Signature: This card game is known for its threes: 3 players and 3 possible bids players can make. It uses a 36-card deck.
Origination: Frog derives from the German game tappen (also called tapp, wuerttembergischer or tarok), which appeared in Southern Germany, Western Austria and Switzerland around the start of the 1800s. The name frog itself comes from the German word “frage” by sound, the lowest bid in skat and similar games. Frog sometimes even is called Rana after the amphibian’s genus.
Frog was popular in the United States and Mexico but gained international favor since. French speakers call the game solo or sans pendre (without taking). English speakers refer to it as solo, heart solo, slough, sluff or frog.
Objective: The objective is to garner as many of the available 120 points as possible; the player who does wins.
How It Works: The cards rank this way, from highest to lowest: ace, 10, king, queen, jack, 9, 8, 7, 6. The point value of the cards are: ace–11 points; 10–10 points; king–4 points; queen–3 points; jack–2 points; 9, 8, 7 and 6–0 points.
Cards are dealt in this way: a group of 4 cards to each player, then 3 each, then 3 cards face down in the middle of the table (the widow), then 3 more to each player.
Starting with the player to the dealer’s left, everyone, in turn, declares their bid. Each successive player must bid higher than the previous players or pass.
The bid options are:
Frog: In this lowest bid, the player picks up the 3-card widow, whose points will count for him in the end. He then discards any three cards as the new widow. Hearts are trumps.
Chico: The player doesn’t look at the widow but gets the count from those cards in the end. This player may choose any suit as trumps.
Grand: In this highest bid, known as a heart solo, the player doesn’t look at the widow either but also gets the count from those cards in the end, however, the score is the count subtracted from 60 then multiplied by three. Hearts are trumps.
Players tally their scores. The payout is 2 points for each point over 60 if the trump is spades, clubs or diamonds and 3 points for each point over 60 if the trump is hearts. The payout is rounded to the nearest 5. If the payout rounds to 0, it is considered a tie.
Similar Games: They include crazy solo (for four or more players); crazy solo for three players; and six-bid solo (for three players).