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In the 1980's I played a card game called ONZE. It was...

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Question by donna
Submitted on 5/14/2004
Related FAQ: rec.games.board FAQ and intro
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In the 1980's I played a card game called ONZE.  It was played with a double deck of ordinary cards.  It consisted of 11 hands (thus the name ONZE). Each hand was played differently as specified in the set of rules.  Can't find the game or the rules.  Anyone ever heard of it?  Have the rules?  

Answer by marie
Submitted on 5/19/2004
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Onze is one of my favorite card games.
Use two decks, including the four jokers.  Minimum players is three.  Shuffle.  Deal 11 cards (Onze translates to eleven in French).  Start the discard pile by turning  over the first card.  You now have start of discard pile (cards exposed) and draw pile (cards not exposed).  

Jokers and red aces are wild.  A set is a minimum of three of a kind with at least two naturals.  In other words, you can't have two wild cards and another card and call it a set.  

A run is a minimum of four consecutive cards in a set, ace low, king high.  There are seven hands to a game.  The object of the game is to get the hand requirement and discard all your other cards and score low or no points.  Jokers are worth 30 pts.  Face cards 10 pts.  Black aces are worth 20 pts. Other cards are worth face value.  Ace is played low and king high in a run.
Hand 1:  2 sets
Hand 2:  1 set and 1 run
Hand 3:  2 runs
Hand 4:  3 sets
Hand 5:  2 sets and 1 run
Hand 6:  2 runs and 1 set  (deal 12 cards)
Hand 7:  3 runs            (deal 13 cards)

Player's turn begins by drawing one card from draw pile or the top exposed card in the discard pile.  A player has to have all of the hand requirement to put his cards down on the table.   Example:  Hand 1 and it's your turn.  You draw from draw pile and now you have the required two sets.  Put them face up on the table in front of you.  If other players have their cards down, you may play your extra cards out by discarding them on other sets.  You may not put down another set or a run.  You can only play out on your cards on the table or other players cards on the table.  The end of your turn is marked by your discard to the discard pile.  Play proceeds clockwise around table.  

At anytime during the game, you may draw out of turn the top card on the discard pile.  If the player whose turn it is, draws from the draw pile instead of from the discard pile, that top discard card is up for grabs.  The person sitting to your right has first dibs on the discard.  You may take the discard only if he/she doesn't want it.

When a wild card is used to make a set and the set is part of a hand that has been laid down on the table, that wild card is dead.  It can not be moved.  A wild card in a run is different.  Lets say it's your turn and you have already put your hand down on the table.  I have my hand down, too.  I am using a wild card in my 10, J, Q, K run as a Jack of clubs.  You happen to have the Jack of clubs in your extra cards that you are trying to get rid of.  You can play the Jack in my run.  Take the wild card and use it anywhere on the table during your turn.  You can not put the wild card in your hand.  It must be played that turn.  Wild cards are great for creating links to cards you have in your hand that you want to get rid of.  Say you have the 8 of clubs in your hand.  Use the wild card as the 9 of clubs on my previously mentioned run and put down your 8 of clubs.

The first person to go down and get rid of all their extra cards wins and gets zero points.  All other players count up their scores by counting the points of the cards in their hands.  The lowest scoring player wins the game at the end of 7 hands.

Great game.  Enjoy!


Answer by TJSecTek
Submitted on 11/25/2004
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I would like to thank you for this thread.  I have been searching for information on this game for a while - our family has played a different version, some points I will add below:

- In a run, similar to sets, three of the four cards must be natural.
- When meeting the hand requirements and putting down (melding), you can only meld what you are required and place on others.  For example, in the first hand (2 sets), you cannot meld 3 sets, toss one card on someone else's meld and discard, you can only put your 2 sets down and place all other cards on other players' melds or discard to go out.
- You can only take 3 "out of turn" cards.
- If another player discards a playable card (one that can go on someone's meld), the first player to "pounce," gets it (in their hand if they haven't melded or placing it on the table correctly if they have) and gets a free discard.
- If you run out of cards in the draw pile, it can be reshuffeled until no cards can be used.  At that point, the game is called and cards counted similar to if someone "went out."


Answer by SmiLynnLady
Submitted on 1/22/2005
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Great job of making a complicated set of rules easy to read!  We play a little differently ... for instance, we can steal wild cards from either sets or runs, and in addition to your original "meld," you CAN set down any other set or run at any time.  My family's played for nearly 30 years, and all ages enjoy... Just taught the game to friends tonight!


Answer by bill
Submitted on 2/24/2005
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how did you discover the onze card game,did you by it is a game? or did some one teach it to you.


Answer by linda
Submitted on 3/23/2005
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I have an original ONZE game set and continue to play.  The set that I have was purchased at Henri Bendel in New York in about 1973.  Does anyone have a used copy for sale?


Answer by Jason Kron
Submitted on 8/27/2005
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My family has been playing onze for years.  My grandparents started the tradition and has been played in the family ever since.  I'm not sure where they learned it but glad they did!  We play with the same rules as Marie plays (wilds,etc.) but different sets, here are the sets we play:
1) 2 pairs
2) 1 run 1 set (1R1S)
3) 3 sets
4) Four of a kind & a run
5) Two four of a kind
6) 2 runs
7) 7 card run & 1 set


Answer by ray
Submitted on 9/4/2005
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We also have been playing Onze for years and love it. We found a set of rules to Onze and that is the way we play it. We play essentially the same game described above except we only deal 11 cards in hand six, the red ace is also worth 30 points since it is wild like the joker and when a card is discarded by a player, the person to his or her LEFT is given the option of picking up that card from the discard pile or one from the draw pile. If that player takes the draw card, the next player to the LEFT may take the discard card, but since he or she is playing out of turn, he or she also has to take an extra card (this is called buying a card and each player may only buy three times). If that player does not want the discard and before the player whose turn it is discards, the player to his or her left can buy the card and so on. We also make a friendly gambling game of it. At the start of each hand, we each ante a nickel. The winner of the hand gets all the nickels. Then when the games is over, the one with the lowest number of points has his or her point total is subtracted from each of the other players score and that amount is divided by four. It is rounded to the nearest nickel. A seven hand game with five people usually results in a win of $1.00 to $2.00. It is a great game.


Answer by ray
Submitted on 12/4/2005
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We have played ONZE for 10-12 years. We play it very much like Marie explains except we found a set of printed instructions somewhere (I have no idea where??) and it said to deal 11 cards on every hand except the last hand where 13 are dealt. We also have a maximum number of "buys" (where you buy out of turn) at three. So the most cards you can have in your hand after a discard is 17 for the first six hands and 19 for the last one. We also make a gambling game of it. If anyone want to know how we do that, drop me a note at rayfinfer@hotmail.com.

Great game!!


Answer by Jane
Submitted on 12/26/2005
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Add to present answer on ONZE:

The current player has the option of drawing
from the deck or picking up the top discard.
If the player draws; the player to the LEFT
has first dibs on the card; and if that player doesn't take it--it rotates around in
order.  You cannot grab a discard at just any time.

A run is four consecutive cards in the same


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Answer by vanevery
Submitted on 8/26/2006
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Those are the rules that I just learned but we didn't use jokers and we used the ace (black) as either high or low.


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