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How to Play the Card Game Called Bastard (Also Known as Shithead, Shed, Palace or Karma)

Updated on November 17, 2016
Source

There are many different versions of this card game, so its possible that your friend does know how to play, they just call it something different! The game is played in many countries across the world. It is simple and easy to play once you have the hang of it. The main thing you must do is agree what rules you are playing from the start, to avoid arguments halfway through because one of the players knows different rules.

The basic Bastard rules

The basic rules for playing the game are below, with details of the some of the variations you might want to try at the end.

What you need

You need standard sets of 52 playing cards.

If between 2 and 4 people are playing use one pack of cards.

If between 4 and 9 people are playing use two packs of cards.

Dealing of the cards

  1. Shuffle the cards.
  2. Deal 3 cards face down in front of each player.
  3. Deal 3 cards face up on top of the cards you have just dealt.
  4. If there are more than 3 players, deal out 3 cards for each .player
  5. If there are less than 3 players, deal out 5 cards
  6. Put the remaining cards in a pile in the middle

Layout of the cards
Layout of the cards

Aim

Your aim is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

How to decide who starts

The player who gets to start is the first person who says they have a card of the value 3 in their hand. If no player has a 3, it is the person who has a 4, if no 4 then the player who has a 5, and so on.

If more than 1 player has a 3, then go with the person nearest to the left of the dealer.

Moving

The first person must start a pile of cards face up in the centre. They must play a card from their hand (or any number of cards of the same value in the centre).

Once they have played a card they must pick up another card from the face down pile in the centre, so that they always have 5 (or 3) cards in their hand.

The next player to the left must play a card that beats the previous card in the centre. If they cannot beat the card in the centre they must pick up the face up pile of cards, and play transfers to the next person to the left.

The four suits of playing cards are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Bastard is unusual amongst card games as the suit of the cards do not really matter. It is the values that count.
The four suits of playing cards are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Bastard is unusual amongst card games as the suit of the cards do not really matter. It is the values that count. | Source

What cards you can play to beat another card

The basic rule is that you must play cards of the same value, or higher than the player before you.

For example if the player before you plays a 6, you must play a 6's or higher. If you have more than one card of the same value you can play them together. Aces are high. Suits do not matter.

Some cards also have special properties, and you can play the game with different variations of the rules. (It is important to agree these in advance of playing).

For the first time I recommend using:

10

burns the pack - this means that you can play a 10 on anything, and all the cards in the pile in the centre are removed from the game.

2

can be played on anything.

4 of a kind

Playing burns the pack - if someone plays 4 cards of the same value all the cards in the pile in the centre are removed from the game


Winning the game

Once the pack of cards in the centre, and a player has no more free cards in their hand, they can start playing the 3 face up cards that were dealt to them at the beginning.

Only once the 3 face up cards have all been successfully played, can the 3 face down cards be played. These must be played blind, and if they do not beat the card in the centre, the deck in the middle must be picked up.

The winner is the first person to have no cards left.

Variations on the rules

You can give other cards special properties. Remember to agree what variations you are playing with at the start. It is usually best to have 3 or 4 special cards.

7's are invisible. This means you can play a 7 on any other card, and the person who takes a turn next to you must play a card that beats the card before the 7.

8 or wait. The player who takes a turn next must either play an 8 or skip a turn.

or

8 wait - The player next to you skips a turn

9 or lower - The player whose next turn it is must play a 9 or lower value card.

Jack back - reverses the order of play


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