Card Games: Picture Group

This group of games, though played with the international 52 card pack, often including a joker, originated in the Orient, probably in Japan. They are point trick games in which the aces, kings, queens, jacks and often also the tens are worth one point each, for a total of 16 or 20 card points in the pack.

Usually there is a trump suit, and often the ace of spades has the special power of beating all other cards, including the trumps, even though it is subject to the rules of following suit. The ace of spades, when it has this special power, is known in Japan as the almighty or mighty (in Japanese a version of the English word is used: ohrumaiti or maiti); formerly it was called speculation (in Japanese: supekyureishon, some still call it supeki).

The earliest game of this group that we know of is the Japanese game called Etori, which means capturing pictures. It first appeared in the late 19th century, and the term Etori has come to be used in Japan to refer to various games of this group. On you can find rules for:

  • Napoleon - a game with bidding, currently popular in Japan.
  • Mighty - a related game, played in Korea.
  • Kan - a partnership game often played by five players - two against three - popular in Aomori prefecture in Japan, especially at Goshogawara and Tsugaru.
  • Kakeya Toranpu - a partnership game for four or six players, from Shimane Prefecture, Japan.

Two-Ten-Jack is a game with extra scores (positive or negative) for twos, tens and the ace of spades, which is played in Japan and probably originated there, but also appears in several American card game books.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2001, 2010. Last updated: 21st August 2010