Charlemagne is a trick taking card game in the Euchre family mainly played in south eastern Canada and parts of the north eastern United States. It is popular among French speaking people, and is named for the famous Frankish King Charlemagne. It is mostly known for being a Bidding Euchre game with a bid that allows the player to try and earn no tricks.
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Charlemagne is a trick taking game where the highest bidder makes trump. The object of the game is to score the most points. The goal of each hand is to win the bid and then win the tricks required to satisfy the bid.
Charlemagne is played with 4-players in 2 teams of 2, with each partner setting across from each other. The game uses 1 deck with 34 cards, the 2 to 6 are removed from the deck leaving 7 to Ace in four suits clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. Two Jokers are also used a red one and a black one. The red joker beats the black joker.
The first dealer is chosen at random then the deal moves clockwise around the table at the start of each new hand. Eight cards are dealt to each player plus two cards into a kitty.
At the start of the hand each player bids their hand; or the number of tricks they think they can win in the hand. Each player bids once starting with the player to the left of the dealer and ending on the dealer. Each bid must be higher then the pervious bidder or they may pass. There are 9 different bids including pass, they are, in lowest to highest order, a bid of 5-tricks, 6-tricks, 7-tricks, 8-tricks, Mulot, Charles, Mulot+, Charles+. After everyone has bid the highest bid wins and is the Caller.
A bid of 5, 6, 7 or 8 means the bidder thinks their team can earn that many tricks. The caller picks up the 2 cards in the kitty and discards 2 cards. The caller then picks the trump suit. The player to the left of the caller leads the first trick.
The rest of the bids are alones. The bidders partner does not take part in the game, and the bidder leads the first card of the first trick.
A bid of Mulot means the bidder thinks they can win no tricks. The kitty is left alone. No trump. This is worth 15-points for a win to the bidder, and 7-points to the opposing team if the bidder take even a single trick.
Charles (Charlemagne) is when the bidder think they can win every trick. The 2 cards in the kitty and 1 card for the bidders partner are passed to the caller, the caller then discards 3 cards. The caller picks the trump suit. This is worth 16-points if successful and 8-points to the opposing team if not.
Mulot+ (Gros Mulot) is just like Mulot expect the callers cards are exposed after the first trick. This is worth 30-points and 15-points.
Charles+ (Gros Charlemagne) is just like Charles, but the caller must choose between the 2 cards in the kitty or 1 card passed from their partner. The caller then must discard the correct number of cards. This is worth 32-points and 16-points.
The first card lead to the first trick is based on the bid(see above); after that each player must play a card from their hand as the same suit as the card lead if they have one or they may play any card if they do not have a suit of the card lead. The highest card of the suit lead wins the tricks if no trump was played, if trump was played then the highest trump card wins the trick. The winner of the trick leads the first card to the next trick.
In hands when a trump suit is called the order of the trump suit from highest to lowest is the jack of the suit called, the jack of the same color suit as the suit called, the ace, king, queen, 10, 9, 8, and 7 of the suit called. This means if diamonds is called trump then the jack of diamonds is the highest trump, jack of hearts is the second highest trump, then the ace, king, queen, 10, 9, 8, and then 7 of diamonds in that order. In this case the jack of hearts would count as a diamond for following suit. If no trump or the other suits other then trump the order of the suits is ace down to 7.
The jokers are always the highest trump. If a joker is played it beats all other cards to win the trick. The red joker is higher then the black joker. The jokers are treated as they where part of the trump suit when following suit; they must be played if trump is lead and they are the only trump available to play, and if they lead the other players must play the jokers or another trump if they have them.
In Mulot and Mulot+ with the jokers being the only 2 trump cards if one joker is played the other joker is required to be played.
If the bid was a 5, 6, 7, or 8 bid and the team who bid won at least that many tricks they earn their bid in points. If the biding team did not win the amount of their bid in tricks the other team earns amount of the bid in points. The other bid points are listed above.
The first team to earn 32 or more points wins the game.
American Charlemagne is played with no kitty and no jokers. The 9 of the trump suit is the highest card, it is above the jack of the trump suit. Bids are 5, 6, 7, Le Petit(Mulot, take no tricks), No Trump(highest card wins of the suit led, take all 8 tricks), Charles(take all 8 tricks), and Charles Alone(take all 8 tricks alone without partner and passing 1 card). It is played Stick the Dealer, the dealer must bid something. The player who won the bidder always leads the first card. Number bids are worth the same, Le Petit and No Trump are worth 8 points, 8 points to the caller if won or 8 points to the other team if lost, and Charles is worth 21 points. This game is played to 21 points so a Charles is worth a win or a loss.