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Hand and Foot

A game that is too complicated for its own good despite being insanely boring, takes way too long, and is far from the best way to use a deck of cards, or an afternoon. You can tell it's a game played by farm people, right? ^_~ It's an awesome game, nonetheless (ok, so now you can tell I'm related to farm people...), and just in case you actually would like to learn how to play it, here goes:

  • Shuffle together at least five decks of cards; six or seven, or more, is better, but five's the absolute minimum
  • Find another person to play with you, or two more people, or three more people, or five more people [ie, there should be 2, 3, 4 or 6 people playing total]
  • Try to pick up exactly 22 cards - if you do, you get 100 points (yippee!) - and seperate them into two stacks of 11 cards each
  • Take one of those stacks, and set it off to the side - this is your "foot," which we'll get to momentarily
  • The other stack is your hand: pick it up and look at it
Ok, here's where things start to get a little messy. First, point values of cards:

  • 4s through 7s: 5 points
  • 8s through Kings: 10 points
  • Aces: 20 points
  • Jokers (which are wild cards): 50 points
  • Twos (also wild cards): 20 points
  • Black threes (not playable): 5 points
  • Red threes (also unplayable): 500 points
Now... you're trying to make "books," or groups of 7 cards that are all the same number. Any cards, Fours through Kings, as well as Aces, can be made into books.

A game has four rounds. The first round you have to play 50 points' worth of cards to start, the second, 90 points, the third, 120 points, and the last round, 150 points.

Once you're down, you can play anything you want, whenever you want. Except threes - threes cannot be played onto the table. The only thing you can do with threes is discard them. Other cards are played into the aforementioned "books," which are all the same number, or all the same number, with some wild cards.

Also, whenever you start a book (a group of cards that are all the same number, remember?), you have to play three of them at once, or two of them and a wild card. Generally, the more books you have working on, the better (because it's more likely that the cards in your hand, or foot as the case may be, are playable). In a book that's being worked on, no more than half of the cards in it can be wild (so, if there's three cards of the number, there can be no more than three wild cards with it).

Each turn, you can either pick up two cards from the top of the stack of leftover cards, or the five most recent discards (if you choose this option, you must have a natural [no wild card] pair in your hand of the same number, and you must play all three of these during this turn). You then play whatever cards you want to play onto your books/stuff on the table, and then discard one card. If you complete a book, meaning there's seven cards which are all either the same number or all wild cards, collapse them into a nice little pile and set them off to the side. Note: if there are no wild cards in the book, put a red card on top. If the book does contain wild cards [either jokers or twos], put a black card on top. This isn't really important until towards the end of the game. I'll get to that in a second.

When you no longer have any cards in your hand, pick up your foot (that set of 11 cards which you set to the side earlier, remember?), and continue playing. If the last card in your hand you had to discard, you don't get to play from your foot until the next turn; otherwise, just pick it up and continue playing, and discard as usual at the end of your turn.

When you're getting low on cards in your foot, or are just getting tired of playing or whatever, there's some prerequisites to end the game. First of all, you have to have at least two red books, and at least two black books. Secondly... oh, I guess that is the only prerequisite. Be glad ^_~. Once you have those books, you just have to get rid of all the cards in your hand to go out. The game is over, not just for you, but for everyone else involved.

Scoring is fairly simple. The person that went out gets 100 points. Everyone else has to count the points that they still have left (in their foot, or, if they're still in their hand - this really, really sucks, trust me, I've had it happen; there's even been a time when I had three red threes in my foot), and subtract them from whatever other points they have; if the person that went out has a partner [I'll get to that in just a second, lol, you're probably sick of hearing that ^_~ but I am getting to everything], those points count against them as well. Then everyone counts the books they have; you get 300 points for each black book, and 500 points for each red book. After you've added those, then you get to count your cards; the point values for cards apply here, as well as when you're trying to go down at the beginning of the game/round. I've found the best method for this is to put together cards in stacks of 100, then count the stacks you have yet, and add in the remaining cards. Otherwise if you lose count you have to go back and count all those suckers over again.

Now that you've done all that, you get to start all over again, for the next round! ^_^ The only differences between the four rounds of a game are the points you have to first play in order to start.

Now, to add some interest. When you're playing with 4 or 6 people, you have to play as partners (unless you want to be playing for forever, not to mention having to play with twice as many cards, or run out). This is pretty straightforward; you still each have your hand and foot, and take your own turns, but you and your partner play onto the same set of books/cards on the table, and your scores are done together (so you might not want to go out if your partner still isn't in their foot!). Everything else is the same.

Have fun!

Page on variations of the game.