Crazy Eights is a simple game that anyone can play. To begin the game Cards are shuffled and dealt seven cards to each player. It can be played by two, three, or four or even more players, as long as each player can receive seven cards in their hand. There will be a draw pile left over from the cards dealt. The top card is then flipped over to start a discard pile.
To begin play, the person to the left of the dealer draws one card, and then discards one card. The object is to eliminate all cards from your hand. The card that is discarded must follow suite of the top card of the discard pile. That means if a diamond is showing face up, then the discard must match the same suite, or the same number from a different suite. Playing a different suite however, will change the card to follow to that new suite. To elaborate, a seven of clubs played on a seven of hearts will now make the suite to follow clubs.
So if you play a four on a four, and you go from a diamond to a spade. The suite to follow is now a spade. If you hold a card in your hand that follows suit, you may decide to just follow suite rather than change the suite, because it may be difficult to get the suite back to diamonds again later in the hand. You must make this decision. The best way to play generally is to follow suite until you have no choice but to play a different suite. However, it may be to your advantage to change suites to prevent another player from playing from his/her hand. If you do not have a card in your hand that will play, you must continue to draw cards and add them to your hand until you get a card that will play. Either by following suite, or by changing the suite to follow.
The eights however can change the play to any suite you wish. They are the magic cards. An eight of any suite will play. No matter what card was played prior to the eight, but after the eight is thrown, the cards discarded from that point until the suite changes again, must follow the suite that the person playing the eight has chosen.
To explain this a little deeper, if the suite to follow is a heart, and a four of hearts has been the last card played. And you find you do not have a heart in your hand, or if you have an abundance of a different suite in your hand, and you have an eight of spades, you can play that eight of spades on the four of hearts, and change the suite to follow to your choice. That means you can play that eight of spades, and change the suit to diamonds or clubs or spades at your whim. The next player must play the card that matches your choice. No matter what it is. If he/she does not have a card that matches your choice of suites, they must draw until they get a card that either matches that suite, or one that is an eight of another suite to change it to their choice.
Play continues until one player runs out of cards in their hand, or no one else can play after one full turn of the table by all players, where every player passes, because there are no cards left in the draw pile. The person with no cards in their hand wins that hand, and the other players count their cards and the winner gets all the points from their hand. If no one can play, the card in every players hand must be added and the lowest number of points in that hand is the winner. The game can be played to any set number agreed upon prior to the game. Usually 500 points. But if you wish to make it a higher or lower score it must be agreed to by each player before play begins.
The cards are counted as points in this way:
Aces equal 15 points each.
Face cards or picture cards and 10’s equal 10 points each.
All cards less than ten equal 5 points each.
The points are tallied after each hand and added to the winners total score, and continue until the goal, (usually 500 points) is reached. The person to reach the goal first is the winner of the game. Should more than one player exceed the goal during the same game, the highest scorer wins.
That’s it. Like I said the game is fairly simple, but it can occasionally be frustrating trying to eliminate the cards from your hand first. But it is a fun way to pass the time, and a great way to keep friends and guests occupied and entertained for a short time. One game usually lasts for about an hour or so. But there is no set time limit. The total score determines the winner.