TroiKuntza is a Central Pennsylvania rummy-style card game where the objective is to have the lowest point total after completing 7 prescribed hands. The ability to “May I” yourself out of a jam is unique & crucial!
What You Need
- 2 full decks of cards, including Jokers (General rule: Add 1 deck for every 2 to 3 people)
- An attitude!
Number of Players
Minimum 4 but TroiKuntza is most fun played in larger groups also!
How You Win
You win by having the lowest total score at the end of the 7 prescribed Rounds. Each Round requires you meld a combination of Troikas and/or Runs.
Troika: A minimum of 3 cards of the same value.
Run: A minimum of 4 cards of the same suit in sequence. An Ace can be low or high, not both. Melding on a Run cannot cross over to High/Low: If Ace is low, you cannot meld a King; if Ace is high, you cannot meld a 2.
- Round 1 ‘TT’: 2 Troikas (minimum of 6 cards to meld before ‘Coming Out’)
- Round 2 ‘TR’: 1 Troika / 1 Run (min 7 cards)
- Round 3 ‘RR’: 2 Runs (min 8 cards)
- Round 4 ‘TTT’: 3 Troikas (min 9 cards)
- Round 5 ‘TTR’: 2 Troikas, 1 Run (min 10 cards)
- Round 6 ‘RRT’: 2 Runs, 1 Troika (min 11 cards)
- Round 7 ‘RRR’: 3 Runs (min 12 cards: at least one “May I” must be used to complete this round)
How You Start
Deal 11 cards to each person. Flip one card from the Draw pile to start the Discard pile. The person to left of Dealer starts.
Each Player’s Turn begins when the Player to their right discards. a Turn has these stages:
- Beginning Your Turn, by a) picking from Discard Pile, or b) allowing a “May I”. If you allow a “May I”, you must then draw a card from the Discard or Draw piles.
- Melding/Coming Out, by laying the required meld for that Round, or if already melded on last turn, melding on your own or other players’ melds.
- Ending Your Turn by discarding a card to the Discard pile, which may also be the end of the game if that is your last card.
Beginning Your Turn
Begin your Turn by choosing if you want the last card discarded to the Discard Pile: the current Player always has first dibs on the Discard Pile!
If you do not want the discarded card, see if there are any “May I’s” (see “May I’s” below) from other players.
Once a “May I” is completed, you pick a card from the top of the Draw Pile.
During your Turn, you can ‘come out’ by laying your meld onto the table. You must have ALL of the requirements for that Round in your hand to meld/come out. For example, Round 1’TT’ requires at least 6 cards.
You must wait until your next turn to meld on other people’s Troikas/Runs.
Also note, the required meld for the final Round 7 ‘RRR’ (3 Runs) requires 12 cards (3 Runs) plus a 13th card for discard. This can only be done by executing at least one “May I” during that round.
Ending Your Turn
Complete your turn by discarding a card to the Discard Pile. Note a discard is required, and cannot be a part of the required melded hand.
The unique twist in TroiKuntza is the ability to get yourself out of a jam by using a “May I”. Each player gets 3 “May I’s” each round.
If you see a card discarded that you want, but it is not your turn, you can politely request the card by saying “May I”.
“May I” Rules/Notes:
- A “May I” must be called prior to the current Player taking and VIEWING a card from the Draw Pile.
- There is no responsibility for the current Player to solicit “May I’s”: other people need to jump in and demand it!
- Once a “May I” request is made, it must be honored.
- If there are multiple “May I” requests during your Turn, the “May I” closest to you from your left gets the card.
- A person requesting a “May I” must take the discarded card they “May I’d” from the top of the Discard Pile, and also take a Penalty Card from the top of the Draw Pile.
- If a “May I” was taken during your Turn, you can take the newly exposed card on the Discard Pile.
- You cannot “May I” a “May I”: once an old discarded card is exposed by a “May I”, no one other than the current Player can take that exposed card.
- IMPORTANT: Any card picked or “May I’d” that fills a critical gap in your hand is traditionally inserted into that spot in your hand by using your elbow to tap the card into place, while saying “that goes right… here….!!!” If you want to go Full Sweet Willie, face the card to your opponents as you make the elbow insertion! (See “Sweet Willie” reference below).
TroiKuntza players have been coming out long before it was the cool thing to do!
Once you have collected the required meld for that round, you ‘come out’ by laying your meld cards down. You will usually have cards remaining.
Melding on Other's Cards
On your next turn after playing your own required meld, you can play your remaining or picked cards onto your own Troikas/Runs, or on any opponents Troikas/Runs.
A Joker on the edge of a Run can be ‘bumped’: If Joker was used for the 3 Clubs in a 3/4/5/6 Clubs Run, and you have the 3 Clubs you can play the 3 Clubs by ‘bump’ the Joker to be the 2 Clubs. Inner Jokers of a Run cannot be replaced.
Play continues until someone goes out by playing all their cards, either on their own melds or playing on other people’s melds.
The game is over immediately when someone goes out: no ‘final turns’ for anyone.
Once a person goes out, you tally your score for the remaining cards in your hand to determine your score for that round. Add that to total of previous rounds.
- Jokers: 50 points each
- Aces: 20 points each
- Face Cards and Tens: 10 points each
- Numbered Cards (2-9): 5 points each
- A player usually has a few cards remaining after coming out.
- A “May I” can both help or hurt: e.g. exposing a card you need under the latest discarded card, or taking a card you need from the Draw pile.
- You know how many “May I’s” used by counting your cards since a “May I” adds two cards (“May I” card from Discard Pile, penalty card for Draw Pile) to your count: 11 cards =0 “May I’s”, 13=1, 15=2, 17=3. You cannot do more than 3 “May I’s” per Round.
- Peggy “Big Sis” Kuntz: Introduced the game to area
- William “Sweet Willie” Kuntz: Introduced attitude to the game, including the “Elbow Insertion”!