Last updated

Bonken is a Dutch trick-taking card game for 4 players that is played with a standard pack of cards. Everyone plays for themselves. It is a compendium game of 11 rounds, each of which has its own goal. The aim of the game is to score as few penalty points as possible. The player who scores the fewest points is declared the winner.



Bonken is fundamentally a trick-taking game with the exception of the Domino contract. A trick is taken by the player who played the highest card of the led suit or, if applicable, the one who played the highest trump. The card rankings are as usual, the Ace being high and 2 low. Players are obliged to follow suit if able to do so. If there are trumps, a player is allowed (not required) to play a trump if he cannot follow suit.


One of the players starts as dealer and shuffles the deck. After this, he deals every player 13 cards. The cards are dealt clockwise. The player who sits across the table from the dealer can choose which of the rounds is played. He is not allowed to choose a round that has already been played. The player to the right of the dealer starts doubling. After the descriptions of the rounds is the explanation of doubling. The player on the left of the dealer plays the leading card. After the first trick the player who took that trick plays the next leading card. After each round the cards are shuffled and dealt by the player to the left of the previous dealer. As noted before, each of the rounds has its own goal.


The game is played over eleven rounds, the final four being the same:

  1. Ducking (Bukken): the goal is to take the fewest tricks possible. There are no trumps. Each trick taken by a player scores -5 points.
  2. No Hearts (Hartenjagen): the aim is to avoid capturing hearts in any tricks taken. There are no trumps. A player may not lead with hearts unless he cannot do otherwise. Every heart taken scores -5 points.
  3. No Men (Herenboeren): the goal is to avoid capturing Kings and Jacks in any tricks taken. There are no trumps. Each King captured scores -20 points and each Jack scores -10 points.
  4. No Queens (Vrouwen): the goal is to avoid capturing Queens in any tricks. There are no trumps. Each Queen captured scores -30 points.
  5. No King of Hearts (Hartenheer): there are no trumps. Players may not lead with hearts unless they cannot do otherwise. The player who captures the King of Hearts scores -50 points.
  6. No Last (Laatste slag): there are no trumps. The player who takes the last trick scores -50 points.
  7. Domino (Domino): cards are laid to the table. When on lead, a player must lay either and Eight or a card one rank higher or lower than a table card (e.g. a 6 of diamonds may be laid off against a 7 of diamonds, but not the 7 of spades or 8 of diamonds). Players may only pass if unable to do either. The player who is last out scores -50 points.
  8. Trumps (Troeven): every player is allowed to choose trumps for the round once. The player may choose what a trump suit is or to play with no trumps. A player may not choose a suit that has already been chosen. Each trick won scores 10 points. Note that only 4 out of 5 options are played.
  9. Trumps: as round 8
  10. Trumps: as round 8
  11. Trumps: as round 8


Before the chosen round is played all players have the opportunity to double. The player to the right of the dealer may begin doubling. If a player doubles another, the difference in point obtained in that round will be added to his point total and subtracted from the other players total. If a player doubles a player and that player doubles back, the difference is accounted twice.

The person who chose the round can only double back, that is, he cannot double players who haven't doubled him.

If the points are divided correctly, the sum of the final scores of all four player will be 0, even if players have doubled during the game.

See also

Related Research Articles

Trick-taking game

A trick-taking game is a card or tile-based game in which play of a hand centers on a series of finite rounds or units of play, called tricks, which are each evaluated to determine a winner or taker of that trick. The object of such games then may be closely tied to the number of tricks taken, as in plain-trick games such as Whist, Contract bridge, Spades, Napoleon, Euchre, Rowboat, Clubs and Spoil Five, or to the value of the cards contained in taken tricks, as in point-trick games such as Pinochle, the Tarot family, Mariage, Rook, All Fours, Manille, Briscola, and most evasion games like Hearts. The domino game Texas 42 is an example of a trick-taking game that is not a card game. Trick-and-draw games are trick-taking games in which the players can fill up their hands after each trick. In most variants, players are free to play any card into a trick in the first phase of the game, but must follow suit as soon as the stock is depleted. Trick-avoidance games like Reversis or Polignac are those in which the aim is to avoid taking some or all tricks.


Whist is a classic English trick-taking card game which was widely played in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the rules are simple, there is scope for scientific play.

All Fours English card game

All Fours is a traditional English card game, once popular in pubs and taverns as well as among the gentry, that flourished as a gambling game until the end of the 19th century. It is a trick-taking card game that was originally designed for two players, but developed variants for more players. According to Cotton, the game originated in Kent, but spread to the whole of England and eventually abroad. It is the eponymous and earliest recorded game of a family that flourished most in 19th century North America and whose progeny include Pitch, Pedro and Cinch, games that even competed with Poker and Euchre. Nowadays the original game is especially popular in Trinidad and Tobago, but regional variants have also survived in England. The game's "great mark of distinction" is that it gave the name 'Jack' to the card previously known as the Knave.

Skat (card game) German 3-player card game

Skat is a 3-player trick-taking card game of the Ace-Ten family, devised around 1810 in Altenburg in the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. It is the national game of Germany and, along with Doppelkopf, it is the most popular card game in Germany and Silesia and one of the most popular in the rest of Poland. John McLeod considers it one of the best and most interesting card games for 3 players, and Kelbet described it as "the king of German card games."


Forty-Fives is a trick-taking card game that originated in Ireland. The game is popular in many communities throughout Atlantic Canada as well as the Gaspé Coast in Québec. Forty-fives is also played in parts of Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire in New England, United States, as well as in the South Island of New Zealand.

Belote is a 32-card, trick-taking, Ace-Ten game played primarily in France and certain European countries, namely Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, Moldova, North Macedonia and also in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the most popular card games in those countries, and the national card game of France, both casually and in gambling. It was invented around 1920 in France, and is a close relative of both Klaberjass and Klaverjas. Closely related games are played throughout the world. Definitive rules of the game were first published in 1921.

Pedreaux is an American trick-taking card game of the All Fours family based on Auction Pitch. Its most popular variant is known as Cinch, Double Pedro or High Five. Developed in Denver, Colorado, in the 1880s, it was soon regarded as the most important member of the All Fours family. Although it went out of fashion with the rise of Auction Bridge, it is still widely played on the western coast of the United States and in its southern states, being the dominant game in some locations in Louisiana. Forms of the game have been reported from Nicaragua, the Azores, Italy and Finland. The game is primarily played by four players in fixed partnerships, but can also be played by 2–6 individual players.

Pitch is an American trick-taking card game derived from the English game of All Fours. Historically, Pitch started as "Blind All Fours", a very simple All Fours variant that is still played in England as a pub game. The modern game involving a bidding phase and setting back a party's score if the bid is not reached came up in the middle of the 19th century and is more precisely known as Auction Pitch or Setback. Whereas All Fours started as a two-player game, Pitch is most popular for three to five players. Four can play individually or in fixed partnerships, depending in part on regional preferences. Auction Pitch is played in numerous variations that vary the deck used, provide methods for improving players hands, or expand the scoring system. Some of these variants gave rise to a new game known as Pedro or Cinch.

Sheng ji

Sheng ji is a family of point-based, trick-taking card games played in China and in Chinese immigrant communities. They have a dynamic trump, i.e., which cards are trump changes every round. As these games are played over a wide area with no standardization, rules vary widely from region to region.


Jass is a trick taking, Ace-Ten card game and a distinctive branch of the Marriage family. It is popular throughout the Alemannic German-speaking area of Europe (German-speaking Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Alsace part of France, Vorarlberg province of Austria, southwestern Germany, as well as in Romansh-speaking Graubünden and the French-speaking area of Switzerland, German-speaking South Tyrol in Italy, and in a couple of places in Wisconsin, USA.


Schafkopf, Schaffkopf or Schafkopfen, also called Bavarian Schafkopf to distinguish it from German Schafkopf, is a late 18th-century German trick-taking card game of the Ace-Ten family, still very popular in Bavaria, where it is their national card game, but also played in other parts of Germany as well as other German-speaking countries like Austria. It is an official cultural asset and important part of the Old Bavarian and Franconian way of life. Schafkopf is a mentally demanding game that is considered "the supreme discipline of Bavarian card games".

Ulti or Ultimó, is Hungary's national trick-taking card game for three players. It is virtually unknown outside its home borders.

Barbu (card game)

Barbu, also known as tafferan, is a trick-taking, compendium card game similar to hearts, in which four players take turns leading seven different sub-games over the course of 28 deals. Barbu originated in France in the early 20th century where it was especially popular with university students, and became a prominent game among French bridge players in the 1960s. The French version of the game was originally played with a stripped deck of 32 cards ranked seven to ace in each suit. Modern forms are played with a full 52-card deck. Barbu may be descended from earlier compendium games popular with students and originating in the Austro-Hungarian Empire such as Lorum or Quodlibet.


Manille is a French trick-taking card game which uses a 32 card deck. It spread to the rest of France in the early 20th century, but was subsequently checked and reversed by the expansion of Belote. It is still popular in France and the western part of Belgium.

Pluck is a trick-taking playing card game for four players. The game is played similar to Spades and Hearts. A standard deck of playing cards is dealt out evenly among the players. The objective is to get ten points before the other team.

Clag or Clagg is a trick-taking card game using a standard deck of 52 playing cards. It is similar to Whist or Oh Hell, and can be played with up to seven players.

Court Piece is an Iranian trick-taking card game similar to the card game whist in which eldest hand makes trumps after the first five cards have been dealt, and trick-play is typically stopped after one party has won seven tricks. A bonus is awarded if one party wins the first seven tricks, or even all tricks. The game is played by four players in two teams, but there are also adaptations for two or three players.

Officers Skat

Officers' Skat (Offiziersskat), is a trick-taking card game for two players which is based on the rules of Skat. It may be played with a German or French pack of 32 cards which, from the outset of the game, are laid out in rows both face down and face up. As in Skat, tricks are taken and card points counted to determine the winner of a round; game points are then awarded to decide the winner of a game. It is also called Two-hand Skat, Sailors' Skat (Seemannsskat), Farmers' Skat (Bauernskat), Robbers' Skat (Räuberskat) or Coachmen's Skat (Kutscherskat)


Mucken or Muck is a variation of the popular German card game, Schafkopf. However, unlike Schafkopf, it must always be played in teams of 2 players, so there are no soloist or Rufer ("caller") contracts. Mucken is mainly found in the province of Upper Franconia in the German state of Bavaria. Mucken is often played in Franconian restaurants, as it is part of the Franconian pub culture. The details of the rules vary greatly, even from village to village.

Zwanzig ab, 20 ab or simply Zwanzig is card game for four players. It is a member of the Rams family in which the key feature is that players may choose to drop out of the game if they believe their hand is not strong enough to take a minimum number of tricks. It appears to be a recent, internet-propagated variant of Schnalzen or Bohemian Watten. However, the latter has a natural card ranking, is played with double German cards and a Weli, has no exchanging and has a different scoring system. It is suitable for children from 8 upwards. It may be related from Fünf dazu! which is a simpler game described by Gööck in 1967 that has neither trumps nor the option to drop out.