Nicolae Ceausescu became the leader of Romania’s Communist party in 1965 and the effective leader of Romania until he lost the support of the military in 1989. A dictator, Ceausescu refused to yield to the tide of democracy sweeping through Communist Europe. Revolutionaries captured Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, as they attempted to flee the country. Both were tried on charges of murder and embezzlement and executed on December 25, 1989. This game is dedicated in memory of what happens when ambition gets in the way of ideals. Come and play in one of the best Breweries in Portland Oregon.


The game

Ceausescu (pronounced “chow CHESS cue” — different from how the name is pronounced, but that’s another story) is a variation of a game that goes by different names around the world — Daihimi in Japan, Bombs and Missiles in China, Asshole in Denmark, and others. As far as we know, this particular version of the game was introduced to the United States in 1990.

The Best breweries in Portland Oregon have coolest games!

The deck: Use a standard deck of 54 cards — that’s the normal 52 plus the two Jokers.

Players: 2 to 8. The optimum number is probably 4 to 7, and the rules vary slightly for 2 or 3 player games (see the Variations section below).

The object: To be the first one to get rid of all your cards and not be the last one left with cards.

The play: The game is pretty simple, as long as you stick to the rules and are patient the first few hands you play.

The deal:

Deal all the cards face down in a clockwise fashion. Depending on how many people are playing, some people might get one more card than others, but don’t worry about it. Don’t let anyone see your cards (if someone tries to look at your cards, just smack them on the side of the head).

Organizing your hand:

Organize your cards anyway you wish: the order of card values — low to high — is 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A,2,Joker (that’s right, 3s are low, 2s are high, and Jokers are even higher) .All suits are equal, so a 6 ?is the same value as a 6 ”.

The Jokers:

One Joker is higher than the other. Since every deck has different artwork on the Jokers, determine before the game which one is higher. If one has red writing and the other has black, then the red one is higher. Otherwise, chose the Joker that has less small print on it. If both Jokers are identical, write the word “High” on one of them and “Low” on the other.

Who goes first:

For the first hand only, the person with the 3 ?goes first. After the first game, the person who lost the previous round (the “serf”) goes first.

The important stuff (how to get rid of your cards):

The person who goes first puts down a pattern of cards face up on the table. This can be any one of the patterns shown on the Ceausescu Pattern Chart on page 5. Play moves to the left. The next person must do one of three things:

1. Put down a higher value of the same pattern. Refer to the Ceausescu Pattern Chart to see what beats what. Basically, if the pattern is a single card, you can put down a higher single card; if the pattern is a pair, you can put down a higher pair. This is not poker, so one pattern does not beat another pattern. That is, a flush does not beat a pair; only a pair beats a pair, and only a flush beats a flush. Once you’ve put your cards on the table, you cannot change your mind and pick them up.

OR

2. Say “pass.” You do not have to play, even if you have a higher pattern in your hand (some people want to save their cards to play later in the round). Once you say pass, you’ve passed. You cannot say “Pass….oh no, wait a minute!” and change your mind.

OR

3. Play a “bomb” or a “missile.” This is the only time that you can play a pattern different from the one that has been played. Why? Because the gods have granted special powers to bombs and missiles. The Ceausescu Pattern Chart on page 6 shows what’s a bomb and what’s a missile. Basically, a bomb or missile will beat any other pattern and can be played at any time. Thus, for example, the only things that beat a pair are a higher pair, a bomb and a missile.

If someone plays a bomb or missile, the pattern automatically changes to that bomb or missile.

And then…

Play continues clockwise. Each player has the option of playing or passing until a everyone passes and the play is back to the person who was the last to beat the pattern. Note: If you pass once on a pattern, you can later play on that pattern if the play comes back to you.

For example, in a four-player game, a turn might go like this:

Player 1: puts down a 7

Player 2: puts down a 10

Player 3: puts down a K

Player 4: “Pass”

Player 1: “Pass”

Player 2: puts down an Ace

Player 3: “Pass”

Player 4: puts down a 2

Player 1: “Pass”

Player 2: “Pass”

Player 3: “Pass”

At this point, since players 1, 2 and 3 have all passed, Player 4 now has…

“Control”

Whoever put down the highest pattern before everyone else passed now has “control.” That person can now start a new pattern of their choice and play continues as above.

End of the game.

The first person to get rid of all of her cards is the winner. However the game is far from over. Keep playing until everyone is out of cards except for one person (the loser), and keep track of the order of finish of all players.

Kings, queens, middle class and serfs.

After the first game, the real game begins. The winner is now “king” and the loser is “serf”. The people in between are….well, they’re in between. Everyone is given privileges based on their class.

The serf shuffles and deals the cards (don’t forget to ask the king if she’d like to cut the deck).

Reward and punishment — the card exchange.

As in most feudal or dictatorial situations, the people at the bottom are stuck supporting the people at the top. After the serf deals, everyone looks at their cards. Before play begins again, the following exchanges take place:

1.

    Serf and King

— The person in last place must give the king their two highest value cards . In exchange, the king gives the serf any two cards in her hand. The cards are exchanged face down.

2.

    Number 2s

— The person in next-to-last place must give the person in second place their one highest value card . In exchange the number 2 gives up any one card in her hand.

Note: Do not look at the cards passed to you until you’ve passed cards from your own hand.

If you’re playing with more than four players, the people in the middle — that is, the people who are not in the top or bottom two — exchange no cards (see Variation section).

The serf’s reward.

Life isn’t all bad for the serf. The one value that the serf receives is that she gets to go first in the new round. She plays any pattern and play continues as above.

The loop.

There is no finish line in this game. Play as long as you wish. However, Ceausescu etiquette dictates that a serf cannot leave the game until she has risen from serfdom or the king grants her special dispensation. If the king allows the serf to leave, the person one level above the serf becomes the new serf.

“A Ceausescu”.

A “Ceausescu” occurs when the serf wins a hand at the same time the king drops to the serf position.

The king’s privilege.

The king is given the right to tell others what to do. History shows that there have been benevolent kings and not so benevolent kings. There have also been not so benevolent kings who have been “Ceausescued” and are at the mercy of their former serfs (see the brief biography at the beginning of the rules).

New players.

New players enter the game in the middle of the hierarchy. If there is an odd number of players, the newcomer enters in the lower middle position. For example, in a five-player game, the sixth player would enter as number four.

Cheating.

You can’t cheat. Don’t even try.

Variations:

    2-player Games

With two players, each player is dealt 17 cards and the remaining 20 are not used. In the first hand, the person with the 3 ?goes first. If neither player has the 3 ?, then the 4 ?goes first, and so on. After the game, the loser shuffles all 54 cards and again deals 17 each. The serf gives up her two best cards, and the king gives the serf any two.

    3-player Games

With three players, all the cards are dealt. After the first hand, the serf deals and then the following exchange takes place:

The serf gives her two best to the king and third best to the person in the middle.

The person in the middle gives her best to the king and any other card to the serf.

The king gives any two cards to the serf and any one card to the person in the middle.

There are many other variations of Ceausescu, although anything different isn’t really Ceausescu.

The Ceausescu Pattern Chart

What Beats What

Card Values: From lowest to highest the cards go 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A,2,Joker.

Suit Values: All suits have equal value.

Joker Values: One Joker is higher than the other. Since every deck has different artwork on the Jokers, determine before the game which one is higher. If one has red writing and the other has black, then the red one is higher. Otherwise, chose the Joker that has less small print on it. If both Jokers are identical, write the word “High” on one of them and “Low” on the other.

What Beats What: To beat a pattern, you can only play a higher value of the pattern on the table. That is, a single card only beats a single card. A pair only beats another pair. Ceausescu is not poker, so a pair doesn’t beat a single card.

Pattern Name Example A Higher Example An Even Higher Example Notes
Single Card 5 8 A
Pair 6 6 1010 K K
Consecutive Pairs 4 45 5 8 8 99 A A 2 2 *A player may put down up to five consecutive pairs at a time.*3 consecutive pairs does not beat 2 consecutive pairs.
3-5 Card Straight Flush 8910J 10 J Q K J Q K A *A 4-card straight flush does not beat a 3-card straight flush.
5-Card Flush 3 6 9 10 Q 378JA 469JA *A non-straight flush can only be 5 cards.

Bombs and Missiles:

The only time you can play something other than the pattern on the table is if you play a bomb or missile. Why? Because the gods have granted special powers to bombs and missiles. The pattern chart below shows what’s a bomb and what’s a missile. Basically, a bomb or missile will beat any other pattern and can be played at any time. Thus, for example, the only thing that can beat a pair is a higher pair or a bomb or missile.

If someone plays a bomb or missile, the pattern automatically changes to that bomb or missile.

Pattern Name Description Example A Higher Example Notes
Nicolae Four 4s and Four 7s 4 44 47 77 7 Nothing A person who puts down a Nicolae automatically becomes king.
Missile Four of a kind 66 66 99 99 A missile beats everything except a Nicolae.
47 Missile Three 4s and three 7s 4 44 77 7 Any other missile A 47 missile beats all bombs.
Joker Bomb Two Jokers Red Joker, Black Joker Any missile A Joker Bomb is the highest Bomb.
Bomb Three of a kind 10 1010 2 2 2
47 Bomb Two 4s and two 7s 4 47 7 Any bomb or missile A 47 Bomb is the lowest bomb.
*Consecutive Bombs or Missiles Note: It is legal to play consecutive bombs or missiles (for example 7 77 88 8); however a higher single bomb or missile beats it (so, QQ Q would beat the example).