- 81 cards
The game consists of a deck of 81 different playing cards, and 3 "stats" cards for reference only.
Each card has 4 shapes: balls, cubes, cones, and stars.
There is 1, 2 or 3 of each shape on a card. Each card also has a numerical value on it that ranges from 4 to 12.
There are 3 different ways to play Xactika. Start with PLAY TO WIN, if you want to shake it up try PLAY TO LOSE. When you've mastered both, advance to PLAY TO BID. Find the game that suits you best!
Play to Win - High Score Wins
Object of the Game
To take the MOST tricks.
A trick is all of the cards played after each player has had one turn.
Shuffle all the cards (except for the "stats" cards). Deal 8 cards to each player, one card at a time in a clockwise rotation.
Set aside the unused cards. They will not be used during this hand.
The player to the dealer's left starts the play by leading a card with a high numerical value. He or she places this card face up in the center of the table.
The starting player chooses 1 of the 4 shape options shown on the card and announces the shape and the amount of that shape to the other players, for example: 1-ball.
Now each player in turn (clockwise) has to play a card that has 1-ball on it.
Once each player has played one card, the player who played the card with the highest numerical value that had only 1-ball on it takes the trick.
The player who took the trick leads next by placing a card with a high numerical value face up in the center of the table. He or she chooses 1 of the 4 shape options shown on the card and announces it to the other players, for example: 2-stars.
Each player, in turn, plays a card with 2-stars on it.
The player who played the card with the highest numerical value and 2-stars takes the trick and leads next. If there is a tie, the LAST played card with the highest numerical value and the correct shape and amount of shapes win the trick.
When all 8 cards are played, count how many tricks each player took. Each trick is worth 1 point. Write down each player's score.
The game continues with a second hand. The player to the dealer's left shuffles ALL of the cards together again and deals 8 cards to each player, setting aside the unused cards. Play continues from letter D above.
If a player doesn't have a card in his or her hand with the number of shapes called, he or she can play any card, but it will not count. This is called sloughing.
End of the Game
The game consists of 8 hands.
At the end of the 8th hand, high score wins.
Tip: Generally, to win a trick, lead the card with the highest numerical value. Then choose the shape on that card that has the least amount of shapes.
For example: an 11 with 2-stars or a 10 with 1-cube. This gives you the best chance at winning the trick.
Play to Lose - Low Score Wins
Object of the Game
To take the LEAST amount of tricks.
The set up and play are the same as PLAY TO WIN, but now your goal is to take NO tricks. Each trick you take is still worth 1 point. At the end of the 8th hand the person with the lowest score wins.
Tip: Generally, to lose a trick, lead the card with the lowest numerical value. Then choose the shape on that card that has the most amount of shapes.
For example: a 5 with 2-cubes or a 6 with 3-balls. This gives you the best chance to lose the trick.
Play to Bid
Object of the Game
To take EXACTLY the number of tricks you bid in each hand.
The setup and play are the same as PLAY TO WIN with the following changes:
After the deal, each player, starting to the dealer's left, states his or her bid. Bid the number of tricks that you think you are going to win that hand (see Tip below). There are 8 tricks available each hand. Each player's bid can range from 0 to 8, except for the dealer.
The dealer, who bids last, is responsible for making sure the total sum of the bids, including his or her own, does not equal 8.
For example: if there are 4 people playing and the 1st player bids 2, the 2nd player bids 3, and the 3rd player bids 2, then the dealer can not bid 1 because of 2+3+2+1=8. So the dealer would have to bid 0, 2, or more than 2.
This makes it so each hand is either over or under bid. There are either more tricks wanted than available OR more tricks available than wanted.
The scorekeeper writes down each bid.
After the bids are placed, the play begins the same as it does in PLAY TO WIN.
The goal is to take only the number of tricks you bid. No more and no less!
At the end of each hand the players that made their bid exactly get 1 point per trick. For example: if you bid 2 and won 2 tricks you get a score of 2.
The players, who didn't make their bid, get the negative value of the difference between their bid and the number of tricks they won. For example: if you bid 2 and won 3 tricks your score would be -1.
At the end of the 8th hand, the person with the highest score wins.
If you bid 0 and take no tricks your score is 0, but remember that 0 is better than a negative number.
Tip : A general rule would be to bid one for each card in your hand with a numerical value of 9 or greater.
Using the "stats" Card
The "stats" card can help you to choose the right card to play in order to win or lose a trick. The first column lists the numerical values of the cards (4-12).
The second column tells you how many cards in the deck have that numerical value. The third column tells you how many cards in the deck have that numerical value and 1-cube (it shows cubes, but is the same value for each of the 4 shapes).
The fourth column tells you how many cards in the deck have that value and 2-cubes and the fifth column tells you how many cards in the deck have that value and 3-cubes.
For example: To win a trick, play a 10 with 1-cube, there is only one card in the deck that has a numerical value of 10 with 1-cube. There are no 11s or 12s that have only 1-cube on them. This makes a 10 with 1-cube a strong card to play to win a trick.
Another Example: To lose a trick, play a 6 with 3-stars, there is only one card in the deck that has a numerical value of 6 with 3-stars. All the other cards in the deck that have 3-stars on them are higher numerical value. This makes a 6 with 3-stars a good card to lead when you want to lose a trick.