The Basics of Playing Double Crazy Eights

If your family has become crazed for Crazy Eights, you're probably ready for this new twist on an old favorite -- Double Crazy Eights.

To play: The rules are the same as in Crazy Eights, but you turn the upcard sideways so that two piles can fit on it side by side. As play goes on, you may choose which pile to play on. You may still play an 8 anytime, but the next player must match the suit of the 8 you have played.

Tip: In Double Crazy Eights you have one more element to consider in playing. Example: You think your opponent has no diamonds and one of the piles has a diamond on top. If you can place a diamond on top of the other pile, you might force your opponent to draw cards.

Eights are wild, and so is the action in this fast-paced game. An easy-to-learn game that calls for a lot of luck, Crazy Eights is excellent to play with kids. Here's how to play:

Number of players: Best for two to six. Seven or more makes for a slower paced game.

Object: Be first to use all your cards and go out. Name a time, hand, or point limit to establish game before play begins.

The cards: A standard 52-card deck. For four or more players, two decks can be used.

Dealing: Seven cards are dealt to each player. Of the remainder, one card is turned faceup to begin the discard pile. The rest of the cards are placed facedown to serve as the stock.

Playing: Play begins from the dealer's left. All play moves left. The first player will cover the upcard with one that matches either by suit or rank. For example, if the upcard is an 5 you may play any heart or any 5. Or you can play an 8 to match suit only. If you can't match from your hand, you will have to draw from stock until you are able to. If an 8 is played, the next player must match to the suit the 8 was named to cover -- meaning if the 8 is played to cover the 5, you will need to play a heart or a 5. Play continues until one player has no cards left. If the stock runs out before the game is over, just pick up the discard pile, shuffle it well, and turn it over to reestablish the stock.

Scoring: The winner scores the point count of the total of all the cards left in the opponents' hands. Each 8 counts 50, face cards count 10, and all others count their face value (ace counts 1 point).

Tips: When you have many cards of one suit, others may find that suit hard to match. Remember, in a game with several players, your play affects the next player most. Don't get caught holding wild cards (8s) at the end of play, since they count a whopping 50 points each.