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by Jimmy Kaplowitz and Kofi Mills

2 or more, but no playtesting has been done with more than three players.

A standard 52-card deck.

To run out of cards.

Four cards are dealt to each player. One additional card is turned face up and placed halfway under the deck. This card determines trump for the game. Unlike in most games, in Anarchy both the number and suit of this card are trump. For example, if the spade4 is turned face up, all 4s and all Spades would be trump. The player to the left of the dealer then plays a card face up in a new pile, which we will call the play pile, if he or she can. The rules of what can be played when follow:

  1. The first card played by the player to dealer's left must be a trump.

  2. A trump is a valid play at any time.

  3. A card of the same value as the top card in the play pile is a valid play at any time.

  4. A card of the same suit as the top card in the play pile is a valid play with certain restrictions:
    1. Once direction has been decided (see below), a card must be in the right direction from the top card in the play pile to be played under this rule. Rules 2 and 3 may enable other cards to be played.
    2. The first card in a non-trump suit that is not an Ace decides direction. An example will explain. The spade10, which is trump, was the previous top card. The diamond10, which is not trump, is the current top card. The diamond6 is now played. The direction is down because the 6 is lower than the 10. Aces are both high and low, which is why they cannot decide direction. In this example, further cards must be below 6 to be played under this rule. Again, rules 2 and 3 may enable other cards to be played.
      Another example: Fives and hearts are trumps, and the first four cards played are heart7-spade7-spade9-club5. Although after the spade9 the direction was up, the club5 (playable because it is a trump) has now changed it to down, so the next play must be a club lower than the 5 or another trump.
    3. Since Aces are both high and low, all cards in a given Ace's suit are both above and below it. Therefore, any card in the same suit as an Ace can be played when the Ace is the top card, regardless of direction.
    4. When a Jack, Queen, or King is played, the direction reverses. However, these cards are otherwise ordinary and follow all the rules regarding valid and invalid plays.

When a player cannot play, he draws a card. When one player runs out of cards, the game ends and he wins.

If you have any comments or questions about this game, you may email Jimmy at .

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Last updated 5th January 2002