Commerce is a simple three card poker type game that introduces young players to the concepts of suit and rank.
The object of the game is to collect as many counters as possible with one of the three special hands.
3 or more players age 6 and higher
Table or hard flat surface with enough seating for each player.
A standard deck of playing cards
An equal number of counters. Counters can be any small item for example, pieces of candy, buttons or coins all make good counters.
Before the game begins each player is issued the same quantity of counters.
Before play begins each play adds or "antes up" one counter to the "pot". The "pot" is a pile in the center of the table where winnings collect.
The dealer deals three cards, face down, to each player and an additional three cards, face up in the center of the table. This face up pile is known as the "widow" hand
The players goal in each round is to collect the strongest of three Commerce hands possible. The hands are a tricon, which is three of a kind. A sequence, which is a three card straight flush, where the player has three cards of the same suit in order and a point where the cards are of the same suit and their points are added together.
Three Aces would be the highest tricon. Three twos would be the lowest.
The highest sequence is Ace-King-Queen while four-three-two is the lowest.
In point the Aces are highest followed by the face cards and the 10. Three Aces is the highest and three Twos is the lowest. Ace-King-Queen is the highest sequence whereas Four-Three-Two is the lowest sequence. In a point the Aces count as 11 and the face cards all count as 10.
The highest points would be an Ace and two face cards or a 10 all of the same suit. The lowest would be a two and three of the same suit along with another card of a different suit. In the game of Commerce the worst possible hand is one that has all three cards coming from different suits and all in non-sequential rank.
Before play begins the dealer swap their hand with the widow hand and their hand then becomes the widow hand.
Play starts with the player to the right of the dealer. This player may exchange any one of their cards with one of the cards from the widow hand. Play continues to the right. Each player during their turn may exchange one card with the widow. Players may also opt to pass, but forfeits their right to swap cards again during the round.
WHen a player acquires a Commerce hand they knock on the table and stop playing. This is known as a stand. The remaining players continue playing until a second player "stands". Once this occurs the round is over.
During a round a player does not necessarily need to stand when they get a Commerce hand especially if the hand is weak and they believe another player may have a stronger hand that could beat them. This allows the player to stay in the round and try to strengthen their hand. At the same time other players are also able to build their hands. It's a gamble to do this, but may benefit the player.
At the time of the second players stand play ends and the players all show each other their cards. A tricon beats a sequence and a sequence outweighs points.
A high tricon will beat out a low tricon as will a high sequence beat a low sequence. Same applies to points. A high points hand will beat a low points hand.
The player with the best hand is the winner of the round and takes the pot.
The player to the right of the dealer is now the new dealer and the next round begins.
There is no limit to the number of rounds played. In the end the player with the most counters from the pot is declared the winner.
Did you know that the earliest board games discovered are more than 3,500 years old?