Crazy Eights is a game for two or more players, in which the object is to get rid of the cards in your hand onto a discard pile by matching the number or suit of the previous discard.
There is a huge number of variations of this game, and many alternative names. It is sometimes called Crates, Switch, Swedish Rummy, Last One or Rockaway. In Germany it is Mau-Mau; in Switzerland it is Tschausepp; in the Netherlands it is Pesten. Some British players call it Black Jack, which is unfortunate as it can lead to confusion with the well-known American banking card game Blackjack.
The basic game of Crazy Eights uses a standard 52 card pack, or two such packs shuffled together if there are a lot of players. The dealer deals (singly) five cards to each player (seven each if there are only two players). The undealt stock is placed face down on the table, and the top card of the stock is turned face up and placed beside the stock to start the discard pile.
Starting with the player to dealer's left, and continuing clockwise, each player in turn must either play a legal card face up on top of the discard pile, or draw a card from the undealt stock. The following plays are legal.
The first player who gets rid of all their cards wins, and the other players score penalty points according to the cards they have left in their hands - 50 for an eight, 10 for a picture, and spot cards at face value (one point for an ace, two for a two and so on).
If the stock pile is exhausted, the standard rule according to most books is that play continues without drawing. A player who cannot or does not wish to play just passes. If all pass, the game is blocked. Play stops and everyone scores for the cards remaining in their hands. However, a variation played by many groups is that when the stock pile is exhausted, the played cards, except for the last card, are shuffled and stacked face down to make a new stock.
Crazy Eights is one of the easiest games to elaborate by adding variations, and is rarely played in its basic form. There are variations in the number of cards dealt, the rules about drawing cards and the scoring system. Usually, special meanings are given to particular cards; when played these cards affect the sequence of play, or have other effects.
In the normal game, you may always use your turn to draw a card. However, some people play that you may only draw if you are unable to play - if you can play you must.
Some allow the drawn card to be played immediately if it is a legal play.
Some allow more than one card to be drawn - either up to a fixed number of cards, after which if you still cannot (or will not) play the turn passes to the next player. Others require you to continue drawing until you can play.
There may be a rule that you must alert the other players when you have just one card left. If you fail to do so you must draw cards (usually two) from the stock as a penalty.
See the following pages on this site:
More pages with rules of Crazy Eights variants:
Several Crazy Eights variants contributed by readers are listed in the Invented Games section of this site.
There have been many commercial versions of eights, designed to be played with specially produced packs of cards. Probably the best known of these is Uno, for which there are also many invented variations.
The collection HOYLE Card Games for Windows or Mac OS X includes a Crazy Eights program, along with many other popular card games.
At GameDuell, you can play Crazy Eights online.
Malcolm Bain's shareware Agony for Windows plays a Greek variation of Crazy Eights. A free trial version is available.
You can download Laurent Pellenc's Crazy Eights Program for Windows from his page.
Mike's Cards includes a Crazy Eights program for Macintosh and Windows computers.
Games4All have published a Crazy Eights game for Android.
A multiplayer online Crazy Eights game is available at exoty.com.
The Crazy Eights Deluxe program is available from Blackgames.net
PlayOK (formerly known as Kurnik) offers the similar Polish game known as Makao (which is listed at PlayOK/Kurnik as Switch).
Gameslush.com offers an online Crazy Eights game against live opponents or computer players.
At DKM Crazy Eights from the CardSharp suite you can play two-player Crazy Eights online against a computer opponent.
Einar Egilsson has published a free Java Crazy Eights program with which you can play online against one computer opponent.