Ramsli

History:

This game may derive from the similar French game Rams, etymology uncertain. The -li suffix appears to signify a diminutive as in German "-lein".

Players: 2-6
Deck: The Wilhelm Tell pack of 32 cards ranking A (high), K, O, U, X, IX, VIII, VII in suits of Grüne (Green), Schelle (Bells), Eichel (Acorns) and Herz (Hearts).

The Deal:

The dealer places four units into the center of the table, to form the kitty. After shuffle and cut, dealer examines bottom card on the deck. He then deals two cards to each player including himself and then either turns up the top card in the deck or turns up the bottom card in the deck. Then two more cards are dealt to each player.

Bidding:

If the dealer chose the trump card from the top of the deck, each player, starting with the deal has the opportunity to become the player. This is denoted by knocking. The knocker commits to winning at least two tricks in the coming hand. At this time, all other players in turn, starting with the player to the knocker's left, have the right to play along, thereby committing to winning at least one trick.

If the dealer is the knocker, he may, if he chooses to do so before any other player, knock on the actual trump card, giving him the right to take this card into his hand as his own.

If the dealer does not take the trump card, any player holding the 7 of the same suit may exchange it for the trump card.

If no player chooses to knock, a second card is turned up as trump from the top of the deck. If this card is of the same suit, another card is turned up immediately -- players are never given the chance to knock more than once on a suit. If three cards go without a knocker, the hand fails and deal passes to the player on dealer's left.

If the dealer chose the trump card from the bottom of the deck, he must knock on this card.

If no other players are willing to play along, the knocker wins the kitty outright and the deal passes to the next player.

If there are only four units in the kitty, the game is a "muss" (must) and each player must play. The suit used is always the first card turned up. Any player may knock, but a knock is not required and is of no particular use except perhaps for the dealer.

Further Deals:

Each player, starting with the knocker, is given the chance to receive more cards. The players discards the number he does not want and receives this number from the pack. A player may request an all new hand by discarding all four of his cards and receives four cards face down and one face up. A player may request "eins auf"; in this case, he need not discard any card, but receives one face up which he may exchange for a card in his hand.

The Play:

The knocker plays out first. Play proceeds clockwise, with the trump suit taking precedence over all other suits. A players must follow suit if they are able, playing trump if all cards of the required suit have been exhausted from his hand. The winner of the trick plays first in the next round.

Scoring:

After the four trick have been played, payment and winnings occur. Payment must come from each player who failed to win the committed number of tricks. Knockers who fail to take two tricks must pay twice the amount that was in the kitty. Others who fail to take a single trick must pay the amount which was in the kitty. At the same time, the existing kitty is divided four ways and each player payed a share for each of the four tricks he won.

To prevent the kitty from becoming too large, players may agree to set up a bank. The bank is used to hold funds whenever the kitty exceeds a particular pre-set level (which should be a multiple of four). When after payments the kitty is below this level, it should be supplemented with funds drawn from the bank.

After the hand is over, the player to the dealer's left becomes the new dealer.

 

courtesy of Richard Heli's Genealogy Website