Invented by Katja Stremmel
Players: 3 to 5
Ages: 10 and up
Duration: 30 minutes (or so)
Object of the game:
To avoid being the last person with cards left in your hand; every time you’re last you must give up a chip. The player who is required to play a chip but doesn’t have any left loses the game; everyone else wins.
Although this game is designed for ages 10 and up, the components listed in red are a choking hazard. Please take special care to keep these components away from young children.
- 48 Number Cards (4 each, 1-12)
- 2 Wild Cards
- 2 Redraw Cards
- 2 Stop Cards
- 15 Chips
1. Give 2 chips to each player (this version of the game takes about 20 minutes to play; if you’d like to play a 30-minute game, give 3 chips to each player).
2. The oldest player shuffles the cards and deals: 3-4 Players Deal 10 cards to each player 5 Players Deal 7 cards to each player
3. IMPORTANT: Do not pick up your cards until the oldest player has dealt a full hand to each player. Pick up your cards and fan them out to form a hand, without changing the order of the cards. In this game, you have to play the hand you were dealt.
4. The oldest player deals 2 cards face up to each player—these are called “Reserve Cards.”
5. The oldest player places the remaining cards in the center of the table, face-down, to form the Draw Pile.
Playing the Game
1. PLAYING CARDS FROM YOUR HAND
The player to the left of the dealer starts the first trick by playing 1, 2, or 3 cards face-up in the center of the table. Players may only play cards that touch each other in their hands.
Play passes to the left—each player must play a combination of 1, 2, or 3 cards that is higher in rank than the highest combination played in the current trick, according to the ranking below (from lowest, “Solo,” to highest, “Trips”). There are two ways to play a higher combination—play the same rank with higher numbers (for example, a 2-Straight of 5-6 is higher than a 2-Straight of 5-4) or play a higher rank (every 3-Straight is higher than every Solo, 2-Straight, and Pair).
The card combinations are ranked in this order:
Solo: a single card
2-Straight: two cards in sequence
Pair: two cards of the same value
3-Straight three cards in sequence—the three cards that you play must be adjacent to each other in your hand, but their order doesn’t matter. For example, 8-10-9 counts as a 3-Straight, just as 9-8-10 and 8-9-10 do.
Trips: three cards of the same value
For players who are new to the game, you may want to leave this section of the rules open for reference during play.
Example: Andy plays an 8 as a Solo. Carla plays a 12, which is a higher Solo than an 8. Nico plays a 2-Straight made up of a 5 and a 4, and Susie plays a 2-Straight made up of a 5 and a 6.
2. RESERVE CARDS
If you can’t—or don’t want to—play a combination higher than the highest combination in the current trick, you must instead pick up one of your Reserve Cards and place it into your hand. You can place this Reserve Card anywhere in your hand that you like. Players may not take other players’ Reserve Cards; they may only take their own.
Example: Susie plays a Pair of 11s. Andy plays a 3-Straight made up of a 6, a 7, and an 8. Carla isn’t able to play a higher combination, so she must take one of her Reserve Cards. She picks the 7 and puts it next to her 6, so she can play them as a 2-Straight later in the game. Nico can’t play a higher combination either, so he takes the 12 from his Reserve.
3. STARTING THE NEXT TRICK
Once all players have either played a combination or put a Reserve Card into their hands, the trick ends. Put all of the cards from the trick into the Discard Pile. The player who played the highest combination in the trick starts the next trick.
If you play the highest combination in a trick and don’t have any cards left in your hand (your Reserve Cards don’t count), the player who had the second-highest combination starts the next trick. If you play your last card and are the only player who played one or more cards in a trick, your right-hand neighbor starts the next trick.
Important: Your goal is to get rid of the cards in your hand as fast as possible. Other than determining who plays first in the next trick it doesn’t matter who takes a trick.
4. SPECIAL CARDS
There are three special cards in the game:
The X Card is a wild card—it can assume any value from 1 to 12, and you may play it as a Solo or along with one or two other cards. Like all other cards, it can only be part of a combination with adjacent cards. When you play an X Card, call out the value you are assigning to it.
You can only play a Stop Card on its own. The Stop Card doesn’t have a rank, so it doesn’t have to be higher than the highest combination from the current trick—you can play it whenever it’s your turn. When you play a Stop Card, you immediately end the current trick, even if some players have not played in the trick yet. You then start the next trick. If you played a Stop Card to start a trick and it was your last card, your right-hand neighbor starts the next trick.
You can only play a Redraw Card on its own. The Redraw Card doesn’t have a rank, so it doesn’t need to be higher than the highest combination from the current trick—you can play it whenever it’s your turn. There are two Redraw Cards in the deck; both can be played in the same trick.
Play continues. If you play the highest combination in a trick that includes a Redraw Card, you draw three cards (six cards if both Redraw Cards were played) from the Draw Pile, one by one, and place them into your hand one after the other in the position of your choice. You then play first to start the next trick.
Example: Andy plays a 12 as a Solo. Carla plays a 2-Straight made up of a 7 and a 6. Nico plays a 2-Straight made up of an 11 and a 12, and Susie plays a Redraw Card. Because Nico had the highest combination in the trick, he has to draw three new cards from the Draw Pile.
If you start a trick with a Redraw Card, the next player can play any 1-, 2-, or 3-card combination, pick up a Reserve Card, or play a Stop Card or another Redraw Card. If all players take one of their Reserve Cards (or if one of them plays the second Redraw Card or a Stop Card), you take the Redraw Card(s) and must add cards to your hand even if the Redraw Card you played was your last remaining card. You then start the next trick.
5. ENDING A ROUND & STARTING A NEW ROUND
When you are out of cards in your hand (even if you still have Reserve Cards), you are safely out of the current round. A round ends when only one player has cards left. A round also ends when, during a trick, you can’t play a combination higher than the highest combination played during the current trick and you don’t have any Reserve Cards left. If you are the only player left with cards or if you can’t play a higher combination and don’t have any Reserve Cards, you lose the round and give up one of your chips.
If all players still in a round have no cards left in their hands at the end of a trick, all of these players, except the player with the highest combination, must give up a chip.
To start the next round, the oldest player shuffles all the cards and deals them out according to #2 in Set-Up, above. The player who gave up a chip to finish the round starts the first trick of the new round. If several players gave up chips on the last trick of the round, the oldest player starts the first trick of the new round
ENDING THE GAME
The game ends when a player owes a chip and doesn’t have one to give (this means that players who gave up their last chips continue to play until they have to give up a chip and don’t have one). This player loses the game; all other players are the winners. If more than one player owes a chip but doesn’t have one at the same time, they all lose—the remaining players are the winners.
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