Cooncan, by Robert Frederick Foster


For Two Players

Although either of the variations already described may be played by two persons, the most interesting form of the game for that number is the original conquian, or cooncan, which differs from the preceding variations in several important particulars.

  1. There are only 40 cards in the pack, and although only ten cards are dealt to each player, he must get eleven cards down, not being allowed to count his his last discard as one of the cards he gets rid of.

  2. He cannot add to the combinations laid out by his adversary except by his discards, and then only one card at a time, so that his own band always remains at ten cards.

  3. Every card drawn from the pack must be shown and if it cannot be laid out in combination at once, it must be discarded again.

  4. Cards may he borrowed from one combination and shifted to another, provided both have been laid out by the player who makes the change.

Cooncan is played with the Spanish pack of 40 cards, in which there are no eights, nines, or tens, but it is more convenient to play with the regular pack, throwing out the jacks, queens, and kings, so that there shall be four straight sequences from the ace to the ten, one in each suit. There is no joker.

Seats and deal are cut for in the usual way, although the first deal is of no consequence. In cutting to the dealer, at least four cards must be left in each packet, and ten cards are then dealt to each player, usually two at a time, the twenty-first card being turned face up on the top of the pack. If a card is faced in the pack, or if the dealer exposes a card dealt to his adversary, there must be a new deal.

The object of the game is to form triplets and fours, or sequence and suit, by combining the cards dealt with those drawn from the pack or discarded by the adversary. All such combinations must be laid upon the table face up, and remain the property of the player making them. The first to show eleven cards on his side of the table so combined, wins the game. If neither can get eleven down, it is a tableau, or tie game, to be decided by the result of the next hand.

Every card drawn from the pack or discarded by the opponent, and added to a combination on the table, requires a discard in its place, so that the cards in the player’s hand and those he has laid out in combination shall always be ten in number. When either player can use the last card he draws, by combining it with those he has already laid out for lu’himself, instead of discarding it, he has eleven cards down and wins the game, but as long as he holds cards that he cannot combine, he must discard.

The non-dealer, usually called the pone, has the first “say” as to the turned-up card on the pack. If he can use it, he draws it toward him and lays upon the table the two or more cards that combine with it, but under no circumstances is he allowed to take the card into his hand. If he cannot use it, or does not wish to, he removes it from the top of the pack and lays it face up beside it. This is an indication that the card is at the disposal of his opponent. It is usual to spread the pack slightly, to facilitate drawing cards from it.

If the dealer can use the card just passed by the pone, be must draw it toward him and show the two or more cards with which it combines, leaving the combination face up on the table. If he cannot use it, he turns it down and draws another card from the top of the pack, turning it face up. The player who draws this card has the first say as to whether or not he will use it, If he uses it, be must show how, if he does not want it, he lays it beside thc pack, face up, for his adversary to “say” to.

Each player in turn continues to draw and say in this manner until the pack is exhausted, every card refused by both players being at once turned down, after which it cannot he looked at again until the game is decided.

If the player uses the card he draws, he must lay out in its place a card from his hand, and his opponent has the say to this card, just as if it were the one drawn from the pack. If he uses it, he must show how. If he refuses it, he draws from the pack.

As the combination must be laid on the table every time a card is used, there may be several such shown on one or both sides of the table. If a player draws a card from the pack, or discards one from his hand, that he sees will fit a combination laid out by his adversary, be may force that card upon him simply by placing it on the combination to which it belongs, and his opponent cannot refuse to take it, but must discard a card from his hand in its place, unless he can get eleven down. Should the draw or the discard be placed on the pack, however, without forcing it, the player who can use it may refuse to take it. If a player draws a card that he can use himself on a combination that he has already laid on the table, he is not obliged to use the card drawn, but if he passes it, his opponent may force him with it, or he may turn it down and draw, or he may perhaps use it himself.

No combination of less than three cards can he shown, but if a player has a combination of four or more he may borrow one of the cards if he can still leave a complete combination of three. Suppose he has four tens on the table and draws the 8 of spades. If he has the spade 9 in his hand he may borrow the 10 from the four of a kind and lay down the 8 9 10 of spades, which still leaves three of a kind in tens.

In this way, if he has a sequence of 5 6 7 8 in hearts on the table, and draws a 5, he might have a 5 in his hand and borrow the 5 of hearts to make three fives, which still leaves a sequence of three in hearts on the table. The middle card of a sequence of seven might be borrowed in this way, leaving two sequences of three after the split, but no card can be borrowed from the interior of a sequence that leaves an incomplete or broken sequence behind it. A player cannot shift his adversaries' cards in this manner, but only his own, so that he cannot force cards in this way.

When a player has a bad hand, and sees that there is little or no chance to get eleven down, he will frequently refuse to take cards that he can use, so as to avoid having to discard those that his adversary probably wants, and the only way to force such discards from him is to give him cards that it is seen he can use. Of course if he has not laid down anything, it is impossible to force him to discard.

The object in demanding eleven cards down to win the game is to prevent any player running out on one sequence in suit. Suppose a player has laid out three tens, the 4 5 6 of hearts and 8 9 10 of diamonds, He must have a card still in his hand, and even if he draws a card that he can use, he will not be eleven down if he has to discard the one he holds. He must use the one he holds, or discard it and wait until be draws one more that he can use.

Suppose the card in his hand is the 6 of diamonds. If he can draw the 7 of that suit he has eleven cards down. But suppose his opponent forces him with the 7 of hearts, he must discard the 6 of diamonds and wait until he draws a card that he can use.

When neither player can get eleven cards down before the pack is exhausted, it is called a tableau, and the cards are gathered up, shuffled, cut and dealt by the one who was the non-dealer on the tableau hand. The winner of the next game counts the point for the one that was a tie.

Instead of reckoning the losses by the number of pips left in the hand of the player who loses when the other gets eleven down, the game is usually for points, each game won counting as a point gained.

This is a portion of a full-text reproduction of Robert Frederick Foster's book "Cooncan (Conquián): A Game of Cards Also Called Rum", which was published in 1913, by Frederick A. Stokes Company, and is now in the public domain. The text of the book was OCR'd from a vintage copy of the book, and is provided as an educational resource for Rummy players, researchers, and students of the game. Any grammatical or typographical errors are an artifact of this process, and should not be attributed to the author.

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