How to play Bezique

The box of my great-grandfather’s set.

What you will need:

  •  One pack of cards for each player with twos to sixes removed (so it runs A, 7-K). Shuffle all the packs together into a monster deck.
  • A working knowledge of Hearts.
  • Paper and pen, to keep score.

How to play:

The dealer deals 3 cards to each player, then 2, then 3 again. Each player should have eight. The rest of the pack, called the talon, is placed face-down on the table.

The top card of the talon is turned over to reveal the trump suit. This card is the trump card.

The players play tricks, like in hearts. At the end of every trick each player draws a card from the talon, replenishing their hand. The winner of the last trick gets to start the next.

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Some sets came complete with special scorecards.

Scoring points:

Winning a trick does not necessarily grant you points.

In a trick, each ace or ten played gives ten points to the winner of the trick. This is called Brisque.

Playing the seven of trumps gives that player, regardless of who wins the trick, ten points. If the trump card is a seven, the dealer gets ten points when he turns it over. If not, the one holding the seven of trumps can at any point exchange it for the trump card, which earns them ten points.

The winner of the very last trick wins ten points.

You can also win points by Declaring, announcing that you hold a certain combination of cards in your hand. Any player may do this between the end of a trick and drawing a card from the talon. When a player makes a declaration, they place the cards forming that combination face-up on the table. The cards are still part of the hand, and may be played in tricks as the player desires. They may also re-use the cards in another combination. However, once cards have been used to declare Bezique, they may not be used to form another combination.

The possible Declarations are as follows:

Four aces: 100
Four kings: 80
Four queens: 60
Four jacks: 40
A marriage (the king and queen of any suit): 20
Royal marriage (king and queen of trumps): 40
Sequence (the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of trumps): 250
Bezique (the queen of spades and jack of diamonds): 40
Double bezique (two queens of spades and two jacks of diamonds): 500

On the back of one of the scorecards, someone scribbled the Declaration scores.

On the back of one of the scorecards, someone hand-wrote the Declarations scoring. I think this is my favourite part of the set.

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