How to Play Crazy Eights

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It can be challenging to find activities that simultaneously appeal to both younger and older players. Adult bridge fanatics may find that their beloved game is perplexing to younger kids; meanwhile,  younger kids may be disappointed when adults resist one more round of Hi Ho Cherry-O.

Crazy Eights bridges the gap nicely - simple enough for kids, but still engaging for adults.

The Rules: Eight cards are dealt to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down at the center of the table. The top card is then turned face up to start the game.

Players take turns discarding cards by matching rank or suit with the top card of the discard pile. If a player is unable to match the rank or suit of the top card of the discard pile and does not have an eight, she draws cards from the stockpile until she gets a card that she is able to play. When she draws a card she is able to play she must play it.

When a player plays an eight, she must declare the suit that the next player is to play; the next player must then follow the named suit or play another eight.

Example: If the six of clubs is played the next player:

  • can play any of the other sixes

  • can play any of the other clubs

  • can play any eight (then must declare the same or a different suit)

  • can play a joker (the next player plays a card of his/her own choosing)

  • can choose to draw from the stockpile

  • if none of the above, must draw from the stockpile until drawing either a six, club, joker, or eight, which is then played

The game is won by the first player to discard all of her cards.

If the stock pile runs out, you can either re-shuffle the stock pile and continue drawing (longer game), or play without a stock pile, and players who cannot play a card must pass (shorter game).

Scoring. The winner of a round is awarded points for any cards left in the opponents hand at the end of the round --  50pts for each eight, 10pts for each face card, and face value for each spot card. The winner of the game is the first player to reach a specific amount of points. For two players it is 100pts, three players 150pts, four 200pts, five 250pts, six 300pts and for seven players 350pts.  If playing without a stock pile and no player can rid themselves of all cards, then the player with the fewest points in their hand wins the value of the other players' points minus the value of their own hand.

Uno.  Uno is a commercial version of Crazy Eights with some interesting twists - the use of colors and numbers instead of card suits may make Uno more accessible for young players. The addition of strategy cards that allow spiteful interactions with other players may make Uno more interesting for older players.  If an Uno game is available and players prefer, substitute Uno for Crazy Eights.

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