Monday, August 11, 2008

Pope Joan

This amusing game is for any number of players, and is played with a wooden board which is divided into compartments or pools, and can be bought cheaply at any toy shop for a small sum. Failing a board, use a sheet of paper marked out in squares.

Before dealing, the eight of diamonds is taken out of the pack, and the deal is settled by cutting the cards, and whoever turns up the first jack is dealer.

The dealer then shuffles the cards and his left-hand neighbor cuts them. The dealer must next "dress the board," that is, he must put counters into the pools, which are all marked differently. This is the way to dress the board: One counter to each ace, king, queen, jack, and game, two to matrimony (king and queen), two to intrigue (queen and jack), and six to the nine of diamonds, which is the Pope. On a proper board you will see these marked on it.

The cards are now dealt round to the players, with the exception of one card, which is turned up for trumps, and six or eight, which are put aside to form the stops; the four kings and the seven of diamonds are also always stops.

If either ace, king, queen, or jack happen to be turned up for trumps, the dealer may take whatever is in the compartment with that mark; but when Pope is turned up for trumps, the dealer takes all the counters in Pope's compartment as well as those in the "game" compartment, besides a counter for every card dealt to each player, which must, of course, be paid by the players. There is then a fresh deal.

It is very seldom, however, that Pope does turn up for trumps; when it does not happen, the player next to the dealer begins to play, trying to get rid of as many cards as possible. First he leads cards which he knows will be stops, then Pope, if he has it, and afterward the lowest card in his suit, particularly an ace, for that can never be led up to. The other players follow when they can; for instance, if the leader plays the two of diamonds, whoever holds the three plays it, some one follows with the four, and so on until a stop occurs; whoever plays the card which makes a stop becomes leader and can play what he chooses.

This goes on until some person has parted with all his cards, by which he wins the counters in the "game" compartment and receives from the players a counter for every card they hold. Should any one hold the Pope he is excused from paying, unless he happens to have played it.

Whoever plays any of the cards which have pools or compartments takes the counters in that pool. If any of these cards are not played, the counters remain over for the next game.

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