Crazy Eights

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Crazy 8's
8 playing cards.jpg
In Crazy Eights, playing an 8 card will change the current suit of the game.
Skills requiredTactics and communication
PlayClockwise and counter-clockwise
Playing timeVarious
Random chanceMedium
Related games
Mau Mau, Uno

Crazy Eights is a shedding-type card game for two to seven players. When the player is at three cards left (aka the turn before the player puts down their card) the player must yell “meow”. The object of the game is to be the first to get rid of all the player's cards to a discard pile. The game is similar to Switch and Mau Mau.[1]

A standard 52-card deck is used when there are five or fewer players. When there are more than five players, two decks are shuffled together and all 104 cards are used.


The game first appeared as Eights in the 1930s,[1] and the name Crazy Eights dates to the 1940s, derived from the United States military designation for discharge of mentally unstable soldiers, Section 8.[2][3]

There are many variations of the basic game, and a number of different names including Craits, Last One, Mau-Mau, Pesten, Rockaway, Swedish Rummy, Switch, Last Card, Screw Your Neighbor, Püskiyon, and Tschausepp. Bartok, Mao, Quango, Zar, Taki, and Uno are more extreme variations.

David Parlett describes Crazy Eights as "not so much a game as a basic pattern of play on which a wide variety of changes can be rung," noting that players can easily invent and explore new rules.[1]

Basic play[edit]

Five cards are dealt to each player (or seven in a two-player game).[4] The remaining cards of the deck are placed face down at the center of the table. The top card is then turned face up to start the game.

Players discard by matching rank or suit with the top card of the discard pile, starting with the player left of the dealer.[5] They can also play any 8 at any time. If a player is unable to match the rank or suit of the top card of the discard pile and does not have an 8, they draw a card from the stockpile. When a player plays an 8, they must declare the suit that the next player is to play; that player must then follow the named suit or play another 8.

As an example: Once 6 is played the next player:

  1. can play any of the other 6s
  2. can play any of the clubs
  3. can play any 8 (then must declare a suit)
  4. can draw from the stockpile until willing and able to play one of the above

The game ends as soon as one player has emptied their hand. That player collects a payment from each opponent equal to the point score of the cards remaining in that opponent's hand. 8s score 50, court cards 10 and all other cards face value. If the players run out of cards in the deck, the player with the lowest point score in their hand scores the difference between that hand and each opponent's hand.[1]

The winner of the game is the first player to reach a specific number of points. For two players it is 100 points, three players 150, four 200, five 250, six 300 and for seven players 350.


One Variation is all players are dealt 7 cards.

Some variants give special effects to particular cards or combinations:

  • Black Aces are pick up 10. Red Ace will cancel this but another Black Ace will pick up 20.
  • 2s are pickup 2 from the deck. When stacked or paired with other 2s they add to the total you pick up. Example: Three 2s is total of 6 cards picked up from the deck.
  • 8s are Miss-A-Go.
  • Queen of Spades is pickup 5 from the deck
  • 9s reverse the rotation.
  • If Js aren't being used to reverse the rotation, in a non-stack game they can be used to stack a card of the same suit.

Another variant states 10 cards are dealt by a dealer. A 2 causes the next person to pick up 2 cards. An 8 causes the next person to miss a go. A Jack causes the active suit to change. An Ace changes the direction of play.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d David Parlett, Oxford Dictionary of Card Games, pg. 291 - Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-19-869173-4
  2. ^ Rauf, written by Don (2013). Simple rules for card games : instructions and strategy for twenty card games (1st ed.). New York: Potter Style. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7704-3385-7.
  3. ^ Rome, Ben H.; Hussey, Chris (2013). Games' most wanted : the top 10 book of players, pawns, and power-ups (First ed.). University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-1-59797-723-4.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Taylor, John (4 October 2019). "Crazy Eights Game Rules". Retrieved 5 October 2019.