We love to play games when we have some down time. This is one of our go-to card games when we have just a little extra time and don’t want to hassle with a lot of setup. We normally play 3-4 rounds at a time. It’s fast-paced – part strategy and part luck of the draw.
10-15 minutes per game
1-2 deck of cards: For a two player game, you only need one deck. If you are playing with 3 or 4 players, you will need two decks shuffled together.
Setup / Dealing:
Start by dealing 3 cards face down to each player. No one should look at these cards – they stay face down on the table until the third phase of the game.
Then deal 6 additional cards to each player. Each player picks up these 6 cards and chooses three to place face up on top of their face down cards. Each player should then have three cards left for their starting hand. It should look like this:
How to play:
The game is played in three phases:
- Phase 1: Cards in your hand
- Phase 2: Face up cards
- Phase 3: Face down cards
Phase 1: The person to the left of the dealer starts by playing their lowest card(s) (starting a discard pile). The next person has to match it or play a higher card(s). Suits do not matter.
After your turn, draw cards from the deck so that you always have three cards in your hand. If you cannot play on the top card, you have to pick up the discard pile and play moves onto the next person. Continue in this way until the deck runs out of cards.
Special rule note: You can play multiple cards of a single number in the same turn (for example, if you have two 8’s, you can play them both at the same time on your turn). The number of cards played per player has no bearing on other subsequent players (the next player could play one 9.)
Phase 2: Once the deck is exhausted and you have played all of the cards in your hand, you play with the three face up cards on the table you chose earlier. (Leave these face up on the table until you play them.) You can play these cards in any order you choose. If you have multiple of the same card (like two jacks), you can play them together on the same turn, as before. If you cannot play, you have to pick up as in Phase 1 and play with the cards in your hand until they run out before going back to play with your other face up cards.
Note: Everyone will be at different phases, and that’s okay.
Phase 3: Once your face up cards have been played, you will play with your face down cards. You are playing with these cards blind: DO NOT PICK UP OR LOOK AT THESE CARDS – leave them face down on the table. On your turn, you choose one of your face down cards and flip it over. If that card matches or beats the top card of the discard pile, play continues. If it is lower than the top card, you pick up the discard pile and play with those cards until you run out before going back to play your other face down cards.
The first person to get rid of all cards (in their hand and on the table) wins the game.
Wild cards and special rules:
There are a number of “wild” cards and special rules in the game:
- 2’s reset the discard pile: You can play a 2 on top of any card. If you play a 2, the discard pile stays in place, but you can now play any card on top of it.
- 10’s clear the discard pile: You can play a 10 on top of any card. When you play a 10, the discard pile gets set aside (along with the 10 you played), starting a new discard pile.
- 4 of a kind clears the discard pile: If you have four of a kind (like four 7’s) in your hand, and they match or beat the top card on the discard pile, you can play all four, which clears the discard pile. Note: For a game with two decks, it’s possible you will have more than 4 of a kind. That’s fine, so long as you play at least 4 of a kind.
- Advanced special rule: If you can complete a 4 of a kind on cards someone else just laid down, you can “sneak” in and play your cards – but you have to do it before anyone else plays on top of it. This clears the discard pile, and it is now your turn to play (skipping anyone who didn’t get to play in that round). For example: If someone lays down two 5’s on their turn, and you have two 5’s in your hand, you can quickly play your two cards, clearing the deck and stealing the turn.