The game is called ‘Four Captains’ and uses a normal set of cards with Ace’s low and Kings high.
A = ‘Scrub’
1-10 = ‘Crew’
J = ‘Mate’
Q = ‘Wench’
K = ‘Captain’
The aim is to get as many of the same card as you can in your hand with value of the card breaking ties.
Four Captains (if you play a four captains – called a New Captain), the other players must all pay you the ante-value from their stash).
Draw cards to determine who is dealer, after this play passes to the left each round. The dealer has advantage.
- The ante (typically 1, 2 or 10 gold crowns is placed in the pot. The dealer must pay double the ante).
- Dealer deals out four cards face down to each player.
- Players may fold at this point, forfeiting their ante. Their cards are placed on the bottom of the deck.
- Players determine which cards they are going to discard and all are discarded face up near the pot in the centre of the table.
- Starting with the dealer, each player may draw from the face-up cards (seen) or the deck (unseen) to try and better their hand.
- Starting with the dealer again, each player may choose to up the ante by its initial value, going around the table, until it cycles back to the dealer again. They may also choose to fold, on their turn, if they do they no longer have to ante up (they do if anyone before them antes up) and their cards are placed on the bottom of the deck.
- The hands are revealed and the winner takes the pot.
- The cards are put together, shuffled and the dealership passes to the left.
EG: Abelard, Bogrot, Calista and Delbot are playing Four Captains.
Abelard wings the dealer position on a draw and all toss their ante into the pot (1GC with Abelard having to pay an extra coin). The pot now stands at 5GC.
Each tosses cards face up into the middle, ready to redraw.
Abelard tosses a 6, 7 and 8 from his hand, leaving him with a Jack. He knows he’ll get to draw first so there’s not a lot of point him being sneaky, he could take these cards back if he needed them.
After the others toss their cards the pile contains…
4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 9
Abelard gets to draw back first. If he takes the two 8s that gives him the highest visible pair, so he goes for it and takes both. That’s enough to win based on what he knows is out there, so for his last missing card he draws from the stack – and draws a King. He now knows he has a pair of eights, the highest visible cards, and that the most Kings anyone could have is three.
Bogrot draws two cards blind.
So does Calista
Delbot takes both the sevens.
Abelard knows that there wouldn’t be any point drawing the sevens – as his eights beat them – unless Delbot had one already. So he could be facing three sevens, or it could be a bluff…
Abelard doesn’t up the ante, but he doesn’t fold.
Bogrot folds, showing his hand, best he had was a King.
Calista folds, all she had was an 8.
Abelard’s heart sinks as Delbot ups the ante, forcing both of them to put a coin into the pot, raising it to 7 GC.
They both reveal their hands.
Abelard has a pair of 8s, a Jack and a King.
Delbot has three 7s and an eight.
Delbot wins ans scrapes in the pot.
Dealership passes to Bogrot.
The game is partly satirical, making fun of the machinations and paranoia of the four High Captains, the shifting alliances and advantage and disadvantage.
As the game has spread beyond Four Fingers it has changed its name to ‘Four Kingdoms’, referring to Cygnar, Khador, Ord and Cryx, though which Kingdoms are named varies wildly from nation to nation.
(More information on gambling is in No Quarter issue 7, and it says the decks – at least in The Galleon are blades, wheels, anchors and skulls).