Card Games: Capturing Games

This page is part of the index of card games classified by objective. Cards can be captured by various means, the commonest being taking of tricks and fishing.

In some of these games all the cards or tricks are equal in value; in some the cards have varying values, each card being worth a specific number of points, or attention may be focussed on winning a specific trick, for example the last. The objective may be to capture as many cards (or points) as possible, or as few as possible, or a specific amount. This gives us eight types of objective:

Objective:to captureto avoid capturingto capture a specific amount
All cards are of equal valueCapture as many cards as possibleCapture as few cards as possibleCapture a specific number of cards
Cards have various valuesCapture as many points as possibleCapture as few points as possibleCapture a specific number of points
Only particular tricks countTake the last trickLose the last trick(s) ---

There are also some card capture games with mixed objectives.

Capture as many cards as possible

This is one of the most widespread types of card game. The majority plain trick games are of this type.

Capture as few cards as possible

This is surprisingly rare as a principle for a whole game, but sometimes occurs as part of a game. There are two somewhat different versions.

Games where the object is to take no cards at all
This occurs as a contract in many games with bidding, often going by the name of Misère, Null, Nolo, Bettel or some variation of these names. It is found in most games of the Boston group, in Preference and in some forms of l'Hombre. It is also an option in several point-trick games with bidding, for example in Skat, in the Tarot games Königrufen and Slovenian Tarok, and in Pandoeren.

Games where the object is to take as few cards as possible
This is sometimes found in bidding games as a default when everyone passes. This happens in Russian Preference and some games of the Boston group. It is also an option in several trick-taking compendium games.

Capture a specific number of cards

There is a group of games in which players bid a number of tricks and try to win exactly that number. This is principle of the exact bidding group of plain-trick games.

Capture as many points as possible

Most point-trick games and most fishing games are of this type, as is the climbing game Zheng Fen.

Capture as few points as possible

In the reverse group of point-trick games the cards have penalty point values and the object is to avoid taking them in tricks. Sometimes these games allow the exceptional opportunity to win if you can take all the penalty cards. Hearts is a well-known game of this type.

Capture a specific number of points

These are the point-trick equivalent of the exact bidding group. Differenzler Jass is one of the few games of this type.

Take the last trick

Some of the last trick group of plain-trick games have this objective. Also, many point-trick games include a bonus for winning the last trick.

In particular, Tarot games often have a bonus for winning the last trick with the lowest trump, and this has spread to related games such as Ulti and Marias.

Lose the last trick(s)

In Cucumber, 22 and Krypkille, the aim is to avoid winning the last trick. In Barbu the contract "no last two" has the objective to avoid winning the last two tricks.

Card capture games with mixed objectives

Some games have a mixture of positive and negative value cards. Examples are Kaiser, Gong Zhu and the similar variation of Hearts in which the diamond jack counts plus 10.

The Jass games Mittlere, Molotov and Plus-Minus have the unusual objective of taking either most or fewest card points; the player in the middle is the loser.