Jass is a typical swiss game. It is quite old and was already played in 18 and 19th century, allthough the true first written game rules were only published near 1900.
The objective of the game is only to win a maximum of points by judiciousely playing your cards. It is played with 2 teams of 2 players, with a swiss card game containing 36 cards (from 6 to ace), and is organized in rounds of 9 tricks.
Course of the game
Participants make two teams of two players and sit down at the table so that each team plays alternatively. At the beginning of the round, the dealer give 9 cards to each player, in principle three at a time
Before actually playing the cards, the player on the left of the dealer must choose a color (heart, diamond, spades, club) as trump, which will be valable for the round. The designed color will gain special particularities which will make it the most important one, it is therefore important to choose one where you have high cards, or as default, one where you have many cards.
IF the player who must choose the trump think he doesn't have a good enough hand to do so, he can pass that privilege to his teammate. IN this case, the teammate has to choose the trump, he isn't allowed to pass again.
Once the trump is chosen, the card play can begin as described below. The player on the left of the dealer always starts the first trick, even if he left his teammate choose the trump.
At the end of the round, points are counted and the player on the left of the dealer become dealer for the next round.
At his turn, the player must :
- IF there isn't any card on the table, he has to begin a new trick. as such, he can play any card of his choice. This first card will determine the suit.
- IF he isn't the first one, then :
- If he owns a card having the same color as the suit (the first card played), then he has to follow, that is being obliged to play that color.
- If he doesn't own a card having the same color as the suit, then he can play any card of his choice.
- If he own trumps, he can play one at any time, even if he had the right color to follow. That action is called cut and permit to take the lead of the trick, possibly having the choice to begin the next one afterwards.
- IF the suit is not trump and if somebody has already cut, it is forbidden to undercut, that is, play a trump having a weakest value as those already on the table, except if there is anything else playable. The opposite, overcut, is totally legal and allow to counter against the opposite team.
When everybody has played his card, the player who put the strongest one win the trick. The strongest card is defined by :
- If there are trumps, the highest trump card win the trick
- Otherwise, if there isn't any trump, the highest card having the suit color win the trick
The team who win the trick get points contained in it immediately.
At trump color, order and value of cards are the following :
- Jack, 20 points
- 9, 14 points
- Ace, 11 points
- King, 4 points
- Queen, 3 points
- 10, 10 points
- 8, 7 and 6 aren't worth any point
At non-trump colors, order and value of cards are the following :
- Ace, 11 points
- King, 4 points
- Queen, 3 points
- Jack, 2 points
- 10, 10 points. Pay attention to play that card at the right moment, because it is often easy points.
- 9, 8, 7 and 6 aren't worth any point
Last trick of the round is worth 5 supplementary points. A round always totalize exactly 157 points. A whole jass game is usually played up to 1000, 1500 or 2000 points.
The apple or Putz for 3 or 5 players
The Apple or Putz (from German: to clean up) is a Jass variant which can be played with 3 or 5 players. There is no team, everybody plays on their own. Rules concerning trumps, card order and value are the same as the standard Jass played with 4 players. However, one don't count effective points but rather victories and defeats.
With 3 players
The dealer gives 9 cards to each player. The 9 remaining undealt cards form the aside.
After the distribution, the dealer returns the top card of the aside. This one indicates the trump suit for the round, and the person who owns the 6 can exchange it for the later before the beginning of the first trick. The player right after the dealer can also, at his turn, if he wants to, before having played his first card, decide to take the aside. It thus becomes his new hand, the other one is discarded. If this player decide to keep his original hand, the next one can at his turn decide to take the aside. It must be taken before having played the first card, and one can't go back to the initial hand afterwards.
Each player totalizing less than 21 points at the end of the round get a negative point also called apple. The two best players mark a positive point also called Putz. If two players had so bad hands that they both get a negative point, the big winner marks two points unstead of only one. The game finishes when the winner reach 7 points, or when the loser goes below -3.
With 5 players
With 5 players, the dealer deals 7 cards to each player. The only one that remain undealt tells the trump suit for the round. Like the game with 3 players, the person how owns the 6 of trump can take it at its place. There is no aside to exchange.
At the end of the round, the three best players get a positive point. IF two players got less than 21, the best one marks two points. If three players got apples, the two best ones mark two points each, and if 4 players got apples, the big winner wins 3 points alone. The game ends when the winner reach 7 points, or when the loser reach -5.
Keyboard shortcuts summary
- Enter: start the game or play a particular card
- C: announce cards currently on the table
- A: choose or announce trump
- F: announce suit
- H: take the aside
- G: exchange the 6 of trump
- S: announce scores
- T: announce who is in turn