Created by Jason Reed


To be the first player to get rid of every card from your Hand, Import Pile, and Export Pile.

Before Play

Use standard 52-card decks with Jokers (two Jokers in each deck). Cards rank from high to low A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. It is best to combine decks, having one deck for each player.

Remove as many 6s from the pack as there are players and place one 6 face up in front of each player. These begin the players' Tolerance piles. Place the remainder of the cards face down in a stack where all players can easily reach it. This is the Stock Pile. Each player draws 7 cards from the top of the Stock Pile and keeps them in his or her Hand. The players' Import Piles and Export Piles are empty at the start of the game. Play begins with a player chosen by whatever means you wish and proceeds clockwise.

Each Turn

You must normally have a minimum of 7 cards in your Hand at the beginning of each turn. If you don't and there is still a Stock Pile, draw from the Stock Pile until you have 7 cards.

Once the Stock Pile runs out, everyone turns his or her Import Pile over and places them face down on the left of his or her Tolerance Pile. This forms the Export Pile. The Stock Pile never gets refilled. If your Export Pile is empty at the start of your turn and the Stock Pile is gone, turn your Import Pile over, if you have one, to form a new Export Pile. If your Export Pile runs out while drawing at the beginning of your turn, then turn your Import Pile face down to make a new Export Pile and continue drawing. Only if the Stock Pile and your Export and Import Piles are both empty can you play with a Hand of fewer than 7 cards.

You then have a choice of either

  • Sabotaging and/or Shipping to your opponent,
  • Hiring a new customs worker or
  • drawing an additional card to end your turn.

You must perform exactly one of these actions each turn unless you don't have an Import or Export Pile and must pass.

Sabotaging and Shipping

During both the Sabotage Phase and the Shipping Phase, your available options depend heavily on your opponent’s Tolerance Pile. The value of the top card of an opponent’s Tolerance Pile is his or her Import Tolerance. A card with a value higher than an opponent’s Import Tolerance is Illegal. A card with a value the same as or lower than an opponent’s Import Tolerance is Legal. If the opponent has no Import Tolerance, any card is Legal.

Playing a Joker is called Bribing. You can play a Joker on any card and it allows you to play any card after it, regardless of the suit or rank of your card or the Import Tolerance of your opponent. Any cards played after it must still be the same suit or rank as the previous one, however.

Sabotage Phase

During the Sabotage Phase, you concentrate on your opponent’s Tolerance Pile. To Sabotage an opponent, you must start with a Legal card or Joker and play one other card that matches the suit of it on your opponent’s Tolerance Pile. The purpose of Sabotaging is to leave your opponent’s Import Tolerance with a higher value than it previously had, making more cards Legal to Ship to them. Thus, most Sabotage plays involve playing a Legal card with an Illegal card of matching suit after it.

If the Illegal card you play is a face card, as soon as you play the face card, remove all the cards from your opponent’s Tolerance Pile, including the cards you just played, and place them at the bottom of his or her Export Pile. This leaves your opponent wide open and every card Shipped to them is Legal.

Shipping Phase

Whether you first Sabotaged your opponent or not, you may Ship to them during this phase. During Shipping, cards are played face up on an opponent’s Import Pile. If they don’t have an Import Pile, start one for them in front of his or her Export Pile. To Ship to an opponent, the first card you play must be Legal. You may play any other Legal cards as long as they are the same suit or rank as the card played before it. You may Smuggle one Illegal card after it as long as it matches the suit of the card played before it. If you Smuggle an Illegal card, you can only Smuggle one and it must be the last card played. For example, if an opponent's Import Tolerance is a spade9, you could Ship heart6-heart2-diamond2-diamond10. The 10 would end the Shipment since it is higher than 9, and thus Illegal.

All the cards that were Shipped are counted. In the previous example, you would add the result of the 6 (transfer 6 cards), 2 (transfer 2 cards), 2 (transfer 2 cards), and 10 (transfer 10 cards). This Shipment would allow you to transfer 20 cards.

Result of Shipping

These only take effect during the Shipping Phase, not the Sabotage Phase. Unless otherwise specified, Shipped cards transfer cards from the top of the Stock Pile (until it runs out, in which case the cards are transferred from your Export Pile) onto the opponent's Import Pile, face up. Your opponent must be given the chance to Fire his or her customs worker before you begin transferring any cards. Number cards transfer the same number of cards as their value. Face cards transfer the following:

Value Result
Jack Draw the top card from your Export Pile and play it on top of your Jack. Transfer double the amount that card can transfer (face cards don't transfer any).
Queen Double the number of cards transferred by the cards played before the Queen this turn.
King Transfer your entire Import pile.
AceTransfer your entire Export Pile. If there is still a Stock Pile, this card doesn't transfer any.

Firing the Customs Worker

If an opponent Ships an Illegal card to you and you have a face card in your Hand, you may stop the result of the Illegal card by Firing your customs worker. To Fire him, remove your Tolerance Pile and place it and the face card you played at the bottom of your Export Pile. The Illegal card is still played and any cards played before it still transfer their entitled cards. You won't have a Tolerance Pile until you hire a new customs worker.

Hiring a New Customs Worker

To lower the chance of another playing being able to Ship to you, you may Hire a new customs worker by replacing the cards in your Tolerance Pile with one from your Hand. The card you place down must be of the same suit as the top one currently there unless you don't have a Tolerance Pile, in which case you can place any card down. All the cards that were in the Tolerance Pile then go to the bottom of your Export Pile and your turn ends.

The End of the Stock, Import and Export Piles

Export Piles remain empty until the Stock Pile is gone. If you are transferring cards from the Stock Pile (as a result of Shipping to another player) when the Stock Pile runs out, your turn ends. Once the Stock Pile runs out, everyone turns his or her Import Piles face down on the left of their Tolerance Pile to form Export Piles. If you are in the process of transferring cards from your Export Pile (as a result of Shipping to another player) when your Export Pile runs out and you have cards in your Import Pile, your turn ends. Only if there are no cards in your Import Pile when your Export Pile runs out while you are transferring cards can you continue by picking cards from your Hand.

End of the Game

The game continues until a player wins by getting rid of all the cards in their Import Pile, Export Pile, and Hand. This can only be done once the Stock Pile is used up and happens by means of Shipping to another player's Import Pile, the result of which is to transfer so many cards that those 2 piles and Hand are exhausted.

Alternative Rules

To drastically change the feel of the game or just have some variety, you may play with these alternative rules.

Instead of taking turns, all players play cards at the same time. However, you may not Sabotage or Ship to anyone if you are currently being Shipped to, nor can you Sabotage or Ship to anyone who is currently being Sabotaged and/or Shipped to until that player begins his or her next action. You still must give your opponent a chance to Fire his or her customs worker before transferring cards as a result of a Shipment. All other rules apply.

Last updated: 17th March 2011