1 deck = 2-4 players
2 decks = 5-8 players
setting up the game:
after the cards have been shuffled and cut, the dealer deals out 3 cards to all players. these cards are not to be seen by anyone, including the player who holds them. each player should place those cards in a row, face down, in front of them. after that, the dealer deals out 6 cards to each player. each player then will place their 3 most valuable cards face up on top of the 3 face down cards (card value will be explained later on), leaving 3 cards in each player's hand. this set of 6 cards is known as your "crack" and the object of the game is to get rid of all of your crack.
playing the game:
the dealer will place the remaining deck of cards in the center of the table (this is known as the "draw pile"), and will turn over the top card to be seen. this card and any other cards in that pile are considered "in play". the game begins with the player to the left of the dealer. that player must "beat" the top card shown. to "beat" a card, you must play a card or cards of equal or higher value, or you must play a "wild" card. you can play doubles (2 of a kind), but not triples (3 of a kind), and 4 of a kind is wild. if that player cannot beat the top card, then all cards in play are added to that player's hand.
order of cards: 3-4-5-6-7-8-9-J-Q-K-A
wild cards: 2, 10, 4 of a kind. a 2 will "burn" all cards in play, ending the players turn. burning cards means to remove them from the game (also, if a 2 is played, the next player may play any card(s) he chooses since there is now no top card). a 10 will allow that player to play any additional card he likes, no matter the value. 4 of a kind works like a 10, except that cards played by other players count toward it, as long as they are all played in a row.
examples of play:
let's say eric deals, and dustin is sitting to the left of eric. the top card is a 5. if dustin's hand is...
4 5 5 - dustin can play either one or both fives
5 5 5 - dustin can play AT MOST two of the fives, but not all three
6 9 J - dustin can play any of the cards he likes
3 3 4 - dustin must pick up the 5
3 4 10 - dustin can play the 10, and then play either other card
3 3 10 - dustin can play the 10, and then play the pair of 3s
2 3 3 - dustin can play the 2, which will remove both the 2 and the 5 from the rest of the game
ending the turn:
once all possible cards have been played/picked up, the player must now count his remaining hand. if there is less than 3 cards in his hand, he must draw enough cards from the draw pile so that he now has 3 cards in his hand. if he has 3 or more, no cards are drawn. for the next example, we'll say that dustin's actual hand was 5, 6, 7, and he played the 5.
example of a 4 of a kind wild:
it's andrew's turn now, and in his hand, he has 3, 5, and 5. because there are now two 5s in play, he plays his pair, making 4 in a row. since 4 of a kind is wild, he can now play the 3. his turn ends, and since he has no cards in his hand, he draws 3 cards from the draw pile.
continuing the game:
eventually, the draw pile will run out. when there are no more cards to draw, the players must now try to play all of the cards in their hand. once a player has no cards, he must play one card (or more if there are wilds or pairs) from the face up part of his crack. from now on, i will refer to the face up crack as the top crack, and the face down crack as the bottom crack. if a player picks up more cards, he must play all of the cards in his hand before he can play any more cards from his crack. once the top crack is gone, the real fun begins, because at this point no one knows what's in the bottom crack. the player must pick one card at random to play. if that card is wild (excluding a 2), then he may play another card at random. if the card does not beat the top card in play, he must pick up the cards in play as well as the crack card he had chosen, and cannot play another bottom crack card until his hand is empty. the game is over once one player has played all cards in their crack and has no cards remaining in his hand.
- if you can beat a card, you have to. in some cases, it would benefit a player to pick up, rather than play a winning card, especially towards the end of the game.
- if you accidentally look at part of your bottom crack early, then you either have to play the seen card if you can, or if you can't, the game is void and must be restarted. the whole point of the game is to keep the bottom crack random, and if you know what it is, it will definately effect the outcome of the game.
- if the last card in your hand matches a card in your top crack, you may play both as a pair. the same applies if you can make a wild.
- you cannot hide the number of cards in your hand.
- it is always a good idea to put 10s, 2s, and face cards (A, K, Q, J) in your top crack if you can.
- it is usually a good idea to save wilds until you need them. if you can beat a card without using a wild, save it until you need it later.
- as you play the game, you will learn more strategies. some will be when to play a pair or when to save the card for your next turn. you will also learn how to stick your opponents extra cards when it looks like they're about to win. it all comes down to paying attention to everyone's top crack and the number of cards in everyone's hand. it's usually easy to figure out what cards a person has by watching the flow of the game.
if you have any questions, or if i forgot anything, please respond. this is the most fun card game i've ever played, so i hope you all enjoy it as well.