Kaiser is a trick-taking card game with four players forming two teams. It's unusual in that you only use 32 cards from the standard 52-card deck. These cards consist of the ace, face cards and 7-10, plus the 5 of hearts and the 3 of spades. Each player is dealt a hand, using all the cards.
Starting with the person next from the dealer and moving clockwise, each person chooses either to bid or pass. If someone has bid already, the bidder must bid higher - unless they're the dealer, who can 'take' the bid. The bidder chooses which suit will be trump, and moves first, but if they fail to make their bid, they lose that number of points. In rare cases, you can bid 'no', meaning no trump. If the bidder makes a no bid, they get doubled points for that round, but if they miss their bid, they go down twice what they bid. The maximum bid is 12 and the minimum is 6.
There comes a series of card tricks until all cards have been dealt. In each trick, the person who took the last trick goes first, with the bidder playing first in the opening trick. Each player must follow suit, unless they have none of that suit, and the highest card wins (with ace counted as above the king). If you did not follow suit, your card does not count - unless it's of the trump suit, in which case it counts as higher than the proper suit's cards. The tricks are each worth one point. However, the five of hearts counts for 5 extra points, and the three of spades subtracts 3 points from your total. In a no hand, there is no trump - each suit behaves the same.
The round ends when all cards have been played. Each team counts up their points. The non-bidding team simply records how many points they received on the scoreboard. The bidding team, if they got at least as many points as they bid, does the same. If they failed to make their bid, any points they did make count for nothing, and they go down what they bid. Each team starts at 0 points (negative points are possible). The rounds continue until someone reaches 52 points. However, if you were not the bidding team that round, you can't go above 49 points - you must bid at least once to win.
There is also a three person version. In this version, the seven of hearts and the seven of spades are removed, and each player plays for him/herself. Apart from those modifications, it works exactly the same.
Provides Examples Of:
- Kingmaker Scenario: In the three-person game, a player with the 5 and the 3 but an otherwise weak hand is in this position. In the standard four-person version, they're simply a support to their ally.