The Bearded Man: Rules of the game

Special dedication to Marie-Luce

Marie-Luce is my grandmother. Passionate about cards, she was the one who introduced me to many games, including... Le Barbu. I am delighted to introduce you to this game in my turn, hoping that you will appreciate it just as much as I do, and that it will liven up your afternoons or evenings, in a spirit of conviviality, but also of strategies and low blow. ;)

The principle

Le Barbu is a game for 3 to 6 players, including 7 challenges, to be completed by each player. The objective is to score as few points as possible!

Each challenge played corresponds to a round. The player who starts chooses a challenge from the 7. He announces it, and begins the round. Once the round is over, the points are counted. The cards are then shuffled and redistributed. It is then up to the player to his left to choose a challenge among the 7, and to start a new round. PLEASE NOTE: Each player can only complete each challenge once.

Example: If I have already chosen the King of Hearts challenge, I cannot choose it again. I have to make a choice among the 6 that I have not yet chosen, and so on.

The game ends when each player completes all the challenges.

Example: If you are 4 players, with 7 challenges per player, the game takes place in 4x7=28 rounds. The player with the fewest points wins the bearded man (and has the right to shave!).

List of challenges

King of hearts (the bearded one) : the one who wins the king of hearts scores 100 points (prohibition on playing hearts in the first round of the round)

Checkers : Each player scores 25 points per checker won

Hearts : Each player scores 10 points per heart won (prohibition on playing hearts in the first round of the round)

Trick : Each player scores 10 points per trick won

Last trick : The player who wins the last trick of the round scores 100 points

Salad : All challenge rules above apply!

Example: if I pick up the last trick, and it includes the 3 of hearts, the queen of hearts, the 10 of clubs and the 4 of spades: the last two do not earn me points. On the other hand, I take +10 points for the trick, +100 points because it is the last trick, +25 points for the queen of hearts, +10 points because the queen of hearts is a heart, +10 points for the 3 of hearts. In the end, this trick earns me 10+100+25+10+10 = 155 points)

Success : This is a special challenge that allows you to lower your points. The one who chooses success begins by placing a card of their choice of value n on the table. The player to his left can place the card of value n+1 or n-1 of the color of the first, or open on another color, but only with a card of value equivalent to the first card placed by the one who has chose the challenge.

Example: I announce a success to the jack. I place a jack of spades as my first card. The player to my left can place a 10 of spades or a queen of spades next to my card, or place another jack of the color of his choice above (or below, whatever). The following players can then choose to open again with another jack, or to complete the already existing suit lines with a value card adjacent to one of the ends of the line.

Each player is obliged to play if he can. Otherwise, he passes his turn hoping to be able to play in the next round. When a player places an Ace, he has the right to play again immediately and place a second card, if he wishes. Success ends when two players have laid down all their cards. The first lucky person to have deposited all their cards LOSES 100 points, the second LOSES 50 points.

PLEASE NOTE : Challenges can be chosen in any order. The choice is made mainly according to your hand. If you have 10 hearts out of 13 cards, avoid choosing the “no hearts” challenge… But be careful, because in the end, you will have no other choice than to complete the last challenge you have left!

Progress of a round

The player who chooses the challenge announces it and begins. He places a card of his choice. The player to his left must play a card of the same color, regardless of the value. If, and only if, he does not have a card of the requested suit, he can then play any card from his hand, and the value of the latter will be considered zero (no chance of winning the trick, and a great opportunity to get rid of a big card). Then comes the turn of his neighbor on the left, etc. If no player has played a card of the color requested by the one who started the turn, the latter automatically wins the trick.

At the end of the round (as soon as each player has played their card), the one who played the highest card, of the requested color, wins the trick, and takes control of the next round. He can then start this new round with a card of the color of his choice. This will be the new color requested until the end of the round. The round continues like this until all the cards are played (if you are playing with 4, each player has 13 cards in hand at the start of the round, so it will take place in 13 rounds).

At the end of the round, the points are counted according to the scale imposed by the challenge thus completed.

Note that depending on the challenges, it is not always necessary to play all the cards. For example, the King of Hearts challenge ends when a player wins the King of Hearts (and therefore 100 points). No need to continue since in this case, only the king of hearts card earns points. As with the queens or hearts challenge, these can end as soon as all the queens or hearts have been played.

PLEASE NOTE : It is important to note the difference between a round and a round.

One round = one challenge completed, so there are “7 x the number of players”. It is always the player to the left of the one who chose the last challenge to choose in turn, regardless of who won the last round.

The round takes place over a number of rounds equal to the number of cards each player has in their hand. In a round, the player who wins the round takes control and begins playing in the next round. It is obligatory to play a card each turn (except for success, if the player cannot play).

Preparing for the game

Deal the entire deck of cards face down, until all players have the same number of cards in their hands. If there are any cards left, remove them from the game. With 4 players, the score is round, in other cases, you will have to remove one or two cards from the game, face up.

WARNING : If the king of hearts is removed from the game, you are prohibited from choosing the “king of hearts” challenges! This does not apply for other challenges. If a Queen is removed from the game, it is still possible to choose the "Checks" challenge, simply, there will only be three to collect, therefore only 75 points at stake instead of 100.

We advise you to keep the following table, annotated with small crosses, to mark the challenges completed by each player:

In this example: Marc chose the “heart” challenge, no doubt he had very little in his hand. They played the round, redistributed, and Jeannette (to her left) chose the “no queens” challenge. Then Thierry chose the salad, and Pierre chose “no folds”. The decision then came back to Marc who took the “not the last trick” challenge. The order of choice of challenges will always be Marc, Jeannette, Thierry, Pierre, Marc, Jeannette, etc...






King of Hearts




















Last fold















You will have understood, the game ends when all the boxes on the table are filled!

Follow the leader !

We have prepared some nice tables for you to print, with a reminder of each challenge, for 3, 4, 5 and 6 players ;)

Bearded Table for 3 playersBearded Table for 4 playersBearded Table for 5 playersBearded Table for 6 players

Take a break !

NB: La Barbu is a fairly long game, which can be played several times, if you keep the points count and this table. You can also decide to do only one challenge per player, or to play a game in only X rounds. In short, you have the official MARIE-LUCE rules, but nothing prevents you from arranging them as you wish, or even inventing new challenges. Everything is allowed ! ;)

Marie Luce playing Monsieur BARBIER's Bearded Man

Marie-Luce playing Monsieur BARBIER's Bearded Man

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1 comment

Denis on 2023,09,04

Je désirais, cet été, avec ma famille, retrouver le plaisir (que j’avais éprouvé, jeune alors) de ce jeu un peu oublié de nos jours !
Et je vous remercie de l’avoir si bien expliqué me donnant l’envie, plus encore, de m’y remettre !
D’autant plus que je ne connaissais pas certains des défis (que vous détaillez très bien) lorsque je jouais avec mes parents qui avaient simplifié le jeu pour nous, jeunes que nous étions.

Encore merci, donc, pour cette redécouverte et je vous souhaite de profiter de cet été !

Tristan Denis