La bouillabaisse

Game rules

This game has many variants over regions and has many known names, like barbu for example.
The goal of the game is to get as few as points as possible by avoiding to win tricks. It is organized in 6 rounds, each having different objectives.

Course of the game

One play with 2 to 12 players with one or two decks of 52 cards, depending on the number of players.
The dealer deals all the cards and changes at each round.
If needed, one remove some of the weakest cards, so that all players always get the same number of cards (with 3 players one play with 51 cards instead of 52, 50 cards with 5 players, 48 cards with 6 players, etc.)

The games then goes in a classical trick-taking way :

  1. The first player play a card of his choice.
  2. At their turn, each player plays a card of the same color if they can. If a player can't follow the suit, he can discard a card of his choice.
  3. The player who played the strongest card wins the trick and starts the next one.

There is no trump and the card order is regular, ace being the strongest and 2 the weakest.

The goal of the game is always to get as few points as possible and it is therefore important to take as few tricks as possible, especially when they contains cards counting for many points.
The value of each card in points varies during the rounds. That particularity gives an originality to the game.

The six rounds of the game

The game lasts always exactly six rounds and the goal of each is different :

  1. First round: each trick is worth 5 points.
  2. Second round: a color is randomly chosen at the beginning of the round and all cards of that color is worth 10 points each.
  3. Third round: a figure is randomly chosen at the beginning of the round and each card of that figure is worth 50 points.
  4. Fourth round: a particular card is randomly chosen and this card is worth 200 points.
  5. Fifth round: rules of the four first rounds all apply together.
  6. Sixth and final round: all preceding rules apply, but points are counted negative.
  7. For the final round and only that one, one therfore must take as many cards as one can, so that one lose the points won during the five first rounds.

The cards that are chosen to give points are randomly chosen at the beginning of the game.
When one play around a real table, they are chosen by common accord ammong the players at the beginning of the game.
The color giving 10 points is often hearts or clubs, figures giving 50 points are often queens, and the particular card giving 200 points is generally the king of hearts or spades.

Extra rule variants

The ? everything or nothing ?

This optional rule adds more fun to the game and says that, if a player managed to take all cards which give points during the round, he lose the points unstead of winning them.

Thus, in the third round for example, if a player manage to catch the four queens, he will lose 200 points unstead of winning them. Be warned that this rule also apply in the last round ! Meaning that if you take all tricks, the points will be won unstead of lost. The objective of the last round is therefore to take as much cards as possible, but not all of them.
Of course, this rule doesn't apply to the fourth round, in which a single precise card do give points.

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