A minimal ruleset was sought. We got it down to 10.
1) Play with a Tarot deck, and 4 or 6 players, in teams of 2, with partners sitting opposite one another.
2) Deal all the cards down, with the extras left as a "kitty."
3) Play for tricks, where the high card of the suit led (or trump card) wins each hand, and the winner leads the next hand.
4) If (and only if) you cannot follow the suit led, you may play any card in your hand.
5) A Tarot deck has a fifth suit ordinarily called trump. (...or the "major arcana," if you're majorly into Tarot) Chicks Rule has a variable trump suit that changes from hand to hand, so for clarity we simply renamed the fifth suit "bettys" to distinguish it from trump.
6) Before play begins, players bid, naming the quantity of tricks, and the suit they'd declare as trump. Suits are (in order) bettys, spades hearts, diamonds, clubs and "no trump." There is a suit order (only) to distinguish between two numerically equivalent bids: 5 no trump is an incrementally higher bid than 5 clubs.
7) The bid winner picks up the kitty, and discards an equal number of cards from her hand. No one else sees these cards.
8) Chicks rule. (Meaning, in this game, the Dame or Queen card outranks the Rex or King)
9) A Tarot deck has a card called the "fool." In this game, it is renamed the Nymph, and is the top trump: the most powerful card in the deck. If the hand is being played with "no trump," the Nymph reverts to a betty, albeit the highest one. (If your deck has a "universe" card and it has a chick on it, you can use that one for the Nymph instead of the Fool.)
10) If the team that won the bidding takes as many tricks as they proposed to, they score that many points. More tricks don't add points, (so it pays to bid all you can) but if too few tricks are taken, the opposing team accrues the value of the contract. To save time, teams on the defense can confer openly and elect to simply concede the balance of a hand.
History of the Game
"Chicks Rule!" was developed in a single night of extreme frustration in Los Barilles, Baja California. With no wind, numerous injuries and too much alcohol, a small team of engineers turned to nonstop cards to pass the time. After Bridge, Tarot, Rook, Hearts and War were exhausted, we tried to come up with a game that did not contain arbitrary rule baloney of Tarot, or the scoring complexity of Bridge, but retained team play and complex bidding strategy. Additional commentary on the rules is solicited (mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org) but please keep in mind our intent to keep the rules very simple. Chess has simple rules with complex and interesting consequences, we hope this game does, too, and will try to keep it that way. This is the only legitimate source of adjudication for Chicks Rule, and all changes are subject to editorial review by the founding team of Marc, Guy, Trina, Peter, Robert and Mark. If you like Chicks Rule!, please send $10,000.00 to Mark, c/o Blue Spruce Designs.
Some simple notes on the Tarot deck for the uninitiated:
a) There's no Ace. There's a one, but it's low.
b) The "face cards" sometimes have letters to identify them: V,C,R,D (Standing for the words Val-yea, Cheval-yea, Rex and Dame, with aplogies to whatever the actual French pronunciation is supposed to be. Or, in the vernacular of the game, chump, chump on a horse, dude and Chick.)
c) Keep in mind the major arcana suit (the one with all the pictures) has 21 cards in it, instead of 13, so if that suit ends up trump, it's a long one.
d) It's easier to play if you write the numbers on the upper left corner of each card. Or, buy a more "conventional" looking deck that's laid out that way. (Impossible in Boulder.)
Labels: card games