Escalator

Why do we provide the rules for a  card game unrelated to Arsenal? Because during the November slump and the December gnashing of teeth, we really need to distract ourselves.

It’ll be good for you. Try it!

Objective: Accurately predict the number of tricks you can win in a hand.

Equipment Required

  • Standard deck of cards
  • Paper and writing implement to record bids and points

Players

  • 3 – 10 can play, optimal number is 4 – 7.
  • One person serves as recorder of bids and scores.
  • Each player participates in dealing.
  • Players age 7+ can usually play individually. (Younger than that might be paired with an adult as a team.)

Dealing

  • Players take turns dealing. After one player deals, the person to his/her left will deal next. After dealing the hand, a trump card is laid on the table.
  • In the first hand, 1 card is dealt to each player.
  • In the second hand, the number of cards dealt increases to 2.
  • In the third hand, the number of cards dealt to each player increases to 3.
  • One card is added into each hand, until it is no longer possible to distribute an equal number of cards to each player and lay a trump card (i.e., when 5 people play, the maximum number of cards dealt will be 10).
  • After the hand in which the maximum number of cards per player is dealt, the number of cards is decreased by 1 in each hand. By the last hand, all players are given 1 card.

Order of Play

  1. Each hand starts with the distribution of card(s) by a dealer.
  2. Players look at their cards and decide how many tricks they believe they’ll take, from 0 to the total number of cards in their hand.
  3. Players bid for the number of tricks they’ll take through a process that involves collective pounding of fists on the table for three beats, 1, 2, 3. On 3, each player shoots out the number of fingers representing the number of tricks they’ll take. Late shooters must take the original bid.
  4. The score keeper records the number of tricks each person has bid.
  5. The player to the left of the dealer starts play by laying down one card.*
  6. One by one, clockwise, each player lays down a card.
    1. If the player has a card in the suit (spade, heart, club, diamond) that was led, the player must play a card in that suit.
    2. If the player does not have a card in the suit that was led, he may
      1. play a card in the suit that is the same as the trump card, or
      2. play a card in an alternate suit
  7. The winner of each round is the person with the highest card in the suit that was led, unless a player played a card in the trump suit. In that case, the highest trump card wins. (2 is low, Ace is high.) That person is said to have taken the trick. He/she keeps the pile of taken cards in front of him/her until the hand is scored.
  8. In a hand that contains more than one card, the person who took the last trick leads the next round, laying down a single card. One by one, clockwise, all players lay down a card following the same rules as in #6.
  9. When all cards that have been dealt in a hand have been laid down in a round and all tricks taken, the scorekeeper updates scores for the hand, and the next hand is dealt.

Scoring

  • A player who takes the number of tricks he/she predicted in a hand gets 20 points. They also receive 10 bonus points for each trick taken.
  • A player who does not achieve the number of tricks predicted is penalized 10 points for each failed estimate. For example, if a player who predicted they would take two tricks takes none, that player has 20 points subtracted from their current score. If a player predicts he/she will take 1 trick and takes 2, that player has 10 points subtracted from their score.
  • Highest score at the end of the game wins.

 

*Note: It is usually considered dirty pool to lead with a trump card. Be prepared to be reviled if you do.