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
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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.
A joker card can be blocked with any ace.
The game first appeared as Eights in the 1930s, and the name Crazy Eights dates to the 1940s, derived from the United States military designation for discharge of mentally unstable soldiers, Section 8.
There are many variations of the basic game, and a number of different names including Craits, Last One, Mau-Mau, Pesten, Rockaway, Swedish Rummy, Switch, Last Card, Screw Your Neighbour, Püskiyon, and Tschausepp. Bartok, Mao, Quango, Zar, Taki, and Uno are more extreme variations.
David Parlett describes
Crazy Eights as "not so much a game as a basic pattern of play on which a wide variety of changes can be rung," noting that players can easily invent and explore new rules.
Eight cards are dealt to each player (or seven in a two-player game). 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 8, they draw cards from the stockpile until they get a playable card. When a player plays an 8, they must declare the suit that the next player is to play; that player must then follow the named suit or play another 8.
As an example: Once 6♣ is played the next player:
The game ends as soon as one player has emptied their hand. That player collects a payment from each opponent equal to the point score of the cards remaining in that opponent's hand. 8s score 50, court cards 10 and all other cards face value. If the players run out of cards in the deck, the player with the lowest point score in their hand scores the difference between that hand and each opponent's hand.
The winner of the game is the first player to reach a specific number of points. For two players it is 100 points, three players 150, four 200, five 250, six 300 and for seven players 350.
A similar version of the game is played in Zimbabwe following a slightly different set of rules and resembling Uno more than the basic form of the game. This version is more complicated but more dynamic.
Five to eight cards are dealt to each player and 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 a special functions card, or simply does not wish to play any of the cards in their hand, they must draw one card from the stockpile. At this point the player has the choice of playing any card from their hand or storing the new card and passing their turn. Players are able to play more than one of the same number at once.
There are a number of special functions cards these are either game shifting cards, offensive cards or defensive cards. These are summarised in a table below and then further explained.
Allow the user to change the ability of the next player to play.
7- Skip the next player
When a player plays a 7, they "skip" the next player who then loses their turn. If the next player also holds a 7 and they play this before the player after them places a card then they counter the "skip" effect and shift this to the player next to them. In a game of two player a "skip" allows the player to play again and can be combined with kings and jacks for an uninterrupted series of play. A seven card can be played matching the rank or suit allowances of the top card of the discard pile.
When a player plays an eight, they must "declare" the suit that the next player is to play; that player must then follow the named suit or play another eight. If an eight is played as a directly counter to a declaring eight then the game will continue following the suit of the newly played eight. An eight card can be played during a players turn regardless of the previous suit or rank. An eight card cannot be placed down on top of each other by the same players during their turn.
When a player plays a jack, they "reverse" the game allowing the previous player to play again. The player of the jack can decide if the reversal is for the remainder of the game play (until another jack is played) or if it is only until the previous player has played. This allows the jack player to play again. In a game of two player a "reverse" allows the player to play again and can be combined with sevens and kings for an uninterrupted series of play. A jack card can be played matching the rank or suit allowances of the top card of the discard pile.
A two can only be played. if the last played card is a Joker. When the two is played the player must say "pick 2, no pick and play" otherwise the next player may play after s/he pick 2 cards. When a two is played the next player in line must either block with a defensive card, play their own offensive card, or 2 cards from the deck (more if the total number of cards demanded has been accumulating). If the opponent has only the choice of picking 2 cards and s/he would like to play s/he must say "pick and play" before the player says "pick 2, no pick and play."
A joker can be played during the player's turn regardless of the suit or score of the last played card on the discard pile on the player. When a joker is played the next player in line must either block with a defensive card, play their own offensive card, or pick 5 cards from the deck (more if the total number of cards demanded has been accumulating).
Defensive cards protect the player from offensive cards used on them by the previous player. In some variants of the game, when a player is picking multiple cards as a result of an offensive card played by the previous player, if the first card the player picks from the deck is defensive (an ace) they are allowed to immediately play it in that turn and will not have to pick the rest of the cards they otherwise should have. If the ace is in subsequent picks, it cannot be played and the player misses a turn as expected.
If the players run out of cards in the deck then the top card of the discard pile is left face up and the rest of the discard pile cards are shuffled and used as the new deck. The game ends as soon as one player has emptied their hand using a regular card. However, not if the previous card on the discard pile is an Offensive card or a Defensive card. If a player empties their hand under these conditions, or with a special function card, then the player goes "in air", i.e. on their next turn they must pick a one card from the deck and continue playing. If another player ends the game whilst someone is in air, that in air player must pick a card from the deck. The player with the highest cumulative score points loses the round. This game can be played in love eliminating one player each round.
The winner of the round is the first player to get rid of their hand by throwing their last regular card on top or another regular card or a shifting card. The winner of the game is the last player after every opponent has been knocked out. If multiple players have the same score (highest) at the end of a round then they must each pick one extra card from the deck until there is a clear loser of the round.
These only apply if agreed upon at the start of the game :
1. Lucky Card
If a player next in line has been dealt an offensive card ( pick 2 / pick 5) or cumulative value after a series of 2’s and Jokers - before picking the number of cards prescribed, the player can ask for a Lucky card. This is the first card on top of the deck. If the card is a blocking card ( Ace ) it can be played to block the penalty. If the card is also an offensive card Joker or Deuce (2) it can be added to the value of the cumulative penalty and passed on to the next player in line. If the first card is neither an offensive nor blocking card then the player should pick the prescribed penalty plus one extra card.
2. In closing, a player can be brought back into the game if the next player in line has a similar face value card.