Le Brouc - card game rules

Le Brouc

Le Brouc is a point trick game for four players in fixed partnerships, played in the Swiss village of l'Etivaz. A 32-card pack is used with the card values ace=11, ten=10, king=4, queen=3, jack=2. There are extra scores of 20 card points for the king and queen of a suit together, and 30 card points for the king-queen-jack of a suit. These scores are doubled to 40 and 60 if the suit is trumps.

These K-Q and K-Q-J combinations can be declared and scored when a team wins its first trick, if they are together in the hand of one player of that team (they do not count if any of the cards have already been played). They are also scored by a team that wins a trick containing one of these combinations.

The game is played anticlockwise. Eight cards are dealt to each player, in packets of 1, 3 and 4. The last card of the pack, which goes to the dealer, is turned up to show the trump suit.

The player to dealer's right leads to the first trick. Players must follow suit if possible. If a plain suit lead has been trumped, it is illegal to undertrump unless by doing so one creates a K-Q or K-Q-J combination in the trick.

At the end of the play each team counts its points for cards in tricks and combinations. Each team's total is divided by 10, rounded to the nearest whole number (0.5 is rounded upwards) and added to their cumulative score. The first side to achieve a cumulative score of more than 30 points wins the game - this can happen in the middle of the play. For this purpose the score in the final deal is not rounded: 'more than 30' (expressed as 30+1) actually means that 30.1 - for example a team that previously had a cumulative score of 25 points can claim a win as soon as they have 51 or more card points in the current deal (5.1 or more after division).

A team that takes all eight tricks (cape) wins two additional games.

Further details, including the official rules, can be found on the web site Le Brouc.

Philippe Lalanne's Salon des Jeux gives details of L'Homme de Brou, an ancestor of Le Brouc played in the 18th and 19th centuries. It differs from the modern game of Le Brouc as follows:

  • Apparently a player who could not follow suit could play any card. No restriction on undertrumping is mentioned.
  • A combination of K-Q or K-Q-J of a suit in a trick scores twice as much as the equivalent combination in the hand of a player, and this double amount is added to the card point total of the winners of the trick and subtracted from the card point totals of their opponents, which may thus become negative.
  • The scores were rounded but not divided by 10. The first team to reach 301 or more scored 1 partie if their opponents had 150 or more, 2 parties if their opponents had 0-150 points, or 4 parties if their opponents had a negative score.
  • An extra 3 parties were scored by a team that won all 8 tricks in a deal.
  • The match was won by the first team to reach a pre-agreed target of (say) 10, 12 or 14 parties.
This page is maintained by John McLeod (john@pagat.com).   © John McLeod, 2003, 2022. Last updated: 18th February 2022

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