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Climb the Ladder

Submitter and Inventor: Scott Dieter (

The game I invented is a 4 player team or two player trick taking game I call "Climb the Ladder." It is simple, really. You start out by taking a normal pack of cards WITH jokers. You randomly select a dealer and he shuffles the cards and deals them out until every player has 7 cards. The members of each team, like most team games, shoud be sitting opposite each other. Then, the top card of the rest of the pack is turned over and placed in the center of the table, and the rest of the pack is placed aside. It will not be needed until the next round.

Whatever the [center] card is, the players look at it and then look at their hand. If they think that they can follow the card either up or down, just by number, not suit, and run out of cards, then they draw a card. This indicates that they just made a "Keepers" bid, and they think that they can run out on that card as ladder starter. If they don't they simply say "Pass" and the vote passes on to the person to their left.

Now, if the first person bid keeps, and the second person doesn't, then the second person must draw 2 or more cards, to raise an "argue bet", but if the second person does want it also, then they just pass on the vote to the next person. If the first person passes, then the second person gets the decision to start the bet, so they only have to start one card. It basically moves on like that until one person raises and nobody else raises, they all pass, then that card starts.

If the argue bet wins, then another card is turned over from the pack and placed in the center, and then the bidding process starts again until a card is decided on. But remember, never draw too many cards just bidding, because you want to run out. And also remember, when there is no bid and the dealer wants to start a bid, you never start a bid if you do not want the card. You simply pass. You only start a bid if you want the card chosen, and you argue if you want another card picked. And also, if you agreee with the person immediately before you and their bet, then you simply pass.

Now, after a card is chosen, game play starts. The person left of the dealer starts off by playing a card immediately above or below the starting card. Once the way is chosen, up or down, then all players must follow that. If a player cannot, then they simply pass on to another player. If the ladder reaches its peak or its bottom (Ace or Two), or no one can do anything because no one obtains a card that can be used, a new card is drawn off the pack, and a new bidding round starts until a new card is chosen, then gameplay resumes. Gameplay continues as normal until someone runs out or the ladder is peaked again.

The game works until someone's cards run out, and then that team wins the trick, and the cards are dealt again, and game play restarts, with a point for whoever won. When the team gains a total of 10 points they win.

On Jokers: Jokers are wild, if they are drawn to be the ladder start, then they can count on whatever the person left of the dealer wants. If a player is dealt a Joker, they can play it on anything.

Tips: The best starting cards are Aces and Twos. This way, the whole ladder can hopefully be played.

Important Note: THIS GAME CAN BE PLAYED WITH TWO PLAYERS ALSO. Four players improves gameplay, but two players can also play, without teams.

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Last updated 12th January 2002