Russell Degnan

Alliance is a variant from the Euchre family of games (notably 500) that attempts to introduce floating partnerships. In each hand a player chooses whom they wish to be partnered with; thus bringing a new element into partnership games, that of trust.


Number of Players

As many as possible, but anywhere between Four and Eight should work.


Each player needs 10 cards, plus 3 others for a kitty.

For Four: A standard pack, plus Joker, minus the 10s, 9s, and black 8s.
For Five: A standard pack, plus Joker.
For Six: A 500 pack (with 11s, 12s, and red 13s) for preference, otherwise the 2s, 3s and black 4s from a second pack.
For Seven: Two packs, same as for six players, plus red 4s, 5s, and 6s.
For Eight: Same as for seven players, plus 7s, 8s, and black 9s.

The highest card is always the Joker. After that, in the chosen trump suit, the highest card is the Jack or right bower, followed by the Jack of the same colour as the trump or left bower, then the remaining cards, from Ace, King and down. When playing with two packs, if two identical cards a played, the first played is considered higher. Thus, when hearts is trumps, the order is Joker, JH, JD, AH, KH, QH, 10H, 9H ... 2H. The non-trump suits are played Ace-high with the Jack ranked between Queen and 10

The Deal

Ten cards are dealt to each player, in groups of three, four, then three, after each round a card is placed in the kitty.

The Hand

The hand is split into three parts; alliance making, bidding, and the play.

Alliance Making

On the first hand of the game, moving clockwise from the dealer's left, each player declares the suit they wish to have as their trump suit - 'No-trumps' is also an acceptable call.

If two players declare from the same suit then they are considered aligned. This means that any tricks won by those players during the play are counted together, as for a standard Euchre partnership. The number of players who can align themselves is limited to half the number of players playing (ie. two, for 4 or 5 players, three for 6 or 7, four for 8).

On subsequent hands, players are automatically aligned with their existing partnership. Moving clockwise from the dealer, each player has the opportunity to re-declare their suit and forge or break an alliance. However, breaking an alliance incurs a scoring penalty of 10 points for each player in the alliance at the time it is broken.


Once players are aligned each player must bid at least once, going clockwise from the left of the dealer. Each player decides how many tricks they believe their alliance can win and bids appropriately. Unlike other Euchre variants, every player must make the bid they make, so it is important not to overbid.

After the first round of bidding is complete a second or more round is done with players who, in their previous bid, met or exceeded the previous highest bid. If a player chooses not to meet the current highest bid they are barred from bidding in subsequent rounds. Bidding continues until no player can

At the end of the bidding the top two card of the kitty is given to the highest bidder and the next two cards to the second highest bidder. They are allowed to swap the cards in it for any cards in their hand.

If two players have the same bid, the first player to bid is considered to have the higher bid.

The Play

The opening lead is held by the highest bidder, and each player contributes one card to each trick. A player must follow suit where he is able to. If a player cannot follow suit, he can either discard or play a card from the trump suit.

For each trick, the trump suit is the trump suit of the player leading. Players must pay careful attention to what the current trump suit, as it will change several times during each hand - the bowers are particularly troublesome because they change suit depending on the current trump.

The highest card played to a trick wins it, unless any trumps have been played, in which case the highest trump wins. The winner of the trick leads in the next.

The hand ends when all the cards have been played.

Special mention must be made of the Joker; the Joker is always considered part of the trump suit - the highest in fact. It can only be played when the current trump-suit has been led, or if the player has none of the suit led. When playing no-trumps it is considered a no-trump, and can be played at any time. When the player holding it is playing no-trumps it cannot be led, unless it is the final trick in the hand.


Each player gets points according to the number of tricks won by their partnership, and the bid they made. If their bid was successful, the points are awarded as follows:

bidpoints bidpoints
00 6130
110 7165
225 8205
345 9250
470 10300

In addition, a player recieves five points for every trick won over the bid.

If their bid was unsuccessful, they recieve no points for the bid, and lose 10 points for every trick they were under.

The Game

After each hand, the deal moves to the left; the game is played until a player reaches 500 points.

Frivolous Pastimes 5th July, 2004 01:24:18   [#] [0 comments] 

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