Guest Author - Robin Rounds Whittemore
For this game, it is best to have a big table. Children can even play on the floor. 2 - 3 players can use one deck. If there are 4 - 6 players, two decks are definitely needed.
A dealer is chosen at random. He or she deals the whole playing deck or decks; one card at a time to each player. The whole deck or decks are to be dealt out face down.
No one is to look at their cards. The whole object of the game is to play with luck, not strategy. When you place your cards in the center, you will place them face up. That is the only time you will look at the cards in your hand.
The player to the left of the dealer starts by placing just one card in the center face up. Should the card be a value of 2 - 10, play continues to the left. Keep going until a court card is played. A court card is A, K, Q, or J. If the card that is turned face up is a J, Q, K or A, then there are cards to be forfeited by the next player to the left.
If an Ace is turned up, the next player takes the top 4 cards off of his or her pile and places them face up in the center. Should there be a King, the penalty is 3 cards. A Queen is due 2 cards and a Jack gets only 1 card for payment. Once the penalty is paid, then the play continues to the left.
Once an A, K, Q or J has been played and a penalty paid; the next card that gets turned up that is not a court card stops the game for a moment. The last person that had turned up a court card (J, Q, K or A) takes the whole center pile into their ownership.
The play continues to the left once again. Cards get played face up into the center as long as a court card doesn't show up. Once it does, the next time a non-court card shows up; the last person to play a court card gets the pile in the center.
Play continues this repetitive way until someone runs out of cards, and then they are the winner, if you are not playing a timed game. If you play the game timed, then at the end of the agreed upon time, the person with the least amount of cards is the winner.
Remember, if you are playing a timed game, then speed is the name of the game. Every player has to keep the same pace and not slow down the game. If children of varying ages are playing, it may be best to keep it to a non-timed game. This way, people can play at their own pace and not be made to feel like they need to hurry.
The object is to have no cards left, or the least amount of cards left if you are playing a timed game. This is why no one looks at their cards when they are dealt. If players could look at their cards, the game just wouldn't work very well. Luck and surprises are what makes this game work.