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Game Rules

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The South African game can be played by two, three of four players. It is played with a 40 card pack, obtained by removing all the pictures from a standard 52 card pack.


The entire objective of the game is to capture as much points as possible during game play. There is a total of 11 points.


If there are 3 players there are only 7 points.

If there are 4 players playing singles (no partners) there are 7 points.

11 points will only apply when there is 2 players, playing against A.I(incase online) or partners.



Player (or team) with most cards = 2 points (if tied the players get equal cards 1-1)

Player (or team) with most spades = 2 points (if tied the  players get equal spades 1-1)

Two of spades ("spy two") = 1 point

Ten of diamonds ("mummy") = 2 points

Aces = 1 point each

In case of 7 points, most cards and number of spades is neglected when counting the score.


How do you get these points?

Every player gets a chance to play one card at a time to capture as much points and cards as possible.


Game play

A group of cards is dealt face down where the players cannot see the numbers.

Each player must choose a card from the ones faced down. The player with the biggest number i.e 10 will be the player given to shuffle the cards, the other player will cut the deck and return it to the shuffling player.


The shuffling player will now deal the cards one by one faced down.

In a case where there is two players, the dealer will deal 10 cards to the opposition and 10 cards to themselves, the rest will be dealt on the second round after the first batch has been finished.


If there is 3 players, 13 cards will be dealt to each player and 1 will be put on the table face up.


If there are 4 players 10 cards must be dealt per player.



Note that with two or four players there are no face up cards on the table at the start, so the first player cannot capture but must simply play a card. Playing a card without capturing is called drifting. The game always goes anti-clockwise.

A Simple Build

This is a pile of cards whose value is the sum of the values of the cards in it - for example a single build of 10 (which is a maximum that can be built) could consist of a 6, a 3 and an Ace. The rule is the small card must be on top. If you are building a 10 using 1,3,2,4 the order must be 4 at the bottom, followed by 3,2 and 1 must be on top. YOU MUST BUILD A CARD THAT YOU HAVE ON YOUR HAND so that you can CHOW or ‘Capture’ the build you have just made.

A Compound build

This consists of two or more single cards or sets of cards, each of which adds up to the same value, in this case you will have another say 7 and 3 on top of the simple build explained above. Please note that other builds with the sum of less than 10 can be changed to be builds of different values than they have been initially been built. For example a player builds a 7 with 5 and 2, this is a simple build which means another player can add 1/2/3 to change its value, but you cannot add/change the value if the build has been built on top off twice < that is now a compound build>


Each build has an owner, who is responsible for eventually capturing it, unless it is first changed in value or captured by another player. Single cards in the layout belong to no one in particular.

The turn to play rotates. Your turn can consist several actions, in any order. At some point during your turn you must play exactly one card from your hand. The possible actions during a turn are:


  1. to play a card from your hand to capture one or more single cards and/or a build from the layout;

  2. to form a new build of your own; that is if you don’t have another one already

  3. to change the value of a build using a card from your hand;

  4. to create or add to an augmented build;

  5. to discard a single card from your hand to the floor.(you can’t do this if you have built a card and you haven’t captured it when it’s a 2 player game round 1)


Actions 1, 3 and 5 involve playing a card from your hand, so only one of these actions can be performed during a turn. Actions 2 and 4 can involve playing a card from your hand, or can be performed using only cards that are already in play. As long as no card from your hand is involved, you can perform as many of actions 2 and 4 as you wish in any order, before or after playing from your hand.

1. The capture or "chow"

A capture can only be made by playing a card from your hand.

If you play a card from your hand that matches a single card in the layout, that single card is captured.

If the card you play matches the sum of several single cards in the layout, you capture that set of cards.

If the card you play matches the value of a build, you capture that build (no matter who owns it).

If you play a card that matches several separate cards, sets or builds you can capture them all.

Note that you cannot capture cards directly from the top of an opponent's capture pile (though you may be able to do so indirectly by first using them to augment a build - see below). Also, you can only capture a build by matching its value - you cannot add the value of another build or card to create a match. Example: in the layout is a build of 8 (5+3), a build of 6 (4+2) and a single 6. If you play an ace (14) it does not capture anything. If you play a 6 it captures the single 6 and the 6-build.

If you play a capturing card as an action of type 1 or 5 (capture or discard), but fail to take all the cards you are entitled to capture, any opponent can insist (if they wish) that you capture all the cards that it is legal for you to take. (They might do this if they thought you would get an advantage by leaving some of the cards that you should have captured in the layout). Alternatively, if the opponents think that you have made a mistake by not capturing all the cards that you could, they may let your play stand.

Note that it is legal to play a card that could have captured, but to use it in a build instead (action 2, 3 or 4). This is called drifting. If you use your played card legally for an action of type 2, 3 or 4, the opponents have no right to make you capture instead.

2. Creating a Simple build Detailed

A single/Simple build can be formed from single cards already in the layout, with or without adding a card from your hand. The player who forms the build becomes its owner. You are only allowed to form a build if you have a card in your hand which can later capture that build.


there is a 5, a 3 and a 2 in the layout and you have a 10 in your hand; you can combine the 5, 3 and 2 into a build of 10.there is a 4 and a 5 in the layout and you have a 10 and an ace in your hand; you can play your ace, combining it to the 4 and 5 to make a build of 10. You are not allowed to use cards from any capture pile when creating a single build, after you created your build and there is numbers on the floor and your opponent’s captured pile is equal to your build, only then you can take his pile and make a bigger build.

3. Changing the value of a single build/ Suppliment

You can change the value of a single build only if all of the following conditions hold:

the build is currently owned by an opponent;

you change the value by adding a single card from your hand

you have a card in your hand that matches the new value of the build

By changing the value you take over ownership of the single build.

Example: if your opponent has made a single build of 9 and you hold an Ace and a 10, you can add your Ace to the build and make it 10. You would not be allowed to do this if the 9-build had been formed by yourself or your partner.

Note that it is not possible to change the value of a build and capture it in the same turn, as that would involve playing two cards from your hand. It is not possible to change the value of an augmented build (i.e a compound build)

4. Augmenting a card or build

You can augment a build that is owned by yourself or your partner by adding further single cards or sets of cards of the same value. When augmenting a build you can use single cards from the layout, one card from your hand, and the top card of the opponents' capture pile(s). It is possible to form a build and then augment it in the same turn.

If there is a single card in the layout which you can match with a card from your hand, you can make this card into an augmented build by adding further cards to it, from the layout, from your hand or from the top of the opponents' capture pile(s). You thereby become the owner of that build.

You can augment a build owned by your opponent only if you also capture that build in the same turn. Since you can only capture with a card from your hand, and you can only play one card from your hand during your turn, any augmentation of an opponent's build has to be done using cards from the layout or from the top of your opponents' capture pile(s).

You are not allowed to use a card from the top of your own (or partner's) capture pile to augment a build.

The value of an augmented build can never be changed. Such a build can only be further augmented and then eventually captured by a card of that value.

Only the card on top of your opponents' capture pile at any time is available to augment a build. After it has been taken the card underneath it becomes available for use. Example: There is a 9 and a 2 in the layout. You have a 9 in your hand, the top card of an opponent's capture pile is a 5 and the next card underneath that is a 2. You are not allowed to take the 5 and 2 from the opponent's pile with the 2 on the table to augment the build. However, if the layout had instead contained a 9, a 7 and a 4, it would be legal to add the 4 with the opponent's captured 5 to make an augmented build of nines, and then use the now exposed 2 with the 7 from the layout to augment the build again.

If there are any cards in play (in the layout or on top of a capture pile) that can legally be added to a build owned by you or your partner, any opponent can insist that you add such cards to your build(s) before you end your turn.


The rule for taking other people’s cards:

You can take cards from your opponents when you are building or about to chow your build.

These rules apply:

  1. The card must be built on the floor first before you can start going to other people’s cards.

         Example, You want to build a 10, the opponent has a 10 on top of his Chowed pile. You must combine the cards on the floor such that they add up to 10 or use the card on the floor, add yours so they can add up to 10. If there is a 7 on the floor you can add a 3 and take the 10 from the opponent’s chowed pile.

If there is another 10 beneath the one you took you can take it as well, if the card beneath and the card on the floor add up to the card you are building you can continue adding.


Important Exception:

You cannot return to the opponent twice if the addition is as follows:

The opponent had a 3 on top and another opponent has a 7 on top, since it is small card on top you will start with the big card(7) then move to the small card(3), IF THERE IS A 6 beneath the 3 and a 4 beneath the 7/ on the floor, you can’t go back to where you just took the 3, you must start elsewhere first and take into consideration that small card on top even when you pick from other players you must pick the big card first.

5. Discarding a card

You are always free, for the play from your hand, to play a card that does not capture anything, simply leaving it as a single card in the layout. There is no obligation (as in standard Anglo-American Casino) to make a capture when you own a build. The only time the Discard move is prohibited is when you are playing a 2 hands game and you have built a card and it is the first round.


You may not, however, abandon a build that you own by using up all of the cards that you could have captured it with for other purposes.

It is never possible to break up builds, nor to combine two builds to form a build of higher value.


Note that the top card of an opponent's capture pile can only be used to augment a card or build. So before you can make use of the card, you must already have a "base" in the layout which it can help to augment.


 A base is

a build that belongs to you or your partner, or

a single card in the layout which does not match the value of any existing build, and which either

you could capture by matching it from your hand, or

you can prove your partner can capture it, because your partner previously made a build of that value which was changed or taken by someone else and has not subsequently played a card of that value.

There cannot be two builds of the same capture value on the table at the same time. That means that if your opponent has (for example) a build of 9, you are not allowed to make a 9-build of your own alongside it. You can make a second build of a value which your side already owns, but you must then combine them into a single augmented build. Example: you own a 9-build and an opponent has created a single build of 6 (3+3). You can argument his card during your turn or yours, you can’t do both even if the numbers on the layout seem doable.

Special rules for partnership play

If your partner owns a build whose value is then changed by an opponent, or which is captured by someone other than your partner (including yourself), then you know that your partner holds a card of the rank needed to capture that build. As long as your partner does not play a card of this rank, you are allowed to create a new single or compound build of this rank, which will be owned by your partner. This is the only circumstance in which you can build for your partner, no matter how completely obvious it is that your partner has the card in question from other cues.


If your partner plays a card that captures a build belonging to you or your partner, and you have a card of that rank in your hand, you may ask your partner not to capture the build. Your Partner will put his/her card on top instead, in which case you take over ownership of the build. In the game the person chowing the card puts their card on top and take the pile to their home while saying ‘ 8 out’, that means he/she is chowing the card he built which was 8. His partner can they say ‘Shiya’ or ‘Stash’ which means leave that card I will chow it this side, If the person who asked for the card to be left has a pile already built that means they now have to piles & this is the only circumstance where a player can have two builds belonging to them. They have to chow one of the builds when the game reaches their turn. Any of the builds.



The word stash is used when a player has built a card, lets say 7(4+3) and its their turn again, they want to solidify and make it a compound build but there is no cards to add with. If they have more than one 7 they can put the 7 on top and say ‘Stash’ which means the 7 is still in play.


When all the cards have been played, whoever made the last capture takes whatever cards are left in the layout.


Each player or team then scores for the cards in their capture pile


When there are two players, after both players have played their first ten cards there is another deal of ten cards each. In this second phase the rules are slightly different: players are always allowed to drift, even if they have a build on the table.


When all the cards have been played, whoever made the last capture takes whatever cards are left in the centre of the table, this applies to single player games as well.

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