Crazy Eights is a simple shedding game that is suitable for players of all ages. This and similar games are the forefathers of the popular game Uno.
The game is easily learned and quick to play, which contributes to its popularity in many different cultures and regions. It is especially popular in the United States and other English-speaking countries. Crazy Eights and very similar games also gained popularity in many European and Asian countries.
Here, we will focus on the ruleset most associated with Crazy Eights. But across countries, this game principle has many different names and slight rule variations. Other games and names in this bucket are Swipe, Last One, Eights, Shed, Rocambole, 8 Américain, Swedish Rummy, and Mau Mau. You can play Mau Mau in English and multiple other languages at the Mau Mau Palace (Website currently only available in German.)
For Crazy Eights you need two to five players and a deck of 52 playing cards. The dealer hands five cards to each player and places the remaining deck face down as the draw pile. Finally, they reveal the top card of the draw pile to start the discard pile.
Now, the objective of the game is to get rid of all your cards by matching the suit or rank of the card on top of the discard pile.
The player to the dealer’s left starts the game by playing one card from their hand that matches the suit or rank of the card on top of the discard pile.
If they don’t have a matching card, they must draw from the draw pile or maybe even draw until they draw a matching card. Then, the next player in turn must play a card that matches the suit or rank of the card on top of the discard pile, and so on.
The Eights are special: They can be played on any card and change the suit to the player’s wish.
In some variations, other cards may also have special abilities:
- Jokers: Work like the Eights.
- Aces: Forces the next player to draw two cards.
- Kings: Reverses the direction of play.
- Queens: The next player must play a card of the same suit as the Queen.
- Jacks: Forces the next player to skip their turn.
Special cards and their effects can vary depending on the ruleset of the area, so it is always important to clarify the rules before starting a game.
The first player to get rid of all their cards wins the round, which ends immediately at that point.
Players score penalty points for the cards they still have in hands when another player finishes. The number of penalty points equals the total value of the cards in each player’s hand. The winner gains the combined sum of negative points as positive points.
The game can be played in multiple rounds to a specific score, such as 100 points. The first player to reach that score wins the game. If that sounds like fun to you, check our game at the Mau Mau Palace (website currently only in German; game available in multiple languages).