Crazy Eights Rules - Instructions and common scoring variants clearly explained (2024)

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Crazy Eights is a great family game or party game, playable with a single deck of standard playing cards. Gameplay is similar to UNO, and each player tries to be the first to get rid of all the cards in their hand.

Be sure and check out our rules variants below to add even more fun and variety to your games of Crazy Eights!

Crazy Eights Summary

The object of Crazy Eights is to be the first player to rid their hand of all cards. The player who does this first is the winner.

Optionally, the game may be played to a set score (usually 100 points) over multiple hands, in which case the winner is the player who has the lowest score at the end of the game.

Playing time varies depending on the number of players, but for 2 to 4 players, play time is approximately 5 minutes per hand or 20 minutes for a game of multiple hands.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS

Two to six players is best, but Crazy Eights can be played with anywhere from 2 to 10 players.

CRAZY EIGHTS COMPONENTS

To play Crazy Eights, you’ll need a single standard 52-card deck of playing cards.
(If playing with more than five players, we recommend that you combine two decks to create a single 104 card deck.)

How to Play Crazy Eights

The Deal

One player is chosen randomly as the dealer. After each hand, the player to the left of the current dealer will become the new dealer.

The dealer shuffles the deck. Then, beginning with the player to their left, they deal out 5 face-down cards to each player. Players take their cards into their hand and look at them.

The dealer places the remainder of the deck face-down in the center of the table to form the draw pile and then draws the top card and places it next to the draw pile to form the discard pile. (If this card happens to be an 8, bury it in the middle of the draw pile and then draw a new card to begin the discard pile.)

Gameplay

Beginning with the player to the dealer’s left and proceeding clockwise around the table, each player in turn may play and discard one card from their hand to the top of the discard pile. This card must match the card that is currently on top of the discard pile. A card matches if it has the same number or the same suit (Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades).

However, all 8s are wild! This means that an 8 of any suit may be played on any other card regardless if it matches the suit or number of that card. When a player plays an 8, they must then specify a suit for the card. It may be any suit, not just the one that matches the card.

If a player is unable to play a card onto the discard pile, they must draw cards from the draw pile until they are able to make a valid play, or until the draw pile runs out of cards. If the draw pile runs out of cards or is empty, the player must pass instead.

A player may always choose to not play a card on their turn if they so choose.

Example: If the top card on the discard pile was a 6 of Hearts, one of the following cards could be played on it:

  • An 8 card of any suit
  • A 6 card of any suit
  • A Hearts card of any denomination

Crazy Eights Rules - Instructions and common scoring variants clearly explained (1)

Example: If an 8 of Diamonds were played on the 6 of Hearts, the player who played the 8 of Diamonds must then specify the new suit of the 8 card: Diamonds, Clubs, Spades, or Hearts. The next player then must play either any 8 or any card that matches that chosen suit.

Scoring

When playing only a single hand of Crazy Eights, no scorekeeping is necessary. The winner is the first player who successfully rids their hand of all cards.

When playing to a set score over multiple hands, the round ends immediately when one player gets rid of all their cards. That player scores zero points. Each other player scores points equal to the value of the cards remaining in their own hand:

Each Eight = 50 points
Each King, Queen, Jack, or 10 = 10 points
Each Ace = 1 point
Each other card is worth its numerical value (e.g., a 3 is worth 3 points and a 9 is worth 9 points)

Keep a running tally of each player’s score.

Winning Crazy Eights

When playing only a single hand of Crazy Eights, the winner is the first player who successfully rids their hand of all cards.

When playing to a set score over multiple hands, the game ends when one player reaches a score of 100 points or more. The winner of the game is the player who has the lowest total score.

Example: In a four-player game, Kara has earned a total of 112 points at the end of a round. Since her score exceeds 100 points, the game is now over. The players’ scores are as follows:

Kara = 112 points
Daniel = 51 points
Luis = 64 points
Emily = 72 points

Daniel wins since he has the lowest score.

Crazy Eights Rules Variations

Crazy Eights is a game that has dozens and dozens of variants and options and house rules, so feel free to modify your game with any of these most popular rules variants.

Draw Limit

If you don’t have a valid card to play on your turn, you draw a maximum of 5 cards
(or, alternatively, 3 cards)

Bigger Deal

Increase the number of cards dealt to players at the beginning of the game. For example, deal 6 cards or 8 cards to each player instead of 5.

Larger 2-player Starting Hands

If playing with only 2 players, deal 7 cards to each player at the beginning of each hand.

Last Card Warning

In this variant, any player who has only a single card left in their hand must say a specific word or phrase. This word could be “one” or “last card” or any other words chosen by the group.

High Score Wins

In this version of Crazy Eights, the winner of each hand earns the points left in all other players’ hands. Therefore, the winner of the game is the player who first obtains a combined score of 100 or more points.

More Special Cards

Other cards besides 8s can be given special abilities. You can add any or all of the following to your games:

  • Queen = Skip a player
    When a Queen is played, the next player in turn order is skipped and the player after them goes instead. (In a 2-player game, the same player who played the Queen simply plays again.)
  • Ace = Reverse direction
    When an Ace is played, the direction of play reverses. If play was proceeding in a clockwise fashion, it now proceeds counterclockwise, or vice versa.
  • Two = Draw cards
    When a Two is played, the next player must either draw 2 cards or play another Two. An Eight may not be played in this situation. If more than one Two is played in a row, any player who is unable to play a Two then has to draw two cards for each Two in the sequence. After these penalty cards have been drawn, play proceeds to the next player who may then play any card of the same suit as the last Two played, or they may play an Eight or another Two.

When dealing cards at the beginning of a hand, if one of these special cards is drawn, treat it as though the dealer played it.

If the last card played in a hand is a special card, ignore the effects.

Crazy Eights Rules - Instructions and common scoring variants clearly explained (2024)
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