This is an Instructables on how to play Castles.
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Step 1: What You Will Need
Players will need two or three decks of cards depending on the number of players. The design of the cards do not need to match. As long as all decks have the correct 52 cards, the game can be played.
If two to four people are playing use at least two decks of
cards. If the players want to play longer games use three decks instead. If four or more people are playing, use at least three decks of cards. Each player will need sixteen cards and a majority of the deck left over.
Step 2: Set Up
First remove the Joker cards and any instruction cards from the decks. Evenly shuffle the decks of cards together. The best way to do this is to place all the cards face down on the table and have all the players move the cards around.
Step 3: Set Up Continued
Deal seven cards to each player with the cards face down. These seven cards will be the player’s hand and only known to that player. Each player needs to grab their seven cards and move them off to the side. Now deal a row of three cards faced down for each player. Make sure to have the cards evenly spaced. Next, deal another row of three cards face down on top of the previous row. Finally, deal the last row of cards face up on top of the previous row. Place the remaining deck in the center of the table. See the step picture for how the game should be set up for four players.
Step 4: Gameplay
The rows of cards in front of each player are to be ignored until step 10. Each player will search his or her hand for the Three of spades.
- If no one has a Three of spades, the players will search for any Three.
- If no one has a Three, the players will search for any Four.
- If no one has a four, continue searching the deck until the lowest card has been found. It will be very unlikely to get past fours.
Once the lowest card is found, that player will lay down the
card face up on the table as the start of the game. See the game set up picture to see where the played cards go. The next player must lay down a card, face up, that is higher than the previous card. The new card cannot be the same card that was just played. For example, if a three is played, the next player must lay down a four or higher. This continues for all players until a player cannot play a higher card.
Step 5: Gameplay Continued
When a player cannot play a higher card, he or she can do one of three things. The player can use a Two or a Ten. See step 6 which explains how each of these cards can be played. If a player does not have a Two or a Ten, the player must pick up the played stack of cards into his or her hand.
Step 6: Gameplay: Special Cards
There are two special cards in Castles.
The first special card is Two; any Two card will allow that
player to restart the rotation. Once the Two is played, the player then gets to choose any card in his or her hand to play immediately after. For example, if the last played card was a King, the current player can play a Two to restart the deck and play another card, such as a Three, to restart the rotation. The game continues by playing a higher card.
The second special card is Ten; any Ten card will allow that player to destroy the deck. This means that the stack of cards played will not be in play anymore and will be moved off to the side. If the current player cannot play a higher card, a Ten is a useful card to prevent the player from picking up the deck. Instead of having to pick up more cards, the cards can be taken out of play. After the player plays the Ten, he or she does not get to lay down the next card. The next player will be able to choose what card will be played from his or her hand.
Step 7: Gameplay Continued
If a player has several cards of the same number, that player can lay all of those cards down. For example, if a player has three Eight cards in his or her hand and the last card played was lower than an eight, the player can place all three Eight cards down. See the step picture for an example.
Step 8: Gameplay: Card Order
The Ace is the highest card. This means the order goes through all the numbers, Jack, Queen, King, and finally Ace. See the step picture.
Step 9: Gameplay Continued
Players must always have seven cards in their hand. If they have fewer than seven cards, they must draw from the remaining deck until they have seven cards. If a player has picked up played cards and has more than seven cards, he or she does not need to draw until he or she has less than seven cards.
Step 10: Gameplay Continued
Once the remaining deck has been drawn and played through, players want to play all the cards in their hand. Once they have no more cards, the players can begin to use the rows of cards in front of them. Players using the rows of cards must play all of the face up cards before moving down to the next row, but the player can choose the order in which to play them. Similarly, players must use all the cards from row two before going to row three. When players reach row two and three, they are not allowed to look at the cards. When it is their turn, they must simply pick a card and flip it over. All the same rules from above still apply. If the card is not higher, a Two card, or a Ten card the player must pick up the played cards and play through their hand again.
The game is won when a player has played all of the cards in his or her hand and the rows of cards.
Step 11: Score
If players would like to play several games and keep a score, the table above can be used as an outline. The cards left over in the player's hand and in the player's rows will be added up for score. Number cards will have their face value. For example, a Seven card will equate to seven points. Jacks, Queens, and Kings are all worth ten points. Finally, an Ace is worth eleven points. Add up the scores and place them in the columns below the player’s name. The player with the least amount of points wins.