A trick taking game for 2 - 5 players
As interpreted by Milton Soong (email@example.com)
Rats is a trick taking game with an Asian twist. My grandmother taught me the game when I was a kid, and this version of the game adapts the game to the western deck. The original game was played using Chinese Dominoes, the kind you see in Vegas as Pa-gao.
The biggest difference between standard Asian trick taking games compared with those of the West are as follows:
All of the above apply to the game of Rats.
The objective of the game is to be the only player to have any cards at the end of the game. The game contains multiple rounds of trick taking. All the tricks taken in a given round become part of that player's hand for subsequent rounds. Thus a player who does not win any tricks will eventually run out of cards; in which case he is out of the game. The sole survivor of the game is the player who runs all other players out of cards.
A standard deck of 52 cards is used. A popular option of the game includes the 2 jokers.
There's a ranking among suits as follows: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs. Spades is the highest suit, and Clubs is the lowest suit. The suit ranking is only important when the leading player leads with a multi-trick "sequence".
The first player is chosen by lot. The first player will deal an equal number of cards to all players. Any cards not evenly divisible will remain face down in a pile set in the middle of the table to form the "stock". The player who wins the LAST trick of the current round will take the stock and add it to the rest of his reserve cards. The initial hand size should be remembered. It has a bearing as to how many cards to deal out in subsequent rounds.
The dealer will lead on the first round. The winner of the last trick of the current round will lead in the next round.
The first player leads first and the winner of each trick or multi-trick leads to the next.
The player on lead may play:
The winner of the trick(s) will collect all the winnings, and put them face down in front of him to form his "reserve" pile. In future rounds, a player's cards comes out of his reserve.
(e.g. The initial hand size is 10. At the end of the round, player A has 0 cards (he hasn't won any tricks in a while), so he is out of the game. Player B has a reserve of 10, player C has a reserve of 4, and player D has a reserve of 38. The next hand size is 4).
Each player now shuffles his reserve, and deals out the next hand to himself. A new round is played, led by the winner of the last trick of the last round.
The players may add one or both Jokers into the deck. Jokers are treated as a wild card ONLY if played in a multi-trick situation. i.e. the joker can be used to complete a pair, set, or a sequence. The set must contain at least one non-joker card (i.e. a pair of jokers is NOT a legal pair). If played as single cards, jokers are treated as the worst card in the deck. A player can NOT lead with a single joker if he has a choice. If he must lead with a joker, then the next non-joker card played in the current trick will determine the suit led. A single joker that follows always loses.
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell