Crazy Eights is the game that inspired the (probably) better known game of UNO. Both games are similar and, if you add some special rules to Crazy Eights, they become pretty much the same game. The good thing about this game is that it’s played with a standard 52 card deck, so you don’t need to buy a special deck like with UNO.
Usually one deck is used, but, if you have a lot of players, you can use two decks. First the dealer is nominated by high card draw. Then he deals out 5 cards to each player, or 7 cards, if there are only two players. One card is put face up on the table next to the deck, this is the first card in the discard pile.
Dealer then starts the game and the action continues clockwise.
The game starts with the dealer discarding one of his cards, then the next player discards a card and so on. The discarded cards must match the top card in the discard pile either by suit or by rank. In case a player doesn’t have any card that he could discard, he draws a card from the deck.
Eights are special. They can be played on any card and the player that played an eight can choose a suit. The next player must then play a card of that suit.
The game continues until one player runs out of cards and thus wins the game.
In case the deck runs out there are two possible variants you can play:
- Shuffle the discard pile, leaving only the top card, and put it back face down on the table. Now draw from this »new« deck.
- Play until all players exhaust their possible cards and then score accordingly.
All the players with cards left in their hand at the end of the game get penalty points. Penalty points go like this:
- Eights = 50 points
- Face cards = 10 points
- Other cards = their face value
Obviously, the point of the game is to score as little points as possible.
In Crazy Eights you can add all sorts of special rules to make the game more interesting. Let’s take a look at few:
Special game rules:
- A person that doesn’t have a card that he could discard has to draw until he gets one.
- Drawn cards that can be played, must be played immediately. The alternative is that the player can pass on the action, if he wishes.
- When a player has only one card left, he has to announce it. If he fails to do so, he has to draw.
Special card rules:
You can add special meanings to some cards to spice up the game. It’s up to you what you’ll add, but here are a few common special meanings:
- Deuces = Draw 2
- Fours = Draw 4
- Queen = Skip the next player
- King = Turn the direction of the game
In any case, you can add as many funky rules as you want, but make sure that all players are familiar with them before the start of the game.
Enjoy playing Crazy Eights!