Royals is an
elaborate game of the Rummy family in which players must accumulate Royals
(face cards) of their Home House (suit)
by winning Battles (tricks), before they can acquire further points by melding
matches of three or more cards.
Combinations of Royals gain further privileges and score enhancements.
Number of Players – Three
Object of the Game - To gain points by capturing cards in Battles or by melding matches of three or more cards.
The Pack - 100 cards, the equivalent of a 52-card Poker deck plus a 48-card Pinochle deck. Thus there are three of each card 9 through Ace, and one of each card 2 through 8.
Rank of Cards in Battle - A (high), K,Q,J,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2 (low). However, in a Battle a 2 (or “Sneak”) beats an Ace of the same suit.
The Deal - Dealer gives ten cards to each player, clockwise beginning with the player to the left. The remaining cards are placed face-down in a Draw Stack in the middle of the table, with the top card turned face-up to initiate a Discard Pile. Player's rotate clockwise turns as Dealer.
Choosing Home Houses – In the same order as the deal, each player declares a Home House (suit). Two or more players may choose the same Home House. Face cards from your Home House are your Royals.
The Play - Players take turns as Attacker (lead player) in the same order as the deal. Each turn includes the following five parts:
1) Draw - Attacker draws one card, followed by each player clockwise. Attacker then draws a second card. Each player may draw either the top card of the Draw Stack, or the top card of the Discard Pile. See also "Drawing the Discard Pile", below.
2) Gift Exchange
- In each turn, following the draw, Attacker trades one card from his hand with
each other player from their hands. The
exchange is mandatory and made without discussion.
3) Battle – Attacker plays a card from
his hand, followed by each player clockwise, playing in suit if possible. The highest card in suit wins. In a tie the winner is the first played.
4) Optional Plays - Assassination, Ransoming or Changing Houses, all described below, may be performed any time during Attacker’s turn, before or after the Gift Exchange. Melding, Marriage, Hostage Declaration and Redemption are permitted only after the Gift Exchange. All optional plays must be completed before the discard.
5) Discard – Attacker discards one card from his hand to the top of the Discard Pile, which is spread so that all cards are visible.
Melding - If a player has at least one Royal present in Spoils display before her turn begins (i.e., won in a previous Battle), she may meld matches of three or more cards with the same denomination, such as three tens. The cards are placed in Meld display on the player’s right side, separated from Spoils. The three matched cards may include cards already in Meld or Spoils, but all cards remain in their original section. Further matching cards may be added to a Meld in later turns, provided that the total number
continues to be three or more, and that at least one Royal is still present in Spoils.
Drawing the Discard Pile - If Attacker at the beginning of his turn has in Spoils two or more different Home House Royals (e.g. K & Q, but not 2 Q's), then he may draw all or part of the Discard Pile instead of the usual two cards from the Draw Stack or top of the Discard Pile. The bottom card so drawn must be used immediately in a Meld. (This is an exception to the rule against Melding before Gift Exchange). All cards on top of this card are placed in the hand. Further melding may proceed after the Gift Exchange. The other players each draw their usual one card from the Draw Stack (or the new top of the Discard Pile), and play proceeds as usual.
Assassination - Aces taken in Battle are called "Assassins", and may be used to eliminate cards from another player’s Spoils or Meld displays. Assassins can only be used if they are in Spoils before Attacker’s turn begins. The Assassin eliminates any one card of the same suit, and both the Assassin and the victim card are placed in the Dead Pile.
Ransoming - Attacker may Ransom cards from any player’s Meld or from any position in the Discard Pile, by trading from her hand a card of equal denomination but different suit.
Royal Marriage: A Royal Marriage (hereafter called
Marriage) is a Home House King or Queen together with the conjugal match of
another suit, on the player’s board at the same time. For example, if a player is Hearts, one
Marriage would be a Queen of Hearts and a King of Clubs in either Spoils or Meld.
Marriages play a key role in Marriage Royals; hence the name.
At least one player must have a Marriage on the board for one round of play (i.e. one turn for each player)before the round can end. (See below, Ending the Hand). Thus, the player who creates the first Marriage is the first player eligible to go out, on his next turn.
Assassinating spouses, converting Marriages, and Forced Marriages:
A Marriage may be ended by assassinating one of the spouses with an ace of the same suit already in spoils. (See above, Assassination.) Any player may do this during her turn, even the player who owns the Marriage or the other partner. If no other Marriages exist on the game board, the round cannot end until another appears and lasts for three turns. The surviving
spouse also loses all privileges that depend on the Marriage.
Hostages: If you have in Spoils a King or Queen (or Jack) that is identical to a spouse in someone’s Marriage, you may declare such card a Hostage. A card may be declared a Hostage the turn it is captured in Battle or later. A Hostage temporarily nullifies the privileges and scoring results of the target Marriage. In our example, if you have a King of Clubs or a Queen of Hearts in your Spoils, declaring it a Hostage removes all privileges and scoring related to that Marriage. Place the Hostage card near the middle of your board, where it is clearly differentiated. You cannot use a Hostage against a Marriage that you own. The Hostage declaration must be made during the player's turn, and may be revoked during any subsequent turn. There is no limit to the number of repeats of this, but in a single turn a Hostage may only be declared or redeemed, not both.
Redemption: A Hostage card is subject to Redemption by either enemy player. Attackers may Redeem a Hostage by Ransoming with an equal card of differing suit from their own hand. This is the only case in which a Spoils card may be ransomed. Redemption is legal in any attack turn, not just the turn following the Hostage Declaration. The incoming card is returned to Spoils.
Changing Home Houses - If you can accumulate three cards exactly alike (e.g., three tens of Spades), you may use them to change your Home House to the suit they represent (i.e., Spades).
Ending the Hand – Attacker may end the Hand if she meets four requirements:
1) At least one Royal in Spoils before her turn begins.
Discarding is optional on the final turn.
If the Draw Stack runs out before any player ends the Hand, play continues as usual, with players first drawing from the Discard Pile, and when that runs out, continuing to play without drawing. The hand then ends in the usual way, or when one player's Hand runs out of cards. (This last does not end the game if draw cards are still available.)
Scoring - Cards in Meld and Spoils are added, five points for 9, 10, J, Q, K, A, ten points for 2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Points are doubled for cards in matches of three or more (e.g., two sixes are 20 points, three sixes are 60 points). Cards left in a player's hand are subtracted,
without doubling for matches. If the points in the Hand are more than the points on the table, the score is negative ("in the hole").
End of Game - Scores for each hand are added. The game ends when 1) One player passes 1066 (Battle of Hastings) or 2) One player drops below -333 (Battle of Issus), or 3) Two players surrender. High score wins.
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Carroll Family, 6373 N. Lead Ave., Fresno, CA 93711