Agram is a popular trick-taking type card game originating from Niger, Africa. It is related to other games played in West Africa such as the Spar card game and Sipa. This game is typically played with 2-5 players using a deck of only 35 cards.
What is Needed
To play Agram, you will need:
- A standard 52-card deck of playing cards
- Remove all Kings, Queens, Jacks, Twos, and the Ace of Spades (“Chief”)
- This leaves a 35-card deck to use for the game
The objective or goal of Agram is to win the very last (6th) trick in a round of play. Winning individual tricks does not score points – only the 6th and final trick wins the round.
The dealer shuffles the 35-card deck and deals each player 6 cards in two rounds of 3 cards each.
Tricks are played by each player placing one card face up in a communal pile or area.
- The player to the left of the dealer leads the first trick by playing any card face up in the center.
- Players must follow suit if possible. If they don’t have a card of that suit, any card may be played.
- The player who plays the highest card of the original lead suit wins the trick. (Ties go to the first played card of that suit).
- The winner of the trick leads the next trick and so on until all 6 tricks have been played.
Card Rankings and Scoring
The cards rank as follows in each suit (Note the 10 ranks above the Jack):
Since the Ace of Spades is removed, the 10 is the highest Spade.
The only points awarded are for winning the 6th and final trick. No other tricks score points.
The main rules of the Agram card game are summarized below:
- The game moves counter-clockwise with each trick
- Players must follow suit if possible
- The winner of a trick leads the next trick
- The player who wins the final (6th) trick wins the round
- After each round ends, the deal rotates clockwise to the next player before a new round begins.
- Talking is not allowed during gameplay, except for the winner of each trick acknowledging their win.
The round ends when the 6th and final trick has been won. Keep in mind that there are regional variations in how many total rounds are played to determine an overall winner.
Popular variations include:
- Sink-Sink – (5 cards per player instead of 6)
- Mali Variant– uses only 31 cards and has unique card rankings.
- FapFap (Cameroon) – variation with scoring being based on certain cards winning tricks.
- Sipa – Played in Togo and Ghana, scoring based on winning tricks with 7s.
In summary, Agram is a fun and unique African trick-taking game won by capturing the final trick in the round. It is easy to learn but offers some strategic play as well.