MüTwo is a plain-trick variant of Mü that I devised. The original Mü is a popular game by Frank Nestel that was first published in 1995. It is a notable game for its one-of-a-kind bidding mechanism. The version described here simplifies the original game’s scoring, and makes it playable using a generic 5-suited deck of cards.
Players 5, in variable partnership
Cards A 5-suited deck with 12 cards per suit, 60 cards. 1s are low and 12s are high.
Objective Work with your partner to take at least as many tricks as were bid.
Deal Standard procedure, dealing all of the cards.
The dealer opens the bidding, which continues around the table until everyone passes consecutively. When it is a player’s turn to bid they must either bid or pass. Passing does not remove players from the auction.
Players bid by placing cards from their hand face up, in front of them, on the table. The value of their bid is the total number of cards that they have revealed. Players are allowed to “under bid,” by bidding fewer cards than another player. For example, bidding 1 card when another player has already bid 3. Players typically under bid to reveal synergies they have with other players. A player can never bid more than 1 card higher than the previous high bid. For example, if the high bid is 2 cards, a player could head the bid by bidding 3 cards but cannot bid 4 or more at this time.
The number of cards a player bids represents the number of tricks that they think they can take with the help of a partner. There is a baseline of 4 tricks, and each card bid increases this number by 1. For example, a player who wins the auction with a bid of 3 must take at least 7 tricks to win the hand.
After a player’s initial bid, on later turns, they can increase the value of their bid by adding additional cards to the ones they have already revealed. This continues until everyone passes consecutively. The player who bid the most cards becomes the declarer, and the player who bid the second most cards becomes the head-defender.
All bid cards remain face up on the table until they are played.
If there is a tie for declarer, then the hand is not played. The player involved in the tie who most recently bid loses 10 points per card they bid, and the other tied players each gain this same value divided by the number of tied players.
If there is a tie for head-defender, the tie is broken by comparing the cards the tied players’ bid. First, they compare their highest ranked card, and, if they’re identical, then they compare their second highest and so on. The player with the highest ranked card becomes the head-defender. However, if the tie cannot be broken, or only the declarer bid, then there is no head-defender.
The trump suit is a combination of either two different suits (eg red and blue), a suit and a rank (eg red and 6s), or two different ranks (eg 1s and 6s). First, the head-defender announces a suit or rank that they want as trump, and then the declarer announces the suit or rank that they want. The two are combined to create a single trump suit with the declarer’s trump outranking the head-defender’s.
For example, if the head-defender selects the red suit and the declarer selects the blue suit, then there is a 24-card trump suit that ranks as follows (low to high): R1-R2-R3-R4-R5-R6-R7-R8-R9-R10-R11-R12-B1-B2-B3-B4-B5-B6-B7-B8-B9-B10-B11-B12.
Another example, if the head-defender selects 6s and the declarer selects the red suit, then there is a 16-card trump suit that ranks as follows (low to high): [all non-red 6s]-R1-R2-R3-R4-R5-R7-R8-R9-R10-R11-R12-R6. Notice that R6 becomes the highest ranked card because it is the union of the two trump characteristics. All of the non-red 6s are equally ranked, and are no longer considered to be part of their original suit.
The head-defender and the declarer may only choose trump characteristics that are represented on cards that they have bid. That is to say, if a player wants to name the blue suit as trump, then they need to bid at least one blue card, and they can only pick 6s as trump if they bid at least one 6.
If there is no head-defender, then the trump suit only has one characteristic. The declarer, but not the head-defender, may choose to not select a trump characteristic, and, in this case, only the head-defender’s characteristic is trump.
Four of the ranks are treated differently than the others for the purposes of making trump. 2s are paired with 3s, and 9s are paired with 10s. This means that if 2s or 3s (or 9s or 10s) are selected as trump, then the other rank in the pair is also trump. The player need only bid a card in one of the ranks. For example, if the head-defender selects 2s as trump and the declarer selects the red suit, then there is a 20-card trump suit ranked as follows (low to high): [all non-red 2s]-[all non-red 3s]-R1-R4-R5-R6-R7-R8-R9-R10-R11-R12-R2-R3.
Picking a Partner
After making trump, the declarer must then pick a partner. They can pick any other player except for the head-defender. The declarer and their partner play as a team, attempting to take at least as many tricks as the declarer bid, and the other players play as a team to stop them.
The declarer leads the first trick. Standard trick-taking rules apply. Players play cards either from their hand or from their face up cards that they bid in the auction. If multiple cards of the same rank tie to win a trick, which only happens when a rank is made trump, then the card that was played first wins.
The declarer’s contract is valued at 10 points per card they bid plus an additional bonus based on the type of trump they selected.
If the declarer’s team took at least as many tricks as they bid, then they each score individually the value of the contract. Otherwise, they each lose the same amount.
All players score 5 points per trick that they personally took. The declarer does not score their tricks when they are set, but their partner still does.
Play a predetermined number of hands, such as every player dealing once or twice, and the player with the highest score after the final hand wins.
4 or 6 Players
The game plays exactly the same with 4 or 6 players. The only change is to the base number of tricks that the declarer’s team must take to win the hand.