Sedmice

This page is partly based in information from Veselko Kelava.

Introduction

Sedmice (seven), which is played in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, belongs to an unusual group of trick-taking games in which a card is beaten only by an equal card or by a seven. It is closely related to the Czech and Slovak game Sedma and the Hungarian game Zsíros. In Croatia this game is also known as Šuster. This page describes a version played by Croatian players in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The variations section includes some differences found in Serbia.

Players and Cards

The game can be played by two players, or by four players in fixed partnerships, partners sitting opposite each other.

A 32-card French suited pack is used, the cards in each suit being A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7. Aces and tens are worth 10 points each, and the other cards are worth nothing. The side that wins the last trick scores an additional 10 points, so that there are 90 points available in total.

Deal and play are clockwise.

Deal

Any player may deal first. Four cards are dealt to each player, and the remaining cards are stacked face down on the table.

Play

The player to dealer's left leads to the first trick. Each player in turn plays one card face up on the table. Any card may be played - there are no restrictions.

To win a trick it is necessary to play either a card that is equal in rank to the card led by the player who began the trick or a seven. The trick is won by the last equal card or seven that is played to it.

After each player has played a card, there are three possibilities.

  1. The winning card was played by the player who led to the trick or this player's partner. The trick ends and the leader's team collects the cards and stores them face down.
  2. The winning card was played by an opponent of the player who led to the trick. In this case the player who led to the trick can continue the trick by playing another card, which must be a card that is equal to the original lead or a seven. In this case each player in turn must play another card. The trick can be continues for a third and a fourth round in the same way if an opponent of the leader is still winning and the leader has suitable cards to lead.
  3. The winning card was played by an opponent of the player who led to the trick, and the leader either does not wish to continue the trick or has no suitable card to play. The trick ends and the opponents of the leader collects the cards and store them face down.

After each trick players draw cards from the stock in turn, one card at a time, beginning with the winner of the trick, until either everyone has four cards again or the stock runs out. Then the winner of the trick leads any card to a new trick.

In the four-player partnership game, when the stock has run out players are allowed to know their partner's cards. Immediately after the last stock card is drawn, each player passes their hand across the table to their partner. After looking at these cards, the partner returns them to their original owner. At this point, players with particularly good memories will also be able to work out what cards the opponents hold (though not which of them has which card).

After the stock runs out play continues as before, without drawing, until all the cards have been played.

Examples of tricks with four players North (leader), East, South and West.

  • N:8, E:Q, S:9, W:9. North wins the trick because no one else played an 8 or a 7. The trick cannot be continued because North is winning.
  • N:A, E:J, S:8, W:A - West is winning so far, so N decides to continue - N:A, E:Q, S:K, W:7 - West is still winning so - N:7, E:10, S:9, W:K. North wins and collects the 12 cards.
  • N:10, E:7, S:K, W:J; N:7, E:10, S:J, W:A. East is winning but North has no Ten or Seven so cannot continue the trick. East collects the 8 cards.

In the four player game, players may suggest to their partners what they should play to a trick. Common expressions with their meanings are as follows.

  • Ubij (kill) - take the trick.
  • Pusti (let it go) - let the opponents take the trick.
  • Napuni (stuff it or fill it) or natovari (load it up) or podmazi (grease it up) - play a point card because I will win the trick.

Scoring

Each player or team counts the value of the cards they have won - 10 for each ace or ten - and the winner of the last trick adds a further 10. Each side adds these points to their cumulative score.

The game ends when either side has a cumulative score of 120 or more points. The side with more points then wins. This will take two or three deals.

Variations

Some Serbian players count just 1 point for each ace or ten and 1 point for the last trick, so that 9 points are available in total. This makes no real difference if the game is played to 12 points. A higher target score for winning the game, for example 30, may be agreed.

In Croatia, no points are counted for the last trick, so there are only 80 points in all, but in case of a 40-40 tie the winners of the last trick win the deal. Instead of adding the card points to a running score, the winning team in each hand scores 1 game point for a normal win, 2 game points if they take all 80 card points (but lose some worthless cards), or 3 game points if they win every trick.