(Above is the typical set up for the game Sheepshead)
Card Game Rules
Sheepshead is a trick taking game for 5 players. It requires a unique 32 card deck, with Aces to 7s in each suit. The objective of Sheepshead is to win 61 or more points.
Before gameplay can begin, a dealer must be selected. To do so, players must choose a random card from a shuffled deck. The player with the lowest card becomes the dealer. Ties are broken with repeated drawings. The dealer shuffles the deck and then passes out, faced down, six cards, in 2 sets of three, to each player. The remaining two cards are placed in the middle of the gameplay area.
In Sheepshead, the trump cards are Queens, then Jacks, and then Diamonds.
Within the Queens and Jacks, the suit rankings are Clubs, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds.
Within the Diamonds and non-trump cards, the rankings are Ace, 10, King, 9, 8, 7.
Before the game can begin, a Picker must be chosen. The player left of the dealer has the option to be Picker. A player can choose to be the Picker if they believe they can win 61 points in the game. If the player decides not to be the Picker, the options rotates clockwise.
When a Picker is decided upon, they pick up the two cards in the middle. The Picker then receives a teammate by calling out a non-trump ace that matches a non-trump suit in their hand. The Picker's teammate does not reveal themselves until they play their non-trump ace. The other three players form the opposing team.
Teams tally their points at the end of the game with the objective of wining 61 points.
The Picker then discards two of their cards. These cards will count towards the Picker's final point tally.
How to Play
The player left of the dealer leads the first trick. Going clockwise, players must follow suit if possible. The winner of the trick leads the next one.
In tricks, trump cards are all one suit, so if a player leads with a King of Diamonds, the next player can play a Jack of Clubs, beating the King.
At the end of the game, points from tricks won are tallied. Below is how scores are awarded based on card points. Players can keep playing until a player has reached and agreed upon score.
(Chart provided by gathertogethergames)
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About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B.A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and is working towards a Masters degree in English at the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about card games here and his LinkedIn profile here.