Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shanghai: How to play

I love playing cards and this game, Shanghai, is easily my favorite. My father taught me how to play this game when I was 10 or 11yrs old. He and my mother still play this game and have played it pretty much for as long as I can remember. I've taught all of my friends how to play (and subsequently had my arse kicked repeatedly) so I thought it might be fun to share it with all of you!

Ok! For starters, you need three full decks of cards, including all the jokers!

If the game includes more than 5 people, you must add another deck of cards (or it won't work).

The object of the game is to complete the six hands with the least amount of points.

Basic gameplay:

Players are each dealt 11 cards. A players turn begins with them drawing a card. They may choose to draw this card from either the discard pile or the deck. Their turns ends when they discard a card. When the objective of the hand is reached, the player has the option of "going down on the board". They canNOT do this unless they have reached that hand's objective (For example: The 2nd hand of the game has the objective of 1set 1run. A player cannot go on the board with only 1 set, they must have both a set AND a run to go down). A player wins the hand by getting rid of all of their cards (and she must play to go out, she cannot discard her last card but I'll get back to that). Cards are gotten rid of by playing them on the board or discarding them.

At the end of a hand, all players with cards still left in their hands must add up the points and they are recorded. After the six hands are completed, the player with the *least* total points (from all six hands) has won the game.

Now for details.

Points: Each card has an assigned point value based on it's face.
2-8= 5pts
9-King- 10 pts
Aces- 20pts
Jokers- 50pts

Aces are always high and there is no "around the world" on the board.

Jokers are wild cards and can be anything. Players cannot create a set out of three jokers and all runs must have at least two face cards (no runs that are three jokers and a 2, for example).

1 set 1 run
2 sets
3 sets
2 sets 1 run
2 runs 1 set
3 runs

Objective details:

Sets: A set is made up of 3 or more cards that have the same face value. Suits do not have to match, though.

Runs: Runs are made up of 4 or more cards of the same suit.

Buying: Obviously, during gameplay, cards are going to come up that players want but can't have because it's not their turn. This is where buying comes in. Players may "buy" the card they want, at the cost of drawing 2 extra cards along with it, as long as no one else that comes before them in the rotation wants to buy it first. Players can only buy twice per hand (if they do so, they'll know it as they will have 17cards in their hand, 14 if they've only bought once). Buying is no longer an option once a player has reached objective and is on the board.

Going out: Now, in order for a hand to be completed, obviously, someone has to go out. In order to do this, the player must have gotten rid of all of the cards in their hand, either by playing them on their own board or on the cards of other players. Players may NOT discard out. The final card must be played on the board.

Which brings us to the three different ways to go out. There is "playing out", as is mentioned above, going out "all at once" which is where the player reaches objective, puts it down on the board and then plays all of the rest of her cards all at once around the board, and of course, there is "Shanghai". It's only a Shanghai if the player puts all of the cards in her hand down on her own board (I.e: all 11-17 cards are part of the hand objective). Shanghai doesn't award anything special except the looks of surprise and dismay on your friend's faces and possibly catching another player with a hand loaded with points.

Now, when my friends and I play, one person keeps score for everyone else and adds up all the points at the end an announces the winner. Thus commences much bragging, name-calling and teasing, then we start all over again. This game is perfect for an evening of fun (and ribbing) and is my favorite way to relax with my friends. What are some of your favorite ways to let your hair down?

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