Card Games: 2. Riding the Bus

Riding the [Short] Bus


  • Players: 2-15ish
  • Game Length: Short
  • Card Decks: 1 Full Deck
  • Jokers: No

I believe Rachel Geerlings taught this game to me during last years Gospelcom Conference. It’s a great game, especially with larger groups, and it’s very easy to learn. The goal of the game is to get as close to 31 points (31 is as high as you can get). Here’s how you play:

  • The Points:
    • 2-9: Face Value (3 is 3 points, etc..)
    • 10, J, Q, K: 10 points
    • A: 11 points
  • The important thing to remember is that points are only added together if the cards are the same suit. (e.g. If you had a 4 of hearts, a Queen of hearts, and an Ace of Clubs, you currently have 14 points [the Queen + the 4, and the 11 points of the Ace don’t count towards your total])
  • The only exception is this: If you have three of a kind (e.g. three 4‘s) that is automatically worth 30.5 points
  • The dealer gives each person 3 cards, then places the rest of the pile face down as the “pickup” pile.
  • The person to the left of the dealer starts by picking up a card of the pickup pile,and then discarding a card face up onto a “discard” pile. The next person may pick up either the top card on the discard pile or the top card on the pickup pile. Once there are at least 3 cards on the discard pile, a player may pick up the top 3 cards on the discard pile and discard their entire hand (choosing what order to place the 3 cards in the discard pile, of course)
  • On your turn, rather than picking up a card, you may “knock” [literally knock on the table]. After knocking, everyone else gets 1 more turn, and then you all lay out your cards, and the person with the lowest score receives a strike. If the person who knocked is the lowest, they receive 2 strikes. Thus, you would only knock if you believed you did not have the lowest point total.
  • If at any time someone gets exactly 31 points (so, the Ace plus 2 10 point cards of a given suit) they instantly lay their hand down, and the round is over, and the person with the lowest score gets a strike.
  • If there is a tie for lowest, each person gets the strike (and if the person who knocked is involved in the tie, they get 2 strikes)
  • Once a person gets 3 strikes they are out of the game. [or you an set a higher level if you want.. We’ve played up to 7 (Think “H-O-R-S-E”.. then make it a curse word) ]
  • Continue until there’s only one person left. That person wins.

2 thoughts on “Card Games: 2. Riding the Bus

  1. Although I was present for this game, I didn’t know it before the conference, either. I don’t remember who taught it…BDF maybe?

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