The rules for Sets and Runs

A game of planning and guessing

For: 4 or 5 people
Needs: Two decks of playing cards, Jokers included


The object of this game is have the lowest score after all rounds are completed. The game consists of seven rounds. This game can be played with 3 to 6 people, but I have found it works best with 4 or 5 people.

Determine a dealer any way you see fit. Shuffle the two decks together. Deal every player 11 cards. Set the remainder of the deck in the center of the table and turn the top card over to start the discard pile. If the first card turned over is a joker, replace the joker in a random place in the deck and turn the next card over.

Each player's goal in each round is to get rid of all their cards. They do this in two steps. The first step is to "Lay Down." The second step is to simply play the rest of their hand to sets or runs already on the table. Before I explain, two things must be remembered:

The first round is the "Two Sets" round. As play continues throughout the round, players are trying to collect two sets in their hand. Once they have two sets, on their turn, they can "Lay Down" those two sets. Once the player has layed down, they are now free to play cards on any other sets on the table. They can play on their own sets or on other players' sets. Players cannot play on other sets until they themselves have layed down.

A player cannot complete a third set and add that to the table. They can only lay down two sets and then play off of sets on the table. That is it.

The round is over when the first person discards his last card. The round MUST end on a discard. If a player plays all his cards without discarding, he/she is "floating." That means the round continues until someone has discarded. IMPORTANT: A card cannot be discarded if it could be played on the table. A floating player, on his/her next turn, draws a card and if they can discard, the round is over. If the drawn card can be played, it must be played, and the player is once again floating.

Once a player has discarded, the round is over. Cards are scored and scores are recorded. Number cards are five points each. Tens and face cards are ten points each. Aces are fifteen points. Jokers are fifty points.

Speaking of jokers, I must explain how they work. Jokers are wild. You can use them to complete a set or a run. If a joker is played in a run, any player, including the player who originally layed down the run, can remove the joker and play the card that should have been there. The joker then goes into that player's hand and can be used for anything once again.

An example of this: Player A lays down two runs (in the "Two Runs" round, of course). The first run is the 6,7,8,9 of Hearts. The second run is 4, Joker, 6, 7 of Spades. Since Player A has layed down, he can now play off of other runs on the table. Let's say as play continues, Player C lays down his two runs. Player C also has a 5 of Spades in his hand. Player C can play the 5 of Spades in Player A's run and take the joker. Player C now has a joker and can play it any way he sees fit.

If a joker is played in a set, it cannot be replaced and, therefore, is locked.

THE BUY: The buy is one of the most important aspects of the game. Every player has only three buys in a round. Use them wisely! Let's look at the example where four people are playing and around the table are Players A, B, C, and D.

Player A draws a card and discards a King of Hearts. Player B now has the option of drawing or picking up the King that was discarded. However, Player C wants the King. Player C announces his intention to "buy the King." Player B has first call. If Player B wants it, he gets it. Otherwise, Player C may buy.

Let's say Player B doesn't want it. So, to buy the King, Player C picks up the King and also one card from the deck. Player C now has 13 cards in his hand. Player C does not discard. It is now Player B's turn, and he must draw from the deck (the card underneath the King was already dead and therefore not available), and play continues normally. A player can keep track of how many buys he/she has by simply counting the cards in their hand:

Please note: the last round is the "Three Runs" round. To lay down three runs, you need twelve cards. Everyone is only dealt 11 cards. Everyone will likely have to buy at least once in the last round to lay down.

Consider this example: Player A lays down the Queen of Diamonds; Player C and Player D both want to buy and Player B doesn't want it. Player C gets the buy because he is the next player in line as you go left around the table.

The seven rounds are as follows:

Enjoy, and have tons of fun!

An emailed question: If the draw pile is exhausted, is the round over? The answer is no. The draw pile should be reshuffled, turned over, and play continued. But ONLY ONCE per round. If the draw pile is exhausted a second time in a round, the round is over and points are scored as held. This situation only comes about because players are holding onto cards needed by others. Because of this, the round can continue indefinitely.

Send me back to Beer's eKeg: The Games, where there's whiskey in the jar-o.