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Royal Orgy

Contributed by Wayne Michael Shirk (Michael_the_choirboy@yahoo.com), who writes: "This is a lighthearted combination of Tarock and Pinochle. Our goal was to make Pinochle a bit more modern by utilizing the tarot deck for its extended court."

The Cards

The deck to be used is a 54 card French suited Tarock deck, with the Sküs as trump 22. However, any other tarot deck will do, stripped of the 1-6 in black and 5-10 in red, and with the Fool serving as the highest trump.

The Players

The game may be played with either 2 or 3 players. The two player version will be described first, then the three player.

Two Player Game

The Deal

Deal 15 cards to each player in 3s. Place the remaining 24 to the right between the two players to form the stock.

The Play

The elder hand leads to the first trick. As long as cards remain in the stock, any card may be led, and any card may follow. However, the usual rules apply as to who wins the trick. That is, the highest trump wins if any were played, otherwise the highest card of the suit led wins. A player who takes a trick earns the right to lay down a meld on the table, and scores for it immediately. The melds with their scores from lowest to highest are:

Affair:King-Page of opposite colours or
Queen-Knight of opposite colours
6 points
Gay union:Knight-Page of the same suit8
Marriage:King-Queen of the same suit10
Trump Sequence:3 or more trumps in a row10+1 per card
Trump Marriage:21 and 1 of trumps12
Royal Orgy:A Married King-Queen with a United
Knight-Page of the opposite colour
30
Full Court:King-Queen-Knight-Page of the same suit50

The melds remain on the table until the last 15 tricks. They are, however, still considered part of the players hand, and he or she may play from them at any time. Only one meld may be made per turn, and each meld that is scored must involve a new card laid down from the hand of the melding player. The same card may be involved in more than one meld, but not of the same kind. For example, the Knight of spades may be United to the Page of spades, and be having an Affair with the Queen of hearts. However, he may not then have an Affair with the Queen of diamonds as well. For each meld at least one card must be played from the hand, and only one meld may be scored for. For example, If the Queen of diamonds and the Page of spades are both on the table, and one playes the King of diamonds, either the Marriage or the Affair may be counted, but not both. As long as one card is played from the hand, though, other cards on the table may be recombined.

One can also score half points for the Affair, Union, Marriage, or Trump marriage by winning a trick that contains both cards. This is called 'by Capture'. For example, if both the King and Queen of hearts are played to a trick, the player of the King will score 5 points for a Marriage by Capture.

After taking the trick and laying down any melds, if possible, the winner then draws one card from the stock, and the other player then does the same. This keeps the hands at 15 every turn. The winner of each trick leads to the next.

When the last cards are taken from the stock, the rules change. All of the melds are gathered back into the hands. From now until the end, one must follow suit if possible, and if not one must trump. If one can neither follow suit nor trump, one may play any card. No more melds may be declared, although Captures are still allowed. The winner of the last trick gets 1 extra point.

The Score

Each player adds the scores for their melds and captures as they get them.

After each hand, they add the points from play. Add the values of the following point cards:

Then, add 1 more point for every trick, that is, every 2 cards. With the point for the last trick, the total points (excluding melds) should come to 80.

Play may be to any agreed total. 1000 points seems to be a reasonable amount for a game.

Three Player Game

The Deal

Deal 17 cards to each player and three to the skat as follows:

The deal and play are to the right.

The Declarations

Each player starting with the eldest must declare all of the following melds by laying them on the table:

Affair:King-Page of opposite colours or
Queen-Knight of opposite colours
6 points
Gay union:Knight-Page of the same suit8
Marriage:King-Queen of the same suit10
Trump Sequence:3 or more trumps in a row10+1 per card
Trump Marriage:21 and 1 of trumps12
Royal Orgy:A married King-Queen with a united
Knight-Page of the opposite colour
30
Full Court:King-Queen-Knight-Page of the same suit50

Each player's total meld points are noted, but not added to their score until the end.

The Bidding

Each player in turn may pass or bid to play solo. The soloist is obliged to take 36 of the 70 card points in play. If all pass, the person with the most Declaration Points must play a solo. The first person to bid solo wins the bid. The other two players are then called the defenders, and play as a team.

The soloist takes the 3 cards of the skat and adds them to his hand. He then discards any 3 cards, excluding 4 point cards (kings, or the 1,21,or 22 of trumps), those used in declarations, or trumps. If unable to satisfy these rules, he may discard middle trumps, but he must show the trumps discarded to the others. These 3 cards constitute the soloist’s first trick.

The Play

Everyone then takes their melds back into their hands. The defenders will keep a common trick pile. The eldest hand leads to the first trick. Suit must be followed if possible, otherwise one must trump. If one can neither follow suit nor trump, any card may be played. The winner of each trick leads to the next.

One can also score half points for the Affair, Union, Marriage, or Trump marriage by winning a trick in which both cards are contained with one of those cards. This is called “by Capture.” For example, if both the King and Queen of hearts are played to a trick, the player of the King will score 5 points for a Marriage by Capture if he wins the trick. Should the three cards contain 2 such melds, both count, for example if the Knight and Page of Spades and the Queen of Hearts are all played, the winner of the trick will score 4 for the Union, and 3 for the Affair. In the unlikely event that, for example, a Black page may take a trick that also contains a King and Queen of hearts, only the Affair is scored for, as the Page has no relationship with the Queen. As with the declarations, these are noted, but not added in until the end.

The Score

Each team adds their points from play. Add the values of the following point cards:

Then, add 1 more point for every trick, that is, every 3 cards. The total card points should come to 70.

The defenders now score for any melds and captures they had individually.

If the soloist had at least 36 card points, he adds 50 points to his score, as well as his points for melds and captures.

If the soloist has 35 card points or fewer, he does not score, and the defenders each add half of his total meld and capture points to their own scores.

Game may be to any certain number of points, such as 1000, or a certain number of deals divisible by 3.


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Last updated 1st January 2002