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Card Games: Trick Taking Games

This is the largest group of outplay games. Normally, each player is dealt an equal number of cards. A trick consists of each player in turn playing one card face up to the table (a few games have multiple tricks where several cards may be played at once). Playing the first card to a trick is called leading. There is some rule to determine which card wins the trick (for example the highest card of the suit led). The cards played to the trick are captured and generally placed face down in front of the winner of the trick. Usually the winner of a trick leads to the next.

Plain Trick Games

In these games the value of a trick does not depend on what cards it contains. The object will typically be to win some number of tricks, or as many tricks as possible. Occasionally the object is to win a specific trick (for example the last one). There are also some plain trick games where the aim is to lose tricks.

Point Trick Games

Point trick games are so called because the cards have point values, and the result is determined not by the number of tricks taken, but by the total point value of cards taken. There are positive point trick games, in which the object is to take at least a certain number of points in tricks (or more than the other players), negative point trick games in which you try to avoid taking points, and a small number of games with other objectives such as getting as near as possible to a predicted total.

Some of the games included here are mixed games which are chiefly point trick games, but other mechanisms are also used. For example there are many point trick games with bidding in which a few of the possible bids have plain trick objectives such as losing all the tricks. Also many point trick games have other sources of points as well - for instance there may be points for combinations of cards held in hand.

I have grouped the point trick games mainly according to the ranking and point values of the cards (and combinations); this is also a good indicator of which games are historically related. It looks as though the oldest point-trick games may have had a "triangular" system of values, in which the top few cards of each suit had a value, each being worth 1 more than the one below it. The first few groups below have this type of system. Then there are some in which a few cards such as the ten and the ace are given much higher values, but the vestiges of the triangular system remain, and finally groups that use other systems.

Quasi Trick-taking Games

There are several games in which the mechanism is similar to trick-taking games, in that the players play cards in turn to a "trick", but differ in that the play to the trick may not go all the way around the table, or may go round more than once. Also players may acquire extra cards during the game. All these factors can cause the hand sizes to become unequal. Therefore these are often shedding or accumulation games, in which the main objective is to accumulate or get rid of cards, rather than to win or lose tricks. These games are grouped according to the mechanism.