Hornipex

Contributed by Kyle Hoffmaier

Introduction

Hornipex is a game for 2 to 6 players using a standard 52-card deck without jokers. The objective is to be the first to get rid of all the cards from your hand by playing them to a central 'play pile'. The rules governing which cards can be played and their effects are quite elaborate. They are listed below under 'connections'.

To begin the game, eight cards are dealt to each player, one card is placed face up on the table to begin the play pile and the remainder of the deck is stacked face down beside it.

Play

The player to dealer's left plays first and the turn to play passes clockwise. At your turn you may play one or more cards from your hand face up on top of the play pile and you may be required to draw new cards from the deck and add them to your hand. The card(s) that may be played and the drawing of cards depends on the card(s) that are on top of the play pile.

Your turn ends when you cannot or do not wish to play any more cards to the play pile, or when you play a card that causes your turn to end according to the rules below. Then the turn passes to the next player to the left.

If you are unable to play a card on your turn, or unable to play an additional card hwne required to do so, you must draw one card and the turn passes to the next player.

If the deck runs out, the cards of the play pile are shuffled, except for the top two cards which are left in place, and the shuffled cards are stacked face down to make a new deck.

Connections

These are the rules governing cards that may be played. For this purpose the cards have numerical values: 2-10 face value, J=11, Q=12, K=13, A=14. 'Top card' means the card currently on top of the play pile.

Cards with special abilities only acquire those abilities when placed by a player. If a 7, 9, 10, J or Q is turned up when the cards are dealt it just counts as a normal card of that value and the first player follows normal connection rules. However 8's and Aces are still equivalent (see 'Eight' below): if an Eight is turned up, the first player can treat it asd a Ace (and for example follow with the King of the same suit), and if an Ace is turned up it can similarly be treated as an Eight.

Adjacent card

A card may be played if it is one rank higher or one lower than the top card and the same suit. For example if the top card is the diamond3 you may play the diamond4 and then the diamond5.

Copies

A card may be played if it is the same rank as the top card (but of course a different suit). For example if the top card is the heart5 you may play the club5 (copy) and then the spade5 (copy) and then the spade4 (adjacent).

If you end your turn with a copy, leaving two or three equal ranked cards on top of the play pile and playing no more cards, you must draw one card from the deck. The next player may then continue playing as though any of the equal cards is the top card of the play pile, ignoring the equal cards played after it. For example if you end your turn by playing the heart4 and then the club4 you draw a card and the next player may begin her turn by playing the heart3 (adjacent to the heart4).

If at any point all four cards of one rank are together on top of the play pile, for example spade7 diamond7 club7 heart7, the whole play pile is discarded and the current player's turn ends. The next player can begin his turn by playing any card.

Divide or Multiply by whole number

If the top card is a number card (2-10) you may play a number card of the same suit whose value is obtained by multiplying or dividing the value of the top card by any whole number. For example if the top card is the spade3 you may play the spade6 (×2) or the spade9 (×3). If the top card is the diamond10 you can play the diamond5 (÷2) or the diamond2 (÷5 or because it is a wild card - see below). Division and multiplication cannot be used to play a Jack, Queen, King or Ace, or when the top card is a Jack, Queen, King or Ace.

Add, Subtract or Multiply the top two cards

The values of top two cards of the play pile can be added or subtracted or multiplied to play a card of the same suit with value equal to their sum or difference. This connection can involve number cards, pictures or Aces. For example if the top two cards are diamond4 diamond7 you could play the diamondJ (4+7=11) or the diamond3 (7-4=3). If the top two cards are heart4 heart3 you could add them to play the heart7 or multiply them to play the heartQ.

If the top cards are club9 club3 you can add them to play the clubQ next, but after the Queen you cannot play the club4 next since division of the top two cards is not a connection and a picture cannot be divided by a whole number to make a connection.

If the previous player ended his turn with a copy you can add the top two cards and play a card of the total value in either suit. For example if at the start of your turn the top cards are spade6 club6 you can begin with the spadeQ or the clubQ.

Twos, Tens, Aces

The 2, 10, and Ace are 'wild cards' in the sense that they can played when any card of the same suit is on top of the pile.

If you end your turn with a 'wild card' copy you do not have to draw a card.

Whenever a 10 is played, the next player in turn must draw four cards.

Therefore, if you end your turn by playing two 10's, you do not draw any cards but the next player must draw four cards - two cards for each 10.

Sevens

Whenever a Seven is played, the next player (to the left of the person who played the 7) must draw one card.

Eights

An Eight is equivalent to an Ace. That means, for example that:

  • Like an Ace, an Eight can always be played on any card of the same suit.
  • If you end your turn with two Eights (a copy), you don't have to draw a card.
  • If the top cards of the play pile are club2 clubA the next play could be club4 (8÷2) or club6 (8-2) or club7 (adjacent to 8 or 14÷2) or club9 (adjacent to 8) or club10 (wild) or clubQ (14-2) or clubK (adjacent).

Nines

If you play a Nine you may follow it with any card of the same suit or another Nine. If you are unable to play on your own Nine you must draw one card. Drawing a card uses up the power of the Nine and your turn ends: the following player must continue using normal connection rules.

Jacks

If you play Jack you must follow it with another card, which may be any card of any suit. If unable to do this (because the Jack was your last card - generally a mistake) you must draw one card. Drawing a card uses up the power of the Jack and your turn ends: the following player must continue using normal connection rules.

Queens

Queens are played in the normal way, but after a Queen if the next card played is a Jack or King (adjacent), the player must draw one card.

End of the Game

The first player who manages to play all their cvards, ending their turn with an empty hand, wins the game.

Note that if you play all your cards but your final play requires you to draw a card - for example if you end with a non-wild copy or a Jack or a Nine - this does not end the game and you have not won. You have to draw and the game continues.

Tactics

It is a good idea to get rid of all your cards that are not wild cards, Nines or Jacks.

Once you see a way to finish or to end your turn with just one wild card, break all precautions and win.

Do not play so as to put four equal cards together on top of the pile - this gives the next player too great an advantage.

Do not end your turn with a copy if you can avoid it.