Contributed by Paul Wright

You will need:

30 cards from a standard pack of playing cards as shown below:

  • Ace x 2
  • Two x 4
  • Three x 6 (use the two jokers as threes)
  • Four x 3
  • Five x 3
  • Six x 3
  • Seven x 2
  • Eight x 3
  • Nine x 4

Each player will require 3 tokens to represent their lives. You can use coins, matchsticks or whatever is to hand.

A maximum of six people can play.

How to Play:

The thirty cards are shuffled and five dealt to each player. The player on the dealers left goes first and places down an ace if they have one, followed by a four if they have one etc putting down as many cards as they can to form the digits of Pi (beginning after the decimal point). If player A cannot lay down a card they do one of two things:-

  1. If there were less than six players at the start then player A picks up one card from those not dealt at the start. Play then moves to the next player.
  2. If there were six players at the start and no cards left over or there were cards left over but during the course of the game they have run out then player A does nothing and play moves on to the next player.

Play continues until one player is left with the last card and that player loses a life. If a player loses all three lives that player is out of the game. The cards are then shuffled and play continues as above until all but one has lost all three of their lives.

In case you need reminding the first 30 digits of Pi are:


Clearly it's possible to play a similar game using the decimal expansion of any irrational number, such as e, the square root of 2 or the golden section. Take your pick. Or indeed you could use any sequence of digits that takes your fancy. The number of cards of each value in the deck will need to be adjusted to match the chosen number, of course.

Last updated: 6th July 2008