A great go-to card game with family, friends, and especially kids is a game I know as “Rat” (it has many other names, but I’m not sure if they’re offensive, so let’s go with “Rat”). What’s great about this game is that when you teach it to new players, the only rule they need to know is this: If two of the same card get played in a row, you slap. Everything else can be learned as you go.
To start, divvy up the entire deck to however many people are playing. Players should not look at their cards. Gameplay begins with the dealer, who throws a card (players should always throw cards from the outer edge, flipping them up towards the other players, not themselves).
This is meant to be a fast-paced game. Everyone should throw their cards quickly. The game only pauses slightly when a face card is thrown, because face cards are the life’s blood of the game. If a player throws an ace, the next player has four chances to throw another face card. If the player throws a king, the next player has three chances to throw another face card. If the player throws a queen, the next player has two chances to throw another face card. If the player throws a jack, the next player has one chance to throw another face card. Jacks are the most coveted card in this game.
If a player throws a face card, and the next player does not throw another face card within the allotted parameters, the original player gets to take all cards in the stack. The goal of the game is to have all of the cards. The person who takes all of the cards wins the game.
Now, it sounds like this game is entirely down to chance, luck of the draw, rather like Battle (or War as some wrong people call it). It mostly is! But the wild card, so to speak, is the slap. If two cards of the same value get played in a row, whoever slaps first wins the stack. Players who lost all their cards earlier can still slap back in as long as at least two players with cards are still in. ♬ It’s the game that never ends. Yes it goes on and on my friend. ♬ Anyway, the slap function is the really fun part, turning beloved family members into rabid slap monsters, willing to break some phalanges to win some cards.
This also introduces some strategy beyond blind card turning. If someone wins on a slap, then they and the other players know that person has two of the same card in a row they might deploy under the right conditions. Sure, the player has no choice, but if James won a pile by slapping on double sixes, when James plays a six, everyone should be on high alert for another six if James is playing two cards in a row. So there’s some memory and strategy involved.
But mostly it’s Battle with slapping, and it’s fun as hell. It’s also great with kids because the only rule they have to know is to slap (the face card stuff they can be coached on throughout). So if you’re, say, vacationing with your nephews, and there’s not much to do because the weather is bad and the beach is precarious, try playing Rat!
Have a great day, Avocados!