Folk Game – Mindi Cot

  1. Main Piece: Mindi Cót is a card game where 4 people are broken into 2 teams. Each person gets 13 cards and there are 13 rounds. Every round, each individual takes turns playing 1 card that is the same suit as the first card that was played – the highest card wins the hand. The winner of the hand is the plays a card first in the next round. A “trump” suit, or “sir” is decided by the first individual who does not have the suit that is being played – what ever suit he plays will be the trump suit for that game. Any card in the trump suit is stronger than any other card in any suit. You are only allowed to play a different suit than the first card if you have no cards of that suit. Any other suit (besides the trump suit) is considered weaker than the first card played. The goal of the game is to have your team possess the most “10” cards in their winning hands. The 10 cards are neither valued more nor less than a 10 – they are treated as 10s, sometimes this confuses people. If both teams win two 10s, the team with the greater number of hands wins (7+ hands, as there will be 13 rounds played). One team winning all four 10s is considered “applying a cót” to the losing team – which is a shot to most peoples pride.
    There are many variations of the game though, such as a 6 person game where two decks are used, but the “2”, “3” and half of the “4” cards are not used in play. Then there is an 8-person version played with 2 decks and in order to claim a hand as yours, the same individual has to win two hands in a row. There are also variations where the trump card is decided upon before the start of the game. Also where the trump card can be redefined during the game, but I do not know how this version is played. I have heard of this game being played with the goal being to just have the most number of hands, and winning all 13 rounds is considered a “baavanyo,” but I’ve never really played that version.
  2. Informant Background:
    1. What is it: It’s a card game that all of us friends grew up playing together – that is really just what it is, a game.
    2. Where did you learn it: We all saw our fathers playing this game at get-togethers and we picked it up by watching them. It was rare that we played with our fathers; we would just play amongst each other as kids.
    3. What does it mean to you: I especially like this game because it takes wit, concentration and brainpower to play the game well. Good coordination with your partner and attention to what cards have been played is the key to winning, and I love a game that requires a smart strategy.
  3. Context of Performance
    1. I play it with friends or family during pastime – on the train ride to and from work, and a dinner party, on vacation at nights in the hotel room.
  4. My Thoughts:
    1. Games, especially strategy games, tend to stand strong in society – as we have seen with Chess, Settlers of Catan, Risk and many other famous games. Thus, much like Mr. Ramesh said, the strategy to it keeps the game entertaining. Such a simple, but entertaining strategy game is easy to hand down and persist through generations. Having played the game myself, and learned it from Mr. Ramesh himself, I can safely say that the game is fun enough to want to play it frequently, and keep it alive.