16 years ago I was taught a four player card game and I was never told the official name of it, and I have forgotten most of the rules. I also might be remembering parts of this incorrectly too...


  • The player with the most points by the end of the last set was the winner
  • The card game consists of 4 sets of 5 rounds where each player gets a turn at being the king of a set.
  • Each round the cards are dealt out so each player has 13 cards in their hand (much like Hearts)
  • After seeing his (or her) hand the king decides between 5 different games that will be used to determine the rules for that round
  • Each game is played once and only once for a set.
  • 1 of the 5 games players could gain points while the other 4 you lost points.
  • At the end of each set if all the points were done correctly all the players score could be added together and it would equal zero, which served as a type of checksum.
  • So no matter what by the end of the set first place would always be in the positive while fourth place would always be in the negative.

The games that lost points:

  • Each of them had different set of cards that would lose points (similar to Hearts where certain cards gained points).
  • The King would start the first round and it would go clockwise around the group where each player would play a card similar in rules to that of Hearts.
  • From there whomever won/lost that round would start the next round much like in Hearts
  • One might have been called Queens, and you did not want to get the four queens
  • One might have been called Diamonds, and you did not want to get any diamonds

The game that netted points was different from the other four:

  • For this one the goal was to empty your hand first.
  • Whomever emptied their hand first got the most points, and it would continue till the second and third person emptied their hands, and they would get respectively less points.
  • There was four piles one for each suit and you played counting up much like in Solitaire.
  • If you could not play a card you passed.
  • King started and it would go clockwise around with each player playing a card or passing.
  • Common strategy was to holdout on a suit to force the other players to play the suit you needed in order to empty your hand first. Also if you were the King and you looked at your hand and saw you had lots of face cards you typically would avoid this one, since they are the last cards to be played.

So what is the name of it and what are the rules?

3 Answers 3


I believe you are referring to Barbu:


  • This is close, definitely the same family of card games, it is possible I was taught a variation of Barbu.
    – Anketam
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 23:17
  • I have accepted this answer because looking over the rules a few more times, I am confident that my friend taught me a variation of Barbu, and there is enough information here for me to rebuild the rules of his variation and/or learn the original set of rules.
    – Anketam
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 12:07
  • A pleasant game for an evening with friends.
    – Lighthart
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 15:35

It sounds like Trex (or Trix).



Could it be Wizards you are thinking of... I see a lot familiar things in your post

  • The game used a standard deck of cards, so this is not it
    – Anketam
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 18:36

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