How to Play the Card Game "Crazy Pretzel"

So you're have a few extra decks of cards and some really bored friends, but nothing to do? Try a new card game called Crazy Pretzel. It's a lot like Uno, but you create your own rules to have a great time on a boring day. Here's how to play.


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    Gather a few decks of cards and some friends. Typically, you need about two decks for every three or four people. Don't worry if they're not the same pattern, though similar sizes are preferred. Shuffle the decks together as thoroughly as you like.
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    Get to know the general rules. This game is a lot like Uno. Same suits and same numbers can be placed on top of each other (ex. spade on spade or 9-heart on 9-diamond). Also, same number cards can be stacked. Sequential numbers cannot be stacked unless they are the same suit (ex. 3-diamond cannot follow 2-heart but may follow 2-diamond). To win, you must get rid of all of the cards in your hand. Once you have, you may scream "Crazy Pretzel!" and do a victory dance. DO NOT scream this before the you win. DO NOT call "Uno!" That's a different game. Doing these may result in penalties.
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    Know the other rules. This is the part that makes it fun.

    • The "Think" Rule. This rule states that while it is a person's turn and they are thinking about what card to place, they must say think in a clear, steady rhythm. This rule may be changed, but not removed, as explained later. A person can be carded for inconsistencies, inaudibility, forgetfulness and "thinking" out of turn.
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    • The "Spade" Rule. For every spade you lay, you must name a Beatle (the band, not the bug. i.e. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star and George Harrison). You must name one for every spade you lay. Repetition is fine. Remember that the cards is this instance must be the same number. This rule is included with the rules listed below (ex. If you lay a 7-spade, you must name an actor and a Beatle. These must be declared before declaring skip, reverse, draw two or pause.) Failure results in a penalty.
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    • The "Ace" Rule. The dealer makes up an ace rule before the game begins. It may be an action or saying that a player or group of players must do each time an ace is laid (ex. knock the table three times, sing the first line of your least favorite song, shout "I want a cheeseburger, now!"). Imagination is the limit for this rule. Just remember that it must be the same rule for everyone, even the dealer, and that a person can get carded for forgetting.
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    • The"Two" Rule. This is a lot like Uno. If a two is laid, the person must say "Draw 2" (or 2x the number of cards laid). The next person in line can either draw 2 cards and skip his turn or place another two on the deck. If another card is placed, the person must tell the next person to draw X number of cards, remembering to add their 2 to the number already said. This keeps going down the line until a person finally draws all of the cards. Any disregard for the rules could result in being carded, including forgetting to say "Draw X cards," forgetting to draw or place a card, or forgetting to "think," even while searching your deck.
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    • The "Four" Rule. Every time you lay down a four, you must say the name of an athlete. They do not need to be famous. If you stack, you must name as many as the cards you laid. Though repetition of names isn't illegal, it is frowned upon. A person is carded for hesitation and and forgetfulness.
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    • The"Seven" Rule. This is the same as the four rule, but for every seven, you must name an actor or actress. The same rules apply as for the four rule.
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    • The"Jack" Rule. A jack means that a person is skipped. The person laying the jack must say "skip," "double skip," etc. Failure to do so results in being carded. "Thinking" out of turn or failure to "think" when it is your turn may result in being carded.
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    • The "Queen" Rule. This card is the reverse card. Much like the jack, you must call single, double, triple reverse when the card is laid. Penalties follow those for the jack rule.
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    • The"King" Rule. You are king when you lay this card down. You have the ability to pause the game by declaring "pause game" after your duties are done (for duties see the spade rule. failing this results in a penalty). Once you pause, you can do whatever you like as long as it doesn't effect the default rules listed above. Now have fun. You can add a rule to a rule free card for the individual or for the group, even if they aren't the ones that specifically laid the card. You can change the "think" rule to another word, like "Oreo". You can really stick it to a person or group of people and make them draw as many as five cards or switch hands with someone else. You can remove an annoying rule from yourself or another players as long as it doesn't go against the default rules. You can do anything except something that would make you win, like discarding, etc. If two or more people don't agree with a rule however, it can be overruled by a vote. Once the rule is made, "resume game" is declared and "thinking" begins again.
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    • Penalty Rules. For a mistake or failure to follow a general rule, the penalty is one card, dealt as many times as needed until the person catches on. Saying "Crazy Pretzel!" before you win or not saying it when you do win results in a five card penalty. If a person says "Uno!" they must be yelled at and award three cards. For any penalty, the penalizer must declare the failure (ex. "Failure to think," "Failure to name a Beatle," etc.) as many times as they deal a card. Failure to do this results in a penalty and inaccurate penalizing also results in a penalty, so be careful. Awarding a penalty does not overrule the "think" rule, so, again, be careful.
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    Be Creative. If a rule wasn't listed, that means that it is open to interpretation. This game is only as fun as the people who play it.


  • This is a good way to learn how to multitask and think quickly.
  • You can "think" as long as you need to, just as long as you keep doing it, so it is a good idea to plan you actors, athletes, Beatles, etc. while thinking, so that you can say them in rapid succession and don't get carded.
  • The more you play, the easier it gets, and the more fun it gets as you make up better rules.
  • This is a great way to use incomplete decks, since the cards don't have to match.
  • This is a game for fun and socializing. It's a great way to break the ice. Just let yourself laugh and have fun.
  • Often, the more complicated/embarrassing rules are the most fun, but don't force anyone to do something they don't want to do unless you are ready to feel uncomfortable as well.
  • It is nice to give new players a chance to organize themselves and make mistakes, but it isn't required.
  • If you forget a rule, ask. The worst that can happen is no one answers and you have to wait until you get a card.
  • Try to hide the number of your cards so people won't gang up on you as you get close to winning.


  • Extreme competitiveness may result from this game. Friends may be lost.
  • People who don't know what you're doing may give you strange looks.
  • This game is addicting. If you get good, you'll want to play it all the time. You may find yourself skipping real work to play.
  • Experienced players may not go easy on new people.
  • With a lot of players, the game may never end without cheating. Be careful if you do, and may heaven help you if you get caught.
  • This game gives people a chance to be complete jerks. Insults may fly. Return with your own, but don't hold it against them for long.
  • Don't gang up on a person or group of people unless you are ready to face the consequences.
  • Forming alliances is great fun, but it make people mad or sad.
  • Some people penalize faster than lightning. Say what you need to as fast as you can.
  • If you see a person is close to winning, make sure everyone knows so that they can be stopped. Be prepared for the same behavior if you get close.

Things You'll Need

  • imagination and a sense of humor
  • two decks of cards for every two or three people
  • three or more friends
  • a flat surface (optional, though it makes it easier)
  • an open space with room for everyone (Optional: Sometimes, it is fun to play when you have to jump over each other to put a card down, though this increases the complication)

Article Info

Categories: Card Games