Sequence Board Game Rules

By Shea Laverty

Sequence is a deceptively simple board game, wherein the goal is to create a row poker chips or "sequence" on the game board. With rules for up to 12 players, the game becomes a battle of strategy, wits and luck as you try to beat your opponents to the punch. With so many players and some crafty rules regarding the game's equipment and card values, mastering the game can take a bit of practice.

Number of Players and Required Equipment

Sequence requires a minimum of two players, and allows a maximum of 12 players. Players are broken into two or three teams, with players evenly divided between them. The number of players must be divisible by two or three to ensure all teams have an equal number of players. The number of cards dealt depends on the number of players. Deal seven cards each for two players, six cards each for three or four players, five cards each for six players, four cards each for eight and nine players and three cards each for 10 and 12 players.

To properly play Sequence, you need a Sequence board, two decks of playing cards, 50 blue marker chips, 50 green marker chips and 35 red marker chips. In games involving two teams, only use the green and blue chips. The red chips should only be used if you've got three teams in the game. Jokers aren't used in the game, so remove them from the decks.

Setting Up

When setting up the board, ensure there's enough room for the draw deck and storage of unused marker chips, as well as room for each player's discard pile.

In two-team games, players must be placed alternately with their opponents around the play surface. For example, a Green player would be followed by a Blue player, then another Green player and so on. Three-team games follow the same principle, but with three-person patterns instead of two. For example, a Green player would sit next to a Blue player, followed by a Red player, another Green and so on. All players cut the deck, with whomever selects the lowest card being designated the dealer. Aces are considered high in this situation, so a two is the lowest anyone can draw.

Game Flow and Sequences

The player to the left of the dealer goes first, with turns continuing in a clockwise direction. On your turn, select a card from your hand and place it face up in your discard pile. Place a marker on one of the corresponding spaces on the board, so long as it isn't already occupied. Except via one-eyed Jacks, no markers can be removed from the board. Once you've played your card and any Jacks (which will be explained in a moment), draw a card from the draw deck to end your turn. Play continues until one of the teams gets the required number of sequences to win. Two sequences are needed for two-team games and one sequence for three-team games.

A sequence is a series of five markers, lined up in a row. This row can horizontal, vertical or diagonal -- what matters is that it's an unbroken line of five markers. The four corners of the board also feature printed marker chip cards; these are free spaces, which take the place of a marker chip in sequences for players of any team. So long as the other markers line up with this free space, you only need four markers to make a sequence. In games requiring two sequences to win, you can use any of the marked spaces from the first sequence to contribute to the second.

Using Jacks

Jacks are used in two ways in Sequence, depending on the Jack itself. Two-eyed Jacks are considered wild cards, and can be used to place a marker chip on any open space on the game board. One-eyed Jacks are anti-wild cards which remove another team's marker chip from the board when played. The exception is completed sequences, which can't be broken even by one-eyed Jacks. Using a one-eyed Jack ends your turn, making it one of the last moves you should make during your turn. Jacks can only be played during your turn, and are discarded like other cards when used.

Dead Cards and Card Loss

When you have a card in your hand for which both corresponding board spaces are occupied, this card is considered a "dead card." At the start of your turn, you can discard your dead card, declare that you were turning in a dead card and draw a fresh card from the deck. You can do this once per turn, and play out your normal turn afterward.

If you don't draw a card before the next player completes their turn and draws their own card, you lose the right to draw for that turn. As a result, you'll have to play with one less card in your hand for the rest of the game, which reduces your opportunity to make useful plays.

Table Talk and Decking Out

Teammates communicating regarding play or coaching, called table talk, is strictly against the rules. Should players be caught communicating to their teammates what kind of moves to make, all members of the team are penalized by discarding a card from their hand and continue play with a reduced hand. This puts the whole team at a disadvantage, since all have a lesser change to get a useful or needed card during play.

If all the cards in the draw deck are used before the game ends, every player's discard piles are combined and shuffled to be used as a new draw deck.