Dontsuku (どんつく) is a Kingo variant for 2 to 8 players. It was attested to be played in the Kamikita district, in the Aomori prefecture in Japan.
It is traditionally played using a mekurifuda deck called Kurofuda.
The game is notable among Kingo-type games for adding a variation in gameplay, where players may choose to request for cards face-down instead of being visible to the player, which gives them privilege over those who requested cards face-up.
48 cards of a Kurofuda deck is used. Remove the extra Onifuda card from the deck.
All cards from 1 to 9 are worth face value, while all court cards (Maid, Horse, King) are worth 10 points.
Game setup involves choosing a dealer - 親 [おや, oya], shuffling the deck, and distributing the initial cards.
A decision must be made as to how long the game will last - 12 rounds is traditional, though other common options are 6 rounds, 3 rounds, or until all but one player runs out of stones.
Also, a decision must also be made as to how much points a share costs per round. It may be fixed throughout the game, or changed every time a round starts (the decision of which may be done either before or after dealing the cards, usually by the dealer).
Shuffle the deck and have all players draw one card each. The player who drew a card with the lowest number becomes the dealer. In cases where there is a tie, this process can be repeated.
The dealer shuffles the cards and deals one card to each player’s hand, starting from the player to the dealer’s right up to the dealer himself/herself. The rest of the cards are put face-down on the table as the draw pile.
Once the initial cards are dealt, each player looks at the card dealt to them, and the round begins.
Each round, the player to the dealer’s right is the first to play, and the dealer is last to play. Turn to play goes counter-clockwise.
During a player’s turn, they may request one of the following to the dealer:
If the player’s hand value reaches 16 or higher, the player must declare “Nai”.
The player automatically loses the round and has to discard their hand face-down and pass the turn to the next player immediately.
The round ends when a player declares Agari, or when all players have passed their turn.
If a player’s hand value reaches 15 points or forms a Teyaku, the player must declare “Agari”.
The round ends immediately, and that player becomes the winner.
In any case, the winner receives 1 share from each of the other players, and if the winner has availed a Bonus, then the payment is doubled. The winner also becomes the dealer for the next round.
If all players pass their turn without declaring “Agari”, then it’s time for the Tsukkome Showdown.
Players with “Tsukkome” take all their face-down cards into their hand and then reveal their hands.
If a player’s hand value reaches 15 points or forms a Teyaku, they become the winner.
If there are multiple winners, then the dealer or the player nearest to the dealer’s right wins.
If nobody has a 15-point hand or a Teyaku, then the player (“tsukkome” or not) who has a 14-point hand wins.
If nobody has a 14-point hand, then the player who has “tsukkome” and has a 13-point hand wins.
If nobody still wins at this point, the round is forfeited and the cards are redealt.
For this reason, a person who didn’t declare “tsukkome” must keep asking for cards until their hand reaches at least 14 points, since any points below that is considered a losing hand.
The payment will be doubled if:
Teyaku are always considered as strong as a 15-pt. hand. Yaku hands are not bust hands, regardless of the value.