Contributed by Mark Brader. If you have any questions or comments, Mark's address is firstname.lastname@example.org, except with "vex" instead of "irk".
The number of cards dealt changes by one each hand as in Oh Hell!, and as in that game, the next card is turned to determine the trump suit. When the maximum number of cards per player is dealt, the hand is played at no trump. Players bid the number of tricks they expect to take. The score is:
- if your positive bid is successful: 10 plus the number of tricks won
- if your zero bid is successful: 5 plus the number of cards dealt
- minus 1 point for each heart taken
- minus 13 points if the spade queen is taken
- plus 10 points if the diamond 10 is taken.
Example: "I bid 3 and took 3 tricks, for +13, and I took in the 10 of diamonds, for +10, but I also took in the queen of spades, for -13, and one heart, for -1 ... total +9."
In this game, control (shooting the moon) means taking all the minus cards (hearts and queen of spades) that are in play. If that happens, they become plus cards, but the total you can score for them is limited to twice the level. So if I said the above on the 4-level and the one heart I took proved to be the only one in play, my score on the hand would change to +13 +10 +8 = +31.
The rules on leading to a trick are as in Oh Hell, not as in Hearts - i.e. any card can be led. We have usually played that cards are not passed as in Hearts, but we have also tried a rule that (before bidding) you pass the number of cards corresponding to a certain fraction of your hand.