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Subject: Summary of rules for "41" rss

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Rutger W
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Here's an account of a game my grandparents taught me. This game is a tarot variant to dutch "31", but it actually seems to be a combination of the dutch game "31" & the german "Schwimmen", played with french tarot cards. I've never seen it online typed out before in my life, so here it is for all you tarot players out there (and I know you exist). This game comes so natural to me that it is hard to type up, but please let me know if you don't understand something.


Theortically 10, but that will quickly give the game a "lottery" feeling because of the way the 20 of Trumps is involved. 6 or less is optimal.


French suited Jeu de Tarot, but any deck which contains a numbered trumpsuit, the cavalier and 10-9-8-7-A will do.

Cards that will be played with are the K-D-C-V-10-9-8-7-A of each suit, and the 20-11-10-9-8-7-1 of trumps, as well as the Excuse. This makes a total of 44 cards, which is very convenient since players are dealt four cards and refreshment of exchange cards are four.


Shuffle and deal each player four cards, face down, one by one. The dealer deals two stacks for himself; he picks one stack up, and decides if he keeps this hand for play or not. If he keeps them, the other stack of four cards are opened in the middle of the table. If he rejects them, he throws his four initial cards open on the table, and picks up the other hand, which now becomes his hand (he cannot reverse, nor compare). The rest of the cards left become the talon.

Play & Points

Play is relatively simple, you take turns (player next to the dealer first) in exchanging with the four cards on the table to try to improve your hand towards 41 points, and as soon as you have a valid 41 points, you announce this; the game is over and final scoring takes place. The player(s) with the lowest score lose(s) a game point. Players are eliminated one by one until one is left.

During your turn, your options are one (and only one) of the following things;

- You may exchange one of your cards with one of the cards on the table
- You may pass
- You may exchange your entire hand with all cards on the table and automatically pass

When you pass, you may not exchange with the middle cards anymore, until there has been a talon substitution. This happens immediately after everybody passes. As soon as one person is left who may exchange a card, he has only one turn left before he automatically passes.
To make clear you passed, put your cards face down on the table.

When everybody passes, the middle cards are discarded, and four fresh cards from the talon are laid out in the middle of the table. The discarded cards do not enter into play again. Play continues until someone has 41 (not more) points, or until the middle cards cannot be refreshed when the talon is depleted.

- You may thus never exchange 2 or 3 cards, only 1 or 4, and in the latter case you automatically pass
- You may not exchange and pass in the same turn, but you automatically pass after you exchange and no other people are left in play that have not passed OR if you exchange all cards with the cards on table)

Acquiring points is relatively simple, the worth of your hand is determined as follows;
- all court cards are worth 10, numbered cards are worth their number, except aces which are worth 1 or 11 (this includes the 1 of trumps).
- pip and court cards can only be summed if they belong to the same suit, but trumps must be summed to any suit as if they were jokers with a fixed numeric value.
- you may not pass the score 41; if this still gives your hand too much points, your trumps are invalid and do not count towards the total. See examples below. You must always count the highest score possible in passing 41 if you can, even though you may freely choose the worth of aces as 1 or 11, and freely choose if you’re using a three of a kind (see below) or not (doesn't make trumps invalid). It’s important to show your entire hand at final scoring so others can see you’re not passing 41!
- four of a kind is worth 40.5, all cards lose their usual value when included, even trumps! The trumps 20 and 11 cannot be combined with any cards, ince there are no 20 and 11 in other suits.
- three of a kind is worth 30.5, all cards lose their usual value when included, even trumps! If your fourth card (not belonging to the three of a kind) is a trump it must be added to the 30.5. So Three of a Kind + Trumps 9 is worth 39.5, for example. Making a three of a kind is optional, but when you make a three of a kind and your fourth card is a trump, this fourth card MUST be counted and cannot be disregarded. If this passes 41, you may not make the three of a kind for final scoring.
- the Excuse can be used as joker to any three or four of a kind, or as being worth a court card of 10 to any suit. The Excuse does not have to be counted in passing 41.
- Four court cards, regardless of suit or rank, are worth 25.
- Finally, the three most important cards in the game, the Trumps20, Trumps1 and the Joker all three together are worth 41, always disregarding the fourth card (only really relevant i combination with Trumps11 I think).

When someone acquires 41, the game abruptly ends by the announcement of the person who scores 41 (obligatory), and everybody shows their cards and counts his points. The game also ends when the middle cards need to be refreshed when the talon is depleted, but this is rare. The one with the least points loses a game point! If there are more people who tie for the lowest score, all those people lose a game point. If all people have exactly the same low score, nobody loses. You can use dices to count game points; all players start with a dice at 6, and turn to a lower number when they lose. The first one to lose all points gets another one point, called “you are swimming” in german, or “chicken” in dutch.

Examples of scores;
Hearts8-HeartsValet-SpadesValet-Trumps9; 8+10+9=27; SpadesValet cannot be counted.
Trumps20-Trumps11-Trumps1-SpadesCavalier; This hand is in effect a minimum of 20+11+1+10=42 (when Trumps1 is counted as 11 it would be 20+11+11+10=52), which is illegal, since it passes 41. Thus, the trumps lose their value and the hand becomes worth 10 (counting just SpadesCavalier).
Trumps20-Trumps11-Trumps1-Trumps10; This hand is also worth a min of 42, thus the trumps lose their value and the hand is worth zero.
Trumps20-HeartsQueen-HeartsKing-Trumps1; When selecting Trumps1 as being worth 1, this hand is worth 41 (selecting Trumps1 as 11 would be make an illegal score passing 41 and reduce the points to 20 so why would you)! Congrats, you won, declare it, play stops, final scoring!
Hearts10-Spades10-Trumps10-Trumps-11; If three of a kind is made, this hand is worth 30.5+11=41.5 which is illegal, so the three of kind is illegal. Since three of a kind is optional in scoring, the trumps do not automatically lose their value, and the hand is worth 10+10+11=31.
Trump1-Trump20-Excuse-HeartsNine; this hand is worth 41, since the Trump1-Trump20-Excuse combination may disregard the fourth card.
- Hearts7-Spades7-Trumps7-Excuse; This hand is worth 40.5 since the Excuse can be counted as a 7.

Special situations;
When 41 is acquired through exchange in the first round, all players who did not get an exchange get one more turn, this includes the dealer.
When you are dealt 41, immediately announce it before the first exchange takes place, even if it is not your turn. All other players may exchange one time.

- Play with the trump 21 instead of 20.
- Four court cards regardless of rank are worth 20.5 instead of 25.
- Play without refreshing from the talon; final scoring takes place immediately after everybody passes. Severely reduces chances at gaining 41 points.
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