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Napoleon

Napoleon is a simple bidding and trick taking game. Napoleon can be played by as few as 3 players or as many as 6. There are no fixed partnerships. Each player plays for themselves and at each hand the highest bidder plays against the rest.

The Cards

Standard deck of 52 cards. Cards rank A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2.

The Deal

Deal and play are clockwise and the deal proceeds to the left after each hand. Each player receives 5 cards dealt in batches of two and three.

Bidding

Starting left of the dealer, each player takes it in turn to pass or to bid by announcing the number of tricks he/she thinks they can win out of five. A bid of all 5 tricks is called “Nap”. A bid of “Nap” can be overcalled by a “Wellington”, which in turn can be overcalled by a “Blucher”. These overcalls, also for all 5 tricks, offer greater rewards and greater penalties for failing to fulfill your contract.

The Play

The highest bidder leads first, and declares the trump suit with his/her opening lead. The opening lead must be a trump.

Rules

Standard trick taking rules apply:

  • Players must follow suit to the card led, if possible.
  • If you can't follow suit, you can play any card.
  • The trick is won by the highest trump played to it. If no trumps are played, by the highest card of the suit led.

The winner of the trick leads to the next.

Scoring

The usual way to keep score is to issue each player with equal number of chips at the beginning of the game. Settlement takes place at the end of each hand. There is no credit for extra tricks won by either the bidder or by his/her opponents. If the bidder succeeds, he/she collects from every player. If the bidder fails, he/she pays out to every player.

Bid Bidder Wins Bidder Loses
Less than 5 1 for each trick 1 for each trick
Nap 10 5
Wellington 10 10
Blucher 10 20

Game

Napleon can be played over several hands to an agreed total, or just played over several hands until you’re sick of it. Naturally, the player with the highest point tally is the winner.


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