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Game Summary Edit

Sedma, or Septica is a Central European 4-card trick-and-draw game group played by four in fixed partnerships, sometimes with a standard deck and some with a 32-card piquet deck. Card suits typically don't play a role in this game, and there is no ranking order. A trick is won by the last player to play a card of the same rank as the card led. They're members of the Ace–Ten family related to Ukraine's Hola and the Finnish Ristikontra, both slightly earlier games.

Ristikontra is for four players rising to popularity in Finnish lumber camps. It seems likely that this the original game from which Sedma springs, where tricks are won by the last card of equal rank to the card led. This games is commonly played in the region stretching across Europe from Lapland in the north to Hungary in the south. 

Hola is a sort of trick taking game for two or four players, but it is unusual in that a card can only be beaten by a card of equal value, or by a wild card, sevens and twos being wild. The object is to capture aces, tens and the last trick. Hola is a Slavic word meaning "nakedness".

Playing the Game Edit

In Ristikontra there are four players in fixed partnerships; partners sit facing each other. The object is to take tricks containing aces, 10s, kings, queens and jacks. A standard 52-card pack is used. The cards have no ranking order and suits are irrelevant. The values of the cards are: each Ace is 11 points; each King is 4 points; each Queen is 3 points; each Jack is 2 points; each Ten is 10 points and the other cards (2-9) have no value. There are 120 points in the pack in total.

Any player can deal first; the turn to deal passes to the left after each hand. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals six cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down to form a stock. The game is played clockwise. The player to the left of the dealer is first to play. A trick consists of four cards, one by each player. The trick is won by whoever played the last card of the same rank as the first card in the trick. 

Playing cards

The object of the play is to win tricks containing valuable cards. Only the point cards A, K, Q, J, 10 count; other cards are worthless, the number of taken tricks has no effect on scoring. After playing a card from hand each player must draw the top card from the stock, so that the players always hold six cards in their hands. The winner of the trick leads to the next trick. When the stock is empty, the last six tricks are played without replenishing the players' hands.

The players are free to play any cards they wish, with one exception. A player is not allowed to lead all four cards of one rank to four successive tricks. After leading the same ranked card to three consecutive tricks, a different ranked card must be led. When there are still cards in the stock, any time it is a player's turn to lead a card or play to the trick, the player may turn up the top card of the stock and play that. This is known as 'playing in the dark'. Once the stock card is turned over it must be played - the player cannot choose to play a card from hand instead. After playing the top card of the stock, the player will still be holding six cards and therefore does not draw a card from the stock.

At the end of the deal each team counts the value of the cards in the tricks they have won. The object is to get 61 card points, more that half of the total, and the winning side scores 1 game point. If a side gets 120 card points, they score two game points. If both sides get 60 card points, the game point for this deal is held in abeyance, and awarded to the winners of the next deal, in addition to what they would normally win for that deal. The overall winners are the first team to reach an agreed target, usually 7 points.

Hola is for two players, or four players in fixed partnerships, partners sitting opposite. A standard 52 card pack is used. Six people can play, in teams of three, each player sitting between two opponents. In this case two 52-card packs are combined to make a pack of 104 cards.

Aces and tens are worth 10 points each - the other cards have no value. There are also 10 points for winning the last trick. The object is to take as many of the available 90 points as possible by winning tricks containing aces and tens, and winning the last trick. Sevens and twos are wild, and can be used to capture cards of any rank. With four players the game is played clockwise.

The first dealer is chosen at random and deals four cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down to form a stockpile. In the two player game the non-dealer leads to the first trick. With four players it is the player to dealer's left who leads. Any card may be led, and each of the other players in turn must play a card. They may play any card they hold but in order to beat the card led they would have to play either a card of the same rank as the lead or a wild card.

The player who led to the trick now has two options: to end the trick, in which case it is won by the last player who played a wild card or a card of the rank led; to fight (i.e. to continue the trick) by leading another card. If the player who led decides to fight, each player in turn now plays another card. When everyone has played, the leader may end the trick or fight again by leading another round. This can continue for up to four rounds, after which everyone has run out of cards and the trick has to end.

The winner of the trick is the last person who played a card of the same rank as the original lead or a wild card. The winner of the trick gathers up all the played cards and keeps them face down (in the four player game partners can keep their tricks in a single pile). Then each player, beginning with the one who led to the trick, draws sufficient cards from the undealt stock to bring their hand back to four cards. The player who won the trick then leads to a new trick.

If after a trick there are not enough cards left in the stock for all the players to replenish their hands to four cards, the remaining stock cards are distributed equally among the players. When there are no cards left in the stock at all, play continues with the cards the players have in their hands, until all the cards have been played. At the end of the play, each team scores 10 points for each ace or ten they won in tricks, and the team which won the last trick, known as table, gets an extra 10 points.

If one team won all the tricks (called a Hola), they score 170 points (rather than 90). This happens very rarely. If the non-dealing side take 50 or fewer points, the same player deals again for the next hand. If the non-dealing side take 60 or more points, the opponent to the left of the previous dealer deals the next hand. The players should agree in advance the number of points needed to win the game - usually somewhere between 200 and 500. In the six-player game, there is no score for the last trick, but because a double deck of cards is used there are 160 points at stake - eight aces and eight tens. The game is played to 500 points.

Additional Resources and References Edit

http://www.pagat.com/sedma/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedma

http://www.pagat.com/sedma/ristikontra.html

http://www.pagat.com/sedma/hola.html

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