Sweep is a card game which is played in the North of India. The game requires two teams of two who sit in the same formation as one does when playing bridge.

The game starts with each player receiving 12 private cards and with four cards face up in the middle of the table. The cards all have a different value, The spade cards are worth their face value from A=1 to K=13. Each ace is worth one point and the king of diamonds is worth 10 points. All other cards are worth nothing. The aim is to create a 100 point lead over the other team, this is called a 'Baazi'.

Each turn involves a player putting one card into the middle, which serves one of the following purposes: a) To become a 'loose card' b) to establish a house c) to break a house d) to cement a house e) to capture a loose card/house/cemented house.

Now I know that was complete gobbledegook so I am going to try and explain each of these various terms for you.

Loose Card: A loose card is one of the cards on the table that are face up and not accompanied by other cards. If you cannot do b)c)d) or e) then you will have to play a new loose card.

House ('Ghar' in Hindi): A house is a pile of cards that add up to between 9 and 13. So if a 4 is on the table then you could place a 6 down to create a 10, which would be a house. However, to create a house you MUST have a card of the value of that house in your hand, meaning you 'own' that house. So, if you put a 6 on top of a 4 then you need to have a 10 in your hand. This is because houses need to be able to be picked up, so by having the 10 in your hand you can ensure that at least you will be able to pick it up if no one else can.

Breaking Houses: To break a house you need to be able to add a card to an existing house to make it a larger house. So, if the person to your right put a 6 on a 4 (to make a 10 house), then you could put a 2 on top of that 4 to make a Q House. This, of course, would require you to have a Q in your hand so that you can 'own' it.

Cementing Houses ('Pukka' in Hindi): This is when you double the value in the house. So, for example, if the person to your left had put a 6 on a 4 and you had two 10s in your hand then you could put a 10 on top and cement the house. Cemented houses cannot be built upon. It is important to note that if you break a house (e.g. adding 2 to a 6 and 4) and there is a card of that value (e.g. a Q) then that newly built house will be immediately cemented. Once again, cemented houses need to be 'owned'.

Capturing: Capturing cards is how you get points, once cards are captured then you put them face down next to you and keep them till the end. You can capture anything on the table if you have a card of that value. So you can capture loose cards, a 4 can capture a 4 for example. However, more than one card can be captured at a time. A 9 could, for example capture a 2 an A and a 6. Houses, both cemented and uncemented can be captured with a card of correct value (so a house of a 6 and a 4 or a cemented house of a 6, a 4 and a 10 could be captured by another 10) . A house and loose cards can be captured at the same time even. This might happen if there is a house of 10 and there are also loose cards of 6 and 4 on the table. You can then pick up the 6, the 4 and the 10 house.

Sweep: A sweep occurs when you capture all the cards on the table. A sweep is worth 50 points except for on two occasions. The first is when a sweep is performed in the first hand and it then receives just 25 points. The second is the last play which receives no points at all.

The aim therefore is to capture as many scoring cards as possible, this is done effectively by capturing other player's houses and by ensuring your own are not captured.

The End:

The play continues with each player playing a single card each turn until all the houses are taken. Once all the cards are put in the last person to capture a house gets all the remaining loose cards.

The scores of each players captured cards are then added up, including sweeps and the cards are dealt again. Once one team has a 100 point lead then they have won a 'baazi'. Games are often played in a 'best of' format with five, seven or nine 'baazis' being played.

I will now finish by discussing the start as it is quite complex and has little bearing on the mechanics of the game, hopefully it will make sense now but may not have done if I had put it at the start of this description.

The Start:

The start is a little odd. The dealer is chosen at random and thereafter the dealer is a member of the losing team. At the start of each round the dealer deals four cards to the player to his right and places four cards face up on the table. The player to the right then must reveal the value of one of his cards (this must be between 9-13, if the player does not have a card from 9-13 then he must be dealt to again) this is called a bid. The player then must either make a house to the value of his bid, play the card of bid value and pick up cards to the same value of the bid or, if he can do neither of the above, he must play the bid card as a loose card.

The rest of the cards are then dealt, leaving all players with 12 cards except for the player who has bid, he will be left with 11. Play then continues to the right.