President is a very simple card game. Each player in turn can either pass or play a card which beats the previous play. A player can also play a set of several cards of equal rank (for example, two 5s). The following player must then play a higher set containing the same number of cards (as two 6s). The object of the game is to get rid of all one's cards as soon as possible.
With four players, the first player who is out of cards is called the President. The following one is called the Prime Minister. The third one becomes the Worker. And the last one, in Élysée, is called the Bum.
The President and the Prime Minister have privileges. At the beginning of the next game, they exchange some cards with the Bum and the Worker. These last ones then lose their best cards :
The card exchange makes the game very interesting. Each position becomes important. For example, a player must fight so as to finish as the Worker rather than the Bum, or sometimes he has to give up trying to become President so as to keep his position of Prime Minister.
As its rules are extremely clear, President is a card game quite accessible to the youngest. Moreover, these last ones always enjoy playing the roles corresponding to the different social ranks. What a delight to become one of the youngest Presidents ! What a pride to be appointed as Prime Minister ! How courageous is the Worker who goes to work every day ! And what a fun to be the Bum who sings all day long in the streets !
Leading to other card games ?
Still, President is more than that. It is also a first initiation to card playing. You cannot play President anyhow. You must think. Will you pass, or will you play ? Will you play your Joker or keep it for the end ? What is better for you, playing a low card or a high card ? A single card or a set of cards ? And the 2s, that rank higher than the aces, have they all been played ?
The player asks himself his first questions of strategy. He progressively memorizes the cards that are played. He understands what are the winners. He discovers in a natural way the notion of control or the notion of entry. He learns to let the opponents play, and to hold on to his winners. As in belote, tarot, or bridge...
President is a game played all over the world. Many variations have developed year after year, with sometimes new rules that were prejudicial to the interest of the game. This variation is the one commonly played in France. It is the basic one, and probably the most interesting one. It is far from having revealed all its richness to the card player, and often offers nice surprises, as in the following example :
The computer applies the above technique, which could be called splitting weak sets, only when it plays at the highest level. At that level also, it perfectly memorizes all the cards played and proves very strong on the last plays when there are only two players left in. It then knows exactly his opponent's cards. Fortunately, it still has weaknesses, what will allow you to often beat it with a little practice.
Many thanks to all those who helped me to write this software, either by their brilliant ideas, their advice or simply their encouragement, and particularly Jean-Luc, Jérôme, John, Mourad, Nathalie, Nicolas, and René. Thanks to the young Julie and Matthieu to have been my first young testers. And thanks in advance to all those who will contribute by their messages to improve this game.
If you want to thank me back for this freeware, you always can do it by pointing out my translating mistakes, in the software or in its help file, especially the big ones. That would be very helpful. And above all, thank me by enjoying the game and playing with your friends or your children.
Rules in English can also be found on the site of the International Playing-Card Society, Links to President.
The Palais de l'Élysée is the French President's residence. This is why this software has been called Élysée.