Building Stacks
To begin the game, the dealer deals three cards to each player.

Beginning with the starting player (commonly, the person to the dealer’s left), each player must play one card on the table and then draw another from the top of the deck.

The players build up stacks for each rank (except the Queens) – a stack of 3s, a stack of 7s, a stack of Bishops, etc. Points are scored as the cards are played.

Scoring
Figure 1: How points are scored as cards are played.
Gambitz © 2014 Tod Teeple. Website © 2014 Hilaria & Ludi, LLC. All rights reserved.
For example, the first of each number card played scores no points, the second played scores one point, the third scores three, and the fourth scores one.

Keep score as you go. Tally marks (hash marks) usually work best.

Figure 2: A typical beginning, in a two-person game. Anna started with an 8, then Joe played a 10. Anna had a 10, and chose to play it on the 10 stack, getting one point. Then Joe played a King, getting five points.
So, for example, if you scored 26 points during game play, but were stuck with a Knight in your hand when the game ended, your final score would be 23 points.

Each number card left in your hand is worth one point.

The winner of the game is the player with the highest final score.


Other Stuff

Strategy
As you build up the number card stacks, you generally want to be the one who plays the third card, because that’s worth three points. We call that “making a trip,” short for triplet. We developed the scoring and powers to make the game fun throughout – beginning, middle, and end. Do you play the second number card on a stack, or do you wait for someone else to do that, hoping you can play the third? Do you play a court card early and get the points, or do you hold it for later, when it might be more important strategically, even though you risk getting stuck with it? What’s your Gambitz™ style?

Suits
We created the deck with four suits, designated by color – blue, green, red, and yellow – even though the suits are not a factor in game play. We did that because it made the deck more attractive and fun to play with, and because our expectation is that we, and you, will come up with variations of the game that will use the suits. Check out our website
to see those variations, and submit your own!
Powers
Each of the court cards has a specific power, except for the King. Those powers are:

Queen: The Queen is played as the fourth card on any stack (except the Castles). This locks the stack. The remaining card of that rank cannot be played on it.
• Queens can only be played as the fourth card of a stack.
• Queens do not have a stack of their own.

Bishop: When the second or third Bishop is played, the player has the option of moving a locking Queen from one stack to another (except the Castles), unlocking the first stack and locking the second.
• Points are earned for playing the second or third Bishop, but no points are earned for moving a Queen.
• The Bishop’s power is optional. You can play the second or third Bishop and not move a Queen.

Knight: When the second or third Knight is played, the player has the option of discarding one or both of their remaining cards to the deck and drawing to replace them.
• The process is: Play the Knight, score the point(s), discard to the bottom of the deck, draw.
• The Knight’s power is optional. You can play the second or third Knight and not discard any of your remaining cards.

Castle: The Castle stack can’t be locked by a Queen, which means that a Castle in your hand will always be playable.

If You Can't Play a Card
If you can’t play a card on your turn, you pass, unless you have three Queens in your hand, or two Queens and a locked card. In those cases, you draw a new hand. The process is: Show your hand to the other players, return the cards to the deck, reshuffle the deck, draw three cards, play a card.

Ending the Game
The game is over when no more cards can be played.
Figure 3: Points are deducted for cards left in your hand when the game ends.