Double Knot
Designed by Daniël Muilwijk
Players 3-5
Length ?
Extra Material None

A trick-taking game for 3 to 5 players with a lot of trumps.


Double Knot is the favourite trick-taking game among pandas. It's a common habit to end a dispute with a game of Double Knot in order to decide who gets to sleep in the best bed. Unfortunately, in case of a tie, play is continued. This explains the amount of pandas.

The game is named after the two highest cards in the game, the Ace of Knots and the Crown of Knots.


In Double Knot every player bids a number of tricks. The object of the game is to win exactly the number of tricks bid and at the same time let other people fail to do the same.

In a hand of Double Knot, each of the Decktet cards is treated as belonging only to the top suit. The bottom suits of the first card played to a trick determines which cards can be used as trumps in that trick.


The game uses the extended Decktet (including the Pawns, the Courts and the Excuse), although it is playable with only the basic Decktet. When using the extended Decktet in a four player game, exclude the Excuse from the game.


Shuffle the deck and deal it out evenly to the players. There should be no remaining cards.


The player on the dealer’s left starts bidding and the bidding continues clockwise, until everyone has made a bid. Each player bids the number of tricks he thinks he will get.


Each of the Decktet cards is treated as belonging only to the top suit. The Excuse doesn’t belong to any suit.


In every suit the rank of the cards is: Ace 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 pawn.png court.png crown.png. A lot of suits miss a lot of ranks though. Here is an overview of the card distribution:
Suit # of Cards
moons.png 14 A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 pawn.png pawn.png court.png court.png crown.png
suns.png 10 A 2 3 5 6 7 pawn.png court.png court.png crown.png
waves.png 8 A 2 4 7 8 9 pawn.png crown.png
leaves.png 5 A 3 6 9 crown.png
wyrms.png 5 A 4 5 8 crown.png
knots.png 2 A crown.png

It is advised to print out a couple of player aids, which are very helpful when you play this game:

Double Knot reference cards by P.D. Magnus


In every trick, the bottom suit(s) of the card led determines which suit(s) is regarded as trump in that trick.

The number cards 2 to 9 have two suits and thus one bottom suit. When such a card is led, the bottom suit is the trump suit for that trick.

The Pawns and Courts have three suits and thus two bottom suits. When such a card is led, both bottom suits are the trump suits for that trick.

The Aces and Crowns have only one suit. When such a card is led, a special rule applies to determine the trump suits. The six suits of the Decktet have a strict ranking. From highest to lowest we have Moons, Suns, Waves, Leaves, Wyrms and Knots. This ranking is also displayed on two reference cards that came with the official printed Decktet. When an Ace or a Crown of a particular suit is led, all lower suits are regarded as trump for that trick. There can be as many as five trump suits, but there can also be no trump at all, as can be seen in the table below.

The card led Trump suits
Amoons.png or crown.pngmoons.png suns.png waves.png leaves.png wyrms.png knots.png
Asuns.png or crown.pngsuns.png waves.png leaves.png wyrms.png knots.png
Awaves.png or crown.pngwaves.png leaves.png wyrms.png knots.png
Aleaves.png or crown.pngleaves.png wyrms.png knots.png
Awyrms.png or crown.pngwyrms.png knots.png
Aknots.png or crown.pngknots.png

Game Play

The player on the dealer’s left leads to the first trick. Clockwise around the table, each player plays a card to the trick.

You have to follow suit if possible. If you don’t have any card of the suit led, you have to trump if possible. Otherwise, you may play any card (which could be the Excuse).

If The Excuse is led to a trick, any card can be played upon it. In this case the second played card can be seen as the leading card.

The two rules above describe the only situations in which it is possible to play The Excuse.

If no trumps are played, the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. Otherwise, the highest trump card played wins the trick. If cards of different trump suits are played to the same trick, cards of a lower trump suit beat cards of a higher trump suit.

When two equally ranked cards are played to a trick, the first is higher than the second.

The winner of the trick takes the trick, puts it in front of him, and leads to the next trick. Play continues until players have no cards remaining.


If you get at least within one of your bid, you get 1 point.

If you make your bid exactly, you get an additional point for each player who did not make their bid exactly.

If you do not get within one of your bid, you get 0 points.

Some examples:
Suppose your bid was 4 tricks. When you get 2 tricks, you get 0 points. When you get 3 tricks, you get 1 point. When you get exactly 4 tricks, your get 1 point plus some additional points, which are dependant of how many other people have made their bid exactly. Suppose that 2 players have not made their bid exactly. Then you get 1+2=3 points for making your bid exactly.


It is advised to play until someone reaches a specific amount of points.

Players Points
3 15
4 18
5 20

The player with the highest score wins the game. If multiple people have the highest score, play on until there is a unique leader.


Scoring Variant

With this variant you add an exception to the normal scoring rules:

If you bid zero or all the tricks and miss your bid even by one, you get no points.

If you bid zero or all the tricks and make your bid, you get 4 points, regardless of how other players did on their bids.

Team Variant

With 4 players you can play this game in partnerships, sitting crosswise. The bidding goes the same way as in the solo game. Each team adds together the bids of the two partners, and the total is the number of tricks that team must try to win in order to get a positive score. Scoring then works the same as in the solo game, but the scores of the team members are combined to form the score of the team.


Double Knot at BoardGameGeek
Double Knot reference cards by P.D. Magnus


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