The game is played with at least two full decks, including the jokers. There are seven rounds. Each player gets 11 cards in each round except the last, when you get 13 cards. Jokers and twos are wild cards. The object in each round is to lay down enough cards to meet the target for the round, then get rid of all of your cards (“go out”). By round, the targets and points earned by the player who goes out first are:
|1||2 sets of 3||5|
|2||1 set of 3; 1 run of 4||10|
|3||2 runs of 4||15|
|4||3 sets of 3||20|
|5||2 sets of 3; 1 run of 4||25|
|6||1 set of 3; 2 runs of 4||30|
|7||3 runs of 4||35|
You can use wild cards to make the set (same value of card regardless of suit) or run (4 or more cards in order in the same suit), but you must have at least as many natural cards as wild cards (e.g., a 4-card run can have up to 2 wild cards; a 6-card run can have up to 3 wild cards).
The dealer turns the top card on the deck face up to start the discard pile. The player to the left of the dealer starts. On your turn, you must either take the face-up card or draw a card from the top of the deck; at the end of your turn, you must discard a card face up on the discard pile.
Any other player can ask to take the exposed card in the discard pile by saying “May I”. The current player has first choice of the card. If he/she doesn’t want it, the person who “May I’d” gets the card and must take the top card of the deck as a “penalty card”. If more than one person wants the card, the closest person to the left of the current player gets it. You can “May I” at most 3 times in a given round. Once the “May I” is resolved, the current player takes the top card from the deck. If no one wants the exposed card, play proceeds and the exposed card is no longer available to take.
On your turn, you may take as many of the following actions as possible:
- Exchange a natural card in your hand for a wild card on the board that other players have lain down.
- Lay down the target sets and/or runs; the sets can consist of more than 3 cards and the runs can consist of more than 4 cards. You cannot, hover put down additional sets or runs beyond what is specified in the target.
- Once you have “gone down” with the target sets and/or runs, you can play additional cards from your hand on the cards on the table. You can add cards to sets or extend runs.
- At the end of your turn, you must discard a card from your hand. You must be careful, however, NOT to discard a card that could be used somewhere on the board. If you do and another player notices, they can yell “Shanghai!” In this event, the offending card is played on the board (the player who yelled “Shanghai!” decides where to put it if there are multiple options) and the player who discarded it must draw a card at random from the hand of the player who yelled “Shanghai!”
Once a player has gone out, the remaining players are assessed points for the cards left in their hand as follows:
- Wild cards – 50 points
- Aces – 15 points
- Face cards and 10’s – 10 points
- 3 to 9 – 5 points
The amount assessed for the round is calculated by summing these amounts. The player who went out is charged zero. These points are totaled over the 7 rounds. The player with the fewest points after the 7th round earns 70 points as a bonus. At the end of the game, each player adds the points earned from the individual rounds (i.e., earned by going out) and, if applicable, the 70 bonus points. The player with the most total points is the winner.
The Bear Knows Best home page: http://thebearknowsbest.com/
Card and Dice Games Menu: http://thebearknowsbest.com/card-and-dice-games/