Spotlight on Games > Translations
English Translation
Tue Jan 15 11:47:07 PST 2002
Das Grosse und das kleine A
[The Big and the little A] by Wolfgang Kramer
Players:3-9 persons
Age:10 and up
Length:45 minutes
104 number cards (eight each of 1-13)
4 Joker cards
1 "Big A" card
1 "little a" card

[Translation by Rick Heli. Editorial additions in square brackets.]

Idea of the Game
The goal of the game is to get rid of the cards in your hand as quickly as possible. Play ends when one player succeeds in doing this. Each card left in the hands of opponents counts as penalty points. Try to get rid of both of the "A" cards which are especially negative. After several hands, the player with the fewest penalty points wins.

The player for whom life has been cruelest takes pen and paper to record the penalty points. The two "A" cards are placed on the middle of the table. The other cards are shuffled and distributed.

For 3-8 players, each receives 13 cards. With 9 players, each receives 12 cards. Everyone takes their cards in hand and sorts them by rank.

Course of a Round
The player left of the dealer begins. He plays one or more cards of the same rank. Then it is the turn of the next player in clockwise order. He must raise or pass.

Raising means: play the same number of cards, but of a higher rank. Passing means: not playing any cards, regardless of whether because you can't or won't.

The first player in the round always decides the number of cards involved. If only one card is played, the other players can also only play one card. If for example a three-of-a-kind (three cards of the same rank) is played, all of the others must also play a three-of-a-kind or pass. Cards played must always be of a higher rank than the last ones played.

When each player has had a turn, either to raise or pass, the round ends. The player who played the highest card or cards turns the played cards face down, lays them to the side and begins a new round.

Note: The played cards have no further value. The only importance is to get rid of one's cards as quickly as possible.

There are 4 jokers in the game, each having the ability to have a rank of 1-14. If a joker is played with other cards, it takes the rank of these cards.

Example: Two 10 cards and a joker constitute three 10 cards.

If a single joker is played, it has a rank of 14. This is then the highest card and cannot be overtaken. If a joker is played in an "A" round, then it has a rank of 1 in defense against taking an "A" card (cf. Course of an "A" Round).

If by the end of the hand a player is still holding a joker, it counts as 14 penalty points.

The two "A"-cards
Now it gets mean. Because the "Big A" and the "little a" cards are the sneakiest cards in the game. At the start these two cards are on the middle of the table.

The two "A" cards are allocated in the first two rounds in the game. The player of the highest card (or cards) on the first round must take the "little a" card into hand. The player of the highest card (or cards) on the second round must take the "Big A" card into hand. This is in no way a disadvantage. Just get rid of the "A" cards later. Because it will be expensive for anyone stuck with an "A" card at the end. The "little a" earns 15 penalty points, the "Big A" 20 points.

Getting Rid of an "A" Card
After a mean card has been caught, it is possible to get rid of it again. The player has to play the highest card or cards in a round so as to be able to begin the next round.

The "A" cards can only be played to lead a round. And only as a single card. But: the "A" card cannot be led in the round immediately following that in which the card was taken, but rather only starting with the first round following.

Course of an "A" Round
If a player leads an "A" card, this is an "A" round. Everyone's palms begin to sweat since no one wants the "A" card. But someone will be left hanging, to the gloating joy of his opponents.

Note: The first two rounds are entirely normal. They are not "A" rounds since no "A" card was led. They are just to distribute the "A" cards.

There are special rules for the "A" rounds:
- The "A" card which has been led has a rank of zero.
- Jokers have a rank of 1.
- Players may not pass. Each must play a card to the trick, regardless of whether higher or lower than the last card played.
- A second "A" card may not be played in an "A" round. If a player's hand consists only of an "A" card, he must pass.
- The player who played the highest card in an "A" round takes all of the cards, including the "A" card. If several cards of the same rank were played, then the player is the stupid one who first played this rank.

The "little a" Trick
The "little a" card comes into play by being given to the first player who takes the first trick in the game. When this player leads the "little a", players should avoid at all costs playing the highest card! The player forced to collect the "little a" trick places it in a pile face down in front of him with the "little a" on top. All of the cards in this trick count as penalty points at the end of the hand. A joker counts as one penalty point, all of the other cards count as their rank. The "little a" itself counts zero points.

The "Big A" Trick
A player who collects a trick containing the "Big A" card takes all of the cards including the "Big A" into hand. That is: the "Big A" card can change hands several times during the game. At the end of the game it will be in someone's hand and earn the poor devil 20 penalty points.

End of the Game
From trick to trick the players reduce their hands. As soon as a player has no cards at the end of a trick, the game is over. Now count points. All players add up their penalty points. All of the cards in hand count their rank. A joker in hand counts 14, the "little a" 15 and the "Big A" 20 penalty points. Don't forget the penalty points in the "little a" trick!

Each player's penalty points are noted. Then a new game begins. The player with the most penalty points begins the new hand.

Winning the Match
A match ends after five hands. The player with the fewest penalty points is the winner of the match, congratulations!

Example Rounds with 4 Players
For those who still have question marks in their heads, here are six examples of game rounds. We will play from the beginning. Both of the "A" cards are still lying in the middle of the table.

Round 1
- Anna begins by leading two 5 cards.
- Bernd raises with a 7 card and a joker (= two 7's)
- Christian passes.
- Doris has, among others, three 12 cards. She keeps one and plays two 12 cards.
Doris has played the highest cards. She lays the cards to the side face down, takes the "little a" card into her hand and begins a new round.

Round 2
- Doris leads four 3 cards.
- Anna passes.
- Bernd plays four 6 cards.
- Christian passes.
Bernd has played the highest cards. He lays the cards to the side, takes the "Big A" card into his hand and begins the next round.

Round 3
- Bernd plays a 10 card.
- Christian plays an 11 card on it.
- Doris plays her remaining 12 card.
- Anna passes because she doesn't want to use her joker yet.
Doris wins the trick and begins the new round.

Round 4
- Doris leads her "little a" card.
- Anna plays her lowest card, a 2.
- Bernd plays his lowest card, a 4.
- Christian plays a 4 card, although he has lower cards in hand.
Thus Bernd, as first to play the highest card, must, like it or not, take the trick. He places it in front of him. By the end of the game this trick earns him 10 (4+4+2) penalty points. Bernd begins the next round.

Round 5
- Bernd wants revenge for his penalty points and plays his "Big A" card.
- Christian now plays his 1 card on it.
- Doris offers a joker; it counts as a 1 card in the "A" round.
- Anna's lowest card is a 3 and thus cannot avoid taking the trick. She takes all of the cards from this trick into her hand. Since she played the highest card, it is now her turn.

Round 6
- Anna leads a 13 card. One a joker would be higher.
- All of the others pass.
Anna retains the lead and can lead the "Big A".

Copyright 2003 Richard M. Heli