Hoyle's Games Modernized/Quinto

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This game is the invention of Professor Hoffmann. It has achieved immediate popularity in circles where it has been experimentally introduced, and it has been thought that it may even be destined to supplant Bridge. Waiving discussion, however, of the question whether Bridge is on the point of immediate deposition from its throne, no impartial person would deny that games could be devised that might run it very close, and bid fair to imperil its popularity. To invent such a game Professor Hoffmann, with his long and close experience of social pastimes of every kind, is exceptionally well qualified; and, whether or no we shall all leave off being Bridge-players and become Quinto-players, there is no denying that in the latter game there are several new and interesting elements, that it carefully avoids the fatal error of excessive complexity—the ruin of "Vint" and "Skat," for instance—and that it is compounded of skill and chance in very happy proportions.

It is a game of two partners against two, as at Bridge and Whist. The pack, however, consists of fifty-three cards instead of fifty-two. The place of the extra card (five "crowns"—known as "Quint Royal") which is included by Messrs. Goodall & Son in their "Quinto" packs can be supplied equally well by the "Joker," which all ordinary packs now contain. Similarly, the score-sheets (which resemble those of Bridge, except that no horizontal division is necessary) may be dispensed with, and their place supplied by ordinary paper and pencil, or by an ordinary cribbage-board.

After settling partners and deal in the usual way, the cards are shuffled and cut, and the dealer then lays aside the five top cards, face downwards, to form what is known as the "cachette." The remaining forty-eight cards are dealt out as at Whist, so that each hand contains twelve cards; but no trump card is turned up.

The players in rotation, commencing with the eldest hand, have then the option of once doubling the value of each trick, and of once re-doubling an opponent's double. The option passes round the table once only, and does not affect the value of the "quints," as defined below.

The normal value of each trick, reckoned irrespective of its contents, and counting to the side which wins it, is five points. Each side scores the number of tricks that it actually wins. If A B win 11 tricks, and Y Z 2, A B score 55, and Y Z 10. These values may, however, be doubled or quadrupled before the play begins, as previously explained. The winners of the twelfth trick take the "cachette," which itself counts as an extra trick. Thus the winning of the twelfth trick bears a double value.

So far as regards "trick" scoring. The "honours" are known as "Quints," and are (1) The five of any suit, a fifth "honour" being the "Joker" or "Quint Royal"; (2) An ace and four, or a deuce and trey, of the same suit, falling to the same trick. "Quints" count not to the side to which they are originally dealt, but to the side that wins the trick containing them. They are marked as they occur in course of play, according to the following scale: Quint Royal, 25; Quint in Hearts, 20; in Diamonds, 15; in Clubs, 10; in Spades, 5. The contents of the "cachette" (if of any value) are similarly scored by the side that takes it.

The play of Quint Royal is peculiar. It has no trick-taking value at all, and can be scored by the holder only if he can throw it on a trick won by his partner. This he is always allowed to do, whether he holds one of the suit led or not.

With the preceding exception, every player, having one of the suit led, must follow. If he has not, he may trump or over-trump. No selection is made of any particular suit for trumps, but for trumping purposes the suits ascend in power, in Bridge order, from spades to hearts. Thus any spade may be trumped by the deuce of clubs, which may be over-trumped by any other club or by the deuce of diamonds—and so on up to the one card, the ace of hearts, which is a winner against all the rest.

Game is 250 up. A distinction between quints and tricks is that the former are marked up as they occur in course of play, and that, as soon as the scoring of them brings either side up to or beyond 250, that game is at an end, and the rest of the hand is abandoned. The value of the "cachette" may make the winners of it game; if so, the tricks are not counted. If neither side is 250 up after counting all quints, the value of the tricks won is added in. Should such addition bring both parties beyond 250, the higher of the two totals wins. Those who first win two games win the rubber, and score 100 points extra therefor.

There is another method of scoring—by "single," "double," and "treble" games—but the former way has been preferred wherever the writer has seen the game played.

Before Quint Royal has been played, a player who does not hold it should be always on the alert to give his partner the chance of making it. The original leader, therefore (not holding Quint Royal himself), is always expected to start with the ace of spades, if he has it. If not, with the ace of clubs. The ace of hearts is certainly, and the ace of diamonds probably, too valuable to be led out in this way.

The establishment of a black suit is obviously a hopeless task, for both red suits cannot be got out of the way. Hearts, however, may sometimes be extracted for the benefit of a good long suit of diamonds.

Dummy (or Three-Handed) Quinto.

In the case of three players only, one plays a Dummy hand in combination with his own. This being a very decided advantage, the Dummy-player is handicapped 25, that number of points being scored to his opponents' credit before the game begins. Rubbers are not played, each game being settled for separately, and the three players take Dummy in rotation, game by game. The partner of Dummy always takes first deal of each game. When either of Dummy's opponents deals, the Dummy-player must look first at the hand from which he has to lead, and must double or re-double from his knowledge of that one hand only.

Book on Quinto.

Hoffmann, Professor.—Quinto: A new and original card game. Goodall & Son, Ld.