Jack Change It is a fun and simple card game for 2-6 players that is part of the Crazy Eights family of shedding games.
The goal is to be the first player to discard all of your cards. The game originated in Northern Ireland and is still played there today.
What is Needed
- Standard 52-card deck
- 2-6 players
Be the first player to discard all of your cards.
The dealer shuffles the deck and deals 7 cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down in a draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is turned face up to begin the discard pile.
The player to the left of the dealer starts by either playing a card matching the suit or rank of the top card of the discard pile or drawing a card from the draw pile if they cannot play. Play continues clockwise.
The first player to discard all their cards wins the round. The last player remaining with cards in their hand loses the round.
When the draw pile runs out, the discard pile (except for the top card) is shuffled and becomes the new draw pile.
Special Trick Cards
There are several cards with special effects:
- 2 – When a 2 is played, the next player must draw 2 cards from the draw pile and forfeit their turn. However, if the next player also has a 2, they may play it and the next player after them must draw 4 cards. This chaining of 2s can continue until one player is forced to draw cards.
- 8 – When an 8 is played, the next player’s turn is skipped.
- Jack – The player who plays a Jack calls out a new suit. All other players must play a card of that suit if possible. If they cannot, they must draw from the draw pile.
- Queen – A Queen reverses the order of play. If the play is currently clockwise, it changes to counter-clockwise after a Queen is played, and vice versa.
- Ace of Hearts – This is the most powerful card. When played, the next player must draw 5 cards from the draw pile and skip their turn. The only way to avoid this is to play a 5 of Hearts to counter it.
You cannot finish the round by playing a special card. You must have a regular number card as your final discard.
Jack Change It Rules
In summary, the rules of Jack Change It as follows:
- Match suit or rank to play card
- Draw when you cannot play
- Special cards have special effects
- Cannot finish on a special card
While the Jack Change It card game is quite straightforward, strategy can definitely help you to improve your chances of winning.
Save your special cards
It can be beneficial to hold on to your special cards like Jacks, Queens, and Aces rather than playing them right away. Using them too early allows opponents to see you no longer have that powerful card in your hand. Saving them for key moments later in the game can allow you to strategically skip turns, reverse the order of play, or force opponents to draw.
Watch what suits opponents call
Pay attention when an opponent plays a Jack and calls a suit. Chances are they are calling a suit they need to empty their hand. If you get the chance, you may want to play a Jack and call a different suit to try to block them from playing out all their cards in that suit. The same applies if you are using Kings as special cards.
Variations of the game mainly involve slightly changing one or multiple rules. For example:
- Number of cards dealt
- Additional special cards (Kings, Jokers, etc)
- Effects of special cards
- Ability to play multiple cards at once
- Continuing play until only 1 player remains