The Game of Red


The Game of Red (aka Main Merah literally Play Red) is an Indonesian turn-based fishing card game. The objective of this game is collect all the red-colored cards - only red-colored cards have points. At the end of the game, the collected cards are counted for their points. The winner is the one with the highest points. There is no description of this game in, however the one most similar to this game is Chinese Ten.

How to play

This is a game for 2 to 3 players.

After the deck has been shuffled, the a number of cards are dealt to the players, face-down. After each player gets their share of the face-down cards, another set of cards are laid-up on the table, face-up. This is known as the table cards. The rest of the cards forms the deck, which is put face-down in the middle of the table. For 2 player-game, each player is dealt 10 cards, and the number of table cards is 12. For 3 player-game, each player is dealt 7 cards, and the number of table cards is 10.

The first turn is decided this way: for the very first game, the first turn is taken by the player who deals the cards. In the next games, the first turn is given to the player who is the biggest loser in the previous game - so that he/she gets a chance to make-up. At each turn, the player does this (he also means she):

  1. He lays down one of his cards on the table, face-up, adding to table cards.
  2. If one of the table cards can pair with his original card, he takes his original card back AND its pair, adding it to his collection. If there is more than one possible pairing, he is free to choose - but he can only take one pair. If there is no possible pair, his card remains on the table and becomes part of the table card.
  3. Next, he draws a card from the deck, and immediately lays it down on the table, face-up, adding to the table cards again.
  4. Again, if this card can pair with one of the table cards, he collects both this card and its pair. Otherwise it becomes part of the table cards.
  5. If the player collects a pair, he must show it to the rest of the player.

The next player then makes his turn. The game is played until the deck runs out. When this happens, every player take his card collection and count the points. The score for each player is the sum of all the points from his card collection - and the one with the largest score win, naturally. Usually the game is played a few times, keeping a running score.

How to do the card pairing

In this game, suit doesn't matter, only the rank does. The card pairing is done as follows:

How to count the points

Only red cards have points. Black cards are worthless. Suit doesn't matter, only rank does. The card points are as follows:

The total points from all players will always be 210.


If one or more of the these ranks: Jack, Queen, King, 10 and 5 - have more than more than 2 face-up cards in the table cards at the start of the game, the game is unplayable and the game is restarted - the shuffling and dealing must be repeated.

JB Games House Rule

Personal Note

This game was taught to me by an old, long-lost friend who was dear to me, more than 25 years ago. You know who you are - and if you happen to read this, please contact me - we have a lot to catch up.