Jaago-Chalis

A four-player trick-taking game from Nepal, contributed by Laxman Kasula .

Introduction

The game was originally named Kinti-Jaago, after the gang-fight between Kinti and Jaago, but when a new leader 40-watt became involved in the fight, it was renamed Jaago-Chalis. “Jaago” is a Newari term and “Chalis”is a Nepali word meaning forty (40). It was developed by the J-40 team: Maheswor, Ram, Laxman, Umesh, Lokgan and Dinesh.

This page gives a short introduction to the game. There is a longer document Jaago-Chalis-Nepal.pdf, intended as a reference for programmers making a computer version of the game.

Players and Cards

There are no partnerships: four players each play for themselves. A standard 52-card pack is used. The cards in each suit rank from high to low: A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. Each suit can be trumped by the other suit of the same colour. For example if a diamond is led to a trick, hearts are trumps for that trick and black cards have no power. If a spade is led, clubs are trumps and red cards have no power. Trumps are known as Jaago.

Red cards (hearts and diamonds) are worth 1 point each; black cards (clubs and spades) are worth ½ point each, and winning the last trick is worth 1 point extra, for a total of 40 points available in each hand.

Deal and Play

The first dealer is chosen by the "Rule of Jaago" [Presumably this is some random method such as drawing cards or stone-paper-scissors? JM]. Subsequently, the dealer is the player who won the last trick in the previous hand. The dealer shuffles and deals out all the cards one at a time so that each player has a hand of 13 cards. [It is not stated whether deal and play are clockwise or anticlockwise. I will assume clockwise. JM]

The cards are played out in 13 tricks. [It is not stated who plays the first card to the first trick. If play is clockwise, probably it is the player to dealer's left. JM] The rules of play are as follows.

  1. Any card may be led.
  2. Players must follow suit (play a card of the same suit as the card that was led) is they can.
  3. A player who is unable to follow suit must trump, by playing a card of the other suit of the same colour as the lead.
  4. A player who can neither follow suit nor trump throws a card of the other colour, which is powerless to win the trick. Discards of the other colour are known as careful cards.
  5. Subject to the above rules, each player must beat the most powerful card so far played to the trick if able to do so.

The trick is won by the highest trump in it - that is the highest card of the other suit of the same colour as the suit that was led. If no trumps were played, it is won by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of each trick stores the four cards of the trick face down and leads to the next trick.

The above rules have the following effects.

  1. If you are able to follow suit, and the trick has not been trumped, and you have a card of the suit led that is higher than any card of that suit so far played, you must play such a card. If all your cards in the led suit are lower than the highest card of that suit that has been played to the trick, you may play any of them.
  2. If you are able to follow suit, but the trick has already been trumped by the other suit of the same colour, you may play any card of the suit led, since none of them can win the trick.
  3. If you are unable to follow suit, and the trick has not been trumped, you must play a trump, and if you have more than one trump you are free to play any of them.
  4. If you are unable to follow suit and the trick has already been trumped, you must if possible play a higher trump than the highest so far played to the trick. If you cannot beat the highest trump in the trick, you must still play a trump if you have one.

Scoring

When all 13 tricks have been played, each player counts the value of cards in the tricks he or she has won (1 for each red card and ½ for each black card), and the winner of the last trick adding 1 extra point. There are 40 points available in total.

  • If you take 10 or more points in a hand, you add those points to your cumulative score.
  • If you take fewer than 10 points in a hand, you subtract from your score the amount by which you are below 10.

Example: the players' scores for a hand are A:8, B:12½, C:10, D:9½. PLayer A loses 2 points, player B wins 12½, player C wins 10 and player D loses ½.

If no player has a cumulative total of 40 or more, a new hand is dealt by the winner of the last trick of the previous hand.

If one or more players has a score of 40 or more, the game ends. Each player pays each other player the difference between their scores, and in addition the player with the highest score wins 20 from the second placed player, 30 from the third placed player and 40 from the lowest scoring player.

Example: the players' final cumulative scores are A:40½, B:36, C:45, D:28½.

  • A wins 3½ from B, pays 24½ to C (the winner) and wins 12 from D, so overall A loses 9.
  • B pays 3½ to A, pays 39 to C, and wins 7½ from D, so in total B loses 35.
  • C wins 24½ from A, 39 from B and 56½ from D, for a total gain of 120.
  • D pays 12 to A, 7½ to B and 56½ to C for a total loss of 76.