Make 200 or more points in bid. Do this by taking enough tricks to make your bid.
Alternately, you can force the Gnome to make 350 or more points (thereby ending the game) and you’ll win if you have more points than any other player.
The rank of a card determines its value relative to other cards in the same trick. The highest-ranked Trump card played on a trick takes the trick. If no Trump is played on a trick, the highest-ranking card of the suit led on a trick takes the trick.
(High to Low) – A,K,Q,J,10,9
Jokers have a rank one greater than the card underneath them.
The value of a card determines how many points you get for it once you’ve taken it in a trick. These are the points that you’re tallying at the end of each hand. When you’re bidding, you’re trying to predict how many points you’ll take at the end of the hand.
A,K = 1 point each
Q,J,10,9 = 0 points each
Jokers = 2 points each
All cards in Trump are worth one point more than their normal value (making Jokers that are played as Trump worth 3 points).
Trumplestiltskin is played with a Pinochle deck, so you’d better have one.
You’ll also need paper and a pencil to keep track of score. Make one column for each player and one column for the Gnome.
Before the game begins, remove one 9 from each suit and both Jokers. These 6 cards are called the Blanket and are used at the beginning of each hand.
Shuffle the deck and deal the remaining cards to all players. You may look at your hand of cards and arrange them as you see fit.
Play is very similar to Pinochle, without counting meld.
If you took the bid, begin the first trick by playing a card from your hand face-up on the table. Continuing clockwise, each player must play a card on the card led in accord with the following rules.
You do not have to lead Trump on the first trick of a hand, but Trump may be led if desired.
If possible, you must play a card of the same suit as the card that started the trick. This is called, “playing in suit.” If it is impossible to play in the suit that is led, then any card may be played.
If Trump is led on a trick, and you are capable of playing Trump, you must play a higher Trump card (overtrump) if possible.
If Trump is played “out of suit” (that is, is the suit led was not Trump, but another player has played Trump on the trick), you still need to play in suit if you can; if you can not play in suit, you must overtrump if you have Trump.
Jokers count as either suit of their color, and count as Trump if played as the correct suit. The suit of a Joker is declared when it is revealed, so you are never be “forced” to play a Joker in order to play in suit or to beat Trump.
Once all players have played one card on a trick, the player who played the highest card within the suit lead on a trick takes the trick unless one or more players have played Trump. In this case, the player who played the highest Trump card takes the trick.
The player who takes the trick begins the next trick.
Once all tricks have been taken in a hand, tally your points and compare that total to your highest bid.
The game ends when:
The player with the most points at the end of the game wins unless the player who most recently took the bid has more than 200 points. If this is the case, then that player wins.
I had three goals when making up this game:
All in all, it’s just a card game. I’m not over-impressed with Trumplestiltskin, but if any of you have suggestions to make it better, I’d love to hear them! My favorite part of the game is the Blanket Gnome. That’s a big inside joke between a few friends and myself. About eight years ago I know this guy named “Rico”. I walked in on him one day when he was feeling especially weird; he was huddled in the corner of a dimly-lit room wrapped in a baby-blue blanket with just his head poking out. I looked at him quizzically and he turned to me. “I’m the blanket gnome!” he declared in an appropriately gnomish voice. I thought that this was hilarious , and I’ve “regressed to a blanket gnomish state” more than few times since then.