- From a 52-card pack remove three ranks (say Nines, Eights and Sevens) to use as bid-cards. The remaining 40, ranking AKQJ10-65432, are used for playing tricks.
- Deal the 40 playing-cards out in batches of 3-4-(1)-3-3 so that everyone gets 13 cards to play to tricks. The odd "1" goes face down to the table and must not yet be identified.
- Each player has three bid-cards, one of each suit. Having examined your hand,
decide which will be your bug suit, and select the card of that suit from your
bid-cards. When everyone is ready, you all flip your bid-cards over and leave
them face up so everyone knows everyone else's bug suit. At this point, two
additional bids are possible, namely:
Turnip. This is a bid to accept as your bug suit that of the undealt card, whatever it may be, for the advantage of a doubled score. Indicate this by announcing "turnip" and leaving your bid-cards face down.
Doublets, or "Double or quits". This amounts to a guarantee that you won't take any cards of your bug suit in tricks. If successful, you will score double. If not, you will score nothing. You must announce it simultaneously with revealing your bid-card.
After the bidding, the undealt card (or "turnip") is turned face up and left up as a reminder. It will eventually be added to the last trick.
- Dealer's left-hand neighbour leads to the first of 13 tricks played at no trump. You must follow suit if you can, but may play any card if your can't. A trick is taken by the highest card of the suit led, and the winner of each trick leads to the next. The turnip is added to the last trick and therefore counts against the last trick winner if it belongs to his bug suit. (If it doesn't, it is of no significance.)
- You each count 10 points for each trick you won, and divide this total by
the number of bugs they contain, ignoring fractions. For example, if you took
four tricks but only one card of your bug suit, you score 40. Four tricks
containing two bugs score 20, three bugs 13, and so on.
If you take only clean tricks, do not attempt to divide by nought, or you
will drive yourself mad. Instead, each trick counts double, i.e. 20 points.
For taking four clean tricks, therefore, you score 80 (or 160 if you bid Turnip
The following special scores also apply:
- If you win every trick, you score 100 (or 200 if you bid Turnip or Doublets) without division, and your two opponents score zero, regardless of any ordinary or special bids they may have made. If not, then:
- For taking no tricks, score 50 (or 100 if you bid Turnip or Doublets).
- For bidding Turnip, score as described above in the usual way, and then double it. (Do not double it first and divide afterwards.)
- For bidding Doublets and taking no cards of your bug suit, score 40 per clean trick, or 100 for no tricks, or 200 for taking every trick (in which case your opponents score zero). Otherwise, for taking one or more cards of your bug suit, you score zero.
- Game is 500 points. This usually takes about 10 deals.
- By removing the Tens, you can keep the same pack for playing the three-player version of Tantony.