To begin the hand, each player is dealt six cards face down in front of them.
After picking up and examining their hand, each player selects two cards
from his hand (laying them face down) to make the crib. These two cards are then no longer considered a portion of that players' hand. Now each player and the crib
should each have a total of four cards each.
The crib is a special hand that is set aside and scored for the dealer of that hand after the play of
that deal. The Crib is not looked at or scored for the dealer until after completion of the play of
the player's hands. Other than the scoring at the end of the hand, the Crib takes no further part in the hand. Your choice of which cards to place in the crib will depend
on whether or not you are the dealer, as you will want to maximize the scoring
potential in your hand and the crib if you are the dealer, but minimize the placement
of scoring cards in the crib if you are not the dealer for this hand.
Before beginning each deal, the deck is first cut by the non-dealer. The dealer then turns over
the top card of the lower stack to form the starter card. This card should be placed face up on the remainder of the undealt deck.
If this starter card is any Jack, the dealer immediately scores two points. This score is called "His Heels".
This starter card is later used, at the end of the hand, for scoring purposes, and is considered
to be part of both players hands for this scoring phase. The starter card is not used in the actual play of the hand, so is generally set aside until the scoring portion of the hand.
To begin the play of the hand, the non-dealer (called the pone) selects any card from
his hand and lays it face up in front of himself. When doing so, the player should
clearly state the value of the card. The dealer then selects a card from his
hand and lies it down in front of himself, clearly stating the summed total of
this card and the one the first player had laid down.
Each player continues in this way, playing a card in front of himself and
stating the running total of the laid down cards.
All numbered cards are worth their face value for purposes of this total, picture cards (King, Queen and Jack) add
10 points to this total and Aces add 1 point to the total.
The running total, however, can never exceed 31. When a player cannot play a card
from his hand that would keep the total at or under 31, he must clearly say "Go"
with his opponent continuing to play cards until he too, cannot play a card
which would keep the total at or under 31.
When it gets to the point when neither player can play a card
that would not bring the running total over 31, the player who played the last card scores one point,
which he indicates by stating "one for last". However, if either player can play a card that brings the total to
exactly 31, they immediately score 2 points when playing it, and indicating this by stating "two for 31", instead of just one. The previously played cards from
this hand are then turned over and set aside (each player noting the individual cards they themselves had played). The running total is reset to 0. Play begins again with the player who called "Go" playing the first card for the new series. Play continues in this way until both players run out of cards in their hand, with the player who plays the last card in the hand scoring one point for "last" (or two points instead if that last card brings the running total to exactly 31).
During the play, the following totals or special occurrences score points for the player who plays them as follows:
: In this optional rule, if a player misses points for some combination when he is scoring his hand (or the crib) or
during the play of the hand and indicates they have finished scoring (thus tallying their points), the other player may
announce "Muggins" and tally the score for himself. This rule should generally not be used with new players or when first
learning the game.
Four Handed Cribbage
: This is a variation of the game above, however it is played by four players as two pairs of partners, with each player in the
partnership scoring together. Each partner sits directly across from the other at the table. Each player is dealt five cards, starting with the player
to the dealer's left, one card at a time, in a clockwise rotation. After the hands have been dealt out, each player then puts one card from their hand into the dealers crib. Gameplay itself is very similar to the above rules for two-handed Cribbage including
the play of the hand and scoring after the play. Partners can oftentimes help each other with scoring, but may not announce or in any other way indicate
what cards they have in their hand or what cards they want their partner to play.
A Go is scored in this game when all three other players must say "Go" as they are unable to play a card. The last player to have played a card scores
the two points for the Go. The after-play hand scoring takes place beginning with the player immediately to the dealers left and proceeds
clockwise around the table (just as in dealing the cards).
Three Handed Cribbage
: This is a another variation of the standard game, however this time, it designed for three active players. Normal procedures should be used for determining seats and first dealer. After this is determined, each player is dealt five cards, face down. After all player have their hands one face down card is dealt to the crib.
Each player then examines his hand and lays one card of his choice face down to the crib, which is later scored for the dealer as in six card Cribbage.
When a player calls "Go", as he cannot play a card which would keep the total under 31, the next player would then play as normal. If he is able to play a card, he must and the next player must play if able. The point for the Go is scored by the last hand to have been able to play a card. Of course, if any player is able to play a card bringing the total to exactly 31, they Peg two points for this, rather than one for a Go.
This game is usually played to 61 points and for the scoring phase of the game, the hands are scored in the same order as they were dealt for that hand.
In all other respects the game is played as the standard game of six card Cribbage described above.
: In this variation, usually played as the standard 5 handed version, the first player to go once around the cribbage board (first to score
61 points) is the winner. This makes for a shorter game.
: This is a fun game that gives the standard game of Cribbage a distinct twist. In Reverse Cribbage, also called Low ball cribbage, the rules are identical to the standard game except for one very important difference.
In Reverse Cribbage the first player who pegs out with 121 points loses the game with his opponent declared the winner. Thus, you want to avoid pegging scores as much as possible. This drastically changes all aspects of strategy for this game, from what to discard to the crib and the order of playing cards to the center.
Cribbage Without a Cribbage Board
: Don't have a cribbage board but still want to play this excellent card game? No problem! Although using a cribbage board simplifies the recording of scores in Cribbage the board is not absolutely essential and the game can be scored with paper and pencil.
A simple score sheet can be created with two columns, one for each player. As each player scores specific point combinations, these can be tallied with a pencil on the sheet under the players name. This score sheet should be updated frequently, with every score or series of consecutive scores to ensure that scores are not missed or forgotten. This is especially important when one or both players near the game total (61 or 121) to ensure the correct player is declared the winner when scoring the requisite amount.
An alternative method is to create a scorecard which resembles an actual cribbage board with a series of checkboxes which can be filled in or checked for each point the user scores. A printable sample of such a score sheet is given here
: Noddy is the earliest known form of Cribbage to be played. It is the direct ancestor to all currently played games of the Cribbage family and was widely played in England in the 16th Century. Even though it is considered an antique game in modern days, its simplicity along with it's resemblance to standard Cribbage makes it a great beginners introduction to standard Cribbage.
Noddy is a simplified version of Cribbage with less cards in a player's hand and no Crib. Like Cribbage, Noddy was normally played by two players, but there was also a version for four. This game uses the standard 52 card deck with the standard, expected ranking.
Determination of the first dealer is usually done by a cut of the shuffled deck, with the lowest card cut being designated the first dealer. After the usual shuffle and cut, the dealer deals each player three face down cards. The top card of the remaining stack is then turned over. Although this is called determining the trump suit, no actual play to tricks occurs during the game. If the card turned is any Jack (called Knave Noddy) the dealer's opponent immediately scores two points.
The remainder of the hand then consists of players attempting to score points for valid, point scoring combinations in their hand or played to the table during play. Before any play begins, each player, starting with the dealer's opponent announces all valid scoring combinations found in their hand and which may also include the upturned trump card. This player does not need to show the actual cards at this time, as they will be exposed later during the play of the hand to verify the combinations if necessary. As the player declares the combination they would add the appropriate point values to their individual score. After the dealer's opponent has finished all his combination announcements, the dealer then scores his own such combinations from his own hand (including the turned up card). The same card may be used in multiple combinations as long as each combination is distinct from any other including the same card.
The valid scoring combinations in Noddy during both the announcement phase and the play phase (described below) are as follows:
|Knave Noddy||Having the Jack in the players hand||1|
|Fifteen||Combination of cards totalling exactly fifteen||2|
|Twenty-Five||Combination of three or more cards totalling exactly twenty-five||1 per card|
|Hitter||Combination of four or more cards totalling exactly thirty-one||1 per card|
|Pair||Two cards of identical rank||2|
|Prial||Three cards of identical rank||6|
|Double Prial||Four cards of identical rank||12|
|Three Run||Run of three cards in consecutive order||2|
|Four Run||Run of four cards in consecutive order||4|
|Longer Runs||Five or more cards in consecutive order||1 per card in run|
|Flush||Three or more cards of the same suit||1 per card in flush|
|A Sequence played in Cribbage or any of it's variants does not necessarily have to be played in exact sequential order as long as a valid sequence is formed with no intervening or duplicate cards.|
During play of the hand, a run does not have to be played in exact numerical order, but no intervening cards of another rank (or cards of duplicate rank) may have been played.
Similarly, for multiple cards of the same denomination, to be considered a point scoring combination, no intervening cards may have been played. For a flush, all cards must be played in sequence before a card of another suit is played in order to score points for a flush.
Play begins with dealer's opponent playing any card of his choice from his hand to the center of the table and stating its rank. The dealer than plays second, announcing the sum of the ranks of both cards. Play then alternates between the players with each player announcing the running sum of cards played to the center. If a player is unable on his turn to play a card to the table that would keep the total at or under 31, he must state this and the opponent would then continue to play as long as he can play cards keeping the cumulative total under 32. The hand ends when either both players have played all cards from their hands or neither can play any additional cards that would keep the running total under 32. The last player to play a card during the hand scores 1 point for Go, unless that last card was scored as a Hitter, where the player scores 2 points for the Hitter instead. Once this occurs any remaining cards in the players hands are discarded and the hand ends. The deal alternates between each player after every hand.
During play, as a player is able to create a scoring combination with cards played previously, they announce the combination and score for it as appropriate.
The first player to reach or exceed 31 points over the course of one or more deals is considered the winner. Special 31 hole Noddy boards were made for this game, however normal Cribbage boards or pencil and paper can be used for scoring.
: Costly Colours is a game, which like Cribbage seemed to have spawned off from their common ancestor of Noddy. While commonly played in the 1600's it did not seem to retain the popularity as Cribbage and was much less widely played after. Having more scoring categories then Cribbage as well as several other differences, it does, however, make for a fun game.
This game is played by two players using the standard 52 card deck with the following ranking of the cards (high to low); King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. The numerical equivalents for the cards are as follows: King, Queen and Jack are worth 10 each, the numeric cards are worth their marked value and each Ace is worth 1 or 11 at the card holders option.
The normal method to determine the dealer is for both players to cut a card from the deck, with the player cutting the lowest card becoming the first dealer. The deal alternates between each player from hand to hand.
The dealer then deals the cards face down and one at a time in an alternating fashion until each player has three cards. He then turns over the next card from the deck as an upcard. If this exposed card is any Jack (called "for his heels") or Two, the dealer earns four points immediately.
After looking at his hand but before any scoring announcements, the players have the opportunity to Mog. If both players agree to the Mog, they each pass one face down card to his opponent. If either or both players refuse to Mog, the opponent earns one point. If the card passed by a player is a Deuce or Jack, he may score 4 points if of the same suit as the turned up card or 2 for any other Deuce or Jack. When the player does earn points for the card he passes, the player receiving that card may not score for it when counting his hand.
As in all other games of the Cribbage family, the primary goal of the game is to score points from card combinations in a player's hand or formed during play of the hand. The first player to reach 121 or more points is declared the winner of the game. The following are the valid combinations that can be scored in a players hand or during play:
|Combination||Description||Scoring Value||When Scored|
|Fifteen||Combination of cards totalling exactly 15||1 per card in the combination||During Play and in Hand|
|Twenty-Five||Combination of cards totalling exactly 25||1 per card in the combination||During Play and in Hand|
|Thirty-One||Combination of cards totalling exactly 31||1 per card in the combination||During Play and in Hand|
|Jack (for his nobs) or Two||Holding a Jack or Deuce of same suit as the turned up card||4||In Hand Only|
|Jack or Deuce||Holding any Jack or Deuce not of the same suit as turned up card||2||In Hand Only|
|Pair||Two cards of same rank||2||During Play and in Hand|
|Prial||Three cards of same rank||9||During Play and in Hand|
|Double Prial||Four cards of same rank||18||During Play and in Hand|
|Sequence||Three or more cards played in Sequence||1 per card in the Sequence||In Play Only|
|Three in Suit||Three cards of same suit||3||In Hand Only|
|Three in Colour||Three cards of the same color but not suit||2||In Hand Only|
|Four in Colour, Two in Suit||Four cards of same color, with two in each of two suits||4||In Hand Only|
|Four in Colour, Three in Suit||Four cards of same color, with three in the same suit||5||In Hand Only|
|Costly Colours||Four cards of the same suit||6||In Hand Only|
|Costly Colours includes several additional scoring categories, such as this combination, "Four in Color, Three in Suit".|
The play of the hand occurs before the players announce and total their scores for combinations from their hands. To begin, the non-dealer places any card of his choice face from his hand face up in front of himself announcing the cards rank. His opponent then plays a card from his own hand in front of himself, announcing the new total of the sum of the ranks of the cards played. When playing an Ace, a player may add 1 or 11 to the running score at his option.
If a player on his turn, cannot play a card that would keep the total at 31 or less, he must state Go. The opponent may then, if able, continue to play cards until they too are unable to play cards without exceeding 31. Once this player is unable to play additional cards, they score 1 for last or more for the Hitter (1 point per card summing to 31). If one or both players still retain cards, all played cards should then be set aside by the players, and a new sequence is begun starting from a total of 0.
For forming any of the applicable scoring combinations given in the chart, they score appropriately, as soon as the combination is made. In order to score for a sequence, the cards do not necessarily have to played in the exact numerical sequence, however no duplicate cards or intervening cards not of the specific sequence can be played (i.e. a player could score by playing the 9, with a 7 and then 8 being the previous cards played). For purposes of Sequences an Ace is considered low so may only be scored in an sequence also containing the Two and Three.
After play of the hand, the players than gather all their own played cards for scoring their hands. They may then declare each applicable scoring combination (indicated in the chart) which consists of their original hand cards and the turned up start card. The non-dealer announces and scores first, followed by the dealer. A particular card can be used in scoring for multiple legal combinations, however, a player may not score for lesser combinations of the same type using the same card (i.e. a player may not count for four in suit and also for three in suit). This game is usually scored on a standard Cribbage board, with the first player to go twice around, scoring 121 points, declared the winner.
Table Top Cribbage
: Table Top cribbage, also called Cribbage Square, is a fun game based on Cribbage scoring, although gameplay is far removed from actual Cribbage. This game is commonly played by two or four players. A related solitaire version is also described below.
Four Player Table Top Cribbage
|Teams in Tabletop Cribbage score for specific combinations made in the rows between them and their partner. Players play their cards to a five by five card layout.|
: The most commonly played version of Table Top Cribbage is the version for four players. Determination of the partnerships can be done using the standard method of drawing from the shuffled deck, the players drawing the two highest cards play as partners against the players drawing the two lowest. The player drawing the highest card of all is set as the dealer. Once the partnerships and dealer is determined, the players should sit at the table, directly across from their partner.
The dealer begins by dealing the cards one at a time in a clockwise rotation starting with the player to his immediate left. These cards should be distributed face down in a neat stack in front of each player. This should continue until each player has six cards in a face down stack in front of them. No player may look at the cards in their stack. The dealer then deals the next card face up in the center of the table to start the tableau. The dealer then places a token, chip or similar marker on the center card to show that it represents the center of the layout.
The player to the immediate left of the dealer has the first turn. On his turn, a player draws the top card from his stack, exposing it and will then play this card to the layout. At the end of the hand, the layout will consist of a 5 card by 5 card layout, with the original card exposed being the center card of the layout. When playing his card, he must play the card in such a manner that it is directly adjacent to another card in the layout. It can be adjacent vertically, horizontally or diagonally. The card must be played on an empty space and can never be placed more than two cards from the center card (to ensure the layout retains a 5 by 5 square shape). A player may discuss with his partner on where they should play the card on the layout. In the event of any disagreement between the two partners, the player whose actual turn it is places it in the location of his choice. After his play, the next player in a clockwise rotation takes his turn in the same way. The turns continue until each player has played his last face down card and the full layout is complete.
The goal of a partnership, when placing a card, is to create scoring combinations for that team. A team scores by making certain valid Cribbage scoring combinations. A team scores on the five, 5 card rows that stretch between him and his partner. Similarly, the opponents score on the five, 5 card rows that stretch between themselves. After all cards have been played, each of these rows is examined and any valid scoring combinations found in that row are added for the appropriate team. The teams each calculate their scores on the hand simultaneously at the end of the hand.
The valid scoring combinations are as follows:
|Flush||All five cards in the row are of the same suit||5|
|Five Card Run||The five cards in the row in sequence||5|
|Four Card Run||Any four cards in the row in sequence||4 per run|
|Three Card Run||Any three cards in the row in sequence||3 per run|
|Pair||Any two cards of the same denomination in a row||2 per pair|
|Pair Royal||Any three cards of the same denomination in the row||6|
|Four of a Kind||Any four cards in the row of the same denomination||12|
|15's||Combination of cards in a row that total to exactly 15||2 each|
For determination of card values in scoring for 15's, face cards are each worth 10, Aces 1 and all other cards the value marked on the card.
To be considered for a Pair, Pair Royal or Four of a kind the cards must be of the exact same denomination.
The ranking of the cards, for determination of sequences is as follows (from low to high): Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King. As in standard Cribbage, the same card can be counted for multiple runs in the row, as long as at least one card in the run is different. Thus, in the following 9, 10, 9, 8, 5 a player could score for two separate runs. Note also that cards in sequence do not have to be sitting right next to the last card, as long as the card is in the same actual row. Similarly, when calculating for sums of 15, a player may use the same card for multiple calculations in the row, as long as at least one card for each summation is different.
The score is usually kept on a standard Cribbage board, although paper and pencil can be used, or the printable paper cribbage sheet above can be used to record the scores. The first partnership to score 121 points over the course of several hands is declared the winner of the game. If both partnerships reach or exceed 121 points at the end of a hand, the partnership with the higher total is declared the winner. The deal rotates in a clockwise rotation after each hand is completed.
Two Player Table Top Cribbage
: This game is also commonly played by two players, each playing for themselves. In this variant, each player receives 12 cards to their face down stack, and the deal alternates between the two players.
The dealer's opponent should sit to the dealer's left, in such a way that he is directly facing the rows he will score from, and the dealer is facing his own rows. The dealer's opponent plays first and his opponent next. The turn then alternates between both players. The play of the hand and the scoring is identical to the four player variant.
Cribbage Square Solitaire
This game is somewhat similar to the Table Top Cribbage game described above, but is a solitaire version for one player.
After shuffling the deck, the player sets the deck to the side. He then begins by exposing the top card of the stock. He may play this card anywhere to a four card by four card layout he will create through play. Each card drawn from the stock must be played, but the player can place the card on any empty space on the layout. The goal of the player is to create valid Cribbage scoring combinations in the rows and columns of the layout.
Once the player has exposed and played 16 cards to the layout, he then exposes the next card from the deck as the starter card and proceeds to calculate the score from the layout. He treats each row and column as if it were a separate hand, and calculates any valid scores, including the starter card with each row and column.
The scoring uses the standard Cribbage scoring combinations as follows:
|Scoring Combination||Description||Scoring Value|
|His Heels||Starter Card is a Jack||2|
|His Nobs||Jack in row or column is same suit as starter card||1|
|15's||Combination of cards in a row that total to exactly 15||2|
|Sequence (Run)||Three or more cards in a column or row in sequence||1 per card|
|Double Run||Two 3 card runs in the same column or row||8|
|Triple Run||Three, 3 card runs in the same column or row||15|
|Quadruple Run||Four 3 card runs in the same column or row||16|
|Double Four Card Run||Two 4 card runs in the same column or row||10|
|Four card Flush||Four cards in a row or column all of the same suit||4|
|Five Card Flush||Four cards in a row or column all of the same suit as the starter card||5|
|Pair||Any two cards of the same denomination in the same row or column||2|
|Pair Royal||Any three cards of the same denomination in the same row or column||6|
|Four of a Kind||Any four cards of the same denomination in the same row or column||12||
If a player can score for a five card flush on a particular row or column (including the starter card), they cannot also score for the four card flush on the same row or column.
When calculating runs and sums, the same card in the same column or row can be used for separate scoring combinations as long as at least one card in each combination is different.
A player is said to win the hand if they are able to score 61 or more points in one hand.
: Another popular and challenging solitaire game based on Cribbage is called simply Cribbage Solitaire.
Before beginning the player should first fully shuffle the deck. He then deals out three face down cards to start the hand, two others face down in a separate pile to form the crib, and three more to the hand. He places the remainder of the pack face down to form the stock and turns up the top card of the stock as the starter card. If this card is a Jack, the player scores 2 points for His Heels.
The player then picks up his hand to examine it and selects any two cards to add to the current two card, face down, crib. The player then lays the hand face down and scores it (along with the starter card) using standard Cribbage scoring categories and scoring values. After scoring the hand, the player then discards the hand and exposes the crib and adds any scores found in the crib (including the starter card). After scoring the crib, the player then discards the four cards of the crib. He then takes the exposed starter card and places it on the bottom of the remaining stock.
The player then repeats this exact same procedure, dealing additional hands and cribs, laying two cards to the crib and scoring for the remainder of the deck. After six total such hands, the stock should consist of four remaining cards. The player then exposes these four cards and scores them as a four card hand (with no starter card).
A player is said to have won the game if he can score 81 or more points. If a player is able to score 121 points they are said to have won a double game. Scoring is often done on a standard Cribbage board.
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