The Wizard card game is a trick-taking pastime designed by Ken Fisher in 1984. It’s quite popular with a lot of people.
This game features a complicated scoring system that adds more to the fun of it. No other card game offers as much chance for skilled play yet is so simple to learn.
It’s the only game in which a skilled player can always come out on top no matter what cards are dealt.
While this is unquestionably a game of skill, younger or less experienced players can participate without negatively impacting the game’s overall quality.
And with an intricate scoring system, you’ll find that seeing who won isn’t quite as straightforward as whoever wins the most rounds.
The Game’s Objective
The Wizard card game’s objective is to get the maximum points by correctly estimating the number of tricks you’ll take each round. Thus, unlike in some games, you do not get points solely by performing stunts.
Your score is determined by the accuracy of your forecast prior to each round. As a result, beginners may find the Wizard card game rather tough. However, it is a game that you will improve at with each play.
What you’ll need
You’ll need a deck of cards that is completely unique for this game. You can easily find this online. You also need to obtain a score sheet in addition to the cards.
If you’ve ever played with playing cards before, you’ll recognize some of the cards. These include the traditional four suits (hearts/diamonds/club/spades) and the regular numbered/face cards in each of these four suits.
However, you’ll also receive four Jester cards, which look a lot like Joker cards, as well. You’ll also get four Wizard cards with your purchase. Jesters and Wizards are always the lowest and highest value cards, respectively.
Wizard Card Game Set-Up
Before starting, determine who deals the cards and who keeps track of the game’s progress. As soon as one player has done this, each player should take a card from the deck. The first dealer will be the player with the most valuable card.
As long as the game lasts, the score will be kept by the player holding the lowest-valued card in their hand. After drawing the same card, both players must choose a new one from the deck.
The dealer should reshuffle the cards once the roles have been assigned. If you have one, you can use it to shuffle the cards automatically. After that, the dealer will deal one card to each player and set the others aside in the middle.
The trump suit for the first round is determined by flipping over the top card of the deck. For example, the dealer can determine the trump suit if the top card is a Wizard, but if the top card is a Jester, there is no trump suit. The game can begin once this step has been completed.
In this game, the Jesters are the lowest-ranking card, while Wizards are the highest-ranking card.
In this game, the rankings are as follows: Wizard, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace, and Jester.
Starting the Game
As a starting point, the dealer must give each participant a single card, with the other cards arranged in a central pile.
The round’s trump (suit) is determined by turning over the top card of the pile.
Instead of having a mandatory trump, players will be free to choose their own in rounds in which the Jester or Wizard are overturned, depending on which card is overturned first.
The deal is passed to the player on the left at the end of each round, who reshuffles the deck and distributes two cards to each player.
At this moment, the gameplay is the same as it always has been. The number of cards in each deck grows by one after each round, which is the sole difference in the way rounds are played.
Each player receives all of their cards before the final round begins depending on the number of players.
How to Play Wizard Card Game
In other trick-taking and Rummy games, players build tricks and lead the trump card with the cards in their hands.
During each game round, each player is required to predict how many tricks they will take home.
There are only a limited number of tricks up for grabs per round. The number of predicted winning tricks cannot surpass the number of cards in each player’s hand.
As a result, in round 4, each player will be dealt four cards, resulting in a total of four hands and a total of four tricks.
Writing down how many tricks each player expects per round is a good idea, as these will be tallied at the end of the game.
Tricks can only be won by leading with a card that matches the suit of the trump, regardless of what the first flipped card is.
Even if the trump card doesn’t match, each player must play a card from their own hand. The following is the order of victory:
- The player who is the first to play a Wizard card
- In the absence of a Wizard, the highest-value card that matches the trump
- If there are no cards that match the trump, the highest value card is used
Even if the next card begins a new round, the trick’s winner gets to lead the next card.
In this game, Jesters always lose, but all of your cards must be played at some time in order to win.
How to Score In Wizard Card Game
Everyone should remember that the winner of Wizard isn’t necessarily the one who wins the most tricks.
It’s common for the player who accurately predicts the trick count to win the game.
If a player correctly predicts their trick number, they receive 20 points and an additional 10 points for each trick they win.
A player loses 10 points from their rolling total for every incorrect round but gains 10 points for every trick they win during the round.
Final-round results in the winner being decided. The player with the greatest score at the end of the game will be awarded the victory.
This is called the “Canadian Rule,” and it states that when the dealer (the last to bid) has more points than any other player (and not only a tie for the lead), he may not bid a total number of tricks equal to the number of cards in hand, except by bidding zero.
As a result of this rule, the game will be tougher, and the players will be forced to play outside of their comfort zone.
Wizard Card Game Variants
- Hidden Bid: Before play begins, each player writes their bid on a piece of paper, and all bids are disclosed simultaneously. (Alternatively, wizard bidding coins may be utilized.)
- Delayed Reveal Bid: almost like Hidden Bid. However, the bids aren’t revealed until all the tricks are exhausted.
- Wizard Maximus: Each round of play begins with the distribution of all cards. Each game consists of five rounds of play. Each round, the trumps are changed in the following order: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and no trump.
- Wizard Saboteur: Always, the dealer is the “Saboteur.” The saboteur never bids and is always awarded 20 points after the hand. In addition, the saboteur attempts to sabotage other players’ bids.
- Lost Weekend Bid or Hands in Bid: the players determine their bids and place a closed fist on the table. All players expose their bids with the appropriate number of fingers on the dealer’s count (often three). (The fist remains closed for zero; a single finger indicates a bid of one, and so on).) The bids are recorded by the scorekeeper at this point. There is no advantage or burden on the dealer because all bids are disclosed. Lost Weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota is where this phrase first appeared.
- Hardcore rule: regardless of the score, the dealers must make the bid uneven if there are four or more tricks in hand.
- Third Time’s the Harm: The players have to make a bid before inspecting their hands for every third hand.
- Quick play: In each round, the hand size is increased by two cards rather than one card to expedite play. Because the last round must always use all of the cards, three, five, or six player games must begin with a two-card hand, while four-player games must begin with a one-card round.
- Nannie’s Rule: It is also possible to play the game in reverse, beginning with the maximum number of hands and reducing it to one after every second or third round.
- Jester bid: Because the bid is always zero, the Jester is always the best card.
- Chatham Bid: The bids are kept secret until the round is completed.
- Forehead card: When a player is dealt only one card, they do not look at it but instead set it to face upon their forehead. This enables the player to see the cards of the other player but not their own. After that, bidding and play proceed as usual.
- Smyrna Style: at the end of a deal, if a Wizard is turned as the trump card, the dealer not only gets to choose the trump suit but also defines an additional special rule that applies to the following hand. The unique rule’s sole purpose is to sow discord and disarray.
- Tricksy Wizard: After the cards are dealt, the winner of each round is predetermined, as is customary. A Wizard card is played, and if there are suites on any of the Wizard cards, that card’s suit is immediately changed to the trump suit. If there are no suits on the Wizard cards, the suit is not immediately changed.
Wizard Card Game Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to play Wizard with two players?
There’s a two-player version of Wizard; however, the rules are significantly different, and it does not require a specific two-player deck.
Can you a standard deck of cards to play Wizard?
If you have two decks of cards, you can play Wizard. However, it is more difficult to set up and more time-consuming.
With 60 cards, you’ll need two decks, and you’ll also need to pick ahead of time which extra cards will be used as Wizards and Jokers in your game.
What if all the participants play a Jester in Wizard?
If all four players play a Jester, the first person to play it wins the trick.
Wizard is a fun card game for adults. It’s simple to master the basics yet difficult to win. Try the Wizard card game if you want more demanding games.
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