Toss HeartsTM is better than the old fashioned Hearts!
Object of the game The object of Toss Hearts is to have the lowest point total when someone else exceeds 100 points. Cards are dealt, passed and played as normal.
First, you might want to decide how many players there will be. Then, if you have two to eight players, just add or subtract the suits and cards as you choose. With most card games there are 13 or more cards per player. You may want more suits than players to keep the number of tricks played higher. With Toss you have the control to decide how many players, suits and cards you use. With Toss "You Make The Rules!"
The Deck The 111 card deck contains eight suits; clubs and spades are black, hearts and diamonds are red, crosses and oracs are gold, castles and shields are blue. Cards in suit (13); A , K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, & 2. Jokers are the boss joker and four regular jokers; black, gold, red, and blue. The boss joker is the highest card of all. The black joker is the highest card of clubs or spades. The red joker is the highest card of hearts or diamonds. The blue joker is the highest card of castles or shields suits. Null cards are included and may be used in play with any suit.
The Deal The first dealer is chosen by random draw of cards, high card deals. Thereafter, the dealer and dealing rotates clockwise. The cards are shuffled and then dealt by twos and threes beginning with the player on dealer's left. In all subsequent hands, the deal rotates to the left. In three, four, and five player games, you may use the rules listed within the rule variations section.
The Pass Players pass three cards from their hand to another player. Each deal the direction of the pass changes. The sequence is pass "left", "right", "across" and "hold." which is a no pass. Passing sequence may be adjusted for more or less players.
The Play The first card played in the first trick is the two of clubs. Play continues clockwise until everyone has played a card. Each player, if able, must follow suit and the "correct" color joker or the null card can be a "suit" card. Any player, by choice, may play higher or lower than the previous card. The trick is won by the highest card of the suit led.
Each joker is the highest card of each of a pair of colored suites and the boss joker is the highest card of all. Winner of the trick leads the next. Play continues until all players are out of cards.
If unable to follow suit, the player may play any card. The highest ranked card in the initially lead suit wins the trick. A "wrong" color joker does not win the trick but the "right" color joker or the boss joker would win the trick. There is no trump suit in Hearts.
Hearts may not be lead until a heart was played in a previous trick. This is called "Breaking Hearts." However, if any player has the lead with only hearts in hand, they may lead hearts.
Once a trick has been played, anyone may look at the cards until cards are turned over for the play of the next trick. Older tricks may be reviewed only if someone had called renege.
Jokers are allowed to DoubleCross (steal or take) any one specific trick in accordance with their respective colors. The boss joker is the highest card of all suits and can DoubleCross any single trick. The boss joker may not be double crossed by any other joker. The black joker can DoubleCross any single trick of clubs or spades. The red joker can DoubleCross any heart or diamond trick. The blue joker can steal any cross or shield trick. Lead of the boss joker is treated as a lead of hearts. Lead of any one of the other three jokers requires the remaining players to play only to the jokers color, i.e., if the red joker leads then hearts or diamond can be played on that trick. Lead of any regular joker requires other players to play a card of either one of the two correct color suits.
The Null (blank) Null cards are played as any regular suit or heart. Nulls can be very dynamic to the outcome of the hand or game. When any suit is led, you may play a null even though you have other cards of that suit. For instance, if hearts or spades are led, you may save one of yours by playing a null. With a null lead, other players may play any card, the highest card of any suit wins. If two or more regular jokers are played on a null lead, the last joker played wins unless one of the jokers was the boss.
Scoring Individual player scores are keep. Each heart taken adds 1 point to a player's score. Also the Queen of Spades, often called the "Black Lady", adds 13 points to a player's score. When a player takes all 13 Hearts and the Queen of Spades, that player "Shoots the Moon," and either subtracts 26 points from their score or adds 26 to all opposing players. Jokers and null cards have no point values.
If teams are played, each player each team get "credit" for the total points taken by the team.
Any player that hits 100 points exactly gets to go back to zero points. Lowest score wins when any player goes over 100 points. This is true unless all players agree on a higher number of total points required to win. Sometimes games are set to 200 or 300 points.
Misdeals These rules may vary depending on the seriousness of the game. Misdeals in Hearts aren't like those in Spades where a player can declare a misdeal because of an unplayable hand. Misdeals are typically the result of sloppy dealing, i.e., cards flipping accidentally or too many or too few cards dealt. Reshuffling and redealing the cards is the normal course of action.
Renege If it can be proved that a player was reneging, by an examination of the cards, then assign 26 points to the offending player. You may turn over "older" tricks to see if a renege had occurred. If there was no reneging, then the player that called the renege is assigned 26 points. A game may not end on a renege hand and no one may use a renege hand to "hit" 100 exactly to go back to zero points.
Rule Variations The most common variant of Toss Hearts is the flexibility to add or subtract players. For five players, remove one suit and one null. For four players remove two suits of the same color and the joker. Also for three, four, or five players you can just remove lower cards from all of the suits until you get the number of cards necessary.
Fixed team variation; Also you can play "fixed" team Hearts. For each game you may set up different team combinations. Teams do not have to be equal, two players may team against four players or three sets of two players and two sets of three player teams is allowed, however it is agreed upon. Score are then kept by team. Passing can be done only between team mates or in the normal manner.
Joker variation; Once a joker has been played on a trick, the very next player thereafter may or may not DoubleCross it again by playing another joker. A joker can DoubleCross a joker of a different color. Jokers of the "wrong color" do not change the original suit, to the remaining players, of that trick.
Strategy Thoughts Try to remember all the cards played and which suits were taken with a joker or had a null played on them. With practice this becomes easier, but you still have to think about it. Think about what you want to pass to players. Pay attention to what each particular opponent usually passes to you. You can infer much about their hand and what their strategy is likely to be.
Are you vulnerable to taking the Queen? Do you have anything to stop someone from Shooting the Moon? Can you void yourself in a suit and protect yourself from taking too many point cards? Something many beginners overlook is trying to go void in suits to play point cards easier and sooner. Long suits make it much easier to Shoot the Moon.
With jokers and nulls used during the play, strategies are much more diverse than in regular Hearts. If you null an off-suit trick are you just out of hearts or attempting to shoot the moon? Who’s got what? How can you win?
Jokers taking tricks and the play of null cards offer great opportunities to showcase your card playing skills and strategy expertise to a level not found in other card games.
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