RULES OF ONZE
Onze is a card game similar to gin rummy that was very popular in France and the US in the 80’s, but has made resurgence in the last 10 years. Onze is French for 11, which is how many cards each player is dealt in most of the hands.
Onze can be played with 3-7 players. You need 2 decks of cards, shuffled together with Jokers included and a score pad (which details the goal of each hand or “round”). Deal each player 11 cards for hands 1-6 and 13 cards for hand 7. Put the remaining cards in a pile face down in the middle with one card facing up to start a discard pile.
How to Play
The player to the left of the dealer will go first. To start your turn, you must draw a card- you have a choice between the top card of the discard pile (face up) or the top card of the draw pile. Each round you will have a specific hand you are trying to achieve. To end your turn you will discard to the pile and play will resume clockwise. Once you have the full correct hand for the round and you have placed it down in front of you (on your turn), you can play on others cards. The object of the game is to get rid of all your cards.
Hands, Sets, Runs
Each hand consists of Sets and Runs. Sets are 3 of a kind, same card, suits do not matter here. Runs are 4 card “straights”, 4 consecutive cards of the same suit. Once you have the FULL hand required for the round, you can set your cards down face up in front of you on your turn. If you have extra cards- i.e. 4 of a kind instead of the required 3 of a kind OR if your run goes longer than 4 cards, you can put those down, too. You cannot however set down an additional set or run than is required. Once you have the hand and have set it down, you can play on others hands during your turn. Remember to draw to start your turn and discard to end it.
Once one player has gotten rid of all their cards (by playing on others hand or their own or discarding), the remaining players will add up the value of their cards and report that score under the current round on the score card. The winner will get a 0. Lowest score at the end of 7 rounds wins.
Values are as follows:
Number Cards: face value
Face Cards: 10 points
Black Aces: 20 points
Red Aces and Jokers: 30 points
Red Aces and Jokers are wild. The can represent any suit or number in your hand but each set or run must have at least 2 “natural” (aka not wild) cards. In runs, you must not have touching wild cards. In Onze, Aces are low, meaning in a run they play before the 2, not after a King.
Drawing Out of Turn
If a card comes up in the discard pile you may take it out of turn, but you do not get to discard (so the penalty is you have one more card to get rid of). There are two ways to handle drawing out of turn. The “poilte” way is to go in order of play to determine who gets the card. So if the person who’s turn it is doesn’t want it the next person gets first right of refusal and so on. The “other” way to play is first hand down on the card gets it- this can create a bit of a frenzied game and you must play attention to get your cards!! Regardless of which way you chose, a card is “dead” and cannot be picked up once another card is placed on top of it. Even if that top card is taken and the dead card is at the top of the pile now, it still cannot be picked up. So if its your turn you must draw from the draw pile.