In truth, it is a popular card game where players try to shed or discard all their cards to win a round. The easiness of the game has spawned many variations with different names. In Germany, the game is called is Mau-Mau. In the Netherlands, it is Pesten. In Switzerland, it is Tschausepp. Regardless of the name, the standard way to play Crazy Eights is to use a 52-card deck for a game between two to five players. If there are more than five players, then another 52-card deck is added. Eight cards get dealt to each player and some cards remain in a center pile, so make sure enough cards are around for the full complement of cards in a starting hand. As stated, a dealer deals cards to each player in a circle until every player has eight cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in the center. When the top card gets turned face up to form a discard pile, that signals the start of the game. Starting with the player left of the dealer and continuing clockwise, players can discard by matching rank (numbers) or suit with the top card in the center pile. If a Jack of Hearts gets played, then any Heart card or any Jack can be placed on top it. The exception are the eights which are “wild” and can be played at any time. When someone plays an eight, he or she can decide which suit gets played next (regardless of what suit the eight which got discarded is).
If a player can’t discard a card, then he or she must draw from the center pile of face down cards until a card that can be played comes up. If the pile of face down cards get exhausted, then the game continues with the players simply passing if a card can’t be discarded. The game ends when a player has successfully gotten rid of all of his or her cards. The other time the game ends is when all the players can’t discard and there is no more draw pile, thus blocking the game. At that point, the scoring system of penalty points comes into play. Traditionally, an eight in the hand is worth 50 points, face cards are worth 10 points, and a spot card is worth its face value (example: a five-card is worth five points). Ironically, the ace card is treated as a one and is worth only one point.
Because of the straightforward rules, other variations have been formed and stipulations have been added to make things even more entertaining. One stipulation has a card, usually the ace, which gets played on the discard pile, causing the next player in the rotation to have his turn skipped. Another stipulation is when a card, sometimes the queen, forces the rotation to suddenly go in reverse. The player who laid down the reverse card goes again and play continues in the opposite rotation.