By Jim Risner and John Cooper

Coosner is sort of a bidding/trick-taking card game, played with a normal deck of 52 cards. The game is played in rounds, much like the game of Spades, with points being added up for each player at the end of each round. Players agree on an "end score" (usually 100 or 200 points) and the first player to break the end score is the winner. The most unique aspect of Coosner is that players bid for how many tricks they think they can take in each suit, and record their bids with cards from their hands. Cards which are used for bidding cannot be used in play. This can lead to very tricky and frustrating periods in the game, where a player must choose to raise (and take risks) or lower (and lose points) his bid on a suit.

Number of players
Coosner may be played by two or three people. Four players can play, but in this case two decks must be shuffled together. These rules will concentrate on two-player games.

The deck is shuffled and both players are dealt 18 cards each (13 each for three players). The rest of the cards are left in a draw pile hereafter called the "puppy pile", face down in the center of the board.

Choosing advisors
Players may look at their cards and arrange them in order of suit. Each player chooses 3 cards to put face down in front of him. These cards are called "advisors" and are kept secret from the opponent, but may be referred to at any time during the game by the player.

What advisors tell you
Each of the advisors wants a certain number of puppies (that’s cards) from the puppy pile. It is the player’s job during the game to buy just the right amount of puppies for each advisor. An advisor’s suit describes the kind of puppies (i.e. puppies of the same suit) the advisor wants. An advisor’s value divided by three (rounded up) determines how many puppies of that suit he wants. For instance if an advisor is an 8 of spades the player is attempting to get 3 spade puppies (pun alert), as 8 divided by 3 equals 2 with a remainder that rounds it up to 3. Aces are worth a bid of 1 or 4, and Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth 4 each. Any three of the player’s cards may be put out face down as advisors, even if the suits of two advisors match. Here is a handy table:
Advisor type Puppies wanted
1 or 4 
4,5,6  2
10 4
J,K,Q 4

Flipping a puppy
The player to the dealer’s left begins the game by "flipping a puppy", which means she turns the top card in the puppy pile face up and places it back on top of the puppy pile.

Buying a puppy
The player who flipped the puppy then takes any card from her hand and places it face up on the table. This is the card with which she is attempting to buy the puppy. The next player (clockwise) then plays a card out from his hand (face up again). When each player has played out a card, the highest valued card of the same suit as the puppy wins the puppy. If none of the cards played from hands has the puppy’s suit, the player who played the highest valued card wins the puppy. The player who wins the puppy places the puppy face up on the player’s side. All other cards played out in the attempted purchase are discarded into a discard pile.

Values when buying
Conventional values are used – 2 to 10, J, Q, K, A (Ace is always high) – when purchasing puppies. The puppies do not have values in play; players are only trying to beat each other to buy a puppy. Players do not have to play cards which match puppy suits, but such cards have an advantage (e.g. a 3 of clubs beats a 9 of spades when attempting to buy a club puppy).

If there is a tie (for instance a diamond puppy is showing and the highest cards played are a 9 of hearts and a 9 of spades), the puppy is discarded with the played cards.

Flipping another puppy
The player who won the last puppy flips over another, and starts the round for purchasing the next puppy. (If there was a tie, the player who last flipped is again designated flipper.) The game continues in this manner – flipping a puppy, buying the puppy, discarding played cards – until all players run out of cards to play.

At the end of a round all players reveal their advisors and place puppies of matching suits with advisors. A player’s score is based on how well each of her advisors is satisfied. If an advisor requested two club puppies and received exactly two, each puppy is worth three points. If the advisor’s requested number does not match the number of purchased puppies of that suit, each puppy is only worth one point. Puppies belonging to each satisfied advisor are therefore worth three times more than puppies belonging to unsatisfied advisors. An advisor is not satisfied if he receives fewer (or more!) puppies than he requested. The puppies points are added up for each player, and the player who had the highest total wins the round.

Scoring unwanted puppies
If a player has puppies that do not match a suit of any advisor, these are unwanted puppies, and are worth one point each (the same value as those puppies belonging to an unsatisfied advisor).

Scoring a Coosner
If a player ends a round with all three advisors satisfied and no unwanted puppies (i.e. all of the player’s puppies are worth three points), that player claims a "Coosner" and gains an additional 5 points. For more incentive, players may agree before a game to make Coosners worth 7 points.

After each round the cards are reshuffled and the player to the left of last round’s dealer becomes the new dealer. The scores of each round are tallied up and the player who reaches an agreed upon number (100 is a good one) is the overall winner. If more than one player pass 100, the player with the highest score is the winner. If there is a tie, players continue to play rounds until one player has highest score.

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last updated 4/5/99