Copyright: © 1999 Serge Birj
Genre: Strategy games

Strategy games

Durak is an excellent PC implementation of Russia's most popular card
game of the same name. In this excellent card game for four players,
there is no winner - only a loser ("Durak" in Russian means "fool"). The
rules, in short, are as quoted on Net Durak site: "[Durak] is played with
32 cards: the A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 and 6s from a standard 4-suit
52-card deck are used. At the start, each player is dealt six cards,
which are played in a series of bouts of attack and defence. After the
players have received all their cards, reveal the top card of the deck.
Place it on the middle of the table, place the deck on top of the
revealed card, covering it half way. This card represents the trump suit
and is now at the bottom of the deck. Cards in this suit hold a higher
value then the Aces of the other suits. Within the trump suit card
hierarchy is maintained. When a player's hand is reduced to fewer than
six cards it is replenished from the talon of undealt cards. After the
talon is exhausted, there is no more replenishment and the aim is to get
rid of all the cards from your hand. The last player left holding cards
is the loser. This player is the fool (durak) and is ridiculed by the
other player." The importance of both attack and defense makes Durak a
much more "combative" card game than, say, Gin Rummy or Bridge. This
freeware version coded by Serge Birj offers excellent computer AI, a
clean mouse-driven interface, and faithful rendition of the rules. It is
a pity you can only play against the computer and there is no way to
adjust the difficulty level, but that is a minor nitpick given the strong
engine. If you like challenging card games that rely very little on luck,
Durak is a must-have.

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