Rickety Kate is actually the same game as "Hearts", but by a different name. What characterizes this game, like all those of the Hearts Family, is that the objective is to avoid winning tricks and capturing certain cards.
The rules as they are explained here are for four players but the game is just as easily varied for three. See Black Maria for a three-player variation.
There are no formal partnerships in Rickety Kate. Each player plays for themselves.
A standard deck of 52 cards. Cards rank A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
Deal and play are clockwise, and the deal proceeds to the left at the end of each hand. Starting with the player to the dealer’s left, each player receives 13 cards, dealt out one at a time.
On the first hand, each player takes three cards from their own hand and passes them, face down, to the player to the left. On the next deal, players pass to the right, and the next they pass across, and the 4th deal no cards are passed at all. Thus, the progression is repeated: left, right, across and no pass.
In strict order, a player first divests themselves of their three cards, before taking up and looking at the three passed to them.
The objective is to avoid winning tricks with any hearts in them, and to avoid winning the trick containing the Queen of Spades.
The player holding the 2 of Clubs leads first, and thereafter the winner of the trick leads to the next. Players must follow suit to the card led, if possible. If you can’t follow suit, you can play any card. Naturally, the trick is won by the highest card of the suit led.
Each Heart won in tricks counts as 1 point against the player. The Queen of Spades counts for 13 points against the player.
The game continues until one player reaches 100 points, at which time the player with the lowest score wins the game.
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