Bartok is a very simple game (initially) with the rules starting out very much like Uno. The major twist to this game is the Nomic-like ability to modify the rules (initially the winner does this at the end of the game). Anyway – the rules are simple and self explanatory.
- Players each begin with 5 cards
- The remaining cards are placed face down in the centre, forming “the pack”. The dealer then turns over the top card from the pack, this card has no effect on play. If a joker is turned up, then the dealer may turn over another card, and so forth. The first player is the first one to place an eligible card after the card is turned over.
- Play proceeds clockwise, unless any other rule states otherwise.
- When it is a certain players turn, e may either play an eligible card from eir hand onto the face up pile (hereafter “the pile”), or pick up a card from the pack (not both). This play must be made within a reasonable time of it becoming eir turn (as judged by the other players.)
- Unless other rules state otherwise, an eligible card to play must be of the same suit or the same value as the card on the top of the face up pile.
- A joker is a wild card, and so may be played as any other eligible card. The player playing the joker must announce which card it represents.
- When any player’s hand changes from containing two or more cards to only one card, e must say “Bartok”.
- Players may not ask questions during play.
- Players may not make (provably) false statements during play.
- If any player is deemed (by general consensus) to have broken any rule the e must draw a card from the pack. Such a draw does NOT constitute a player’s turn. This penalty may only be incurred if the breaking of the rule is announced within a reasonable time after the event.
- The winner of a round is the first player to have zero cards in his hand. Generally, a player is deemed to have won BEFORE the final card played takes effect.
- A round ends when the winner is decided. The winner shall then invent a new rule which will come into effect in the next round. New rules may repeal or override older rules. New rules must not be obviously biased towards or against any player. New rules may not directly effect the creation or content of later rules. Other players may express their dissatisfaction with any new rule, but so long as the rule meets the previous guidelines, the winner’s word is final.
- The winner then becomes the dealer for the next round. If e so desires e may declare any other player to be dealer instead of em.
- During a round, timeout may be called by the players in order to clarify some aspect of a new rule which was not previously clear. During this time questions may be asked of the player who created rule in question, without penalty. In all such cases, the word of the rule’s creator is final. If two or more rules conflict or combine with unclear effect, the player who created the most recent of those rules may decide the effect. Questions off the topic of rules clarification are not allowed during timeout. Trivial questions, or questions which have already been clearly answered (to a majority of players) should not be tolerated.
- If any player enters the game and is unfamiliar with the rules in effect at the time, the other players ought not explain any more than the very general basics of the original rules. If ever the new player receives a penalty for some reason, then a brief (and not necessarily clear) reason for the penalty ought to be given. New players should be encouraged to work out the current rules by their own ingenuity.
Suggested New Rules
In any of the following, the following notation is used:
“card(n)”, where n is a number from 2 to 13 – Any of a set of about n cards, by value, regardless of suit. Good choices of sets of cards are: primes (not including 1), squares, cubes, odds, evens, multiples of x, court cards, or particular suits or colors. In all such cases Jack, Queen, King are usually considered to have values 11, 12 and 13 respectively. Ace has value 1.
“card(1)” – Any single card, by value, regardless of suit. (Generally a card with does not already have a rule attached, altho overlap is allowed, even encouraged, on occasion).
“card(1c)” (or “card(1s)”) – Any single card by value and by colour (or by suit). This is generally recommended for rules which are considered to have “dangerous” effect, and for which it is desirable to have apply only rarely.
These values are offered as guidelines only, and any rule may be applied to more or fewer cards than suggested, at the creator’s discretion.
After each rule’s name, a gauge of difficulty/nastiness is given:
* = beginner rule ** = advanced beginner *** = experienced **** = experienced difficult ***** = masochists only
Note: This does not imply that beginner or advanced beginner rules are not fun for expert players.
This stuff was shamelessly snagged from http://goanna.cs.rmit.edu.au/~geoff/games/bartok.html.