Rules of the Grass Card Game

By Alan Kirk

The game of Grass puts each player into the role of a pot dealer. Players try to sell their pot and limit their opponent’s ability to do the same with playing cards that represent police trying to stop the sale. You play with a special deck of cards. Two to six players can play and an average game lasts 20 to 40 minutes when playing to 250,000 points. Adjust the total for longer or shorter games.

Basics of the Game

Each player starts the game with six cards, face down, that only he can see. The player takes the top card from the draw pile and then chooses to play a card. As pot dealers, each player wants to place his “peddle” cards into his “stash” on the table. The pile of peddle cards are referred to as a "stash pile." At the end of the hand, each player will receive points based on the cards in his stash pile. If a player does not wish to play a card on his turn, he may discard any card he wishes to the face up “wasted” pile in the center of the table. The hand ends when a player plays a “market closed” card.

Peddle Cards

After a player plays a market open card, she can place a peddle card in her stash pile in front of her on the table during any of her turns. If you play one of the "heat on" cards to another player's stash pile, that player must play a "heat off" card to cancel it, and wait until her next turn to play cards to the stash pile. Peddle cards are used to obtain points in Grass.

Heat-On and Heat-Off Cards

There are 12 “heat on” cards and 20 “heat off” cards in play There are 12 “heat on” cards and 20 “heat off” cards in play during a game of Grass. Each heat-on card has a specific heat-off card that cancels it. The “immunity card” removes a “bust heat on” card and a “breeze to fly” card removes a “detained heat on” card. The “hearsay evidence” card removes a “felony heat on” card and, finally, the “charges dropped” card removes a “search and seizure heat on” card.

Players cannot play any peddle cards into their own stash pile or heat-on cards onto an opponent's pile if they currently have a heat-on card played on their own pile from an opponent. A player must play a heat-off card from the cards already in his hand or the card he drew from the draw pile to start his turn. Playing a heat-off card ends the player’s turn and he cannot play an additional card during that turn.

There are four heat-off cards called "pay fine-heat off" cards. These cards require the player to remove her lowest peddle card from her stash on the table to remove the heat card. Only one heat-on card can be played on a player's pile at a time. This means multiple players cannot play heat-on cards onto a player's pile in the same round before her next turn during a game of Grass. Each heat on card has a specific heat off card that cancels its effects. The “immunity card” removes a “bust heat on” card, and a “breeze to fly” card removes a “detained heat on” card. The “hearsay evidence” card removes a “felony heat on” card, and finally, the “charges dropped” card removes a “search and seizure heat on” card.

Players cannot play any peddle cards into their own stash pile or heat-on cards onto an opponent's pile if they currently have a heat on card played on their own pile from an opponent. A player must play a heat off card from the cards already in his hand or the card he drew from the draw pile to start his turn. Playing a heat off card ends the players turn, and she can not play an additional card during that turn.

There are four heat-off cards called "pay fine-heat off" cards. These cards require the player to remove his lowest peddle card from his stash on the table to remove the heat card. Only one heat-on card can be played on a player's pile at a time. This means multiple players cannot play heat-on cards onto a player's pile in the same round before her next turn.

Nirvana Cards

A "nirvana" card will have the word nirvana on it. It removes a heat-on card from a player's pile and gives that player an extra card as well as a card from each opponent's stash. The five "stonehigh" cards in the deck allow the player to remove the heat-on card, receive the lowest peddle card from each opponent's stash and take another turn. There is only one "euphoria" card and it has great value. It removes a heat-on card, requires each opponent to give that player his largest value peddle card on the table and gives the player holding it an additional turn.

Players can protect cards during the game from nirvana cards by playing “protection” cards. These cards protect cards up to a specified value from being stolen. Protected cards are not calculated at the end of the hand for skimming if someone plays a banker card during the hand.

Paranoia Cards

The “paranoia” cards are cards that players do not want in their hand at the end of a round. When you play one, play it face up to the wasted discard pile. These cards deduct points from the player's hand in the scoring if they are in the player's hand at the end of the round and have not been played. “sold out” cards deduct 25,000 points, “double crossed” cards deduct 50,000 points and “wiped out” cards deduct 100,000 points.

A sold-out card, when played, requires each player to pass one card face down to the player on her left. A double-crossed card requires the player who played the card to lose one turn and lose his lowest unprotected peddled card to the wasted pile. The “utterly wiped out” card requires the player to lose two turns and removes all unprotected cards he has played to the wasted pile. To play again, the player must play a market-open card on a subsequent turn to open his market again.

Skim Cards

There are two types of skim cards which are labeled as "steal your neighbor's pot" and "banker" cards. There are four “steal your neighbor’s pot” cards and one “banker” card. The steal-your-neighbor's-pot card allows a player to steal the highest unprotected peddle card from an opponent's played cards. The banker card is especially powerful and gives a player 20 percent of the value of each of her opponent's unprotected peddle cards, instead of scoring those points for that player. For example, if player A had 100,000 in peddle cards at the end of the game and Player B had 80,000, but player C had played a banker card, the scoring for peddle cards would be adjusted. Player A would receive 80,000 points (20 percent less than 100,000), and Player B would receive 64,000 points (20 percent less than 80,000). Player C would receive 36,000 points (20,000 of Player A's points and 16,000 of Player B's points) along with any points of her own.

Scoring The Hand

When a player plays the market-closed card, the hand ends and is scored. Each player totals his peddle cards and deducts 20 percent from his total of unprotected peddle cards if a banker card was played during the game.

The player who played the banker card adds those points to his score. Each player must then deduct the highest value peddle card left in his hand that he did not get to play. Another subtraction is made for any paranoia cards left in the player's hand that were not played.

Finally, the player with the highest points receives a bonus 25,000 points. The goal is to reach a total of 250,000 points, if no player has that total at the end of the hand, another hand is played. It is possible to score negative point totals after a hand of Grass.

About the Author

Alan Kirk has been writing for online publications since 2006. He has more than 15 years' experience in catering, management and government relations. Kirk has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Maryland.