OBJECTIVE: Be the player with the highest score at the end of the game
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – Ace (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF BONKEN
Bonken is a Dutch trick taking game that is played over eleven rounds. This is an example of a game that combines many different game elements into one great experience. With trick taking is at its core, Bonken incorporates elements of Hearts, Spades, Euchre, and Rummy in the game.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Bonken requires a standard 52 card French deck. To decide who will be the first dealer and the scorekeeper, each player should take a card from the draw pile. The player with the lowest card deals first and keeps score for the game.
The first dealer collects the cards, shuffles them thoroughly, and deals thirteen cards to each player.
Bonken is played over the course of eleven rounds. The first 7 rounds are contracts that follow specific rules. The 8th through the 11th round are typical trick taking rounds with each player getting a chance to pick the trump suit.
Each round, after the cards are dealt and everyone sees their hand, the player across from the dealer picks which contract is to be followed. Each contract can only be played once. Contracts 1 – 7 must be completed before 8 – 11 can be played.
When playing through a trick taking contract, the player to the left of the dealer leads first. Other players must follow suit if able. If they are unable to follow suit, they may play any card they choose. The highest card in the suit that was led takes the trick.
Rounds 1 – 7
Players are trying to take as few tricks as possible. Players lose 5 points from their score for each trick they capture.
Players are trying to avoid capturing tricks with hearts in them. Hearts may not be led unless a player has no other suits available. A player loses 5 points for each heart card captured.
Players are trying to avoid capturing tricks with Queens in them. Players lose 30 points for each Queen.
NO KING OF HEARTS
Players are trying to avoid capturing the King of hearts. Hearts may not be led. The player who captures the King of Hearts loses 50 points from their score.
The player who takes the last trick loses 50 points from their score.
For this contract, players are trying to be the first to get rid of all of their cards by creating suited rows. The player on the left of the dealer begins. They must play an 8 if they have one. If they do not, play passes to the next player. Once an 8 has been played, players play the next highest or next lowest number in that suit. Players may also play another 8 to the table if they wish. If a player is unable to add a card to the existing rows or play an 8, they pass their turn.
The last player to have cards left in their hand loses 50 points from their score.
Rounds 8 – 11
For the final four rounds, each player will deal one time. After a deal, the player across from the dealer decides the trump suit or they may choose to play no trumps. Each option can only be picked one time. If no trumps is chosen, the highest card in the suit that was led wins the trick. Players must follow suit if able.
During these final contracts, players are trying to capture as many tricks as possible. Players earn 10 points for each trick they take.
The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins.