Kemps, also known as Camps, is a really enjoyable card game from the matching genre.
In this game, players are split into teams of two and seek to create a hand consisting of a four of a kind. The unique aspect of this game is the requirement for camaraderie and teamwork.
How to Play Kemps?
The Kemps card game is playable with 4, 6, or 8 players. The players will be split into teams of two players each. All you need to play is the standard 52-card Anglo-American deck with no Jokers.
The goal in Kemps is to assemble a winning hand of a four of a kind. Players will then issue a non-verbal signal to their teammates, indicating that the win condition is satisfied.
Before beginning the game, teammates discuss and agree upon a specified non-verbal signal which they will use to indicate the completion of the win-condition.
An example of a four of a kind is shown below:
5♠ 5♣ 5♥ 5♦
Teammates are seated opposite to each other.
Each player is dealt 4 cards each, one card at a time. The remaining cards are set aside to form the draw pile.
Once each player has observed their cards, the dealer draws the top 4 cards of the draw pile and places them face up in the middle of the table.
Each player can exchange one card from their hand with one card from the revealed four.
Players can exchange cards one at a time, but they do not need to follow a specified turn order. By etiquette, if a player is currently exchanging cards, other players should wait until the player concludes his/her action.
Once all 4 players no longer wish to exchange cards, the 4 remaining cards are set aside in the discard pile. Another 4 cards are revealed to replace them.
If a player sees the signal or cue from their teammate, they can call “Kemps”. Once a player calls, their teammate reveals their hand.
- If the hand is a four of a kind, the team wins the round.
- If Kemps is incorrectly called, the round still ends, but the team incorrectly calling it is penalized a point.
If a player believes that the opposing team has a winning hand, they can call “Cut”. Once a player calls Cut, both players from the opposing team reveal their hand. If either player has a four of a kind, the player calling Cut wins the round for their team.
If Cut is incorrectly called, the round still ends, but the team incorrectly calling Cut is penalized a point.
In games involving more than 2 teams, the player calling cut must specify which team they are “cutting”.
The essential rules of Kemps are:
- Each player receives 4 cards each.
- 4 cards are dealt to the center of the table.
- Players can exchange cards from their hands with the center cards one at a time.
- Once no more exchanges are made, the center cards are replaced with 4 new cards.
- Players signal their teammates to call Kemps.
- Players can intercept wins by calling Cut if they know their opponent has a winning hand.
Scoring & Points
Scoring is based on rounds. You will be able to score points each round. In the end, the first team to reach 5 points in total wins the game.
- 1 point is awarded for each correctly called Kemps or Cut.
- 1 point is deducted for each incorrectly called Kemps or Cut.
This is an example Kemps hand in a game of 4 players in 2 teams.
To win the game, a player must assemble a four of a kind by exchanging cards. The following example is the beginning of the final draw phase of a round.
|Player 1A, Team A||5♠ 5♣ 5♥ J♣|
|Player 1B, Team B||A♦ Q♦ K♠ 7♠|
|Player 2A, Team A||9♣ 5♦ 6♣ 6♥|
|Player 2B, Team B||4♠ 8♠ 8♣ 8♥|
Exchangeable Cards: 6♦, 9♣, K♠, J♠
In this state, Player 1A will be able to win for Team A if the 5♦ is played out by Player 2A. Thankfully, Player 2A has paid attention to his teammate during the game and knows that Player 1A is seeking to win with cards of rank 5.
Hence, player 2A exchanges the 5♦ with the 6♦. This also sets up the alternate win condition of a four of a kind of rank 6 in his/her own hand.
Player 1A then exchanges for the 5♦ setting up for the win. Player 1A then gives the signal, and Player 2A calls Kemps, winning the round for Team A.
Strategy and Signals
- The best Kemps strategy tip is to also exchange for cards you do not need.
- If you can determine the winning cards for your opponents, you can prevent other teams from winning.
- Only one player per team needs to assemble the four-of-a-kind.
Good Kemps Signals
The best signs in Kemps are subtle but noticeable. An overly obvious signal opens you up to being intercepted, but a nuanced signal might be missed by your teammate.
- The most commonly used signal is a wink. This is good because the players are seated across their teammates on the table.
- Another common signal is a feigned exchange. A player attempts to make an exchange but decides against it. This is subtle to be missed by the opposing team, but if the teammate knows to look for it, this is a great choice.
- Other good signals include coughs and specific hand movements. Anything is allowed as long as it is non-verbal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I play Kemps online for free?
Yes, simulators exist for online play, but they lose the nuances that make this a great physical card game. This is an example, however, it is not great.
How many cards are dealt in Kemps?
Each player is dealt 4 cards in this game.
How do you win in Kemps?
To win in Kemps, players exchange cards to assemble hands of a four-of-a-kind.
When can I call Kemps?
You can call Kemps at any time, but you will be penalized if your teammate does not have a winning hand.