Call Break is a popular trick-taking card game that originated in Nepal. It is also known by various other names, like Lakdi, Laat, and Missed Call. This game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards and is typically enjoyed by four players.
Call Break Rules
Before taking a seat at the game table, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the fundamental rules of Call Break.
The goal of Call Break is to accurately predict the number of tricks you will win in each round and then try to fulfil your prediction. The game typically consists of five rounds, and the player with the highest total score at the end of these rounds emerges as the winner.
- A dealer is chosen, and the entire deck is shuffled
- The dealer distributes all 52 cards equally among the four players, typically dealing 13 cards per player
- Players take turns to make bids or ‘calls’ before the game begins
- Bids consist of the number of tricks and the suit chosen as the trump suit (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, or Clubs)
- Each player must announce the number of tricks they expect to win in that round. The player making the highest call becomes the ‘dealer’ and gets the privilege of naming the trump suit for that round
The dealer selects a trump suit, which will be the dominant suit for that round. The trump suit prevails over all other suits.
Playing a Trick:
- The player to the left of the dealer initiates the first trick by playing a card
- Following players must play a card of the same suit as the card led, if possible. If they don’t have that suit, they can play any card
- The player who plays the highest-ranking card of the led suit wins the trick and leads the next one
- If a player has no cards of the led suit but has trump cards (if trump has been declared), they can play a trump card to win the trick
- The game continues until all 13 tricks have been played
- Players earn points based on their successful bids and the number of tricks they won
- Points are awarded as follows: Each successful trick bid earns the player 10 points, plus an additional point for each trick won. For instance, if a player bid 3 tricks and won all 3, they would earn 30 + 3 = 33 points
If a player fails to win the number of tricks they bid, they incur a penalty. The penalty is usually equal to the number of tricks they bid. For example, if a player bid 4 tricks but only won 3, they would receive a penalty of -4 points for that round.
In some variations of Call Break, the Two of Spades is designated as the Joker. It can be used as a trump card and holds the highest rank in the game.
- The game is played over several rounds, with players keeping track of their scores
- The player with the highest cumulative score at the end of the agreed-upon number of rounds is declared the winner
Call Break Variations
Here are some common variations of Call Break:
Number of Players:
You can modify the rules for three or five players, which may require adjusting the number of cards dealt and the bidding structure.
No Trump Suit:
In some variations, there is no trump suit, and players must play cards of the led suit only.
In certain variations, players can make special bids, such as ‘No Tricks’ or ‘Double Tricks’.
Some players introduce a rule where scores for tricks and bids are doubled if a player successfully fulfils their bid.
Penalties for Failing to Win Bids:
Some variations assign penalties based on the number of tricks short of the bid; for example, if a player bids 4 tricks but only wins 2, they would receive a -2 penalty.
In negative bidding, players attempt to avoid winning tricks. They bid a negative number, and if they succeed in losing tricks, they earn points equal to their negative bid; for example, a bid of -3 means the player aims to lose three tricks.
Scoring System Variations:
Call Break often uses a 10-point base score for successful bids. Some versions may modify the scoring system, awarding more or fewer points for tricks and bids.
While the standard ranking of cards is Ace high to 2 low, some variations may reverse this order, making the 2 the highest-ranking card and the Ace the lowest.
Call Break Winning Strategies
Here are some key strategies to help you win at Call Break:
Trump Card Management:
It is crucial to manage your trump cards wisely. Avoid wasting them on low-value tricks. Try to save them for situations where you have a good chance of winning a high-value trick.
Leading with High Cards:
Leading with high cards at the beginning of a round can be a good strategy. This forces your opponents to use their trump cards early or risk losing high-value tricks.
Assessing Your Hand:
Evaluate your hand at the beginning of each round and determine your overall strategy. If you have a strong trump suit and high-value cards, consider going for a few high-value tricks. If your hand is less powerful, focus on taking fewer tricks to avoid getting set.
Bluffing and Deception:
Don’t be afraid to bluff or deceive your opponents. If you have a strong hand, you can play weaker cards early on to make your opponents believe you have a weaker hand.
Observing Your Opponents:
Pay close attention to the behaviour and card patterns of your opponents. Try to deduce their strategies and adapt accordingly.
Remember the Score:
Always keep track of the current score and your relative position in the game. If you are ahead, you may want to play more conservatively to maintain your lead. If you are behind, take calculated risks to catch up.
Call Break is a captivating and strategic card game that requires skill and foresight. Playing it online offers a convenient way to enjoy the game with friends and competitors from around the world. Remember that practice and experience are key to becoming a skilled Call Break player.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you play Call Break online?
To play Call Break online, find a multiplayer card game platform or app. Create or join a game, follow the rules, and aim to win tricks by playing strategically.
Can we play Call Break online with friends?
Yes, you can play Call Break online with friends by creating a private room or joining a multiplayer game, allowing you to enjoy the game together over the internet.
Can 2 people play Call break?
Call Break is traditionally played with four players, but variations for three players also exist.
How are Call Break points calculated?
Call Break points are calculated based on the number of tricks won, the ‘call’ or prediction made, and bonus points for specific card combinations like flush or royal flush, resulting in the final score.