Introduction: How to Play Speed With Cards

Speed is a commonly a two-player card game in which both players are dealt an equal number of cards and must place all cards in the center piles to win. Given practice and the right opponent, it can be a very nerve-wracking game that gets adrenaline pumping. All it takes to play is (at least) one deck of cards, two players, and the knowledge of how the game works.

Step 1: Setup

For a regular game with two players setup is simple. You take one deck of cards, set two cards in the middle of a table face down, make two piles of five cards to either side of those cards and deal out the remaining cards to each of the players (each of the players should get 20 cards each). Each player then grabs five cards to hold and look at, sorting any way that is convenient to the game. When the setup is complete, it should look something like the above image.

Step 2: Gameplay

To begin the game, each player reaches to one of the center cards on the table and turns it face up. The players can now start placing cards. Cards placed on one of the piles must be either one greater or one less than the face value of the uppermost card on the pile. The order of the cards is the standard Ace-10, Jack, Queen, King, where the values loop from highest back to lowest (i.e. aces placed on kings, kings placed on aces). After a card has been placed in a pile, the player picks up one of the remaining 15 cards (at the game's start) so he always has 5 cards in his hand (I often cheat and pick up the entire pile at once). If neither of the players can place another card in a center pile, both players pick up a card from the piles placed to either side of the center piles and places it in the nearest center pile. If both players still cannot move, they repeat this process until all cards are gone, in which case, cards from the bottom of the center piles are placed on top.

Step 3: Finishing

This game gets adrenaline pumping from the speed (hence the name) at which the game moves, especially if you are playing with experienced opponents. The game ends when one player runs out of cards in his hand. By this point, the center piles often conglomerate into a single mess of cards that only the players can distinguish individual piles from. Once you play one game at full speed, it will make you want to come back and play three more just like it, regardless of who wins. In all, this game is a great way to pass long durations of time and dissipate boredom.

Step 4: Variations

Like all games, this too has variations to it. As a means to appease everybody's adrenaline rush at the same time, you often want to play with more than two players. While this is often very confusing for all involved, it puts interesting twists to the game and causes the collision of many hands in the process.

To play with more than two players, the first thing you will need is another deck of cards (I prefer to use one deck for every two players; one deck can be stretched for three players, but the game is often too short). To add another player, all that is necessary is to add one more central card to play on and another stack of five cards in case of scenarios where all players are "stuck." In the case of three players, there will be three card piles (as shown in the first image above). After that, all cards are distributed among the players (there will be two cards left over, so one person gets an advantage unless the two are thrown out for the game).

This process can continue up to as many players as you want, but after four players, the table gets rather crowded with hands and cards.

Step 5: Enjoy!

As previously stated, this game gets heated at times, so you want to make sure to use a sturdy table so it doesn't collapse and ruin the fun. In all, the game is meant to be fun, so make up your own variations to improve upon the game.

Overall, just have fun and enjoy your speed-racing!

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