Fight the Landlord is the most popular card game in China, where it is called Dou Dizhu. After I read about this game, I looked if there was a place where I could play it online. I only found Chinese versions, which I didn’t really understand. To satisfy my curiosity about this game, I decided to make an English version myself. It was a bit odd making a game, I had never played before, only based on the rules I found at www.pagat.com, but I think it worked out quit well. At least now I understand why this game has so many players in China: I cannot stop playing it myself. It is easy to learn, it is fast paced, entertaining, but it requires cleverness as well as strategic planning and a bit of luck to come out on top.
Fighting the Landlord is played by three players, who are dealt 17 cards from a 54-card deck (a standard deck with two Jokers). One player is the landlord, the other two players are the peasants, who work as a team to beat the landlord. The purpose of the game is to be the first to get rid of all the cards in your hand. The landlord wins when she is first, the peasants win, when either of them is first.
The ranking of the cards is worth paying some extra attention to, because it differs from other card games. 3 is the lowest, then 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, T, J, Q, K, A, 2, black Joker and red Joker is highest. Suits are meaningless, and apparently in China, the game is played with a set of Dou Dizhu playing cards, that don’t show the suits.
After the players have been dealt 17 cards each, an auction decides who will be the landlord. Players can make a bid from 1 up to 3, or pass. Players make bids based on the strength of their hand. The highest bidder will be the landlord and both other players will be peasants. After the bidding has ended, the three remaining wild cards are shown to all players before being added to the hand of the landlord. If all pass, new hands are dealt.
The landlord leads the first round and plays one of the combinations. The other players, starting with the one on her right, must follow with a higher combination of the same type and the same length, or pass. A ‘bomb’ or ‘rocket’ combination can be played at all time, assuming it is higher than a bomb played earlier in the round. The round continues till two players in a row have passed. Players that have passed are still allowed to play a combination later in the round. After the round has ended the played cards are put aside and the player who played the last combination, leads the next round.
Now to the combinations. They might remind you a bit of poker.
1) Single card – Any single card – e.g. 8, max. red Joker;
2) Pair – Two cards of same rank – e.g. 8-8, max. 2-2;
3) Trio –Three cards of same rank – e.g. 8-8-8, max. 2-2-2;
4) Trio with kicker – Trio + single card – e.g. 8-8-8-4, max. 2-2-2-A;
5) Trio with pair – Trio + pair – e.g. 8-8-8-4-4, max. 2-2-2-A-A;
6) Chain – 5 or more consecutive cards – e.g. 4-5-6-7-8, max. 3-4-5-6-7-8-9-T-J-Q-K-A;
7) Sisters – 3 or more consecutive pairs – e.g. 6-6-7-7-8-8, max. 5-5-6-6—to—K-K-A-A;
8) Airplane – 2 or more consecutive trios – e.g. 7-7-7-8-8-8, max. 9-9-9—to—A-A-A;
9) Small Wings – Airplane + 2 single cards – e.g. 7-7-7-8-8-8-3-4;
10) Big Wings – Airplane + 2 pairs – e.g. 7-7-7-8-8-8-3-3-4-4;
11) Bomb – Four cards of the same rank – e.g. 8-8-8-8, max. 2-2-2-2;
12) Rocket – black Joker + red Joker;
It is important to note, that 2’s and Jokers cannot be part of any consecutive combination, like Chains and Sisters. E.g. K-K-A-A-2-2 cannot be played.
During the game, you can check the combinations, by clicking the ‘combos’ link. A list with all combinations will popup.
(Soon I will add ‘Fours with kicker’ and ‘Fours with pair’ to the game, but for now they aren’t included. This doesn’t make the game less exciting, but was a little easier to code.)
Besides appointing the landlord, the highest bid is also used as the stake that is played for. When the landlord wins the game, she receives the stake from each of the peasants. When the peasants win the game, the landlord has to pay each of them the stake.
Each time a ‘Bomb’ or a ‘Rocket’ is played, the stake doubles.
I will continue to improve this game, as I find more information about it. You are invited to send me any knowledge that you like to share about Fighting the Landlord, rules, strategy etc.
Below you'll find some rather obvious strategic ideas, but hopefully some of the visitors of Cardgames.club can enlighten me more in the area of Dou Dizhu strategy. Please get in touch.
1) Use your low single cards as kickers with your Trios and Small Wings.
2) Peasants have to co-operate to beat the landlord. For example, you can help your colleague peasant by passing, or playing a low single card when she has only one card left in her hand.
3) Bombs and Rockets and long combinations, like Chains, Sisters and Airplanes will help to win a game, but high Pairs and single 2’s and single Jokers can be just as powerful, because they can help you to take the lead.
4) Bid as high as possible with a real strong hand, to win a bigger pot.