do not have to if they wish not to.
At the end of the 7th trick, the loser will draw the faceup card at the bottom of the deck and the rules will change for the second phase of the game.
For phase two following players must follow suit if able. If they cannot they must play a trump if able. If they cannot do either they may play any card from hand to the trick. While following suit and playing trumps is compulsory, trying to win the trick is not.
Up to the 9th trick, so tricks 1 through 8 players may declare melds. For each trick a player may declare a set and/or a sequence but no more than that. They may not declare two of the same type of meld. The declared melds can share a card as well, so a single card can be used in both melds. The players declare before playing their cards to the trick. The leader of the trick declares first, the second player can only declare their melds if their highest meld has the potential to outrank the other player’s highest-ranked meld. For example, if the leader of the trick declares they have a set and sequence, the second player can only declare if they too have a set. If both players declare then each player tells what their highest-ranked meld is composed of. The player with the highest-ranked meld scores their declared melds and the other player scores nothing.
Unscored melds can be redeclared in later tricks. Scored melds cannot but the cards can be used for other melds as long as one card is different or missing, a sequence becomes longer, or the top card of a sequence is higher ranked.
Belas are independent of these rules and can be declared and scored at any time before the 9th trick.
Once all tricks are won the players will tally up their score piles and add the score to the points scored throughout the round. don’t forget to score the last trick as 10 points for the winner of it. If a player wins all 9 of the last tricks, they score all 161 points, and the opponent scores nothing for the trick points.
A cumulative score is kept over several rounds. The first player to reach 501 points scores 1 victory point if their opponent has a score of 251 or more and 2 points if they have less than 251. When a victory point is scored both players’ scores are reset to zero.
If during a round of play a player believes they have 501 points they may declare to go out and stop the round. the points are tallied and if they are correct, they score their victory points, but if they were incorrect the opponent scores a victory point regardless of point totals.
If both players reach 501 or more victory points at the end of a round, then the higher total wins the point. If still tied, then another round is started, and the first to score points scores the victory point.
END OF GAME
The game ends when a player reaches the needed number of victory points to win. That player is declared the winner.