Klaverjassen is a popular trick-taking game in the Netherlands and Belgium. The game comes with bidding and melding, and the goal is to win as many tricks as possible to score points based on the cards you win.
Klaverjass is the German name variant of the game, but there are even more, such as Klabberjass, Clobber, Dutch Belote, and Kloverjass.
It is played with a deck French-suited deck of 32 cards. To start playing, shuffle and deal the cards to the players. The game is usually played with two players but can also be played with four players in two teams of two.
After dealing an even number of cards to all players, it’s time for bidding. Players get the chance to announce the number of points they want to take. The highest bid wins. That player gets to announce the trump suit.
Before starting to play tricks, the melding phase is left, giving players a chance to quickly gain plenty of points. But this comes at the cost of automatically providing information to the opponents. Possible meld scores are 20 of 50 points:
- Each sequence of 3 consecutive cards in one suit = 20 points
- Each sequence of 4 or more consecutive cards in one suit = 50 points
The player to the dealer’s left starts trick-taking by playing a card of any suit. The next player must follow suit, or play a trump card if unable to follow suit. The highest card of the leading suit or the highest trump card wins the trick. The winner of this trick leads the next one.
- In non-trump suits, the cards rank highest to lowest as follows: Ace, Ten, King, Queen, Jack, Nine, Eight, Seven.
- In trump suits, the cards rank highest to lowest like this: Jack, Nine, Ace, Ten, King, Queen, Eight, Seven.
The round ends after all cards are played. You score points based on the cards you win. Here are the cards’ values:
- Jack of the trump suit = 20 points
- Nine of the trump suit = 14 points
- Tens = 10 points
- Aces = 11 points
- Kings = 4 points
- Queen = 3 points
- Non-trump Jacks = 2 points
Non-trump Nines, as well as any Eights and Sevens, don’t score any points.
The player or team with the highest score wins, of course. You can play multiple rounds. The first team or player to reach a predetermined score wins the game. Since there are various rules for Klaverjassen, it’s best to always agree on a set of rules before starting the game.
If you enjoy the mix of trick-taking, bidding, and announcing card combinations, we invite you to check out our Pinochle Palace.