The 52 Card Games project is my first 52 Weeks project. I love card games, and I love learning new games and playing the games I love. For this project, I’m documenting a new card game each Friday. In case you’ve missed any of the first ten games, check out all of the previous 52 CARD GAMES.
Tien Len is the national card game in Vietnam. Viet’s family plays it all the time, and it’s definitely become one of my favorite games. If there are any Nguyen family members out there, please drop me a comment if I’ve described anything wrong!
Any player can deal the first game. In following games, the loser deals after they’ve lost. The delaer should deal all cards (13 per player).
After the first round, the winner of the previous round starts the play and can start with any card format.
The first player determines the format of cards that must be played in that round. For example, if the first players starts by playing a pair, all other players must play pairs (same with three of a kind, four of a kind, a non-suited straight, a suited straight). For example, as the first play of the game if you’re the player with the 3 of spades, you could play:
• the single 3 of spades
• a pair of 3s
• three 3s
• four 3s
• a non-suited straight (3 spades-4 club-5 diamonds or 3-4-5-6 or 3-4-5-6-7, etc)
• a suited straight (3 spades-4 spades-5 spades)
Note: a straight can be as many cards as you want.
Once the round has started, play continues to the left and players must play cards in the same format or pass. Once a player passes, they can not play again in that round.
Beating Twos: To beat a single two, a player can play three consecutive pairs (e.g. a pair of 3s, a pair of 4s, and a pair of 5s). To beat a pair of twos, a player can play four consecutive pairs.
You generally want to try to get rid of your single low cards as early in the game as possible. If you have a really awesome hand, like a straight of seven, or four of a kind, you want to try to take control of the game early so that you can lead a round with your awesome hand.
1) a 13 card straight from 3, 4, 5 . . . K, A, 2
2) Four 2s
Ending the Game
The player who has won the most rounds, wins the game!