• Angela Cumming

How to Play Durak

Durak, a Russian Attack Game, is awesome, but slightly complicated. I learned how to play in Honduras and quickly became obsessed with it. I only had the chance to play every so often, and only with very specific friends, because it is difficult to teach but if you're up for the challenge then this game is well worth it!


Number of Players:

3-6, but it's best in groups of 4 or 5


Materials:

-one deck of only 6 through Ace (all 2s through 5s & Jokers are removed)


Objective of the Game:

The first player to finish all their cards is the winner!

Set-up:

Deal 6 cards to each player and set the rest of the cards aside as a draw pile. Flip the top card up and place it beside the draw pile- this is trump for the round (see FAQ for a definition of trump).

Play:

The player with the lowest trump card goes first and begins an 'attack' on the player to their left by playing any card from their hand. It is best to play something low and not trump, or a card they have multiples of.


The player to their left, the 'defender', must now ward off the attack by playing a higher card of the same suit or a trump card of any number (see picture below). They aren't out of the woods yet though. The original attacker and the person to the defender's left, the 'secondary attacker', can continue the onslaught by laying another attack, but there are some rules:


-Only numbers that have already been played are allowed to be used. For example, if the original attack was a 6 of hearts, and the defender played an 10 of hearts then any other 6 or 10 are fair game as an attack.

-A maximum of 6 attacks are allowed (or the number of cards in the defender's hand - whichever is lower)

A series of three attacks.


This continues until the defender can block 6 attacks, the attackers no longer have usable cards to attack with, or the defender cannot defend the attacks.


If all attacks were successfully defended, then all players involved replenish their hand to 6 cards using the draw pile, beginning with the primary attacker, the defender, then the secondary attacker. The defender is now the primary attacker and begins an attack on the player to their left.


If the attacks were not all successfully defended, then the defender picks up all the cards involved in the attack and skips their turn. The secondary attacker now attacks the person to their left.


Play continues in a series of clockwise attacks.


If the draw pile runs out, then pick up the trump card. Afterwards, players only play until their hand runs out.

Winning:

You are the winner if you finish all your cards first!

Tips:

-As the defender, be careful what cards you lay for the defense because it opens up new possible attacks. Laying cards you have multiples of is the best!

-This game takes a bit to get used to, give it a chance! It's intense and a lot of fun once you get going.

Did you try Durak? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments!

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© 2020 by Cambio & Co. Created by Angela Cumming. 

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