Trix is mainly a four-player trick-taking card game with domino card elements. The game spans over four cycles of five rounds, and one such cycle is called a kingdom. Trix’ main fan base is in the Middle East. Similar European games include Barbu or Quodlibet, among others.
You need a standard international 52-card pack to play. In each suit (Clubs, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds), the cards rank from high to low as follows: A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2.
During trick-taking, a higher card will always beat the lower card of the same suit. The first card played per trick defines the leading suit. Only cards of that suit can win the trick. Players must follow suit if they can.
To begin the game, shuffle and cut the deck, and deal one card at a time to each player until everyone has 13 cards. Deal and play always go counterclockwise.
The player who gets the Seven of Hearts in the initial deal leads the first kingdom. That means they decide over the contract and deal for each round in the kingdom.
Contracts are the five available rulesets in Trix, four of which are about trick-taking and one is a domino-type game. During your kingdom, you are free to choose in which order you play the five contracts. During one kingdom, all five contracts must be played once. After one player dealt five rounds, their kingdom ends, and the player to their right leads the next kingdom.
- Contract 1: King of Hearts:
If you pick up the King of Hearts during trick-taking, you lose 75 points. Additionally, the player holding the King of Hearts may reveal the King when the contract is announced to increase potential penalty points for their fellow players. If that player holds the King, Ace or both without any other Hearts cards, they may reveal their entire hand to void this deal and have a new deal for this round.
- Contract 2: Diamonds:
For each card of the diamond suit that you pick up during trick-taking, you lose 10 points.
- Cotract 3: Queens:
For each Queen that you pick up during trick-taking, you lose 25 points. As explained for the King of Hearts above, players holding the Queens when the contract is announced may double them.
- Contract 4: Slaps:
You lose 15 points for each trick you take.
- Contract 5: Trex:
This contract is a Domino-style game. You try to get rid of your cards by adding them to a revealed layout. The dealer begins. You must play one card per turn if you can. Jacks are the starter cards of the layout. Afterward, you can add cards of the same suit above or below the Jack. If you can’t play a card, you pass. The first player to run out of cards wins 200 points. The others continue playing, and the second wins 150 points, the third 100 points, and the last gets 50 points.
If Trex is announced, and you hold four Twos or three Twos and the Three of the fourth suit, you may reveal your entire hand to void this deal and have a new deal for this round.
After 20 rounds, when all four players have completed their kingdoms, the game ends. The total scores of all players are compared, and the one with the highest total score wins!
If you like the concept of trick-taking, you might want to check out our Pinochle Palace and Whist Palace!