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Go Fish

Alternative name Fish
Type Matching
Players 2-10
Skills required Decision making, memory
Age range Any
Cards 52
Deck Anglo-American-French
Play Variable sequence
Playing time 5-15 minutes
Random chance Medium
Related games
Happy Families

Go Fish or Fish is a card game usually played by two to five players, although it can be played with up to 10 players.

Basic game

Five cards are dealt from a standard 52-card deck to each player, or seven cards if there are four or fewer players. The remaining cards are shared between the players, usually spread out in a disorderly pile referred to as the "ocean" or "pool".

The player whose turn it is to play asks another player for his or her cards of a particular face value. For example Alice may ask, "Bob, do you have any threes?" Alice must have at least one card of the rank she requested. Bob must hand over all cards of that rank if possible. If he has none, Bob tells Alice to "go fish" (or simply "fish"), and Alice draws a card from the pool and places it in her own hand. Then it is the next player's turn - unless the card Alice drew is the card she asked for, in which case she shows it to the other players, and she gets another turn. When any player at any time has all four cards of one face value, it forms a book, and the cards must be placed face up in front of that player.

Play proceeds to the left. When all sets of cards have been laid down in books, the game ends. The player with the most books wins.

Variations

There are a number of variations of these basic rules:

Strategy

If, when fishing, a player draws a rank they did not have, they should ask for it on their next turn. Otherwise, they should rotate among the ranks that they already hold. In the more difficult variants, strategy often requires memorizing what cards each player possesses. Unlike many card games, Go Fish depends on the honor system; lying about the contents of one's hand is difficult to prevent.

Special card decks

Instead of using a standard 52 playing card deck, various specialty decks have been manufactured including the 169 count playing card Kids Classic Go Fish Card Game by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.. Other specialist card packs which can be used to play similar games have also been produced including the Safari Pals packs which uses animal characteristics to form the sets.

There is a similar game called Quartets.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy