Carousel – a Lithuanian playing card game

Warning the rules can seem a bit complicated at first but once you get a hang of it – its super fun 🙂 Also some Lithuanians might disagree with these rules because there are several versions of this game, but this is the set of the rules that I use and that I believe is the most common in Lithuania. Also I am planning to update this blog post with some visuals and a video in the future.

The Rules

The game can be played by 2, 3 or 4 people. You can also play in pairs 2 vs 2.

The game is played with a deck of 52 playing cards + 3 jokers and 1 extra card called “the broom” which can be a one more joker or any other distinct card such as a blank card or info card.

  • One joker is the number 20 joker
  • One joker is the number 15 joker
  • One joker is the number 11 joker
  • One joker is The Broom

The goal of the game to be the first player who collects 120 points.

The calculation of the points:

  • 10 points for the number 20 joker
  • 5 points for the number 15 joker
  • 3 points for the number 11 joker
  • 2 points for 10 of diamonds – its called the Carousel
  • 2 points for 2 of spades – it is called the the Schnapps
  • 2 points for a person who has collected the most spades cards (if there are two players who have the same amount of spades cards they split the points, each player gets 1)
  • 2 points for a person who has collected the most cards (if there are two players who have the same amount of cards they split the points, each player gets 1)
  • 1 point for each spade

How does the game work?

The game is played in several sessions until someone collects 120 points.

In the beginning of the each session all of the 56 cards are shuffled and each player is dealt 4 cards (the players keep their cards hidden and do not them show to others). Then 8 cards are put face up on the table. There should not be any jokers or “The Broom” face up so if one of the face up cards is a joker or “The Broom” that card is put back into the deck (somewhere in the middle) and a new card is put face up instead.

The game is begun by the player who is to the left of the dealer. Afterwards the players take turns clockwise.

The cards can be categorized into court cards:

  • Jacks
  • Queens
  • Kings

And into value cards:

  • The number 20 = 20
  • The number 15 = 15
  • The number 11 = 11
  • each ten = 10
  • each nine = 9
  • each eight = 8
  • each seven = 7
  • each six = 6
  • each five = 5
  • each four = 4
  • each three = 3
  • each two = 2
  • each ace = 1

During a turn

Each player can take one of the following actions during their turn:

1. The player can take cards off the table by using one card from their hand

The player can take cards off the table by using one card from their hand (you can always play only one card, under no circumstance you can play two cards) once you take a the cards you put them into a pile next to yourself:

  1. They can take take value cards if they have a value card of the same value For example, you have 2 of spades and there is a 2 of clubs on the table, so you can use the 2 of spades to take 2 of clubs.
  2. If there are several value cards of the same value on the table you can take all of them at the same time if you have a value card of the same value. For example, you have 3 of clubs and there is a 3 of diamonds and 3 of spades on the table, so you can use the 3 of clubs to take 3 of spades and 3 of diamonds.
  3. You can also combine value cards on the table to a desired value and then take them if the value of the combined number cards is equivalent to the value of a card that you have in hand. For example, you have 6 of spades in your hand and there is an ace of diamonds (remember the value of an ace is 1) and a 5 of clubs on the table, so you can combine an the ace of diamonds and 5 of clubs to get a 6 (1 + 5) and then take those two cards with a 6 of spades that you have in your hand. Another example there is the number 11 joker and 4 of diamonds on the table and you have the number 15 joker in your hand. So you can combine 11 joker and 4 of diamonds to get 15 (11 + 4) and take that those two cards with the number 15 joker.
  4. You can take another court card off the able by using a court value of an equivalent value. For example take a jack of diamonds off the table by using a jack of spades from your hand.
  5. If there are three court cards of the same value on the the table you can take all of them at once if you have a court value that has the same value as well. For example, if there is jack of diamonds, jack of clubs and jack of hearts on the table you can take all 3 of them if you have jack of spades. However, you cannot take two court cards of the same value at the same time. For example if there is jack of diamonds and jack of hearts on the table and you have jack of clubs in your hand, you cannot take both of them at the same time, you can take only either jack of diamonds or jack of hearts by using the jack of clubs that you have in your hand.
  6. If you have “the broom” in your hand you can use it to take all of the cards that are on the table. That is why it’s called the broom because it brooms off all of the cards 🙂

    Once you take cards of the table you put them into a card pile next to yourself (you put the cards that you have taken of the table and the card that you used for taking those cards, you have to always use a card to take other cards).

2. The player can create “a combined card”

The player can create “a combined card” by putting a value card on top of another value card (you have to use a card from your hand for that)

If you have a value card in your hand (e.g. an ace = 1) and there is another value card on the table (e.g. a 5 of spades) where if you combined these two cards you could take them with another value card that you also have in your hand (e.g. you have a 6 of spades in your hand as well) then you create a combined card by putting a value card from your hand on top of another value card (in this case put ace on top of 5 of spades) and then next turn try to take the “combined card” (ace and 5) with the card card that you have in your hand (in this example 6 of spades).

However, once you create create a combined card, you have to wait for another player to take a turn and only then once your new turn starts you can (if you want) take that the combined card (e.g. an ace and 5 of spades by using a 6). This makes the “combined card” vulnerable because another player could attempt to take the combined card (e.g. there was a combined ace and 5 and other player had 6 then they could take the combined ace and 5 with their 6).

Also once the combined card is created it is treated as if it was a one card as long as it is on the table (e.g. if you have a combined card of ace and 5 then you treat it as 6 as long as it is on the table and not in the taken card pile) in sense that you cannot take the parts from which the combination was made (e.g. if you have a combined card of ace and 5 on the table, you cannot use another ace to take an ace that is within the combined card)

Also, another player can add to the combined card even more value by putting another value card on top of the existing combined card. For example, player 1 puts an ace on a 5 and creates a combined card of 6. Then if player 2 has an ace and a seven in their hand they can add an ace to the existing combined card on the table and create an updated combined card of ace + ace + 5 equivalent to a 7 and then wait a turn and take that seven. However, this can only be done if there is one combined card.

In some rare cases you can create two or three combined cards at the same time. For example if there is 4, 6, and 5 on a table, and you have another 5 and a 10 in your hand then by putting down a 5 on a table you can create 2 combined cards of 10 → this can be done by combining 4 and 6 into a combined card of 10 and 5 and 5 into a combined card of 10. Such cases are rare but interesting and to create a such a combination you still must put down a card from your hand.

Keep in mind that to create a combined card you must be have a card in your hand which which you can take that combined card that you have created on your next turn. E.g. you create a combined card on the table by combining an ace that you have in your hand with a 5 on table, for you to do that you must have a 6 in your hand.

3. The player can put a card on the table

The player can put a card on the table– If you do not want to or cannot deposit or take cards of table, then you can take one card from your hand and place it among the cards on the table. This card then will be for grabs for other players (including you). Generally you should avoid this and put only low value cards on the table.

After a turn

After a player ends their turn (which always ends with putting down one card on the table) next player takes their turn (clockwise). This continues till all players are out of cards. Once a player is out of cards they have to draw 4 cards again. This process continues till there are no more cards in the deck. If there are still cards on the table after all of the players have exhausted all of their possible moves, then the player who has successfully taken a card last takes all of the remaining cards on the table.

End

Once there are no more cards on the table the session ends and the players count their points by going through all of the cards that they have taken using the provided point system (see above). Then the next session starts. This continues till one of the players reaches 120 points or more (the points of each session sum up). See an example of a game flow where player 1 wins.

Session #Player 1 score for that sessionPlayer 2 score for that sessionPlayer 1 totalPlayer 2 total
120102010
220104020
315155535
415157050
510108060
6201010070
725512575

Now you are ready to play – enjoy 🙂

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