Original Card Games by David Parlett

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COUNTERPIQUE


Contract Piquet: a classic game updated

Players 2   Cards 32   Type Plain tricks & melds
This (per)version of Piquet was developed in collaboration with my late card-gaming friend Andrew Pennycook. I've resisted adding it to my online collection for several years because I can't believe anyone would want to go to the trouble of learning it unless they were already enthusiasts for an over 400-year old game described by one writer as "now played only by card gourmets and snobs". Also, I've never entirely finished tinkering with its details. To my surprise, however, I've received an email from a card-game enthusiast (Hiram Molina of New Orleans), asking why it wasn't here, and on doing an internet search have discovered that someone has already outlined it on a page of Board Game Geek. So I thought it was about time I polished it up and added a few more details.
Cards
Thirty-two, ranking AKQJ10987 in each suit.
Preliminaries
Scores are kept on a Bridge-pad divided by a horizontal line. Scores made for combinations go above the line, those for tricks below. Although 12 tricks are played, the last trick counts double, making the number of tricks nominally thirteen.
Deal
Lowest cut deals first. Each subsequent deal is made by whoever scored for tricks below the line in the previous hand. Deal as in the parent game (see below). If dealt a blank (no face cards) you may immediately score 10 points for it above the line, provided you first prove it by rapidly dealing your cards one by one face up to the table.
Object
(a) To exchange some cards with a view to forming card combinations, which score above the line for both players, then (b) for one player, determined by an auction, to become Elder hand and win as many tricks as they undertook. These score below the line, for Elder if the contract makes, otherwise for Younger. The first to reach a total of 100 or more below the line wins a game, and the first to win two games wins the partie (or rubber).
Bidding
There follows a round of bidding for the advantage of becoming Elder hand. Dealer starts by announcing a bid. If as non-dealer you can bid the same or higher you say "Yes", otherwise "Pass". Dealer continues raising the bid, jumping to any higher level desired, until one of you passes, leaving the other as Elder hand. If both pass immediately, the game is misère.
The lowest bid is to win 7 tricks after drawing 5 from the talon, leaving 3 for Younger. You can announce this by saying either "Seven-Three" or "21", which is the score you will make for achieving it (7 x 3). You can raise it by increasing either the number of tricks you offer to win (for example "Eight-three" or "24"), or the number of cards you will leave Younger in the talon (for example "Seven-four" or "28). A higher bid is one with a higher potential score, up to the a maximum "Thirteen-eight" or "104".
If you win the auction you may not increase your bid if you are the dealer, but as non-dealer you may do so.
Drawing cards
As Elder, make as many discards from your hand as you will draw from the talon, which is to say the number you promised to leave Younger, and then draw replacements from the top down. You may not see the identities of the cards you are leaving. You may draw fewer than you bid, but will only score for the amount of your bid. (In classic Piquet Elder must draw at least one, but this doesn't apply here.)
As Younger, decide how many of the remaining cards you will draw (if any), then discard that number from your hand and replenish them from the talon.

Two hands of Piquet
Elder hand (top), Younger hand (bottom), talon (right). As dealt,
Elder has a Point of 4, beaten by Younger's 6, and a trio of Queens,
beaten by Younger's Kings. Neither yet holds a suit-sequence. Both
will draw with a view to improving these combinations, or picking up
enough material for new ones.

Declarations
You now declare and score for combinations in the usual way, except that Elder does not score '1 for leading'. This makes it possible for either player to score 30 for pique. These scores go above the line for both players.
Pique, repique
If you reach or exceed a total of 30 for combinations before your opponent has scored anything, you add an extra 60 points for "repique". If you don't, but reach 30 by adding to your score for combinations 1 point for each trick you win, you add an extra 30 for "pique". For these purposes, points accrue strictly in order blank, point, sequence, sets. (In standard Piquet, only Elder can score for pique because of the point for leading.)
Play
Elder leads to the first trick and the winner of each trick leads to the next. You must follow suit if you can but may otherwise play any card. The higher card of the suit led takes the trick. There is no trump. Play can cease as soon as Elder has won the number of tricks contracted, as there is no score for overtricks.
Score
Tricks are scored below the line, and by one player only, namely Elder for making the contract, or Younger for defeating it.
Upon winning the number of tricks bid, Elder scores that number multiplied by the number of cards left to Younger in the draw. There is no bonus for overtricks or for capot (winning every trick).
If Elder falls short of the number bid, Younger scores for 'counterpique'. This is the amount Elder would have won for making the bid exactly, multiplied the number of tricks short of it. For example, if Elder bid "Seven-three" or "21" and won only five tricks, thus falling two short, Younger scores 42 (2 x 21).
Game
The first to reach 100 below the line wins a game, and a new line is drawn. The first to win two games wins the partie (rubber). Both players then total their above- and below-line scores, and the winner adds a bonus of 300, or 500 if the loser failed to win a game, plus (in either case) 100 for any game in which the loser failed to make any score.
Misère
If both pass immediately, there is no draw and no declaring of combinations. Elder leads to the first trick, and whoever wins the smaller number of tricks scores below the line 5 points for each trick won by the other, giving a range of 35 to 65. Return
More about dealing.
Deal 12 cards to each player in batches of two or three, the first batch going to non-dealer, and spread the remaining eight cards face down in an overlapping row called the talon. Return
More about declaring
You now state what combinations you hold in the following order: point, sequence, set. In each class, Elder always declares first. Younger, having a higher combination of the same type, or any combination of a type in which Elder has none, says "Not good" and scores for it. If unable to match or beat it, the reply is "Good", and Elder scores. In case of equality, neither scores.
1. Point. Whoever has the longest suit scores 1 point for each card in it. If equal, the point goes to whichever of the matched suits has the highest value, counting Ace 11, courts 10, numerals at face value. If still equal, neither scores for point.
2. Sequences. A sequence is three or more cards in suit and sequence. Whoever has the longest sequence scores for it and any other sequences they may hold. If both tie for longest sequence, it goes to the one with the highest-ranking card. If both still tie, neither scores for sequences. Sequences of three and four score respectively 3 and 4; five to eight score respectively 15 to 18 .
3. Sets. A set is three or four cards of the same rank but not lower than Tens. Three is a trio and scores 3, four a quatorze and scores 14. Any quatorze beats any trio, and as between equal sets a higher-ranking beats a lower. Ties are impossible.
Elder then summarises the scores s/he has made so far, records them, and leads a card to the first trick. Younger, before playing to the trick, then fully identifies and scores for any combinations s/he holds which was good against Elder's.
It is not obligatory to declare every scorable combination you hold if you think it safer to keep quiet about them, but you may only score for what you declare, and whatever you score for must be shown if Elder wants proof that you have it. Return
Copyright © renewed 2017 by David Parlett
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