Ransom Trump
Designed by P.D. Magnus
Players 2-4
Length ?
Extra Material None

a trick-taking game for 2 to 4 players, using the Decktet

Object of the game: To take as many tricks as possible.


With two or three players, each player is dealt 10 cards and the remainder are set aside. With four players, each is dealt 9 cards.

Buying the trump:

Each player picks one card from their hand and plays it face down in front of them as ransom. Once everyone has played a ransom card, flip them over. The highest-ranked ransom card determines the trump suit for the hand. (Aces are ranked below 2s; Crowns are above 9s.)

If there are two or more cards tied for the highest card, then ignore those and look at the highest cards among the remaining cards. If there is a tie here, too, then ignore those and look again. If there are no remaining cards, then there is no trump for the hand.

If the winning ransom is a Crown, then its suit is trump. If the winning ransom is a number card (that is, if it has two suit symbols) then the player who played it decides which of the two suits will be trump.

Once trump has been determined, the ransom cards are set aside. They do not count as a trick, and the player who played the winning ransom gets no points just for having done so.

The player who won the ransom leads the first trick.

Example: In a four-player game, Alice plays the Huntress (Crown of Moons), Bob plays the Calamity (Crown of Wyrms), Charlie plays the Pact (9 of Moons and Suns), and Doris plays the Lunatic (6 of Moons and Waves). The highest rank card played is Crown, but since Alice and Bob both played Crowns those cards are ignored. The highest remaining card is the Pact. Charlie may pick either Suns or Moons as trump. Since Alice played the Crown of Moons, Charlie know that Alice would like Moons to be trump. So he picks Suns instead.

Game play:

Clockwise around the table, each player plays a card that matches a suit with the card that was led. If you have no cards of the suit led, you may play any card from your hand.

In order to follow suit, a card need only match one suit. For example: If the Diplomat (8 of Moons and Suns) was led, then each subsequent player must play a card with a Moon or Sun on it if they can. They are not especially required to play a card with both a moon and sun, even if they have one.

If no trump was played, then the highest card that follows suit wins the trick. If any trumps are played, then the highest trump wins the trick.

The winner of the trick leads the next trick.

Ties: In a game with three or more players, it is possible that two cards will be played that both follow suit and that are of the same rank. If two cards in a trick would tie for highest rank (and no trump was played) then look at the suits on the card that was led: One of the two symbols is higher up, closer to the card rank (number) than the other. The card that follows that suit is considered higher than the other for purposes of resolving the trick.


Each trick is worth 1 point.

When playing repeated hands, points are added up.


Many of the alternate rules for Ace trump would work in Ransom trump.


Original design: P.D. Magnus


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