I’ve recently become quite obsessed with the card game Euchre. If you aren’t familiar with it, I highly recommend you learn it, because it’s amazing. However, one limitation is that it only works for exactly four players. I often found myself wishing that it would work for slightly larger groups, because there were often 6 people on hand, and having two left over was terribly annoying. Thus, Peuchre was born. Peuchre is a variant of Euchre that is played with 6 people. It’s similar to Euchre in many ways, but has several key differences that add layers of complexity and strategy. The original ideas and rules for Peuchre are courtesy of Mr. Dan Murphy, a science teacher of mine. These rules were tested and expanded upon by several of my friends. So, without further ado, Peuchre:
Deck: 6 through Ace of each suit, 3 sets of 2, 3, and 5 used for scoring.
Beginning the game:
- All players sit in a hexagon such that they are across from their partner.
- One of the partners is designated to keep score using a 2, 3, and 5. The score cards are laid out into a triangle, with each card having one edge above a card and one edge below. To keep track of the game score these cards will begin face down and then turned face up and have various pips showing to keep score.
- A dealer must be decided to begin the game. This is accomplished by dealing out cards to players until a black jack is turned up; this player becomes the dealer.
Playing a hand:
- The dealer shuffles the deck by rifling or cutting at as much as they wish. The dealer then spreads the cards out face down between the players, known as “smearing”. The dealer then says “Be gone” and the other 5 players then use one finger, customarily their pinky, to pull one card at a time towards themselves until they have 5 cards. If two players both attempt to pull the same card, then the player with the smaller finger is awarded the card. Once the other 5 players have their cards, then the dealer may select their 5 cards in the same method. This will result in 6 cards remaining. The dealer stacks these cards, called the “catty”, in the middle and then bidding begins.
- The player to the left of the dealer then gets the chance to decide if they want the suit of the upturned card to be trump. The player can either call or pass. If the player calls, then the dealer picks up the upturned card and discards a different card from their hand. The calling player has committed their team to take at least 3 of the 5 possible tricks. If the player passes, then the player to their left then has the same opportunity and so on until it gets to the dealer. The dealer then has the chance to either call or pass. If the dealer passes then they take the upturned card and places it face down next to the catty and then turns up the following card. The same bidding process is repeated until a trump is decided or the catty is empty. if the catty is empty then the player to the left of the dealer is allowed to call any suit of their choice or pass. If it passes all the way to the dealer then the dealer can either call or pass. If the dealer passes then the hand is called a misdeal and the player to the dealer’s left begins to deal.
- At the time of a call, the player can elect to “Go alone”. In this case, the caller’s partner will not play for the remainder of the hand. Doing so results in the possible scores for the calling team to be doubled. See scoring below.
- Once trump has been decided then the player to the dealer’s left leads any card from their hand that they choose. Play then proceeds left and players are required to follow suit if possible. If they cannot follow suit then they can play any card from their hand, including trump.
- Once all 6 players have played, the winner of the trick is decided. The winner of the trick is the player with the highest card of the suit led, unless trump was played, in which case the highest trump wins. The trump cards are ordered the same as in Euchre, the jack of the trump suit is the highest, followed by the jack of the same color, and then Ace, King, Queen, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6. All other suits are ordered normally, Ace high. The winner of the trick picks up the 6 cards and places the cards face down in front of them. The winner then leads for the next trick.
- After all 5 tricks have been played, score is decided. If the calling team does not make 3 tricks, then they have been “Peuchred” and both of the other teams gain 1 point. If the calling team makes 3 or 4 tricks, but not 5, then they receive 1 point. If the calling team takes all 5 then they are awarded 2 points. If the calling team went alone then the scores are doubled: 2 points for 3 or 4 tricks and 4 points for 5 tricks. The teams adjust their score cards as necessary to display their current point totals.
- The game is played to 10 points, when all pips of the score cards would be turned over.
- Once the hand is over and scored then the deal moves to the left and the next hand begins.
- The game is meant to be played fast. The group should decide upon a time limit for each decision in the game, i.e. the amount of time a player can look at their hand before deciding to call or pass, or in deciding what card to play. The customary time limit is 5 seconds. In the situations listed above, if the player fails to act in the time limit, then any other player can slap the violating team’s score card and they lose 1 point.
- The score cards must be laid out in a triangle with the corners overlapping as stated above. Failing to do so results in a “shot clock violation”, and the team must reorganize their score cards.
- It is important to note that after one team calls, the other two teams form an “alliance” are playing defense and must cooperate to play as defensively as possible. For example, it is unwise to trump your alliance member if they are already beating the calling team as that hurts your chances of trumping in the future.
Enjoy, and happy Peuchre-ing!