There are 32 gameplay cards that come in 4 suits, as denoted by their color:
In total, there are:
Each card has its rank in the corner and its given point value marked in the center. Points range from 0 - 11. Note that there's not a direct correlation between rank and points - the highest ranked cards in the game are not worth the most points.
There are also 20 Victory Cards in the deck:
At the start of a round, deal out all the remaining gameplay cards face down as follows:
For 3-Player Games:
First remove the “Green 1” and “Red 1” cards from the deck. Then shuffle the deck and deal 9 cards to each player and put another 3 cards in a separate pile called the Boon.
For 4-Player Games:
Shuffle the deck and deal 7 cards to each player and put another 4 cards in a separate pile called the Boon.
For 5-Player Games:
Shuffle the deck and deal 6 cards to each player and put another 2 cards in a separate pile called the Boon.
After the cards are dealt, the player to the left of the dealer has the choice to take the Boon and use its cards. Note that you don't get to see the cards in the Boon until after you've decided to take it.
If the player takes the Boon, he then chooses 3 cards (for 3-player mode) or 4 cards (for 4-player mode) to put face down into his points pile. These points count toward his score at the end of the round.
Now all of the other players are on a defensive team against the solo player who took the Boon.
If a player chooses not to take the Boon, the opportunity passes to the next clockwise player who now has the same opportunity. This keeps repeating for all players until either someone takes the Boon or all players pass on it.
If nobody takes the Boon, the game goes into Leaster Mode.
The trick ends after each player has played one card. The winner of the trick is:
(1) The person who played the highest ranked trump card if any trump cards are present.
- or -
(2) The person who played the highest ranked card of the leading suit if no trump cards are present.
The winner of the trick collects the cards played into a personal face down pile and proceeds to play the first card of the next trick. Tricks repeat until all players are out of cards, completing a round.
The round is over when all of the cards have been played. The two opposing sides – the solo player and the defensive team – are competing to win the most points out of the round’s 120 total possible points.
At the end of the round, each player adds up the point values on the cards he won – his personal face down pile. The solo player also adds the points from the cards he removed from his hand at the start of the round.
The defensive team adds their points together, then payouts are determined by the solo player’s score:
Rounds repeat until one player has lost all of his Victory Cards after payouts. You win the game if you are the player who has the most Victory Cards at this time!
If all players decline to take the Boon, the round goes into Leaster Mode. Set the Boon cards aside entirely.
Each player is on a team of his own. The goal is now to earn the least amount of points possible, while still winning at least one trick.
A player who does not win any tricks is disqualified from winning the round. At the end of the round, each player gives one Victory Card to the winner.
5 player mode is a bit more difficult to learn unless you're comfortable with 3 or 4 player games, but it can also be the most rewarding to play!
The rules for 5 player mode are mostly the same, but there are a few key differences:
This means that the player with this card is secretly on the same offensive team as the person who takes the Boon. This should remain a secret until the 7 gold trump card is played naturally in gameplay. With regard to how teams are determined, the partner has no say in the matter - he is automatically on the offensive team along with the player who takes the Boon.
The partner should play a card that is worth a lot of points when he thinks the player who took the Boon is going to win that trick.
If the person who takes the Boon already has the 7 gold trump card in his hand or if he picks up the 7 gold trump card in the Boon, then he is on a team of his own against the other 4 players.
If you're on the defensive team, stay alert! Sometimes the partner will pretend to be on the defensive team and win points from tricks. You can never be sure who to trust until the partner card is revealed.
At the end of the round, the offensive team's players (the player who takes the Boon and the partner) add all of the points together for the cards on the tricks that they won. Just like 3 and 4 player modes, the offensive team needs at least 61 points to win. The same payout brackets still apply, but are slightly adjusted to accomodate the partner:
Just like in 3 and 4 player modes, if nobody takes the Boon then the game goes into Leaster Mode.