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Last Card is a popular card game played in New Zealand in schools and gaming venues. It is similar in most aspects to Uno, Mau Mau or Crazy Eights but several rules differentiate it, for instance the function of a particular card.
Pick up rules
When a 5 has been played, the following player must draw five cards or play another 5 (stacking), forcing the next player to do the same or be forced to pick up ten (the original 5 plus the following 5) cards. (With there only being four 5 cards in a standard deck, the maximum draw is 20 cards.)
When a 2 has been played, the following player must draw two cards or play another 2 (stacking); the subsequent player is then required to play another 2 card or draw four (the original 2 plus the following 2) from the deck. (With there being four 2 cards in a standard pack the maximum draw required is 8 cards.)
When a 10 card has been played, the following player misses a turn.
An Ace can be played regardless of the suit or value of the topmost card on the playing deck—that is, the Ace may be played at any time in the game. When playing an Ace, the player can decide freely the suit that has to be played next; from then on, play continues as normal, but on the suit selected by the player of the Ace. The Aces suit must match if this is the game-winning play.
When a player has only one card remaining in their hand they must say 'Last Card'. Failure to do so before playing requires them to draw two cards from the deck and continue playing.
A variation of the "Pick-up rule" is that you can play a 2 on to a 5. A further variation of this dictates that this is only possible when the two cards are of the same suit. This increases the draw limit from 8 or 20 to 28.
Yet another variation of the "Pick-up rule" is that playing a 2 results in the next player having to pick up 2 cards, with no defence available. Playing a 4 results in the next player having to pick up 4 cards. A 4, however, can be defended by "stacking" a 5 (of any suit), which also reverses play, forcing the player who originally played the 4 to now pick up 5 cards. This can be defended and reversed again by playing a 6, and so on up to a 10.
A J card changes the direction of play, if you play clockwise it changes to the now play anticlockwise until someone else puts another J down. If two J are played then play remains unchanged, if three J played then the direction of play is changed.
Starting card rules
When all of the cards have been dealt to each player, the top card on the deck is flipped over to commence play. This card only dictates the starting suit and nothing else. If the first player is unable to follow suit they must pick-up one card as normal. The Joker card will not be used.
The following rules are optional:
- Queens, 3s or 7s can function as a block card to nullify the effect of 2 or 5 card
- You may finish on multiple cards of the same number, but only if 'Last Cards' is declared
- Jokers may be used. These can be used as any card the player wishes (as long as it is a valid card to play on top of the previous one), including 5s and 2s. This increases the draw limit to 12, 30 or 38, depending on the rules of that particular game.
- You can not put a 3 or 5 or 2 for your last card.
OBT Card Games pages 17-19, 127 (glossary)
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