The Complete and Unabridged rules of Shit Head and Cut Throat

A DJM (tm) concept and design, Bored (tm) Feb 03 - Jul 06

Contributed by John Green

Introduction

The basics of ShitHead and CutThroat (SH/CT) never change, whichever form of the game you're playing. The major changes are how you play. Some variations will have you avoiding picking up the deck, while in others you'll almost look forward to it. From variation to variation you'll have to change your strategy and understanding of what cards to keep. And while all of this may sound difficult and complicated, this game remains easy as hell. Every person I've taught has always seen me playing CT first and everyone has said WTF, how does that even work. I've never been able to teach someone CTSpades and up, theres too much to remember, and too many little intracities to show. But I've shown them all SH, and let them play till they got it down. I've added in the next tier of rules when they seemed ready for something a little more fun, and just went from there. By the time I'm done adding in all the rules, always a few at a time, they are playing CTGambit like pros, and playing it as easily as they did with SH. This is a game you can spoil by rushing through the rules. I thrown in my recommended order of how the rules should be introduced, and I hope people play it that way until CTG. In the card values section, I've mentioned that most rules can be mixed and matched for a custom game, but that should be when you know the game well, and have a good understanding of how the cards relate and work with one another. When I first started playing SH, after me and a friend added in our first rule, 4 of a kind clear, it was then we said, "This game can be like Chess someday." And I think it has become a bit like that. Different cards with different abilities, normal cards being the pawns, this game has alot of different elements to it. And like Chess, you can't teach someone to be a master in just days. I admit I love this game because these rules are my own, and your own you are always proud of most. I should also say that toward the end of making this game, I spent more than three years creating it, adding something new in as the game got stale, that I started looking towards the internet to see if anyone else had made there own custom game and rules. Gotta admit, it did surprise me that there are a lot of people who play this. And I like that, because as I said earlier, the basics of this game doesn't change. Just the house rules. Seeing all those different ways to play, some similar to my own, some a bit out there for my playing style, kind of had me thinking one thing. This is a damn good game, being able to take this one simple idea and do so much with it. And I noticed one other thing about them all, they all have a mix of luck and strategy, and it seems that that is the appeal to this game. I do hope people enjoy these rules I've made. Maybe they'll introduce you to a brand new game you can share, or maybe you can take something from it and add to your own.

The only thing I have left to say about it is this: this game was meant to be fun, and to have fun with. It's seldom that I play a serious game, and usually then its half assed. Me and my friends have tipped hands to each other, formed aliances against a third player about to go out, (I've seen games where everyone ends up being that third player at some point lol) and at the end of each game, its nothing but laughs, and the loser dealing next hand lol.

Abrv. and Whatnot.

CC---Cancel Cards
CJk---Counter Joker
x4---4 of a Kind
SH---Shit Head
CT/CTS/CTG/CTR---Cut Throat/Spades/Gambit/Ruse
Link2---Means you're using a 2 as a Link instead of a Freeplay. Found it easier to write and understand. Instead of writing, 8,2, 6. You'll see 8, Link2, 6.
Deck---Where players play their cards, all players play there cards in the same deck
Clear Pile---Cards that get discarded after you clear with a 10 or 4 of a Kind (Shithead only)
Bottom Cards---These are the players face down cards, which are last to be played.
Stocking Cards---Means to pick up and keep more cards than are required. Basically, you stock up on good cards.
'Turn Order'---The order that the players turns are in.
'Play in Turn'---Refers to Numerical order
'Play out of Turn'---When a card can be played, that doesn't have to go by numerical order
'X or Better'---X can be any card. Mean you have to play something thats a higher numerical order, or played out of turn.
'Back to You'---Just means for example, you play a 6, and then I play a 6 back to you. Its a play on your own poison move. It also means when your are playing with three plus players, and you play a 3 to reverse rotation back to the last player. Your card back to you.
'Pick and Play'---When there's only one card on deck, and you don't want to play a card from your hand, you pick up the one card on the deck, and play it, ending your turn. A good way to begin a game is to stock a few cards from the pile and pick and play the deck for a few rounds.
Numerical Order---Refers to the order cards are played, lowest to highest, with 4 being lowest and Ace being highest. Only the 4,5,6,7,9,J,Q,K and A are played in numerical order. Typically only regular cards and rule cards go by numerical order.

Card Types

All cards are divided into different catagories, and follow their own set rules on how they can be played. The two main types you'll come across in either SH or CT is 'power cards' and 'rule cards'.

Power Cards2 3 8 Jk
Rule Cards6 J 4 9
Cancel Cards4 7 9 K Spades Only
Counter Joker5 Q Spades only
Regular Cards4 5 7 9 Q K A
EX Cards10 A
Gambits4 5 7 9 Q K A x4

Regular Cards are simpily cards with no abilities. They have to be played in turn with 4 being the lowest card and Ace being highest. Cancel Cards and Counter Cards are considered regular cards when not played for their ability.

Power Cards can be played on almost any turn. Power cards are blocked by 6's when they are used with the Face Cards rule. Power cards are some of the only cards that can be played out of turn, meaning that you can play an 8 on a King, even tho a 8 is less than a King as far as numerical order goes.

Rule Cards can only be played in turn, but unlike regular cards they have abilities. 6,J,4 and 9's are the only rule cards in the game, tho you will generally only used the 6's and J's.

Cancel Cards are speciality cards that follow there own rules. Basically they cancel effects of other cards in the game but at the same time, if they are not played for their cancel abilities, they are just considered regular cards. They are a double edged sword in terms that they are the most powerful cards for stopping others, but are stopped by the regular cards easily. Cancel cards are used to stop 6,8,10 and J, also the 4's and 9's Even and Odd rules when used. Cancel Cards can not cancel the Joker when used, the Joker has its own rules of gameplay. You should also know that, for example, if you play a 4 of Spades on a 10 to cancel it, and you have the other 4's, you can't play them with the cancel card. CC's only have their effect when played alone. You can however play the 4 of Spades with any other 4's when you are just playing it as a 4. This works the same for the other CC's as well.

Counter Cards are another speciality rule that apply only to the Joker. Whenever a Joker is played as a Forced Pickup the next player can lay either a 5 or Q of Spades to pass the buck to the next player, so to speak. The 5 and Q of Spades have no effect otherwise, and when not played on a Jk, they are treated like a regular 5 and Q.

EX cards work like power and rule cards combined, but have some of their own limitations. In the instance of the 10, it's able to be played out of turn like power cards, but are not considered power cards (Jacks as Power Cards rule blocks 10's). The Ace with the Switch and Spades Wild rules plays more like a rule card because it has to be played in turn, but has the effect of being able to be played almost anywhere like a power card. Oh yea, EX, Exceptions. Basically what they are.

Gambits are a CT based rule where a player can discard unwanted cards, draw additional cards, or act like a Joker (Queens Gambit only). Basically when you play x4 of the 4,5,7,9,Q,K or the A, you have the choice of either discarding 4 cards from your hand into the clear pile, or you can either draw four cards or force the next player to pick up four cards from the draw pile. If you play a Gambit as your last four cards, and there are no cards left on the draw pile, you can opt to pick two cards from your face down cards. When a player drops a Queens Gambit it works the same as a Joker would. You should also know that a Queens Gambit can be countered by either a 5 of Spades or the Joker. All Gambits when played end the players turn, and play continues off the deck by the next player. Whenever a Gambit is played the spade card in it gets discarded so the same Gambit can't be played again. You should also note that Gambits work like rule cards, meaning that they have to be played in numerical order. Can't play four 9's on a King for example.

How to Play - Shithead

Used Rules

  • 2 as Freeplay for self
  • 3 as Match
  • 8 as Less than 8
  • 10 as Clear
  • x4 as Clear

All of these rules are in the Card Values section listed below. If this is your first time playing, just go by the rules noted above. The other rules get added in and explained later.

Generally whoever asks someone to play, deals the first hand. You challange, you deal. Every game thereafter, the Cut Throat (winner) plays first, and the Shit Head (loser) deals. A player wins when all of their bottom cards have been played, and they have no cards left in hand.

All games begin the same way, by dealing out three cards face down to all players, these are your bottom cards and will be explained after. Then dealing six cards to each player for their hands, with one card face up in the middle to start the deck. Players have the choice of placing any three cards from their hands on top of their bottom cards so that each player now has three face down with three face up on those, and three cards remaining in their hands. It is usually best to have 2's, 3's, 8's or 10's as your face up cards. For a good strategy it is best to have either a 2 or 10 as a face up card with a pair of anything. While the choice is up to you, the general rule is power cards are gold, high cards are diffently better than low, and pair and triples play out faster.

When all players have finished setting up their cards, play begins by the first player drawing a card from the pile. The player then chooses a card from their hand to play on the deck, ending their turn. Next player draws a card and well, wash, rince and repeat. This is the basic flow of the game, play will continue in this manner until all the cards from the pile have been used. Keep in mind that you should always draw a card at the beginning of your turn, and that there is a three card minimium. Whenever you have less than three cards, automatically draw more cards so you have three in hand again. If you have more than three cards in your hand on your turn, usually because you have picked up the deck on the previous one, you do not need to draw a card from the pile at the start of your turn, although you still can.

I'll say this here before I move on to the game play, there is no difference between playing one, two, three or four like cards on your turn, becides that x4 Clears. This means if I play two 7's on my turn, you can play one, two, three or all four Jacks on yours. That choice is up to you. Sometimes you'll want to play them all, and sometimes you'll find thats its better to split pairs. Best example I can give you for that is if there is a King on top of the deck, and you have a pair of Aces, play one of them, and if the next player plays an Ace back to you, you still have an Ace to fall back on.

Now that you know the turn order and how it works, on to the cards. I'll be explaining this as if there were just two players. In order to play a card on the deck, the player must play equal or higher than what was last played. So if the first card played is a 5, Player A has to play a 5 or better. In this case, its everything becides a 4. So lets say a 9 is played. Player B then has to play a 9 or better. In this case only a 9, J, Q, K or A, or one of the power card, 2, 3, 8 or 10 can be played. Remember, power cards can be played on anything, and are usually good to hold onto to keep yourself from having to pick up the deck. After Player B lays a card, its back to Player A, so on and so forth. When a player can not play on the deck because they have no cards that can be played, they have to pick up the entire deck and add it to their hands. When this happens, the player who picked up gets to play, starting a new deck. Play then goes to the next player and then continues as normal.

After both players have drawn all cards from the pile, and have no cards left in their hands, they then have to start playing their bottom cards. Players pick one card at a time, more if they are playing pairs and whatnot. Whatever they choose, thats the card they have to play on the deck. It goes the same as before, if a player can not play either of their top cards, they have to pick up the entire deck. If the player has to pick up the deck, they add the top card of their choice to the hands along with the deck. They can not pick any more from their bottom cards until they have all of their cards out of their hands. When a player manages to play out all of their bottom cards, and have no cards left in hand, that player is the winner. Players have to play the top three bottom cards, the face up ones before they can touch the face down ones. Remember you can only pick one at a time.

I play a card, you play, I play, the pile is gone, play a bottom card, clear the deck, you play a bottom card, you get yours out first, you win. Thats the game in a nut shell. Works the same for every variation of CT too.

Always remember to have three cards in your hand while playing through the pile, the only time when you would have less is when you get down to your bottom cards.

If you play a pair of 9's for example, as your last play before you get to your bottom cards, and you have a one or two 9's as your top cards, you can play them altogether as a single turn. This is mainly for a small amount of strategy in the game. That, and seeing as you can play any amount of like cards together, it seemed like a good idea and it worked out well.

If you pick up the deck, sort through it and see if you have any 4 of a kinds. Since its your play because you picked up the deck, play your 4 of a kinds and just toss them out to the discard pile. x4 is a clear and clears get tossed right. Then you play again. Or, you can save a x4 Queens or Kings if you had one, works almost as well as a 10.

When theres only one kind of like card or cards on the deck, say three 4's and nothing else, and you have all good cards you'ld rather not play, a couple 2's and 8's, if its your turn you can pick up the deck, add it to you hand and then play it as your turn. Or as we usually do, just say pick and play. You would probably do this at the start of the game to get more and hopefully better cards. It is a minimium of three, but its usually better to have more cards to fall back on.

Always a good idea to play from low to high. When the deck gets up to Kings or whatnot, play an 8 to get the deck lowered. The point of the game is to get the other player to pick up the deck, sure, gives a good advantage, but it helps if both players just play out low cards at the beginning, stocking some good cards and throwing out garbage. Most of my friends when we play against each other, we usually don't try to fuck each other over till the last quarter of the pile, or wait till you get right down to the bottom cards. We kinda made an artform of forcing the deck back and forth, making each other pickup the deck. Were really competitive so we play to win, thats why we ended up calling it Cut Throat.

How to Play - Cut Throat

Playing CT is basically the same. The bottom cards work the same, game flow stays the same. Becides the addition of a couple new rules, it's nearly identical to SH. When playing SH, you'll notice that usually the cards play right out. Theres not alot of picking up the deck, and its not that easy to force the next person to pick up the deck. Mostly you'll pick up the deck because of bad cards. With CT, you'll be better able to control the flow of the cards, and you'll be able to force the next player to pick up the deck in a variety of ways. After playing SH for awhile and then moving on to CT, the biggest change you'll notice is how you play, it almost becomes a different game. In my opinion anyways.

Used Rules

  • 2 as Freeplay for next player
  • 3 as Match
  • 8 as Less Than 8
  • 10 as Clear
  • 6 as Face Card
  • J as Power Card

All of these rules are in the Card Values section listed below. Just go by the rules noted above. The other rules get added in and explained later.

Game play works like SH, read above if you don't know. The game starts by dealing out four cards face down to each player for their bottom cards, then dealing out four more on top of those. In all forms of CT, their are eight face down cards for each player. Works the same as before, playing the top four before the bottom four. Then deal out five cards to each player for their hands. For all CT, its a minimium of five, and a max of ten. This is a pretty loose rule, the min of five works like the min of three in SH, and should be followed. The max of ten is because after playing enough CT, I noticed that almost all cards get to be good cards. Me and a couple friends had the bad habit of stocking almost all the cards in the pile before a single card got played. So to make the game a bit more challenging and to add some structure, we got the idea to cap the card limit at ten . . ish. Like I said, we play for fun, so were not to serious when it comes to things like that. Up to you tho, but i recommend about ten cards max.

Besides the amount of cards dealt out being different, you can no longer play 10's on 8's. The simple reason being, 10's are not less than 8. 10's are a powerful card, and they were unstoppable, so they were given a weakness. You'll also notice x4 no longer clears - this is to add difficulty to the game, and it adds to a later rule.

When players get to their bottom cards, the first card picked is a freebee. If you don't want play that card, or you are unable, you can leave that card face up on your bottom cards and choose a different one. Keep in mind that if you can't play that second card you then have to pick up the deck. The first card you flipped has to stay with the bottom cards. You can't pick any of your bottom cards till you play all the cards in your hand out. If you pick the second card and its the same as the first, whether you can play it or you have to pick up the deck, you can take the first card too. Pairs are pairs after all.

Otherwise, play the game as normal, while using the new rules. Keep in mind that the 6 and Jack are rule cards, and have to be played in turn. Can't play a 6 on a 7 or better, works the same for the Jacks.

How to Play - Cut Throat Spades

Used Rules

  • 2 as Freeplay for next player
  • 3 as Match
  • 8 as Less Than 8
  • 10 as Clear
  • 6 as Face Card
  • J as Power Card
  • Jk as Forced Pickup
  • Use Cancel Cards
  • Use Counter Jokers

All of these rules are in the Card Values section listed below. Just go by the rules noted above. The other rules get added in and explained later.

CTS plays the same as CT explained above. Just add in the ability to force a pick up and stop a 10 from clearing, along with stopping a few others.

You should keep in mind that a Jk is considered a power card and not a face card, so it can be played on the Jacks, but is blocked by 6's. 6's are the only card a Jk can't be played on.

How to Play - Cut Throat Spades Revised

Used Rules

  • 2 as Freeplay for next player
  • 2 as Links
  • 3 as Match
  • 8 as Less Than 8
  • 10 as Clear
  • 6 as Face Card
  • J as Power Card
  • Jk as Forced Pickup
  • Use Cancel Cards
  • Use Counter Jokers
  • Ace of Spades as Wild Card

All of these rules are in the Card Values section listed below. Just go by the rules noted above. The other rules get added in and explained later.

CTSR plays the same as CTS explained above, it's just an addition of rules. Just add in the ability to form chains of cards and you're done. Links are one of my favorite rules. They are useful for forcing someone to pickup, or getting out cards before someone can block you. Some of the usual chains you have are 8 Link2 6, or any less than 8 thats hard to get out, 4 for example. Playing 5 Link2 Queen to get out some garbage cards you might not need. 10 Link2 any CC. Good for when you want the other player to pickup and you don't want to clear the deck. 4 of Spades as a CC Link2 Anything. Kinda works like a freeplay. 2 Link2 is a freeplay for yourself. Freeplay Linked to, right. Theres lots of ways to use Links, try exprimenting.

How to Play - Cut Throat Gambit

Used Rules

  • 2 as Freeplay for next player
  • 2 as Links
  • 3 as Match
  • 8 as Less Than 8
  • 10 as Clear
  • 6 as Face Card
  • J as Power Card
  • Jk as Forced Pickup
  • Use Cancel Cards
  • Use Counter Jokers
  • Use Gambits
  • Ace of Spades as Wild Card
  • Ace as Switch Card

All of these rules are in the Card Values section listed below. Just go by the rules noted above.

CTG plays the same as CTSR explained above, its just an addition of rules. Just add in the ability to draw extra cards, force someone else to stock extra cards, or discard unwanted cards. Its a really useful rule that blended well with the others. Its a powerful option if you can get to play it, or get all four cards for that matter. Its major drawback is that is works like rule cards, so it has to be played in turn. And you have to play all four cards yourself on a single turn. Being played in turn isn't so bad no matter which Gambit you have. A 4's Gambit is low and can be hard to play out. But, play a Jack to force someone to play a power card, if its and 8, score, or you can play 8 Link2 4's Gambit if they play a 3 or another Jack on yours.

Ace as Switch Card rule is an older rule that was never really used. It wasn't really practical in the other forms of CT, but used with the Gambits rule and it makes it alot easier to form a Gambit without having to pick up the entire deck to obtain the cards you need. Gambits are useful, but concentrating on getting one out when its probably better just to get rid of the cards can be bad too. I've been caught and had to pick up the deck a few times because I wouldn't part with a card(s) that I should have earlier in play.

CTG adds in a second Joker of sorts, the Queens Gambit. Always fun when you catch someone with it on there last card and a large deck. And you know that if the Jk is already tossed, you have a good chance of getting it out and not having it come back on you.Remember that a Queens Gambit is not a Jk, it just has the same effect as one. It is not power cards, and can't be played on a Jack like the Jk can. It has to be played like the rest of the Gambits, treated like rule cards.

CTG introduces a new variation with the bottom cards. You no longer have to play all four of your upper bottom cards before you can touch the lower four. As long as theres not an upper card on a lower bottom card, that lower bottom card can be picked and used to play with. The rest stays the same tho, first card picked is a freebee, and if you pick a card that can't be played you have to pick up the deck.

How to Play - Cut Throat Ruse

Used Rules

  • 2 as Freeplay for next player
  • 2 as Links
  • 3 as Match
  • 8 as Less Than 8
  • 10 as Clear
  • 6 as Face Card
  • J as Power Card
  • Jk as Forced Pickup
  • Use Cancel Cards
  • Use Counter Jokers
  • Use Gambits
  • Ace of Spades as Wild Card
  • Ace as Switch Card

All of these rules are in the Card Values section listed below. Just go by the rules noted above.

CTR is a different spin on the game. It hasn't been refined as much as I would like, so I don't play it regularly at the moment. It plays the same as CTG, the major difference is the lack of bottom cards. First player to play out all the cards they have in hand wins. Players draw from a pile as normal, but the pile doesn't have to be played out before someone can win.

This was meant to be a faster way to play, a kinda quickie game. I'll update this if I ever get it to work the way I want it to. Every other form of CT has structure and rules and a sorta guideline that you can follow. This one didn't work out so well. Least, not as well as I'd like.

How to Play - Cut Throat Red and Black

Used Rules

  • 2 as Freeplay for next player
  • 2 as Links
  • 3 as Match
  • 8 as Less Than 8
  • 10 as Clear
  • 6 as Face Card
  • J as Power Card
  • Jk as Forced Pickup
  • Use Cancel Cards - 9 and King of Spades/Hearts
  • Use Counter Jokers
  • Ace of Spades/Hearts as Wild Card

CTR&B is a concept game where the deck gets divided into two piles. One all spades and clubs, the other hearts and diamonds. The game flow is the same as always, bottom cards are three face down with three more face down on those. Winner still decided by who plays out first. This concept was designed to have a balanced game, allowing players equal chance at the cards. This clashes with some of the other rules, mainly because many of the card powers are restricted to the spades only. And making the hearts equal to the spades in terms of CC's and CJk's and whatnot didn't work out so well when I tried a few trial games. Players would play into two different decks so that Gambits and Ace as Switch rule wouldn't be possible. Players would play into their own decks but would be playing off the top card of the other players deck. This is something I'm still working on and with any luck with be just as good or better when I'm done refining the rules and gameplay.

Card Chart

This is nothing more than a reference to the cards individual abilities.


RegularSpadesSecondX4
A------WildSwitchGambit
2Freeplay2nd LinkLink------
3Match------Reverse------
4Even CardCancel/Even------Gambit
5------Counter JkToss FivesGambit
6Face Card------------------
7------Cancel------Gambit
8Less Than 8------------------
9Odd CardCancel/Odd------Gambit
10Clear------------------
JPower Card------------------
Q------Counter Jk------Queens Gambit
K------Cancel------Gambit
JkForce Pickup------Block Gambit------

You may notice that the 4's and 9's have Even/Odd for both their normal cards and spades. This is because they are two different rule explained in the card values section.

Card Values

All cards have unique powers and abilities depending on which form of SH/CT your playing. All of a cards powers are listed together here. You can mix and match most rules here for custom games.


A - Aces are the highest card and normally don't have an ability. In CT the Ace of Spades is a Wild Card that can be played as any card or suit (sometimes played as a K of Spades to cancel and whatnot). It can't be played as a 10, Jk or a CJk, and it can only be played as something that can be played in turn. You can't call it as an 8 to be played on a 6 as Face Card rule for example, 8's are not face cards, even tho its an Ace you're playing.

I've been asked a few times whether or not the Ace of Spades can be played with a 3 of a kind to make a 4 of a kind to stop a Joker. I thought it was a cool idea, and we decided to let it play so, guess its up to you. I don't use it all the time, depends on how serious a game is. It doesn't work with with Gambits tho, the point of them was to get all four of the cards, having just three would be to easy. This rule was meant to be use in the harder forms of the game.

The second ability of the Ace is the Switch Card rule. Bascially, on the player's turn, you can play an Ace in place of the top card on the deck, taking that card into your hand, ending your turn. Switching cards like the name says. The only time you couldn't switch cards, is if the top card on the deck has been played on an 8, Jack or 10, since an Ace can't be played on either of those cards. You wouldn't be able to pick up 10's or the Jk either. Play continues off the Ace to the next player. You should keep in mind that if your only taking one card, you use only one Ace, two Aces for two cards and so on. You can't split pairs when picking up cards tho, so if a pair of 6's are last played, and you only have one Ace, you can't just take one of them. The Ace as Switch rule is meant to replace whatever is last played, be it one, two, three or all four of a particular card, in the case above, you would be leaving one 6 and laying an Ace on it, and thats not how the rule was designed. Ace as Switch rule should be used with the Gambits rule, as it allows you to obtain cards you might need, without having to pick up the entire deck. You should also note that you can only take like cards when there at the top of the deck. If a deck consisted of a pair of 4's, then a 5, then a pair of 7's at the top of the deck, you would only be able to switch for the 7's. Anything lower can not be taken. Some debate on this was that if a King for example was played, then a 3 as Match, with another King played after, could you switch for both Kings using two Aces, or take the 3 too, using three Aces. Neither. You have access to the top King only, because the 3 isn't a like card, even tho is does match what its played on. This is diffently an argueble move. Like a few other rules, I'll leave the call up to you if you want to play this way or that.


2 - When playing SH, 2's are a freeplay for yourself. You can play anything on them, and because their power cards, they can be played on anything. Good when you have a couple 4's or 5's in your hand, and the top card on the deck is a King. Play your 2, draw a card if less than 3, and play again. Draw cards again if you have less than 3 to end your turn.

When playing CT, 2's are a freeplay for the next player. Works the same as above, except the next in line gets to play anything. This is to give the 2's a disadvantage, add some strategy, and it works better with the Link rule than FP's for yourself does.

2's are power cards so they can be played almost anywhere. When playing with 6 as Face Card rules, you can't play a 2, since its not a face card.

*when using Ace of Spades as a Wild Card rule, you can call it as a 2 for an extra link* When playing 2's as Links, you're bascially giving yourself freeplays in a better way. On your turn, you can play cards in a chain, with 2's between them, ie, 4 link2 6 link2 Jack link2 8. That would be one players single turn. The only deal tho is that the cards have to be played in numerical order, meaning you couldn't link a Queen link2 a 6. Can't play a 6 on a Queen right. 2's can't start links, unless there linking off the top card on the deck. 2's are still power cards when used like this, and can still be called as freeplays for the next player. Two ways this rule is usually played is that you can use as many 2's as you have to make long chains, or only one 2 per link can be played, making really short chains. When using only one 2 per link, the 2 of Spades can be called as a second link, and the Ace of Spades played as another 2 of Spades for a third link. Hardcore lol. Anyways, I usually use 2 Links per chain, any 2 can be used. Its up to you.

A couple notes on 2's as Links, you can Link off a 6, providing that the card played after the Link can be played on the 6. you can also Link off a 10, providing that its a CC that gets played after. ie, 10 Link2 4 of Spades. The reason behind this is that 2's being used as Links have no numerical value. Their not considered freeplays or power cards, they are just their to form the chains of cards. Probably sounds more complex than it is.


3 - Simply put, its anything you play it on. If you play it on a 9, it is a 9. If its played on a Jack, you get the idea. Can't be played on a 6 as Face Card rule because its not a face card. Can't be used to match 10's, the Jk, or 5 or Queen of Spades as CJk.

When a 3 is used to start a deck, its played on nothing so it's considered nothing. This is the only time theres anything lower than a 4.

When playing with more than two people, 3's can be used as 3's Reverse rule, where the player order switches rotation every time a 3 is played. They still match whatever they where last played on. It's good for playing cards back to someone. If a player lays down a King to you, you play a 3 and its a King back to them.

When playing with cancel cards, you can't cancel a 3 unless its played on something that can be cancelled. If its played on a 9, it is a 9, and 9's can't be cancelled, played on a Jack, is a Jack, Jacks can be cancelled. The 3 itself can't be cancelled.


4 - The lowest card in terms of numerical value. The only thing technically lower is a 2 or 3 played on nothing. Good for some stratigies in the harder forms of the game.

The 4 of Spades is one of the four Cancel Cards. It can be played on any 6, 8, 10, or Jack. And the 4's and 9's with Even and Odd rules.

One of the seldomly used rules is 4's as Even Cards rule. Whenever a 4 is played the next player has to play either a 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10. Face cards are not even or odd, so they can't be played. This works together with 9's as Odd Cards rule, where you can only play an Ace, 3, 5, 7, or 9 on a 9. No face cards either. This didn't work so well with the other rules in the harder forms of CT. We later just used only the 4 and 9 of Spades as Even and Odd, together with the CC rule. Was cool, stopped using it somewhere along the line. Makes for a varaition tho, so use it if you want.


5 - This card is just for numerical value. Becides the 5 of Spades being a CJk, it does nothing. When playing the game using the Jk as Force Pickup rule, the 5 and Queen of Spades are used as CJks and follow the CJk abilities listed above.

Two friends of mine, Tanis and Natis, who I played with in Cal,Alb. before CT, used to play a rule called Toss 5's. I changed it abit to fit the game better, but i could never get it to really work right. That and I hardly ever play three player games. Anyways, the idea is that when you play a 5, anyone else, no matter if its there turn or not, can toss out their 5's too. Works like a rule card, so you can only really play it on a 4 or 8. Another optional rule you could use for varaition.


6 - Nothing more than numerical value in SH, 6's are Face Cards rule in CT. When a 6 is played, the next player has to play a face card, Jack, Queen, King or Ace. A 6 can be played on a 6 of course, a card always matches its own. Remember that a 6 is a rule card and can only be played in numerical order. It isn't a power card. Just as a note, because I can't stress this enough to the people I've taught, so I'm sure a few people will debate this, you can't play anything becides a face card on a 6. The most common mix up I've noticed is when someone plays a 6, then plays a 2 as a Link, which is fine, but then plays another 2 on top as a freeplay. This doesn't work. A 2 as a Link has no numerical value so it can be played, the second 2 does have value. And since its not a face card, it can't be played. This rule is usually used together with Jack as Power Cards rule.


7 - This card is just for numerical value. The 7 of Spades is one of the CC's, It can be played on any 6, 8, 10, or Jack. And the 4's and 9's with Even and Odd rules.


8 - 8's are power cards and can be played almost anywhere. 8's are Less Than 8 rule, when you play an 8, the next player has to play a lower card for that turn. You only play less for that turn. So either a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 can be played. 8's can be cancelled.


9 - This card is just for numerical value. The 9 of Spades is one of the CC's, It can be played on any 6, 8, 10, or Jack. And the 4's and 9's with Even and Odd rules.

One of the seldomly used rules is 9's as Odd Cards rule. Whenever a 9 is played the next player has to play either a Ace, 3, 5, 7 or 9. Face cards are not even or odd, so they can't be played. This works together with 4's as Even Cards rule, where you can only play a 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 on a 4. No face cards either. This didn't work so well with the other rules in the harder forms of CT. We later just used only the 4 and 9 of Spades as Even and Odd, together with the CC rule.


10 - 10's clear the deck. When a 10 is played, all cards in the deck get discarded for the rest of the game, 10 included. Can't be played on 8's, they're not less than 8. Can't be played on Jacks as Power Cards rule, they're not power cards. Can't be played on 6's as Face cards, they're not face cards. 10's can be cancelled.


J - Nothing more than numerical value in SH, Jacks are Power Cards rule in CT. When a Jack is played, the next player has to play a power card, 2, 3, 8, or Jk. A Jack can be played on a Jack of course, a card always matches its own. Remember that a Jack is a rule and can only be played in numerical order. It isn't a power card. This rule is usually used together with 6 as Face Cards rule. Jacks can be cancelled.


Q - This card is just for numerical value. Besides the Queen of Spades being a CJk, it does nothing. When playing the game using the Jk as Force Pickup rule, the Queen and 5 of Spades are used as CJks and follow the CJk abilities listed above.


K - This card is just for numerical value. The King of Spades is one of the CC's, It can be played on any 6, 8, 10, or Jack. And the 4's and 9's with Even and Odd rules.


Jk - Jokers are Force Pickup rule. When a Jk is played, the next player has to pick up the entire deck. The Jk gets thrown out after being played. Theres two ways to stop a Jk, one way is that if the next player has any 4 of a kind, they can play it, discard the Jk, and no one picks up the deck. Play continues off the 4 of a kind. The other way is that if the next player has either the 5 or Queen of Spades they can force the pick up back to the other player. Keep in mind that both the 5 and Queen of Spades can be used, so the deck can be passed twice.

The Second ability of the Jk, is that it can be used to stop a Gambit. When a Joker is played on a Gambit, you stop the player from discarding or picking up cards. To be fair, when a player lays a Gambit, they should give a moment to see if the other player stops it or not. Play should continue when the player finishing drawing or discarding cards. A second way this rule could be played is that the Jk steals the Gambit, so that whoever lays the Jk can then discard or draw cards. Either way, the Jk gets discarded, and play continues off the deck.


x4 - When playing SH, a 4 of a kind acts like a 10, clearing the deck. A single player doesn't need to play them all themselves though. If one player lays a pair of 9's, and the second player plays the other two, the deck gets cleared and the player who layed the last card plays again. Keep in mind that this is a SH based rule, and should only be used as such.

One of the seldomly used abilities of the x4, is that it is able to block a Jk. Unlike the 5 and Queen of Spades passing the Jk on to the next player, the x4 simply removes the Jk from play, discarding it, having play continue of the x4. When using a x4 to stop a Jk, it can not be called as a Gambit, if the rule is used, at the same time. It has the same principal as the CC's. Its either called for one ability or the other, not both.

x4 are commonly used for Gambits in the later variations of CT, mainly CTG and CTR, and are explained above.


Technicalities and Nuances

You'll notice some of the rules in SH/CT are optional. Not all of them of course but a few. Such as the 2, being able to be called as either a freeplay or used as a Link. Or x4 being called as a Gambit, or just being played for their numerical value. Some cards like the 6, 8, or J have no choice, they are what they are, and should be played as such.

A card can always be played on itself. A 6 can be played on a 6 as Face Card, same as 8 on 8 as less than 8, or Jack on Jack as Power Card. When using Ace of Spades as a Wild Card, regardless of what its called as, another Ace can be played on it, where play continues off the second Ace, as an Ace.

There are times when you can't play a card on itself. Though the only incidents were this happens a 10 on a 10 or when either the 5 or Queen of Spades is played on the Jk, you cannot play any other 5's or Queens after. There reason being is that the Forced Pickup rule is a special case, similar to the 10, and because only the spades effect the Jk, no other card should be allowed to be played. You can't play a 10 on a 10 because a 10 would clear the deck if it isn't cancelled, since a 10 doesn't cancel, then it can't be played.

When playing with the CC rules, when you play a CC you can't play like cards on the same turn. So if you play the 4 of Spades on a 10 to cancel it, and you had the other 4's in your hand, you cannot play them. The reason behind this is that if you want the CC effect, only the Spade has it, the others don't and thus wouldn't be able to be normally played. If you want to play the CC as a normal card however, like cards can be played at the same time. An example of this would be playing a King of Spades on a 6. The King can be normally played because it is a face card, (6 as Face Card rule) so any other Kings can be played as well. CC's only have an ability when played for it. When not played for their ability they are considered as normal cards, and normal like cards can be played together.

An Ace of Spades as Wild Card rule cannot be called as 10, Jk, or either of the CJk's. Similarily, Ace as Switch Card rule can't be used to pickup any 10's, or the Jk. The simple reason is to stunt the Aces abilities, so that it isn't too overpowered. Every card you'll notice have a strong point and weak point. Even the normal cards have the ability to stop rule cards, can't play a 6 as Face Card rule on a 7 no matter how hard you try. Likewise, CC are only good when played on a cancellable card, can't cancel a Queen right.

When I first started playing CT, we had a variation on the game that can be used with either form of the game. Its called Chaos SH/CT and all you have to do is before dealing out any cards you split the pack four ways, discard the top card of each stack without looking at them, and then play as normal. Doesn't seem like much, but when you hold out for a 4 of a kind that isn't there, or watch for the Jk that might have been thrown out, you'll see how removing four cards can have an effect. I think we started using it bcause we got to the point where we were able to count and keep track of practically all of the cards, even know which cards were the bottoms ones, not specifically, just what was down there.