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Crazy Eights

In Crazy Eights, playing an 8 card will change the current suit of the game.
Origin Venezuela
Type Shedding-type
Players 2+
Skills required Tactics and communication
Age range 4-11
Cards 52
Deck French
Play Clockwise and counter-clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) 8 J A 2 joker 4 K Q 10 9 7 6 5 3
Playing time Various
Random chance Medium
Related games
UNO

Crazy Eights is a shedding-type card game for two to seven players. The object of the game is to be the first to get rid of all the player's cards to a discard pile. The game is considered a pre-extension of Switch and Mau Mau, much favored in schools during the 1970s.

A standard 52-card deck is used when there are five or fewer players. When there are more than five players, two decks are shuffled together and all 104 cards are used.

Origins

There are many variations of the basic game, and a number of different names including Craits, UNO, Last One, Mau-Mau, Pesten, Rockaway, Swedish Rummy, Switch, Last Card, Screw Your Neighbour, and Tschausepp. The name Crazy Eights dates to the 1940s, derived from the military designation for discharge of mentally unstable soldiers, Section 8. Bartok, Mao, Quango, Zar, Taki and UNO are more extreme variations, containing elements not covered in this entry.

Basic play

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

Players discard by matching rank or suit with the top card of the discard pile, starting with the player left of the dealer. 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, he or she draws cards from the stockpile until getting a playable card. When a player plays an eight, he or she must declare the suit that the next player is to play; that player must then follow the named suit or play another eight.

As an example: Once the six of clubs is played the next player:

  1. can play any of the other sixes
  2. can play any of the clubs
  3. can play any eight (then must declare a different suit)
  4. can draw from the stockpile until willing and able to play one of the above

Typically the game doesn't take very long, but its time frame can vary greatly.

Scoring

Scoring varies depending on the weighting of special cards. Points are incurred for any cards left in the opponents hand at the end of a round. Traditionally, pure Crazy Eights is scored 50pts for an eight, 10pts for a face card, and face value for a spot card. These points are then awarded to the winner of the round. 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.

Rules variations

In some variants, a player who cannot discard need only pick up one card before the turn passes to the next player. In this case another variable rule is whether or not a player picking up a card that could be played is allowed to play it immediately or not. In other versions, the suit-changing card may be a different card (often Jacks or Aces), and rules vary as to whether the card has to be played on a matching suit (that is, 8♥ cannot be played except on a heart) or whether it can be played regardless of the top card.

In some variations the players may agree to the "Dealer's Goodies" rule, in which the dealer is allowed to take the first discarded card if it is a "special" card, and continue taking cards until an "ordinary" card surfaces. Sometimes it is obligatory to call out "last card" if the player has only one card remaining. If he fails to make this call and is spotted, he may be obliged to pick up four cards as a penalty. Another variant requires that if a player's last card is an Eight, he must reveal this to the other players.

In some variations, any number of cards of the same rank may be played consecutively when discarding, and in others, the players may choose to hold on to the wild 8's cards if so they choose. In some versions runs (e.g. playing the three, four and five of a suit together) are permitted when discarding. Another version allows for the top card of the discard pile to be removed and the remaining cards in the discard pile are reshuffled and serve as a new stock pile when the stock pile has run out. Some players require that in order to win, the player must run out of cards and finish on an "8". In another version the winner is the player with the fewest points.

In the variation known as "Domineights", multiple cards can be consecutively discarded if each card is either the same rank or the rank directly above or below the previous card discarded. For example, if the top card of the discard pile is 4♥, the player could discard a 5♥, then a 5♦. The player may continue until the card discarded is not within one rank of the previous or until the player announces that he or she is finished the turn.

The game is sometimes "spiced up" by specifying that, as well as Eights allowing the player to change the suit, other specific ranks have special rules applied to them. Examples include:

In some variations, players may play red jokers on hearts or diamonds and blacks on spades or clubs. Jokers are "wild" cards in this variant. For example, if a six of clubs is played a, black joker can be played if the player does not have a six, club or eight. The next player gets to choose whether it is clubs or spades.

When drawing from the stockpile you must always pick the first card that you can play.

Canadian rules

Some specific variations exist, which vastly alter the strategy used from the above description.

Eight cards are dealt to each player. The remaining cards of the deck are placed face down at the center of the table. The top card is then turned face up to start the discard pile. Players discard by matching rank or suit with the top card of the discard pile, starting with the player left of the dealer. The winner is the first player to discard all their cards. Some specific rules are as follows:

Dutch Rules

In the Netherlands, the variation is called Pesten (teasing). Instead of eight, seven cards are dealt to each player. Usually, the cards have the following properties, but many rule variations exists:

Solitaire-Crazy Eights rules.

In Solitaire-Crazy Eights, most rules do not change, but the way cards can be played is drawn from the card game Solitare.

The game starts out like the Canadian variation, but there are some specific rules that make the version unique.

Special action cards

Some specific rules pertaining to special actions cards are as follows:

Crazy Eights Countdown

Another version of the game is "Crazy Eights Countdown" created by Christopher Obacz and Michelle Gillingham in 1990. It is usually played to extend the length of the game. Once a player is able to discard his/her first hand, the first game finishes. For example, if a person was dealt eight cards in his/her first hand and discards them all, he/she draws a second hand, this time with seven cards (thus 7 becomes his/her particular wild card). This goes on until a player goes down all the way to drawing one card and is able to discard that hand. Whoever does so wins.

If a player is on 7's and it is wild for them and the other player is on a different number and player A(wild 7) plays a 7 to make it a different suit, player B(not on 7's) may play a 7 to change the suit to whatever the card's suit is.

Naked 8s

For "Naked 8s", the above rules apply; however, first 8 cards are dealt face up. All subsequent cards picked up are face down. If the discard pile requires reshuffling, all hidden cards are turned face up. Play then continues as before, with all subsequent cards face down, until the next reshuffle. Note that the advanced Crazy Eights player would already know what cards their opponent has at reshuffle (specifically in a 2-player match). This variation helps bridge the gap between advanced and amateur players.

"Half Naked 8s" is a variant similar to Naked 8s, but only the first four cards are dealt face up.

Tag Team

"Tag Team Crazy Eights" is played with 4, 6 or 8 players, and follows local rules. Players across from each other are teamed up. The goal is to have both partners of a team discard before the opposing teams to win. During the beginning of a player's turn, they may pass one card to their team-mate. The teammate may return the card, or trade it for one of their cards. Players cannot request any type or specific card, requiring their team-mate to guess the intention of the trade. Players with one card remaining may not trade their card. Team members collaborate to avoid unnecessary draws, stifle opponents and assist each other. Example: During a player's turn, they are aware the next player and opponent is on their final card. The player sends his partner an undesirable card in hopes of receiving a 2, black Jack, or Queen of Spades to prevent the opponent from going out. Players under Canadian rules might constantly trade cards to build sets of the same rank for burning.

In some variations of Tag Team, when only three players remain teams are disbanded. Some variations require that cards are traded face-up, so other teams may see the contents of the trade.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy