Pyramid
Contributed by Albinas Borisevicius (albinas@vkontrole.lt)
This game was created at 19 January 1979 in Vilnius, Lithuania by Albinas Borisevicius, and is played mostly in Vilnius and in Suvalkija (South-West region of Lithuania).
The pack - 24 cards, 2, 3 or 4 players.
Rank of cards: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9.
Rules of play: The players must follow suit if they can. A player who cannot follow suit must play a trump.
Deal two cards at a time, each player gets 6 cards. If there are 2 or 3 players, the undealt cards are not used in this deal.
After the deal the First player (sitting to the left of the dealer) declares how many of the six possible tricks he undertakes to win, and also chooses the trump suit or declares that the game will be played without trumps. This player is called the declarer; the other players are the defenders. The defenders to not make any declaration.
The declarer begins the play. To score the maximum number of points, he must take exactly the number of tricks he called. Other players try to destroy the caller's contract by forcing him to win too many or too few tricks. The defenders are not allowed to communicate or discuss their tactics.
If the declarer wins exactly the number of tricks declared, he scores 10 points. If he wins more or less tricks his scores is less - see the table:
Difference between announced and won tricks | 0 | ±1 | ±2 | ±3 | ±4 | ±5 | ±6 |
Points | 10 | 8 | 6 | 4 | 2 | 0 | -2 |
The main idea of the game is that every player must undertake each of the different calls a given number of times during the game. Each player must call:
- zero and six tricks - once each
- one and five tricks - twice each
- two and four tricks - three times each
- three tricks - four times
So each player has sixteen declarations to make and the game will be complete after 64 deals (with 4 players), or 48 deals (with 3 players) or 32 deals (with two players).
To make the scoring easier, each player draws a table in the shape of a pyramid like this:
The central column shows the declarations - from 0 to 6 tricks. The left side of the table is used to record the number of tricks won by the declarer. The right side of the table is used to show the points scored.
The above example shows one player's score sheet during a game in progress. This player has been the declarer four times. He has played "six", won 4 tricks, for a difference of 2, scoring 6 points; he has played "five" twice, get 4 tricks one time and the other time no trick, so scoring 8 points and 0 points respectively. Once he played "three", won exactly 3 tricks, so scored 10 points. The next time that this player is the declarer he can call zero, one, two, three or four. Five and six are no longer available, as this player has already used all his opportunities for these calls.
So the players take truns to be the declarer, and each filling up their own pyramid table. The order in which the contracts are declared can be chosen freely, so you can play for example "six", then "two" or "zero" and so on. The player whose turn it is to call can choose any trump suit (or no trump) and the number of tricks to be won, provided that he still has a free place in his table in the line for that number of tricks.
The game is finished when all the players have filled their tables. The total score of each player is then calculated by adding up all the points in the right side of the player's table. In our example the player has so far scored 6 + 8 + 0 + 10, making 18 points.
The winner game is the player who has the highest total score at the end of the game. If two or more players have the same score, the winner is the player who has more maximal results - i.e. the one who has scored 10 most often.