Playing the Game

The objective of Justice and Jesters is to accumulate 100 points before your opponents. The Truth card and each Lady Justice card are lucky and earn points. Each Lady Justice card won earns two points, and the Truth card earns ten points. The Jailbird card and the Jester cards are unlucky and count against the player. The player is penalized ten points for the Jailbird card and one point for each Jester card.

All the cards are dealt out equally to each player. If there are three, five, or six players, there will be cards left over from the deal. If there are four players, there are no extra cards left over from the deal. These extra cards are placed to the side, face down, until after the first hand.

When the game starts, you select three cards to pass to your opponent on the left. Typically you want to pass your three worst cards to get rid of them. 

The person at the left of the dealer starts play. He places the lowest-numbered card of any suit in his hand face up on the table. The suit of that card determines the suit of the trick. Play goes to the left, and the other players then play one card each. If they have a card in the same suit as the first card, then they must play that. If they don’t, then they can play one of their other cards.

Once all players have played a card, the player who played the highest-numbered card in the original suit takes the trick, i.e., he takes the cards on the table and places them face down near him. If there are extra cards from the deal, he also takes those cards and adds them face down to the trick cards taken. He then starts the next turn and plays any card he wishes and play continues to the left.

Any penalty cards in the trick (Jesters or Jailbird) are added to the player’s penalty score. So you want to avoid taking any tricks that have either the Jailbird or Jesters.

When all cards have been played, each person totals his points, and the cards are shuffled and dealt again.


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