Also known as: Kings and Bastards; Rich Man, Poor Man

Players: Best with 3-5

To Begin With

Basics of Play

Cards are dealt to the left until the entire pack is, well, dealt.
3's are the lowest card (whoever has the the 3 begins with this card - though don't forget multiples as detailed below), the deck continues as normal (4,5,6,7,8,9,10,Jack,Queen,King) and Ace is the highest card. Suits have no effect on the cards value.

Play proceeds in a clockwise direction, each player beating the last card with one of a higher value (never equal). If a player either cannot play a card or chooses to skip that turn (ie to hang onto a multiple or trump) then they are out for that round.
The winner of the round begins the next.


The first player to play all of hir cards is the King, the last player left with cards is the Bastard.
The Bastard shuffles and deals the cards as normal.
Once this is done the Bastard gives hir three best cards to the King in exchange for the new monarch's three worst cards (note: you can't be tricky and hang onto the 3♣ because you want to start - unless you have all 3's - or be generous to the Bastard. They must be your worst cards).

If there are 4 or 5 (or more) players then the second to finish is the Vice-King, the second-to-last to finish is the Vice-Bastard.
Vices exchange one card in the same manner as the King and Bastard.

Repeat as desired.

Moving On

Multiple Cards

If you have cards of the same value (a pair of 5's, three 8's, whatever) then these cards can be played together BUT only if the round is begun with multiple cards (ie whoever starts puts down hir pair of 5's).
Obviously multiples are classed as 'Pairs', 'Triples' or 'Quadruples'.
A multiple can only be beaten by a higher multiple of the same class (ie the three 5's your opponent just put down can't be beaten by that pair of 9's you've been holding on to) - the exception to this rule being trumps.

You can see tactics beginning to emerge when multiples come into play, will you use that 9 and save the two 7's you've been holding onto? etc.


Standard Trumps - these are the 2's. A trump is a handy thing to have as it will top any card (except for another trump) or multiple of cards.

Joker Trumps - these are the Jokers, which are optional. Should you use them one of two sets of rules apply (which one is being used should be ascertained before you begin):

  1. The 2's are no longer trumps, merely the highest normal card. This makes trumping harder to do (coz there ain't as many).
  2. The 2's remain trumps, the Jokers are a form of trump that will beat everything including 2's (but again one Joker cannot beat another). This obviously increases the amount of trumping, but unless you're in the desirable position of having both Jokers you'll think twice before throwing down a 2.


This rule should only be introduced when at least a few of you have a good grasp of the game.

When three consecutive cards are played the third player can 'call' it.
eg p1 begins with a 3, p2 plays that a 4, p3 tops that with a 5 and declares "3 4 5".
For the rest of this round a card must continue this trend if you're gonna play it.
eg p1 has no 6 so must pass, p2 plays a 6, p3 has no 7 and is out. p2 wins this round.

In the event of ordering even trumps will not win automatically. 2's can still win if it gets to that point but Jokers have no value and are effectively useless.

If (in the example used) all cards were red (as in all Hearts and/or Diamonds) then p3 could have declared "3 4 5 red", in which case the next card would need to be a red 6.
If all cards were Hearts then p3 could have declared "3 4 5 Hearts", in which case the next card would need to be the 6♥ (especially cunning if you have the 6 yourself).
Just in case you weren't sure this also applies to black suits ("3 4 5 black") and to every indivudial suit.

If (horror of all horrors) p3 forgets to declare on hir turn, or simply doesn't want to, then the chain is broken before it can properly form and play continues as normal.
If another player can continue the chain (ie p1 throws down a 7) then sie can declare if sie so wishes.
It should also be noted (along the lines of choosing to not declare) that should all consecutive cards be of the one suit, you can choose what level you take it too (and so must choose between making it really hard for your opponents to go and being able to go yourself).

(Just in case)

Three players

    • p1 has 3♣ so must begin
    • p1 plays three 3's (best to get rid of them while you can)
    • p2 quickly scans hir cards and plays a trio of 9's
    • p3 has no triples high enough, so uses a 2
    • No one has/uses a Joker - p3 win

    • p3 starts with the remaining 3
    • p1 plays a 4
    • p2 plays a 5 but does not call
    • p3 plays a 7 (thankful that p2 didn't call as sie has no 6)
    • p1 plays an 8
    • p2 plays a 9 and (seeing as all are red) calls "7 8 9 red"
    • p3 curses impotently
    • p1 plays the 10 smugly
    • p2 plays the Jack♥ (sie had it covered!)
    • p1 realises that sie has no red Queen. Drat!
    • p2 wins

  1. etc until a King and a Bastard are determined.

Mine and Bronco's thanks to ocelotbob for the alternate name.
Sie informs me that there is a vietnamese name, but cannot remember it.