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Fan Tan

Fan Tan, also known as Sevens or Domino and in Britain sometimes as Parliament is a straightforward game in which the object is to get rid of all one's cards by playing them to a layout.

Players and Cards

A standard international 52-card pack is used, the cards of each suit ranking A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. From 3 to around 8 people can play, and it is probably best for 4-6 players. Deal and play are clockwise.

Deal

Any player may deal first, and the turn to deal passes to the left. The dealer shuffles thoroughly and the player to dealer's right may cut. The dealer deals all the cards, clockwise one at a time, starting with the player to dealer's left. Unless there are four players, some of the players will have one more card than otrhers at the end of the deal. This does not matter much - having an extra card is not necessarily a disadvantage, the players with more cards get to play first, and in any case as the turn to deal rotates different players take turns to start with a larger hand.

Play

During the play the cards are added to a face up layout on the table, which will ultimately consist one row for each suit, beginning with the seven in the middle and building down towards the two on the left and up towards the ace on the right.

The player to dealer's left begins, and the play continues clockwise. At your turn you must if possible play one card of your choice to the layout. The cards that can played are:

A player who is unable to play a card must pass, which is sometimes indicated by knocking the table. It is illegal to pass if you hold a card that could be played to the layout.

The first player who succeeds in playing all his or her cards is the winner.

Variations

In some groups, everyone pays a chip to a common pool before the deal, and anyone who passes must add a chip to the pool. The winner collects the pool, and in addition from each opponent one chip for each card remaining in his or her hand.

In some versions, play is begun not by the player to dealer's left but by the holder of the seven of diamonds, who must play it as the first card.

Some play with the ace as the lowest card of each suit, below the 2, rather than the highest card, above the king.

In an online version of sevens, formerly available at fwend.com, the seven of hearts must be played first, the eight must be played as the second card of each suit, before the six, and as soon as one player runs out of cards, penalty points are scored by all the other players, counting cards at face value (aces 1, pictures 10). I do not know whether this version of the game is commonly played in some part of the world.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy