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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hand and Foot

"What's that?" You may ask. "Sounds like a disease."

Nope. It's a game. And I'm going to teach you to play it. Or try, at least.

We learned how to play this game a couple weeks ago and it's simple and fun. It's kind of confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it it's the easiest thing in the world.

It's easiest with 2-4 players, but you can play with six.

The object: To be the first player or team to reach 10,000 points.

Note: There are many variations to this game, but this is the way I learned how to play. So you can take it or leave it. :)

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You'll need four decks of cards. They can be matching decks or not; it doesn't matter. If you have six players you'll probably want five or six decks.

First, the setup.

To start each player will grab a small stack of cards (you're trying to grab 22 exactly) and count them into two piles of eleven. If you grab the exact amount you score yourself or your team 100 points.

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One stack of 11 cards you pass to the person on your right. (The next hand to the person on your left, then right, then left, etc.)

The other stack of 11 cards you keep. Don't look at them yet! Choose one stack to be your "hand" and the other stack to be your "foot."

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The stack with the blue card is the hand and the stack with the red card is the foot. You'll need that later.

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Pick up your "hand" stack; you'll start with those cards.

Now, for the directions.

Hand and foot is kind of a matching game. It's a little bit of a cross between Phase 10 and Rummy. The goal is to get six sets of seven cards. So seven 5's, seven 8's, seven kings, etc.

But it's more complicated than that.

Each set of seven cards is called a "book." So you need six books to end the game. You need three "clean" books and three "dirty" books. A clean book is a set of seven cards without wilds. And dirty book is a set of seven cards with wilds including. In a dirty book you must have less wilds than clean cards. So if you have four sevens you can only have three wilds. If you have five sevens you can have up to four wilds. It's okay to have more than seven cards in a book; that doesn't matter so long as you have at least seven.

For example, my "hand" in the above picture has three jacks, two fours, and two sixes. That's a pretty good start. It also has a joker, which is wild. Two's are also wild.

Now that you have some basic knowledge of the instructions, let's start playing.

(Is this too cheesy?)

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The first player (just take turns since there's no dealer) will draw two cards from the deck. As you can see I drew a jack and a king.

To begin playing cards down in front of you you must have at least 50 points. Points are as follows:

Joker's (wild): 50 points
2's (wild): 20 points
Aces: 20 points
9-King: 10 points
4-8: 5 points
Red 3's: -500 points
Black 3's: 0 points

As you can see below my jacks are worth 30 points (10 points each), my kings are worth 20 points (10 each), and my joker is worth 50 points. So I've started with 100 points down. This is the only time you need to keep track of points until the round ends.

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You need to have at least three matching cards to start a book, and remember, you can't have more (or equal number) wilds as clean cards. So far, I have one clean book of jacks and one dirty book of kings. You can start multiple books of the same card. If I wanted to start a clean book of kings I could, so long as I had three to start.

Once you have played all the cards you can you must discard. You must always discard unless you are going out (or going into your foot).

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Play continues with each player drawing two cards, playing if possible, and discarding one card. If a player can play all the cards in his/her hand and has no cards left to discard he/she will pick up his "foot" and continue play from there. As you can see above, I was not yet into my "foot" deck. Also, a player can discard his/her last card and go into their foot on their next turn. The player will still draw two cards at the beginning of their turn and discard one at the end. Remember, the player can never discard his/her last card unless they are going out or going into their foot.

An important thing about playing with partners. Before you combine with your partner you must be able to lay down enough points on your own. These means you have to play at least three cards per book adding up to the requisite number of points (it changes). After your turn is over, combine your cards with your partner and play off the same books. If your partner has started a book of aces, and you also started a book of aces, you may combine them if you wish. However, if you do not combine them when you switch all your cards over, you cannot combine them later. Make sense?

Also, in the above picture you'll notice I have a book of twos on the right side. If you remember, I said twos are wild. This is a wild book. It can only be made up of twos and jokers. It does not count towards your three clean or three dirty books, but is worth more points. In addition, you can have extra clean or dirty books for more points, so long as you have three of each before you go out.

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As you can see I have seven jacks in this book. This is a clean book. When I have seven cards in a book I have the option to "close" the book or leave it open in an attempt to add more cards, and therefore, more points.

Sometimes it is best to leave a book open to add more points, but if your opponent is getting close to going out you may want to close the book. A book is worth more points if it is closed.

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When you close a book place all the cards in one pile. I use red to signify a "clean" book and black to signify a "dirty" book, but you can do it however you want. Remember, you need three closed clean books and three closed dirty books before you can go out.

There are some rules about closed books. You can only add "clean" cards to a closed book. So for example, I could add more jacks to this book, even though it's closed, but I could not add any wilds to a closed book.

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Play continues until one player has closed three clean and three dirty books. You can see I have three closed clean books (4's, 7's, and jacks) and three closed dirty books (6's, queens, and kings). You'll also notice I have a book of wilds and a book of 9's. These are just extra points. To go out you must either discard or play your last card. And, you cannot discard a three of either color as your last card.

Because you always have to have at least one card in your hand you may end up discarding cards you could have played for points. It happens.

When one player/team goes out the round is over and points are added up. Points are as follows:

Closed clean books: 500 points
Closed dirty books: 300 points
Closed wild books: 700 points

To score, count up your clean, dirty, and wild books. Also, the first player/team to go out gets 100 points. Next, count up the point value of your cards, subtracting the points from the cards still in your hand (or foot if you didn't even get that far!) if you weren't the first one out.

For example, above I would score 1500 points for closed clean books and 900 points for closed dirty books, for a total of 2400. My wild book doesn't score any points itself because it isn't closed, but the cards in the book total 100 points. Add up all cards, not just the cards that aren't in a book.

Then, a new round begins. Play is the same, except for starting out.

As the game progresses you need to start by laying down cards worth more points. Here's how it goes:

0-2,999: 50 points
3,000-6,999: 90 points
7,000-10,000: 120 points

So for example, if you've played a couple rounds and you/your team has 6,575 points, you need to start by laying down 90 points. So does your partner, if you have one. If you don't have 90 points to lay down, you have to keep drawing and waiting your turn until you do.

The first player/team to 10,000 points wins.

I think that pretty much covers everything. I wrote this post over about a week because it's so long, so hopefully I didn't forget anything. If something doesn't make sense just ask and I'll try to explain it.

Hope you give Hand and Foot a try!

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