The Manille: Rules and Gameplay

Book’s extract: Jean Boussac. Encyclopedia of card games. Paris, 1896, p. 142–147.

Translated from French by Lidie M.

As the Manille is easier than the whist and the stake, it presents various combinations, and it is not the easiest game to play well.

The game is played with a 32-card piquet. The cards are all assigned a special value:

  • Ten on Manille is worth 5 points.
  • Ace (maniac) - 4 points
  • King - 3 points
  • Queen - 2 points
  • Jack - 1 point

Each color has 15 points in total. 

There is therefore 60 points for the four colors.

In addition each lift scores one point and as there are eight lifts in the game, this makes a total of 68 points that one and the other side are shared on every shot, in a more or less equal way.

The four players form two teams. The partners are amicably identified or drawn by lots. In the latter case, a player takes the cards and distributes them one by one to the four players, until he comes out a king the continuous distribution between the other three players until he comes out an another king and then the owners of these two kings are associated against the other two players. At other times we distribute the cards until the four kings are out, and then the two players who have red kings are associated.

The displayed text may include one against those who have black kings. All this is a matter of prior agreement. 

The partners are placed one in front of the other, diagonally, each having an opponent to the right and left.

As the deal is advantageous, it is still a very questionable point that it is drawn by lot, and it is the strongest card which designates the dealer even if he did not choose the trump suit. The dealer can also announce the opponent and let his partner choose the trump suit.

The dealer beats the cards, cuts them off by his opponent on the left and starts the distribution by his opponent on the right. After each move, the hand changes, and the hand passes to the player to the right of the previous dealer.

Each player receives 8 cards: they are given four by four. This is the rule in the absence of agreement by the parties to the contrary. The asset is designated by the 32 and the last card, that the dealer, to which it belongs, returns to the carpet and must leave it spread until his neighbor on the right has played his first card. He lifts it in order to lay his card on the board. If the return is a Manille (a ten), the dealer scores 5 points for him and his partner; if it's a maniac (an ace), he scores 4 points if it's a king, he scores 3; if it's a queen 2, a jack 1.

What must be observed in Manille, is that the lifts are worth by their quality and not by their quantity. Thus it is must endeavor to make points rather than lifts. 

THE PLAY — If the party to which the deal is given, has the advantage of marking the deal, which may be worth 1 to 3 points, or nothing at all if it returns a nine, an eight or a seven, the opponent party has a bigger advantage which is the attack. 

The partners are wondering each other, or, what is much preferable, the one who is the first to play, asks his partner to combine the two games. He must learn in a clever way, so as to know as exactly as possible what this partner can have, avoiding too much talking, that is to say, to inform the opponent too much. But this is a matter of experience.

If the questions asked must be skillful, they must never be ambiguous or conceived in intelligible terms only to the partners, who could agree among themselves on certain phrases which the meaning would escape the opponents.

The first player, placed to the right of the dealer, throws a card on the board, the second takes next turn, then the third and the fourth.

We can neither renounce the color nor under-force, that is to say we must provide the requested map and overcome if we can, otherwise we must cut. When one of the partners is master, the other partner is not obliged to discard or force, but he must supply the color and if he does not have one; he will discard himself. And it's a science to know how to discard, that is to say to get rid of a card that is inconvenient or a good card that is exposed to be taken by the opponent, to make a cut, etc ... But all this is a matter of practice and cannot be taught in a book.

Whoever has lift, then plays first; and this continues until the 8 cards that make up the game of each player, are exhausted.

The game is usually played in 34 points and in related party but it is often agreed that the Manille will be 44 or 64 points, in one game and without revenge.

We can make all other conventions; otherwise, usages or precedents are law.

We count the points when all the cards are played.

The lifts of each party, which have been made by one and the other of the partners, are gathered together.

Either a lift in which is a Manille, a king, an eight and a seven: it will be counted like this: 5 for the Manille, 3 for the king, it is 8, and the lift nine, because the lift always counts for a point. A lift in which there is no landmark map and the case is common - therefore only counts for one point.

As has been said, scoring cards and lifts produce a total of 68 points, half of which is 34. Therefore, the party whose lifts score more than 34 points wins the surplus, and one of the players of this party the marks the deal, if it was a card striking, so that we can do 34 points at once, and, if we found a Manille, that's 39, the maximum.

If each party makes 34 points, which often happens, the trick is draw.

If there has been a violation of the rules by two associates, they gain 34 points; this is called thirty-four, and the opponents are said to be thirty-four.

OTHER RULES —

1. If there is a card returned in the game, we redo, but the hand does not pass.

2. If the dealer shows one or more cards from his or her partner's game, the trick is good; but if the cards seen belong to the game of the opponents, these have the right to make restart the deal, or to hold the trick for good, even if they would have seen their cards. 

3. Whoever, by striking a card, announces a color and plays another, is obliged, if the opponents demand it, to take back his card and play the color announced; but the opponent has the right to cover the card played and continues.

4. Except in the case of a previous error, any card on the table may no longer be raised.

5. If a player plays two cards at a time, the one below is played well. The use of certain localities in this case, is that, the opponents have the right to choose as card played, the card they want. This must be considered the true rule unless there is a convention or precedents to the contrary.

6. If there’s been a misdeal, the player loses his hand; and, moreover, if he only realizes his mistake after having returned, he loses 34 points.

7. Whoever plays with more or less cards also loses 34 points.

8. But when the poorly served player notices the mistake before playing, it is the dealer who loses 34 points.

9. Who renounces, over-cuts, or under-strength loses 34 points.

10. Who plays before his trick, loses 34 points.

11. Whoever takes a roll of 3 cards only loses 34 points, if he then plays before recognizing his mistake.

12. Who plays by leaving two lifts on the table without picking them up, loses 34 points.

13. Whoever watches a folded lift, whether it belongs to him or belongs to his opponents, loses 34 points.

14. There is no punishment for having picked up a lift belonging to the opponents.

15. If one of the players asks to see the game of his partner, this game will have to remain spread on the table until the end of the trick.

16. Whoever makes a fake ad loses 34 points. 

17. The dealer can look at the flip, which is the last card under the game after the cut, but if he is wrong in distributing the cards, he loses 34 points.