Three or more cards are dealt face down in front of each player (dealer's chooses how many). A card is dealt face up on top of each of these. Finally, a hand of three is dealt to each player.
The remaining cards are left as a draw pile.
Before play begins, each player may exchange 'face up' cards with cards in his hand.
Players must keep at least three cards in their hand if there are cards available in the draw pile. A player with no hand may play their 'face up' cards. A player with no hand and no 'face up' cards may play their 'face down' cards. The 'face down' cards are played blind, one at a time.
In general, each player must place a card higher than the previous player on the pile, or pick up the pile. Special cards provide some exceptions to this.
A player may optionally play more than one of the same number at one time.
Play begins when someone shouts 'threes' and puts down a three. If nobody has a three then someone with a four may start, and so on.
Certain cards 'clear' the pile (see 'Special cards' below). The cards on the pile are discarded and take no further part in the game. The player who cleared the pile may play again. Also, if four or more of the same number are laid in sequence then this clears. These do not all need to be laid by the same player.
Aces are high, so this is the highest conventional card in play.
Twos can be played on any conventional card, and 'reset' the order (as the next player can play any number higher than two).
Tens 'clear', as described above.
'Death' x 2
This is a black seven with a skull drawn in the centre. It is the highest card in the game. Only the other Death card may be laid on it. When the two Deaths are laid in sequence, this clears.
'S Card' x 1
This is a bridge score card with a big 'S' on it. It is the lowest card in the game. It can only be laid on an empty table.
'Dog' x 2
This is a red seven with Dougal from the Magic Roundabout drawn in the centre. When this is played it is immediately discarded and has no interaction with the pile. The player may then flip two of their 'face down' and 'face up' pairs, so that the 'face up' card is facing down & vice versa. (Technically they may alternatively flip one of someone else's; in practice this option is almost never taken by any competent player).
The player then takes another turn.
'Joker' x 4
When this is played it is immediately discarded and has no interaction with the pile. The player must swap hands with someone who has more cards than him.
The player then takes another turn.
'Bridge Score Card' x 1
When this is played it is immediately discarded and has no interaction with the pile. As soon as it is played, the rules change so that players must play lower than the top card on the pile.
In addition, Aces 'reset' (i.e. become like Twos in the normal game). Twos take on the role of Aces as the 'best' conventional card. S Card the unbeatable card like Death in the normal game, and Death may only be laid on an empty table. The other special cards are unaffected.
These special rules persists until the next time a player has to pick up the pile, at which point the normal rules are restored.
After playing this card the player then takes another turn.
If you're finishing your hand, you may also play cards from your 'face up' set if legal. For example, if I have two Kings in my hand and one 'face up', I may finish my hand and play the King which is 'face up'.
If you have to pick up the pile when on the 'face up' or 'face down' cards, you must add the card which you would have played to your hand. When playing from the 'face up' cards, this means you have a free choice. When playing from the 'face down' cards, this means the one that you chose to play blind goes into your hand.
Players do not have to reveal the card that they play blind from the 'face down' cards.
When someone picks up a large number of cards, it is conventional to exclaim, "you'll need a secretary for all those".
When someone plays a higher card than they need to in order to force someone later in the order to pick up, this is referred to as a 'spike'.
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