A strategic, fast-paced stacking game for 2-4 players by Mason Yeater .
Use one traditional (French) pack of 52 cards.
Object: To earn the most points by stacking cards A-10 on a point grid of face cards.
Setup: Separate all face cards (J Q K) and arrange them face up on the table in a 4x4 grid as shown:
|K (9)||K (10)||K (11)||K (12)|
|Q (5)||Q (6)||Q (7)||Q (8)|
|J (1)||J (2)||J (3)||J (4)|
These are the point cards. Point values in parentheses. (Remember: clubs represent the lowest points in the row and diamonds the highest. 78 points are available each game.)
Now distribute the rest of the cards A-10 depending on the number of players:
- 2 players: Each player takes all cards A-10 of one color (totaling 20 cards per player). 4 cards per hand, five hands.
- 3 players: Each player takes all cards A-10 of one suit (totaling 10 cards per player). The last suit is removed from the game. 2 cards per hand, five hands.
- 4 players (with or without partnerships): Each player takes all cards A-10 of one suit (totaling 10 cards per player). Players with like color being partners, alternating seats around table. 2 cards per hand, five hands.
Play: Each shuffles their cards and draws one. Highest card goes first.
Each player shuffles their cards again, places them face down in front of them, and then draws 2 cards (4 cards for the 2-player game) from the top their pile to form their initial hand.
Starting with the first player and moving clockwise, each player places one of their cards on top of one of the point cards on the grid. Place cards horizontally so the rank and suit of the point cards are still visible. Play continues until all players run out of cards in their hands.
If a card has already been placed over a point card, the next card placed in that position by an opponent must be of equal or greater rank than the previously placed card. Rank is 2 low, 10 high. An ace may be played on any card, and any card may be played on an ace.
If players wish to place a new card over a card they (or their partner) have previously played, they may disregard rank.
Players may sometimes be forced to place a new card over a card they have previously played when there are no other valid spaces to play (i.e. there are no empty point cards and all the cards played by their opponent(s) are greater in value).
When all players have played the cards in their hands they each draw a new hand of 2 (or 4) cards and play resumes. This continues until all the cards have been played: there will be five rounds of rounds of 2-card (or 4-card) hands, after which all players should run out of cards.
The top card on each pile earns the points indicated by the point card underneath. Any point cards left empty are unscored. Highest total points wins. (Partners in the 4-player game pool their points together for a total.) Ties are ties.
Because the last player may have an advantage, it is recommended to play at least a number of games equal to the number of players, rotating player order so everyone has an opportunity to be the last player. Also, when playing the first several games, it can be helpful to use sticky notes to index the number of points each point card is worth.