How To Play

How to play Karata?

Card games just require a standard deck of playing cards, minus the 2 jockers.

Card Decks

A deck of cards consists of 52 cards, and includes cards from 4 suits, from lowest to highest as the Diamonds, Clubs, Hearts and Spades. Each suit consists of cards numbered 2-10, and four lettered cards, the Ace (A), Jack (J), Queen (Q) and King (K). In total, there are 12 cards from each suit.

The remaining 4 cards in the deck are the Jokers. These cards are omitted from Karata.


2 or more players means must participate in a game. Unfortunately, this is not a solo game and a single player is not able to play alone.

Shuffling and Dealing

Shuffling involves rearranging the cards in a randomized manner, introducing variance to the card order and preventing cheating. In Karata this provides a nearly infinite number of starting configurations and strategies, this ensures that no two games are ever the same.

Dealing is the act of dishing out cards to each player in a round-robin order. In Karata, dealing is done card-by-card. The initiator of the game becomes the dealer and goes first when dishing cards.

Hands and Rounds

Since the goal of Karata is for players to clear their hands, each hand or game will end when a player has cleared their hand of cards. The first player to clear their hand is the winner.

Game Features

In East African poker, a deck of cards consists of the standard 52 playing cards, excluding the joker. Each game can have 2-4 plays. The dealer shuffles all the cards before dealing. The first player (player 1) is randomly selected, and the cards are dealtfollowing a clockwise direction from the first player. The dealer deals one card per round to all the players at the table, with each player ending up with five cards. The dealer then picks the next card, termed as the starting card, and turns it over. Whenever the starting card is an ace, king, queen, joker, #3 and #2, it is considered invalid, and the dealer has to return it to the deck and reshuffle it. Once a valid starting card is picked, the game can begin.

The first player (player 1) begins the game, followed by the rest of the players in a clockwise direction. The players have to play a card that is consistent with the suite or the number of the previous card. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. In addition to being used as a regular card, the ace card has privileges that allow it to also wipe out fines. A player can also play multiple cards simultaneously if the first card is consistent with the suite at play and the rest of the cards have the same number as the first card. In case a player does not have a card to play, they have to pick the card at the top of the deck.

There are certain instances when the next player will not play according to the rules above. When the previous player plays a #2 card, the next player will have two options. They can either play a #2 card if they own one, or they will be penalized by having to pick two cards (or whatever multiple of two was thatplayed beforehand). A second instance of when the above rules do not apply is when the #3 card is played. Similarly, the #3 card requires the next player to either play a #3 card(s) they have in their possession or be penalized by being forced to pick three (or multiples of 3) cards from the deck. Whenever the #2 and #3 cards are played, the next player must match them or else be penalized. However, a player can avoid the penalty by playing the ace card, after which the rules above will retake effect.
When a queen card and #8 card are played, they have to be covered. (To be covered means a card accompanies the card with the same suite). Whenever a king card is played, the play’s direction reverses either from clockwise to anticlockwise or anticlockwise to clockwise. The game ends when any of the players plays their last card. Note that the last card cannot be an ace, jack, queen, king, jocker, #2, #3. Finally, the game cannot end if there is a player without a card ‘cardless.

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