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How to Play Crazy Eights

Updated on June 07, 2016

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Players draw one card from a stack of cards in the center if they don't have a card to play on their turn.  If they can play the card they picked up, they may put it down.  Otherwise they must add it to their hand.
Players draw one card from a stack of cards in the center if they don't have a card to play on their turn. If they can play the card they picked up, they may put it down. Otherwise they must add it to their hand. | Source

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Now that our boys are sleeping through the night, my husband and I like to unwind by playing board games or card games. Right now, our game of choice is Monopoly--but we started our little routine by playing Crazy Eights.


If you've never heard of Crazy Eights (or Crazy 8s), it's a lot like the card game Uno in that you stack colours and numbers to reach your objective. This game is perfect over the summer for days when it's too hot or rainy to go outside and everyone is stuck in the house together.


As with most card games there are many variations of this game, but here is how we play it at our house. :)

The Object of the Game

Every game starts with the players choosing what number they'd like to play to. For a long game we play to 500, for a quick game we play to 250. You can lengthen the game, if you like, by making the number bigger--though we've never gone over 500, personally.

The object of the game is to be the last one in the game, by maintaining the least amount of points and not getting eliminated by reaching or exceeding 250/500 points.

What You'll Need

  • A deck of cards (2 if playing with more than five players, 3 if playing with more than ten players, etc.)
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • (optional) Calculator

Preparation

Dealer writes the initials or nicknames of each player at the top of the piece of paper, to keep track of the score.

Dealer shuffles the deck, then deals eight cards per person. The remaining cards are placed, facing down, in the center. Dealer then picks up the top card in the deck and places it facing up beside the deck.

Card Values

All number cards are valued at their number, except for 8s (ex. 2 = 2 points, 4 = 4 points, etc.)

Joker = 50 points

8 = 25 points

A = 15 points

K, Q, J = 10 points

Since the object of the game is to have the least amount of points, you might want to try to get rid of your high cards first, so you aren't stuck with them at the end of the round!

8s are the wild card of the game.  They can be played at any time and can change the suit to whatever the player wants it to be.
8s are the wild card of the game. They can be played at any time and can change the suit to whatever the player wants it to be. | Source
When Jacks are played the next player is skipped, but they can only be played on top of cards of the same suit or another J.
When Jacks are played the next player is skipped, but they can only be played on top of cards of the same suit or another J. | Source
When 2 is played the next player has to draw two cards, unless s/he plays a 2 or Joker, causing the player after him/her to draw even more cards.  2s can be played on cards of the same suit, other 2s, or on Jokers.
When 2 is played the next player has to draw two cards, unless s/he plays a 2 or Joker, causing the player after him/her to draw even more cards. 2s can be played on cards of the same suit, other 2s, or on Jokers. | Source
Jokers can be played at any time to force the next player to draw 4.  They can also be played on top of 2s or on another Joker to make the following player have to pick up even more cards. They can be used at any time.
Jokers can be played at any time to force the next player to draw 4. They can also be played on top of 2s or on another Joker to make the following player have to pick up even more cards. They can be used at any time. | Source

How to Play

Person sitting to the right of the dealer must put down a card of the same number or suit as the card in the center. This continues around the circle.

If you can't put down a card when it is your turn, you must pick up a card from the deck. If you can play it, you may put it on the stack. If you can't play it, you must hold on to it with the cards in your hand.

When a player is down to one card they must say, "one card!" If another player says it before him/her, the player with one card must draw another from the deck.

If the deck runs out before the round is over, remove the last card played from the stack. Then shuffle the stack and put it facing down--making it the new deck. Continue stacking on the last card that was played.

The round ends once a player gets rid of all the cards in their hand. At the end of the round, all the cards in a player's hand are added up and written down on the paper under their nickname/initial.

The score for the round is added to the score from the previous rounds until a player hits or exceeds the number decided on at the beginning of the game. Then he/she is eliminated from the game. The rest of the players continue to play until only one player remains--ending the game.


Special Cards

The properties of these cards are what make this game interesting.

Crazy 8s - Crazy Eights gets its name from the power 8 cards have. Whenever an 8 is thrown out, the player that plays it can change the suit of the stack to whatever they want (it does not have to be the same suit as the 8 played). 8s can be played no matter what the suit is.

J (Jack) - When a J is played, the next player is skipped. Js can only be played on cards of the same suit or on another J.

Joker - Playing with the Jokers are optional and usually played with only in extended games of 500 points. When a Joker is played the next player must draw four, UNLESS s/he has a Joker or a 2, in which case the player following him/her must either play another Joker or 2 or draw the total amount of cards. Jokers can be played at any time.

2 - When 2s are played the next player has to draw two UNLESS s/he plays a 2 or a Joker, then the following player must either draw the total number of cards or play a 2 or Joker. 2s can be played on other 2s, on Jokers, and on cards of the same suit.

Think you know how to play now?

Like this game?

If you enjoyed this game and would like me to add more Hubs on board games and card games let me know in the comments below! Feel free to also offer suggestions on other fun games to play. :)

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