Card Games: 1. The Card Game

So… I like playing cards. Other people also seem to like playing cards. So I thought I’d add a couple posts with some of the card games I like to play, and the rules that I usually play by, in the off chance that this would be helpful to other people. (Also, because I was kinda thinking of doing this, and then got phone calls/emails from Mark H. and Christa, each asking about certain rules.) Anyway, I’ll just throw the rules out there, and you all should try them out. A note that card games tend to have different house rules depending on where you are at (which anyone who has tried to play Euchre with a Canadian can attest to), so don’t get all upset if the rules seem slightly different than what you are used to. But if you have different rules for a game, I’d like to hear them.. you should add a comment.). So here we go:

The Card Game


  • Players: 2+
  • Game Length: Long
  • Card Decks: At least 1 Full Deck for every 3 players
  • Jokers: No

I really don’t remember where I learned this game, so if you taught it to me, now is your chance to speak up. It’s a bit similar to Phase 10, so if you’re one of those people that hates Phase 10 (*coughrachelcough*) you probably hate this game too. We call it The Card Game but odds are there’s another name out there that’s a bit more descriptive. The goal in this game is to get runs or sets
(Run –> Sequential numbers in the same suit [e.g. 4, 5, 6 of Hearts]
Set –> Collection of the same number [e.g. 4 kings])

How to Play

  • The first round every person is dealt 3 cards. The remaining cards are set in the middle in a pile face down as the “pickup” pile, and the top card is turned over and set down as the “discard” pile.
  • This first round 3‘s are wild. You may use as many wilds as you’d like in a set or run, but you must have at least 1 “normal” card in a set or a run.
  • The person to the left of the dealer begins the game. That person can either pick up the top card on the pickup pile, or the top card on the discard pile. Then they must discard one card (which can be the card they just picked up). Once they discard their turn is over, and the person to their left will go.
  • This continues until someone has a set or a run of 3. On that person’s turn, they pick up their card, as normal, then lays down their 3 cards face up, and discards one card (Thus using up all of their cards).
  • When someone has “gone out”, everyone else gets 1 more turn to go, and then the round is over.
  • Scoring is as follows:
    • Aces: 1 point
    • 2-9: Face Value (thus a 3 is worth 3 points… even if the card is wild.)
    • 10, J, Q, K: 10 points
  • When the round is done, and you are tallying up scores, anyone who has a set or run of at least 3 doesn’t count those points against them. You can play where the person who went out first gets -5 points, or 0 (We usually vote before we start)
  • The next round begins, the person to the left of the previous dealer will deal this time, and everyone gets dealt 4 cards. 4‘s are wild. The game continues as normal, and once someone has a set or a run of 4, they lay down on their turn, and everyone gets one more turn. When scoring, anyone with at least a run or a set of 3 doesn’t cound those points against them. (e.g. Someone goes out, and I have a 7 and 8 of diamonds, a 4 of hearts, and a 2 of spades. I would get 2 points [ the 7 and the 8, plus the 4, which is wild, make a run of 3, leaving just the 2, for two points])
  • This continues on to 5 (5’s are wild..), and when you get to 6 (6’s are wild.. you should be getting the pattern by now), you can do 2 runs, or a run and a set, or 2 sets, or one large run or set. The thing to remember is just that to go out you must use all your cards, and you must discard (so no doing two sets of 3 on the “5 cards” round)
  • When you finish 10, you move to 11, and Jacks are wild.. then 12/Queen, then finally 13/King. If you so desire, you can then travel back down, from 13 to 3 cards.
  • The person with the lowest score at the end of the game wins.

One thought on “Card Games: 1. The Card Game

  1. I like this game… its very similar to Five Crowns, but doesn’t require a special deck. According to one site I looked at, the name for the game you describe is Three-Thirteen, but that sounds just as made up as “the card game” so I’m willing to call it anything :)

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