How to play Egyptian Ratscrew – card game

Also known as Egyptian War. This game requires concentration and lightning-fast reflexes. The quickest way to accumulate the most cards is to slap the stack when two cards of the same rank are played.

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Requires

A standard deck of cards (no Jokers)
2 to 5 players

Game play

Deal the cards evenly. Stack any remaining cards face-up in the middle of the table as bonus cards. Players stack their cards facedown in front of them. A player may never look at his cards before they hit the middle pile.

Starting to the left of the dealer, each player pulls one card from the top of his stack — without looking at it — and quickly lays it face-up on the pile. When a player lays a face card on the pile, the next player must lay a face card on top of it. The number of tries he gets to play a face card depends on the face card played. For Jacks he gets only one try, for Queens two, for Kings three, and for Aces four. If the player is able to play another face card, the problem of playing a face card moves to the next player. If he cannot, the player who put down the face card wins the stack. For instance, if a player has a King played to him and he goes through three of his cards without putting down a face card, then the player who played the King wins all the cards in the stack.

The other way to win cards is by slapping. Whenever two cards of the same rank (number or face) are played consecutively, the first player to slap the pile wins the cards. Anyone at the table may slap the stack, even if they are out of cards.

Objective

The player who accumulates all the cards in his hand wins the game. A secondary objective is to keep from breaking fingers and hands. Be careful when slapping!

Slap-tastic fun

Many people who play this game devise other “slappable” combinations. One such combination is the “sandwich” where a different card is between two of the same cards. Use your imaginations and come up with fun house rules of your own.


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Slapjack, War, Spoons, Spit, All
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