Conquian: Learn the rules and how to play this variation of Rummy

If you play card games often then it is more than likely that you would have played a variation of Rummy at some point, with one of the most popular being Conquian. 

Rummy is one of the most common forms of card games with many different versions played in different parts of the world.

People like to play cards in thousands of different ways, with games such as Chase the Ace and Follow the Queen.

Originating from Latin America, Conquian is a Spanish phrase literally translated as ‘with whom’.

It’s also a game with many names as it is also known as ‘Cooncan’,‘Conkin’, ‘Coon-King’, or ‘Coon Can’.

The goal of Conquian is to form a ‘meld’ of 10 cards. It can be a complicated concept to get your head around so we’ll cover ‘melds’ in the article.

Today we will cover how to set up the game, Conquian rules, scoring and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your card games.

What is Conquian?

Conquian Card Game info Image

Conquian is a version of the popular ‘Rummy’ where the goal is to form a meld of 10 cards to determine the winner.

Best played with another player, a complicated game at first but turns into a real battle once you get into it.

Number of Players Required: Works best with 2 players.

Who Can Play It: All ages but can be harder to grasp for younger players.

Difficulty: Medium – has a bit of a learning curve when first played.

Main Objective: Form a ‘meld’ of 10 cards in a certain sequence by drawing cards.

Why we love it: Tricky yet tense, being a master of Conquian is bragging rights among your groups of pals. As it also doesn’t need a group of pals to play it’s perfect to pick up and play in pretty much any scenario as long as you have one other person.

What do I need to Play Conquian?

Start by having one other person to play with – this part is important.

Make sure that you have a good quality deck of cards as well. Quality is important as cards do fall apart with multiple-use and better quality materials boost longevity.

Give this deck from Fournier a try whilst also celebrating the Spanish roots of Conquian.

Fournier 1-50 Spanish Playing Cards (Red)
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01/15/2023 05:52 pm GMT

How to Set Up Your Game

Conquian requires a little bit of setup before playing, more than other card games anyway.

The dealer switches between each round. To pick who the initial dealer is, get both players to draw a card and the player with the highest value card begins.

For this game, the cards labeled as the ‘K’ or ‘King’ are the highest value and the ‘Ace’ is the lowest value.

You’ll need to sort the deck before playing too. Remove all the cards with the 8, 9, and 10 values so that 40 cards are in use.

Some people find gameplay easier to get rid of the face cards instead which are the ‘K’, ‘Q’ or ‘J’. The choice is up to you as it doesn’t change gameplay in any way.

Once you’ve decided on a dealer and the deck of cards in play has 40 cards, then the game can begin.

Conquian Rules and Gameplay

Conquian card game

Once you’ve read this guide and played a few hands we’re sure that you can agree that the game gets much easier the more that you play.

Starting the game

The dealer hands out 9 cards each, one card at a time.

Place the rest of the cards in the middle faced down. This is the ‘draw pile’.

Place the top card of the ‘draw pile’ face up next to the ‘draw’. This forms the discard pile.

Once each player has 9 cards each and there are two separate piles, it’s time to start the game.

But first, it’s best to understand what the ‘meld’ is as this is an important part of the game.

Understanding the ‘meld’ in Conquian – Sequences and Sets

The goal of the game is to form a ‘meld’ of 10 cards which includes 9 cards and the last drawn card.

The ‘meld’ comes in two different variations – the sequence and the set.

The set is the cards that are in the same rank, such as 5♣ 5♦ 5♠.

The sequence is the cards that are in order numerically from the same suit, an example being 4♦ 5♦ 6♦. Yet, 4♣ 5♦ 6♠ isn’t accepted as a valid sequence.

You’ll need at least three cards in either a set or a sequence to form a meld.

How to play Conquian

  • The non-dealer starts the game by drawing a card from the draw pile or from the discard pile if the discarded card forms a meld in the player’s hand.
  • Draw a card from the ‘draw pile’. If it doesn’t form a meld with the cards in the player’s hand then add that card to the ‘discard pile’ face up.
  • If a player forms a meld with the card picked up, then the player will discard another card from their hand.
  • Players can reveal the meld to the opposing player, which locks in this meld for the player.
  • Once revealed as a meld, players then cannot discard or use these cards for a different set or sequence of melds.
  • Players need to always have 9 cards in their hand at the end of each turn including any melds that are already formed.
  • You can form more than one meld in the same turn if it’s possible to do so.
  • If a player discards a card and the other player can add it to an existing meld then they must do so.
  • The first player to have a hand of 9 melds including a 10th card picked up from either pile becomes the winner.
  • If both players draw all cards without either player forming the required amount of melds then the game is a tie.

Also Read: 23 Single Player card games

Keeping Score in Conquian 

Keeping score in Conquian varies in difficulty depending on how complicated you would like to make your game.

You can choose something simple like choosing whoever has the most melds at the end of each round and tallying up victories.

If you are looking for something more complicated though, you can assign a value to each unmelded card that remains.

Check out our FAQs for an in depth explanation of this scoring system. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any good strategies used in Conquian?

There is actually a fairly complex strategy that some players use when playing Conquian.

This is the idea of ‘forcing melds’ where players will get rid of a card that is then forced into the opponent’s existing melds.

For example, if a player has 2♣ 2♦ 2♠ 10♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦ as a meld and 6♠ 7♠ as their unmelded cards they can win by drawing a 5♠ or an 8♠.

To prevent this, the opponent can discard a 2♥. This means that the player will have to pick this up and add to the 2 melds and discard a card so that they keep to the 9 card rule.

And this also means that the player cannot win as well by forming all their cards into melds.

Are there any other methods of determining a winner in Conquian?

If you’re planning on playing many games then it may interest you to put in place a scoring system to your game on Conquian.

Assign a numerical value to each card, for example, score the cards 2-7 at face value (2♦ would be worth 2 points). The J, Q, and K are worth 10 points and the ‘Ace’ is worth 15 points.

At the end of the game, unmelded cards leftover get totaled up. Give that score to the opposing player.

If a player manages to meld all their cards then the opponent gets 0 points. If a player has a 4♠ and a 2♥ then the opponent gets 6 points.

Alternative Games to Conquian

Conquian is a game that can be very involved.

Once you’ve started to get to grips on the rules we’re sure you’d agree that it’s definitely a game that is worth playing.

If you’re looking for a card game that is easier for beginners to understand, why not give Belize’s favorite game Pitty Pat or Idiot the card game a try. 

If you enjoy playing cards in a group when visiting a bar consider trying out some of our favorite darts games as well, such as ‘Killer’ or ‘Shanghai’.

We’re certain however that this Latin American take on Rummy will soon become one of your favorite games as well.

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