Card Games: King-Ten-Five Group, Sheng Ji Games

There is a group of games played in China in which the counting cards are kings and tens (worth 10 points) and fives (worth 5 points). Some of these are point-trick games using the Sheng Ji scoring system:

There are also Chinese climbing games which use the same card value system, such as Zheng Fen.

It may be a pure coincidence that the North American family Rook games use a rather similar point scheme. Thees use a special deck with 14 numbered cards in each suit and the counting cards are the 14 and the 10 (worth 10 points each) and the 5 (worth 5 points). Some players also play Rook games are also played with standard cards.

There are other North American games with standard cards using a similar point system. In the Canadian game 200 (Deux Cents), also sometimes known as 10 (Dix) or Bidder 10, it is the ace, rather than the king that scores 10 points. This game or a similar one may have been the inspiration for Rook.

Sheng Ji (升级)

This Chinese term means 'promote' or 'raise level'. It describes a method of scoring card games in which the score of each player or team is expressed as a card rank. Typically everyone starts with a score of 2, and the winners of each deal are promoted to the next higher rank 3, then 4, 5 and so on up to Jack, Queen, King, Ace. A player or team with a rank of Ace that achieves another promotion wins the game. Winning a deal by a large margin may be rewarded by a promotion of two or more ranks, but often there are levels that cannot be skipped in this way, and usually it is not possible to win the game directly from a rank below Ace: first the rank Ace must be a achieved and then another deal won.

Often the score also influences the ranking of the cards in the play, cards corresponding to a particular player's score having a special power.

This scoring system is used in all the Chinese trick-taking games of the King-Ten-Five group listed above, having presumably originated in Da Bai Fen. It is also used in some other types of Chinese card game such as the climbing game Guan Dan.

Home Page > Classified Index > Trick Taking Games > King-Ten-Five group
This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2001, 2007, 2023. Last updated: 8th March 2023