OBJECTIVE OF TRUF: Take as little or as many tricks as possible, depending on the version.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52-card
RANK OF CARDS: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-taking
INTRODUCTION TO TRUF
Truf is a trick-taking game from Indonesia which uses a bidding system which determines trumps in a unique way in comparison to most Western trick-taking games. The game has some practices which may seem odd to Western card players, for example:
- A bid is made by placing a card face-down: this cards represents both the number of cards you plan to take AND the trump suit.
- If a trump is played in a trick, it must be played face-down, and revealed once everyone has played a card.
The name of the game – Truf – is likely derived from a Dutch word, troef, which translates to trump.
THE DEAL & THE BIDDING
The first dealer can be chosen by any method the players prefer. After, the player who had the lowest total score
(or cumulative score) deals. Cards should be dealt one at a time and face-down until each player has 13 cards. If a player receives a hand either of all numerical or all face cards, all cards are thrown in, re-shuffled, and re-dealt.
The deal moves from clockwise and counterclockwise between hands. Typically, the first deal is done counterclockwise, or to the right. A full game has 13 deals.
After the deal, players bid all at once. A bid is made by putting a card from hand on the table (face-down). The rank of the card is equal to the number of tricks that player plans on taking. The ranks are as follows:
- Face Cards: no tricks
- Ace: 1 trick
- 2-10: face-value number of tricks
Once all the cards are revealed, after everyone is finished placing their bid, the suit of the highest ranking card (highest number of tricks to be taken) becomes the trump suit. If there is a tie in rank, suits are ranked in the following order, from high to low: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs. The highest ranking suit becomes trumps in the even of a tie.
If the cumulative value of the bids (numbers of tricks) is greater than 13, a main atas will be played. In this version, players try to take as many tricks as possible.
If the total number of tricks bid sums less than 13, a main bawah will be played. Players will try to avoid taking tricks in this version.
If the bids add up to 13 exactly, the player who bid the highest has to choose to either increase by 1 or decrease by their bid. So, if they bid 5, 4, 3, 1, The player who bid ‘5’ can choose to play main atas or main bawah by adjusting their bid by 1 trick. All other bids adjust accordingly. So, the bids 5, 4, 3, 1 change to 4, 3, 2, 0 in main bawah, for example.
This feature of play can cause 0 bids to go negative, in which players score negatively even if they don’t take a trick. For example:
-1 [bid] – 0 [# of tricks taken] = -1
You cannot change the bids by more than 1 trick.
Once the trump suit and game mode are determined, play begins.
The player who made the highest bid leads the very first trick. A trick is won by playing the highest ranking card from the suit led with, unless a trump is played, then the highest ranking trump wins. The player who wins a trick leads in the next one.
If possible, players must follow suit, or play a card from the suit led with. Players who are unable to do so are permitted to play any card from hand, including a trump card.
You cannot lead a trick with a trump card unless that is all you have in you hand. After a trump card is played any card can be led with.
Reminder, trumps are ALWAYS played face-down. Cards from the non-trump suits are played facing upwards, as usual in western versions of trick-taking games. Once a trick is completed, or each player has played a single card, the trump cards are revealed and the winner determined.
THE SCORING METHODS
Once play is finished, players count the amount of tricks they have taken and compare that to their bid. There are several methods of scoring, all legitimate.
If playing a main bawah… (less than 13)
- Players who take LESS tricks than bid score + the difference of the tricks they took and the number they bid.
- Players who took MORE tricks than bid score – the difference of the tricks that they took and the number they bid.
- Players who take the EXACT number of tricks score 0.
If playing a main atas… (more than 13)
- Players who take MORE tricks than they bid score + the difference between the number of tricks they took and the amount they bid.
- Players who take LESS tricks than they bid score – the difference between the number of tricks they took and the amount they bid.
- Players who take the EXACT amount of tricks they bid score 0.
This method is nearly identical to Method One, however, if a player (in main bawah) bids 0 and takes no tricks, they score +5 points rather than scoring 0 points. This includes bids that were once ‘1’ and reduced to ‘0.’ However, this does not apply to bids made negative in the same manner.
Also similar to Method one, method three differs in that positive score increase by a multiplier. So, for example, the multiplier may be 2. In a main bawah game, a player bid 4 took 0 tricks, and therefore scored 8.
This method can be combined with method two, as well.