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Durak | Traditional Russian Card Game

Durak might not be a game you are overly familiar with. But in Russia, Durak is by far the most popular card game! It’s got a fascinating history and will be sure to make a unique choice if you’re looking for something a little different.

What is The Durak Card Game?

What is The Durak Card Game

Durak is essentially a shedding card game where each player will try to get rid of the cards in their hand first. Like many card games, its history is a little murky, but it is believed to have originated in the 18th century.

Russian soldiers commonly played it during the Russo-French war of 1812, and it’s still played in Russia to this day. In the Western world, the most popular card game is arguably Poker, but in Russia, Durak rules supreme.

Another interesting thing about this game is that it’s played with a smaller deck. Only 36 cards are used; we’ll talk more about the deck below in the rules section. The game makes a fun two-player card game but can be played with up to six people.

The game also takes a rather unusual attack and defense gameplay style. Once your turn, you could either attack or defend, which involves trying to play cards into the middle. But if you fail, you will have to add cards to your hand, which means you could lose!

While Durak might seem confusing at first, it’s surprisingly simple, and you’ll likely have the rules down after just a few games. Before we take a look at the rules in more detail, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to play.

What You’ll Need to Play?

To play the Durak card game, you’ll need a good deck of cards. Durak can make a good game for down at the pub/ bar, and if you’re thinking of playing it there, why not try some waterproof playing cards or maybe some plastic playing cards instead?

If you’re looking for some ideas, then why not consider these black foil waterproof cards? Once you’ve got your cards, you can play Durak! But before setting up a game, make sure you check out our rules guide below.

Black Foil Waterproof Cards

Rules and Gameplay

Rules and Gameplay

Here are the rules and aim to play the Durak card game.

The Aim of the Game

The aim of Durak is to play all your cards. However, this game is quite interesting because there will usually be multiple winners. The loser in Durak will be the last player with cards in their hand. So, to ensure you don’t lose, try to act fast and get rid of your cards as soon as you can.

The Cards

Before we talk about the setup and rules, we’ll briefly discuss how the cards work in Durak. As mentioned previously, you’ll be using a reduced deck of cards. Remove the Joker cards from the deck and the two – five numbered cards.

Then, shuffle the remaining deck, so it’s ready to be dealt out. The card ranking in Durak is relatively straightforward, but you can see at a glance how it works by checking out the list below. Again, we’ve laid the cards out from the highest to the lowest.

  • Ace
  • King
  • Queen
  • Jack
  • Ten
  • Nine
  • Eight
  • Seven
  • Six

However, trump cards are also used in Durak. A card in the Trump suit will always be higher than a card in the other suit. But it can still be beaten by a higher Trump card. So, that’s how the cards work; let’s look at the rules.

The Set-Up

To start the game, choose one player to be the dealer. You can decide this in whatever manner you want. The dealer should shuffle the deck and deal out six cards to each player. We suggest dealing cards one at a time to each player.

Once all the cards are dealt, the dealer should take one final card and place it face up. The suit of this card will be the Trump suit for the current game of Durak. The player with the lowest Trump card in their hand will go first.

They will then need to begin an attack; however, the player to the attacker’s left will become the first defender. Let’s look at how attacking and defending work in more detail.

Attacking and Defending

To attack, you play a card into the middle; the defender will stop your attack by beating that card. This is done by the defender playing a higher-ranked card on top of it. An attacker can make another attack, but they must play a card with the same rank as one of the previously played cards.

You can also halt your attack at any point and let the player on your right continue the attack. A defender can only be attacked up to six times in one round. All the cards played into the middle are discarded if the defender manages to defend against all attacks.

They will also become the new attacker for the next round. However, if they fail to defend against an attack, the defender will instead take all the cards played and add them to their hand instead.

Before a new round of attacks begins, any player with less than six cards in their hand will need to take another card/s from the deck to bring their hand up to six. One important rule to remember is that players don’t need to attack or defend at any point.

Even if players have cards they can use in their hands, they don’t need to use them. So, if you think holding on to a high-ranking card could work out in the long run, you don’t always have to use it.

Winning Durak

To win Durak, you need to play all your cards quickly. Once you have played your cards, you are out of the game and will need to wait for the rest of the players. The last player with cards in their hand loses.

The Durak Card Game – The Classic Russian Card Game!

Durak is fun and, rather, a unique shedding card game. If you enjoy more strategic card games and are looking for something a little different, why not give Durak a try?

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