The Rules of Mousel

This is an addictive card game which I learned while weather-bound with some friends in Greenland in the summer of 1999.

The game is best with four or more players. It is a betting game, so have a stack of pennies or matchsticks available for each player. Each hand is quick to play, and fortunes can change rapidly.

The Pack

Split the pack, and play with the cards higher or equal to 7 (including the Ace).

Bidding and Dealing

All players pay one token into the pot to be in the deal. Each player receives the same number of cards as there are players, dealt in pairs (with a round of single cards at the end if there are an odd number of players). The next card is turned face-up. The other players now look at their hands, but the dealer does not look at his own cards. The dealer can accept the face-up card, or offer it to each player in turn. If a player accepts the card, that card is given to the player and the suit of that card becomes trumps. If no player takes the card, the dealer may look at his own cards and decide whether he wants to accept the card. If he does not want to take it, another card is turned face-up, and the process is repeated. The dealer may take this card immediately after turning it up only if he has not looked at his hand.

Each player in turn, starting with the player who took the trump card, may replace any number of cards from their hand with fresh cards from the deck. The discarded cards are not revealed. The players who did not accept the trump card may fold instead of exchanging cards. If all other players but the dealer fold, then the dealer must play the hand. If the dealer took the trump card, then the last player before the dealer must play the hand if all other players fold.

Play

When all of the players have exchanged cards, the player who took the trump card discards on more card face-down, and leads the first trick. Players must follow suit if possible, and may trump otherwise. Tricks are won by the highest card, or the highest trump if any are played, with aces counting high.

The pot is split proportionately to the number of tricks each player made. If the player who took the trump card fails to make any tricks, he pays double the current value of the pot into the next pot. If he makes just one trick, he pays the value of the current pot into the next pot. If any other player in the hand fails to make a trick, they pay the value of the current pot into the next pot.

Having divided the current pot and payed their penalties into the next pot, each player puts in a token for the next deal, and play continues until all players have had too much to drink.


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Last modified on 12th February 2004 by angus@harlequin.com