Multiple Card Brag
Contributed by David Horwell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is a group of games based on similar principles to the traditional games of 6-card, 7-card, 9-card and 13-card Brag, but invented independently by David Horwell and his son Andrew.
Using 52 cards, either 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, or 24 card Brag can be played by two players or correspondingly less for up to 4 players - e.g. 12 card Brag for 4 players. There are some variants that we have found add more spice / interest:
- To avoid equal ranking of tricks we use the 'Bridge order' ( beats beats beats ) to make a winning hand each time. For example with a running flush of, say, A-K-Q then the ace of Spades will win over the ace of Hearts. This ensures a winning point every time. In general, between otherwise equal combinations, the suit of the highest card of the combination decides which is higher - for example 8-7-6 beats 8-7-6. When comparing pairs, you compare the highest card in the pairs, ignoring the odd cards, so 5-5-A beats 5-5-A. We score by giving one point per trick and a bonus if all tricks are made. The winner is the first to get the number of points indicated by the multiple Brag total.
Example: Our favourite for 2 players is 16 card Brag. Here, 16 cards are dealt and sorted into 5 x 3 tricks and one card discarded. The highest trick is laid on the table to the player's left, followed in decreasing order to the right. Each trick of 3 cards is played off in order from left to right against the other player(s). Each winning trick is awarded 1 point - i.e. a total of 5 points per game. We play that if one player gets all 5 tricks he gets a further bonus point giving a total in that case only of 5+1=6 points. The first to reach 15 points or more in a complete game is the winner. If more than one player gets exactly 15 exactly in the same time then we play one more round as a 'sudden death' playoff. With 5 tricks this, of course, needs only one more hand to be played.
- Using the jokers as wild cards and the four twos also as wild cards. A variant here is to use the three jokers (2 jokers + the one 'bridge score card!) and the wild twos as a hand in their own right, which we have called a 'supreme' which can actually beat a Prial of threes, which is fun. It can only be used once for the first (left hand side) trick.
[Editor's note: In Britain, 52-card packs are usually sold with three or four extra cards - two or three of them are jokers and there is often also a card with a Bridge scoring summary on the front and a normal back, so that it can be used as an additional joker.]
- A variant is to use what we call the 'running flush, or Horwell's' rule. This rule says that a running flush in which the top card is higher in rank than a Prial will beat the Prial. This is also fun and can make you think and extend more the order of play of the tricks. For example, a Prial of 3 Queens will be beaten by a running flush of King, Queen, Jack, but not by a running flush of Queen, Jack, Ten. (It is the rank of the top card not its suit that is important in this case, so Q-Q-Q beats Q-J-10, but 8-7-6 beats 7-7-7.
Andrew's new game of 4 Card Brag
This new game greatly extends the game of Brag and multiple card Brag. This is not 3 card Brag where one merely throws away one card to play conventional 3 card Brag, but uses tricks of 4 cards and so can have the multiples of 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24 cards for 2 players. We have found it a lot more fun to add the two jokers + bridge score card (as essentially 3 jokers) and use the twos also as wild cards. Hence this provides no less than 7 wild cards, 4 of which can be used as a 'supreme' to beat the highest Prial which in this game is now a Prial of 4's (not 3's!).
This game also adds some new ranked hands. We have found that for 2 players 21 card - 4 card Brag using the jokers and twos as wild as the most fun. Hence, from the pack of 52 cards + 3 more (2 jokers + one bridge score card), 21 cards each are dealt to 2 players and each discards one card. 5 tricks of 4 cards each are then assembled in rank order from the 20 cards in each hand, and placed face down on the table from left to right in decreasing rank order and then played off against each other one by one.
The new ranking of tricks is:
- Supreme (4 wild cards comprised of mixtures of both jokers and twos. cf Canasta)
- Prial of 4's (example: 4 aces)
- Running flush - except when the running flush has the first card higher than the Prial (the running flush or 'Horwells' Rule). However we play that if the highest card is a wild card or joker then the 'real card' will win. Example, running flushes of A-K-Q-Wild (the wild card substituting for the J) will beat a running flush of Wild-K-Q-J. Note, however, that by the bridge rank order rule the A-K-Q will beat the A-K-Q. Note also that for runs, flushes, pairs, etc. if there are two equal first cards then the second card will dictate the win. If all 4 cards are equal then the bridge order will decide the winner. Example, in a run ten, nine, eight, seven then the ten of spades will win, but in a flush of say Ace clubs, ten, nine, five will beat Ace spades, nine, five, four.
- Pair-of Pairs - a new hand. Example, 2 aces + 2 fives
- Three card running flush
- Three card run
- Three card flush
- Rainbow - a new hand with one card of each suit. Clearly, the highest from one hand will win and if equal with another hand then the second will decide. If all 4 cards are equal then the 'bridge rank' rule will decide. Example is that a hand: ace spades, 5 hearts , 4 diamonds, 3 clubs will beat the hand : ace clubs, 5 hearts, 4 diamonds 3 spades.
- Singleton high.
When using twos or jokers as wild cards to substitute for other cards (i.e. other than in a supreme), only the number of wild cards must be less than the number of natural cards in that trick. In other words, at most one wild card per trick can be played. For example, a run 8-7-6-5 can be represented by Joker-7-6-5 but not by Joker-6-Joker-5. A run with a natural top card will beat a run with a wild top card. For example a run 8-7-6-5 will beat a run Joker-7-6-5.