This page is based on a posting to the newsgroup rec.games.playing-cards by TC in July 1997. Here is a link to the original posting.
Clubs is a three player game where Clubs are trump. The object is to be the first to score 11 points, OR negative 11 points.
Deal out four hands of 13 cards. The last hand is set in the middle of the table [face down] and is called the "bid" hand. Everyone looks at their cards. The Eldest (Eldest means player to the dealer's left) decides if he wants to keep his hand, or trade it with the bid hand.
- Trading with the bid hand allows a player to see 26 of the 52 cards.
- You don't know what you might get.
If the Eldest takes the bid hand, he puts his old hand in the middle. His old hand is now the "bid." The next player to the left gets the option to keep the hand, or trade it with the middle hand. Same rules apply: they get to know 26 cards, don't know what they might get [but watching the score they can figure out if the first trader is going high or low], and their old hand becomes the new bid hand.
Lastly, the Dealer gets to trade, or pass the bid. Once the dealer passes the bid, then the bid hand is put aside, and play begins.
Play begins to the left of the person who LAST took the bid hand. If everyone passed on the bid, then the Eldest Hand leads.
You may not lead Trump (Clubs) until a trick has been ruffed. [Or until Trump is broken. Or until someone takes a round with a Trump.] Only exception is: Player has only trump left in hand.
Lastly, you MUST take a trick if you can. This means if someone leads a King, and you have the Ace of Suit, you MUST play that Ace. If the last person is out of Suit, and has a Club, they MUST take that trick with the Club Trump.
Otherwise, everything else is as normal. If you cannot win a trick, you can play any card (called sluffing). If you are out of the lead suit, and have no trump, go ahead and play anything. If the King of Clubs is led, and you have the ACE of Clubs, you must play it and win.
You get 1 point for every trick made over 4. If you take four tricks, you get zero points. If you take 7 tricks, you get three points.
Consequently, you get -1 pt (negative one) for every trick under four. If you take four tricks, you get zero. If you take 2 tricks, you get -2 (negative two).
The first player to score 11 points wins. The first player to score -11 points wins as well. Yes, it is possible to do both at the same time, but highly unlikely.
Scoring Check: Just as you can count up the points in hearts to make sure they total 26 each round, there is a way of checking the Clubs scoring. If you add the player's total points that round, they should equal the number of hands you played. If you don't understand that, just keep a running tally of points across when you play.
Enjoy, and have fun!