If you are a fan of Gin Rummy or other trick-taking games then you’ll love 13. Like similar card games it may seem confusing at first. But once you learn the sequences you’ll have no trouble jumping right into the game!
But whether you’ll win or not will all depend on your strategy and like always a little luck. So, let’s now take a more in-depth look at the 13 card game. We’ll look at what you’ll need to play, the rules, and of course the gameplay.
What is The 13 Card Game?
13 is a fun trick-taking card game like Spades or Fox in the Forest. It’s quite an old game and like many older playing card games its history isn’t really known. But that’s okay because we do know how to play it.
Like many older card games, there are several variations to 13. Some are only suitable for 2 players but the traditional rules we’ll be looking at are suitable for 4 players. But before taking a look at all the rules, let’s look at what you need to play.
What You’ll Need?
As you may have already guessed to play 13 you’ll need a deck of cards. The Joker cards aren’t used in 13 either, so it’s a regular 52-card deck. Any kind of playing cards will do but we don’t recommend using a themed deck that changes the suits.
This is because the suits hold different values in 13 so you’ll want them to be easily recognizable to all players. A simple deck like these from Integear would make a great choice. Now before we outline the gameplay we’ll take a look at how the cards work in 13.
The Playing Cards
Now at this stage, this is where things can get a bit confusing for new players. In 13 cards are ranked by their value and by their suit. The suit values from highest to lowest are Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and finally Spades.
The cards are also ranked by their individual value. However, this sequence isn’t what you’d expect. In 13 the 2 cards have the highest value while the 3 cards are the lowest. The card value ranging from highest to lowest is as follows – 2, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3.
So, that is the basics of how the cards are ranked/ valued in 13. That being said, there’s a lot more to learn about how you use them. So, let us begin our deep dive into the rules and gameplay of the 13 card game.
The 13 Card Game Rules and Gameplay
The Aim of The Game
The aim of 13 is deceptively simple, you simply need to be the first player to play all your cards. But of course, things aren’t going to be quite so simple are they? 13 is a game all about strategy and there are a number of ways you can play your cards.
Setting Up 13
Setting up the 13 card game is quite simple. One player should shuffle the deck and deal cards to each player one at a time. Every player should receive 13 cards in total. That means all 52 cards will be dealt before the game begins.
Once the cards are dealt each player should take a look at their hand. The player with the 3 of Spades (the lowest value card in the game) will go first and need to play the card. Once the card has been played, the play moves to the player on the left.
The next player will need to match the combination type the first player played. But that’s not all their play will also need to be of higher value than the previous play, as well. During the first round, this likely won’t be overly difficult given the 3 of Spades is the lowest value card.
However, as the game progresses it will get more difficult. If at any stage a player can’t play they can pass on their turn. A player can also pass if they would rather not play a card/s even if they can.
Sometimes hanging on to a high-value card can be very beneficial in the late game. Now let’s talk about the combination type. In 13 cards can be played in several different ways. To help simplify this check out the section below.
You can play cards in 13 in numerous ways. Some of these combinations are much simpler than others. But the more complicated combinations allow you to play more cards and will make it more difficult for other plays to match you.
- Singles: Simply play 1 card from your hand.
- Pairs: Play 2 matching cards from your hand.
- Three of a kind: Play 3 matching cards from your hand.
- Four of a kind: Play 4 matching cards from your hand.
- Sequence: A sequence of 3 or more cards can also be played. For example, 4, 5, and 6 can be played together.
- Double Sequence: This is a sequence of 6 or more cards. For example, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and a Jack.
Cards can be in any suit when playing a sequence and 2s can’t be played in a sequence either. Finally, we have to talk about bombs! Bombs are special attributes that allow certain sequences to beat the number 2 cards. As you may remember 2 cards have the highest value in the game.
A four of a kind and a double sequence of 3 are bombs. These bombs can be played on top of a single 2. A double sequence of 4 can be played on top of two 2s. And finally, a double sequence of 5 or more cards can be played on top of three 2s.
While it is unlikely certain combinations will allow you to win right away! If a player has all four 2 cards they win. Also if a player gets a straight sequence of 3 to Ace then they’ll also win right away.
To make things easier we’ve got a short gameplay roundup for you to follow. First of all, each player should be dealt 13 cards. Make sure the deck is shuffled well and deal cards one at a time. The player with the 3 of Spades will start play. The 3 of Spades can be played on its own or as part of a combination.
The next player will need to play the same combination and be of a higher value. At any point a player can pass, they can do this even if they do have cards they can play. Once all 4 players have played or passed the cards are removed and a new round starts.
This gameplay loop continues till one player has played all their cards. The player who plays all their cards first wins the game. The 13 card game is usually played with a first to three wins setup. So, you’ll have multiple games during a single session.
The 13 Card Game – A Fun Strategic Game!
There is certainly a lot to remember with this card game and there is definitely a learning curve to it. But once you’ve got the basics down you’ll find a very fun, strategic game that is sure to be a hit at any game night. If you enjoy games like Euchre or Pinochle then you’ll be sure to enjoy 13.