Cards are dealt one at a time until the deck is exhausted; thus, there are twelve cards per hand. The player on the dealer's left goes first and play continues clockwise.
There are only four basic rules in "quar," surrounded by a small cloud of qualifications. These four rules are:
The object of the game is to get rid of as many cards as possible, as each card in a player's hand counts against him in scoring. However, blindly throwing off as many cards as possible in one turn may work against the player's endgame position (see "Strategies"). Now for the qualifications:
1a. A player who must satisfy au fond
may only play that one card and
pass; he may neither move nor play again.
Note: If he is the last remaining active player (all other hands have
folded), he treats au fond as a play followed by a sequence of three
1b. A player may not play on another's au fond; therefore,
1c. If a player folds and his station becomes open, it will remain open for the duration of the round.
2a. When a card is played, it should conceal all other cards below it. Players are not allowed to review the history of a station.
2b. A player must play at least one card per turn. If he passes without playing, he must fold and place his cards face down in front of him. He may not touch his hand again until the round is over and scoring begins.
2c. Once a player plays a card, he is not obligated to move, nor (if the card was a dupe) must he play another card.
3a. A player may play as many dupes in sequence as he chooses, and these plays may alternate with moves. Only if the last card played is not a dupe may he not play an additional card. (But note that he may still move.)
4a. Although a station in motion (stack being moved) must contain at least two cards, the destination station may have as few as one card.
4b. If a player creates au fond at his station while moving, he may continue to play and move according to the rules, but he may not satisfy au fond until his next turn.
5. A player, on request, must truthfully state how many cards remain in his hand.
6. If three of the four players have folded, the remaining player continues to dispose of his cards according to the rules until he exhausts his hand or until he can no longer play.
The round is over when either a] A player runs out of cards (a perfect score of 0), or b] Every player folds. A game is a set of rounds played until one or more players break 1000 points; the lowest score at that time is the winner of the game. The deal and first play rotate one position to the left between rounds.
The Naive Approach: Surprisingly effective, especially when a player is confronted by opponents with more sophisticated thought patterns. Beginners use this strategy unwittingly, and more experienced players are sometimes shocked when the neophyte trounces the old hands. This is a conservative playing style all the way through, with little regard for table manipulation; the player need only observe the rule of balance (see below) and play one or two cards per turn in order to be assured of modest (though sometimes dramatic) success.
The Aggressive Approach: Dangerous but rewarding technique for alert players, it recommends a follow-through on all possible plays and moves that advance the player's position. For instance, many players with the lead play will "mess up" the table on the second turn, that is, play or move on as many opposing stations as possible to counter anticipated dupes. Aggressives often forget about the rule of balance, which can mean becoming susceptible to group presses.
The Balanced Approach: Restrained aggressive behavior in the early game followed by conservative plays in the endgame. Not a perfect strategy (astute presses in the endgame are quite effective) but one that strikes a compromise between risk and reward.
In general, all strategies are best served by loose adherence to certain formulas of play:
Openings: When confronted with au fond in the early part of the game, play an in-hand dupe from the strongest suit. If untouched, it will give an automatic dupe in the beginning of the next turn. If there are no dupes in the long suit, go to the second longest suit. Do not put down part of a dupe pair in a short suit until later in the game, and resist the temptation to dupe if the act threatens to throw the hand out of balance. If there are no playable dupe-pairs, look for matching denominations across suits and play one of those from a long suit. Observe conservation of color as much as possible.
Limiting: In the early game, players tend to limit their opponents in order to gain control of the table. This is generally done by playing on anticipated dupes and moving so that as many opponents as possible are given au fond. In the endgame, the nature of limiting is reversed: a player without au fond is limited by the choices that remain. A player in trouble often tries to vacate his station so that he may play at least one more card on his next turn.
Presses: A press occurs when a player (or players) thinks an opponent is dangerously short in one color. The tip-off may be an early self-imposed au fond followed by a play of a color not currently exposed on the table. In this circumstance the other players will often modify their strategies to keep the dominant color(s) on the table and perhaps force a player to fold early.
Rule of Balance: In general, a player should always try to balance his hand so that there are equal numbers of each color. Strategy and situation of play may force him down in one or more colors, but reserving at least one of each color for the endgame assures survival.
Conservation of Color: This means not introducing a new color unless it is necessary or extremely beneficial. By pressing one or two colors on the table, the hands weakest in those suits will likely be forced out early. A crucial part of a press.
Introduction of Color: When other players are pressing with a disadvantageous color, the best way to introduce a new color is to play down (same denomination) and move out. This sequence will likely confirm their suspicions regarding the contents of your hand.
Endgame: The endgame begins roughly when a player has played half his hand. Balanced strategies become more conservative as players try to guarantee future plays. Au fonds become important "life savers," and denomination plays become more important. "Stretched dupes" are in-hand dupe pairs played without duping: one half is played to satisfy au fond or played on an opposing station, and the other is later used to set up another station for a two- or three-part move. Remember that to fold with one or two cards is not bad--if the remaining players are unfortunate enough, 200 may be the lowest score in the current round!
Copyright 1970-2003 by the International Quar Society. These pages, the game of Quar, and all associated rules and images are property of the IQS. Individuals may make copies of this text for their own, non-commercial, personal use.