Card Games/Egyptian Ratscrew

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This game is a matter of quick thinking and even quicker reaction time. It's not the type of game you'd play to relax. It is a mix of slapjack and war.

The Rules[edit]

There are many variations, but the basic goal is always the same - get all the cards. People take turns putting down a card, and at certain points one may slap the pile to gain those cards. Special rules apply when a royal card (J, Q, K, A) is played.


When a person plays a royal, the next person gets a number of "chances" to play a royal themselves. Otherwise the person who played the face-card gets the pile. If a royal is played by the second person, then the third person now has a number of chances, and so on...

  • Ace - 4 chances
  • King - 3 chances
  • Queen - 2 chances
  • Jack - 1 chance (!)

When You Can Slap (in order of commonness)[edit]

  • Doubles - two of the same rank in a row.
  • Sandwich - two of the same rank, with one card in between.
  • Wildcard - if you see the wildcard, go for it! The problem with this is that when it happens to be your last card, it gets annoying. (Usually the 10 if there are no Jokers)
  • Consecutive - two or three cards that are each one apart. (e.g. 7, 8, 9)
  • Book, Big-Mac, etc - two cards of the same rank, with two cards between.
  • Marriage - a king and a queen played consecutively

  • Please note that this is a limited list of optional rules, and that many more exist in practical usage.


If you slap at the wrong time, or, for example, you see a double but someone else puts down another card before you slap, you must "burn" one or more cards, and put them in the bottom. Other penalties exist, including the inability to slap until someone else has, but this is the most basic.

Running Out of Cards[edit]

According to some rules, once you're out of cards, you're permanently out. In others, you can "slap in". The problem with this is that if you have no cards, you can't burn any. So "negative" cards are counted. At a certain point, such as -5 cards, the person is permanently out. Additionally, players not originally in the game may "slap in," but are not told the rules in use.


  • Remove all rings.
  • Cut your fingernails.
  • Don't "hover" your hand close to the pile.
  • When you put down a card, flip it out so the other person sees it before you.
  • Speed is key, try not to deaden the pace over squabbles, etc.
  • Don't pound with your fist, karate chop the pile, etc.


  • can't see me
Instead of flipping toward your opponent, flip to the side.
  • Touchy
Touching the cards because you think they're yours is generally equivalent to slapping them. So when the opponents are at their last chance for a royal, slap right after they put down their last card. If they didn't play a royal, and there was nothing to slap, it's yours anyway. If they didn't play a royal but there was something to slap, you just won a lot of cards. If the opponent did play a royal, there's a 25% chance it was the same as yours, so it might be slappable.
  • Plan Ahead
Keep a mental note of whether you have back-to-back face cards in your deck. If you don't, always slap after you have played a face card and the next player has used up his/her chances. Even if your opponent's last card was a face card, you have nothing to lose — you know that your next card (to be burned) is a number card. Note: if you do have back-to-back face cards, then you run the risk of burning a face card.
  • Happy Slappy
If you're desperate (and willing to antagonize other players), slap every single card played. This is especially useful if there are many rules (and thus many chances) or if the burning level is low.