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Xato

or Card Hunt

Invented by Áron Csathó

No. of players: 3-6

Cards used: French cards (1 pack)

The 4-player variant goes like this (52 cards, no jokers):

There is no deal! Cards are just put on the table, face up!

The starting player removes one card from the table and puts it into his hand. Everybody can see which card it is. Then the next player gets a card, and so on. At the end, everybody has 13 cards and you if you remember them you know exactly who has which cards.

Now, everybody selects 3 cards from their hands. These are his/her life cards. They are put on the table face down in front of the player. The remaining 10 cards are hand cards.

Then the hunt begins. The starting player calls for a card. The owner of the card must put the named card on the table face up. Then the next player calls, and so on until all cards have been called.

In each round, there is a different intended target. In the first round, the intended target is the person sitting to the caller's right. Then it always goes one position to the right, so in the second round the caller and his/her intended target sit opposite each other, and so on. In no turn can the callers be their own intended targets.

If a player manages to call a card which is in their intended target's hands, it is called a hit. If he manages to call for a life card of the target, that is called a kill. If the player calls for a hand card from any other player, then it is a miss. If he/she calls for a life card of another player, that is a critical. Calling for the last life card of a player is finishing.

Scoring for the caller goes like this:

There are two more possibilities:

Rules: The players' life cards are always kept face down; even the owner cannot look at them. Cards that have been called are stacked in the centre of the table in a discard pile, so that only the last card is face up.

When a card is called, whoever has the card must place it face up on the table. If nobody has or remembers having it, the caller is allowed to check in the discard pile. If it is not there, everybody must check their life cards. If anybody has it there, he/she is penalised by -10! (again, it is important to remember your own life cards!)

If anybody is unlucky enough to have more than half of their hand cards and yet is finished (his/her last life card is called), he/she may sacrifice one of the remaining hand cards and continue playing (so he/she can be finished twice). Anybody who is totally finished, must put all their hand cards on the table. If somebody is finished, other players continue, always skipping him as if he has never played. Only points can be recorded (by one player). It is a game for improving memory, so no notes can be taken, other than the score.

For 3 or 6 players, introduce a red and a black joker (54 cards in total). For 5 players, two cards remain on the table and they are the first two cards of the discard pile:

Number of ...

PersonsCards usedLife cardsHand cards

354414
452310
55237
65436

© Áron Csathó, 2002


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Last updated 14th September 2003