Do you like to play cards? Would you like to learn a card game from another country, so that you can impress your friends and family at your next barbecue, party, or picnic? Read on, because I will give you step-by-step instructions (with pictures) for how to play Te Rrethi (meaning, “to the circle”), a popular card game in Kosovo.
Number of Players: Two to as many as you like. You can add additional decks if you have a large group. (Note: This demonstration uses three players.)
Objective: To be the first player with no cards.
Important Thing to Note: Cards are played “up,” or in ascending order, starting with the Ace and then building 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and then starting over again with an Ace.
Another Important Thing to Note: Cards are played first in the center of the circle, and then on the other players’ stacks.
Rule: If a player makes a mistake, all of the other players must give him or her a card from the bottom of their own stacks.
- First, take a deck of cards and remove the Jokers. Next, shuffle the deck and lay the cards face-down, in a circle.
- Go around the table. Each player draws a card from anywhere in the circle, and lays in face-up in front of himself or herself. Keep going around the table until someone draws an Ace.
- The person who draws the Ace lays it in the center of the circle.
- The person who lays down the Ace gets to play again. He or she can either play the top card from the face-up stack in front of them, or draw from the circle of cards at random.
- The player will either first play off the Ace in the center of the card, or will add to another players stack, or will have to discard into their own stack. (Example: I lay down an Ace in the center of the circle, and then draw a 2. I will play the two in the center. Then I draw again. Or, I lay down an Ace in the center of the circle, and then draw a 5. I see that a fellow player has a 4 face-up on their stack. I will lay my card on top of their card, adding to their pile. [Remember, the object of the game is to get rid of all your cards.] Then, I draw again. Or, I lay down an Ace in the center of the circle, and then draw a 10. I don’t see anywhere to lay the 10 [none of my fellow players have a 9], so I must discard the 10 face-up on my own stack. My turn is over.)
- The next player goes.
- When all of the cards from the circle have been picked up by the players, the game still continues. Each player will flip over the stack in front of them (so that the cards are now face-down) and will pull a card from the bottom of the stack to continue playing. (Keep repeating this step as long as you have cards. Once you have played them all, flip your stack over [face down] and again, play the first card from the bottom of the stack.) You will continue to place cards on the center stack (which was the middle of the now-nonexistent circle) first, the other players second, and your own stack last.
- Continue until one player has no more cards in his or her stack. This player is the winner!
(Note: I first played this game with my counterpart months ago, but I couldn’t remember all the rules. Special thanks to my site mate and her co-worker for agreeing to play with me and allowing me to take photos.)