Never Bored Studios is a UK team specializing in popular card games. Hearts is a card game for 4 players using a standard 52-card deck. Cards rank from Ace high to 2 low.
There is no trump suit, nor are there are any teams. Although players will want to help other players who have high scores and give points to players who have low scores (that's a hint).
Try to avoid scoring points. The game ends when someone has 50, 100, or 250 points, and the winner is the player with the lowest score.
Each game involves dealing and playing multiple hands. Winning efficiently can be moderately to extremely difficult. Consistency is the challenge.
4 Players take turns dealing clockwise around the table.
The entire deck is dealt, and each player will have 13 cards.
First hand, each player passes 3 cards (face down) to the player on the left. Second hand, players pass to the person sitting across from them. Third hand, players pass 3 cards to the right. Fourth hand, there is no passing.
After passing the 3 cards, players pick up the cards that were passed to them. For subsequent hands, the pattern continues: pass left, pass across, pass right, no passing. Players pass to reduce the points they will score.
The player with the 2 of Clubs plays that card in the center of the table to begin play after each deal and pass. The next player to the left then plays a card of the same suit (or another suit if he has no Clubs). The next player to that person's left then follows suit (plays a Club) if he has one, or if not, another card. The fourth player also follows suit if he can, or plays another card if he cannot. After the 4 players have played on the trick, the player who played the highest card in the lead suit wins the trick (pulls the 4 cards in and places them face down on the table). On the first trick, no Hearts can be played, nor can the Queen of Spades. In the case where a player has only Hearts or Queen of Spades, an exception is made.
The winner of the previous trick gets to lead for the next trick. He may lead any card except Hearts and the Queen of Spades (unless Hearts or the Queen of Spades were played on a previous trick). The other 3 players then follow suit if possible, or otherwise playing from any other suit (including Hearts or Queen of Spades). Play continues as before, each trick consists of 4 cards played on the table. Highest card played in the lead suit pulls in the trick and leads the next trick. When a player plays a Heart or the Queen of Spades on a trick, it is said that “Hearts have been broken.” After that, players can lead with a Heart.
At the end of a hand (13 tricks), players count the number of Hearts and Queen of Spades in the piles of tricks that player has won. Each Heart counts 1 point and Queen of Spades counts 13 points. Each player has a separate score, and the points from each hand are added onto the score of the person who wins each point.
Rough deals give high scores. Players try to take as few tricks with point cards as possible, unless they are ...
In some cases, a player might take all 26 trick points in a hand. When a player does that, his score is unchanged, but the other 3 players each have 26 points added to their scores.
This is called “Shooting the Moon” or “Running Hearts.”
The game ends when one of the players has 50 or 100 or 250 points (amount is set in Preferences).
The player with the lowest score is then declared winner. At this time, continuing play will launch a new game.
Hearts and Queen of Spades score points, so except when Shooting The Moon try to never score those cards. Optimally, try to lose tricks with Heart cards and never win the Queen of Spades. Players might want to play out high cards early in the game. Players might also deplete their hands of one or more suits during the passing and during play to gain flexibility in giving away Hearts or Queen of Spades... when another player opens a trick with any not-in-my-hand suit.
To improve experience, use Undo and New Game play backs. For example, simply press ⌘Z to Undo any trick that would add any Heart or Queen of Spades to your score. Hold down ⌘Z to Undo all plays and replay hand. Some deals make the Queen of Spades score inevitable. You may need to menu ≡ a New Game. Game always restores to where you quit. It is impossible to avoid scoring. Manage scores and accept the occassional set back. It is possible for the South Hand (you) to strategically win every completed game. Enjoy!
Preferences set Game speed Casual and Robot player skill level Average. To close and re-open Hearts app always restores to where you quit. It is impossible to avoid scoring. Manage scores and accept the occassional set back. Maximise advantage with play backs: indulge ⌘Z Undo and menu ≡ New Game. It can take 10 or more deals to reach game ending scores of 50, 100 or 250. Completed games attach permanently to the MacOS installation (read-only System Library).
Hearts and Queen of Spades are best played when leading suit is not in your hand, giving those scores to opponents. Queen of Spades scoring is inevitable, as is underlying difficulty of play. Play back can often remove Queen of Spades from your score. For example, simply press and hold down ⌘Z to Undo all plays and replay hand. Last resort, try New Game. New game action permanently wipes all deals and scores in the active game!
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