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How to Play a Game Called Ruckus

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Ruckus is a fast-paced card game that combines luck, strategy, and speed. While the game feels faster with three to five players, it works just fine with two. Ruckus is easy to learn and doesn’t take long to play a full round, but be warned: it’s addictive. And forget about the Queen of Hearts. Ruckus boasts quirky cards like Happy Robot, Solar Power, and Elephant Tea. Bring it on.

Deal each player seven cards, face down. Place the remaining cards close to the dealer. Do not flip the top card.

Find sets. Each player pulls any sets of two or more from her hand and places each set in a pile in front of her. There are no turns; players play simultaneously.

Steal sets. Players may steal an opponent’s pile if they have a matching card in their hand. The stealing player moves the pile in front of her. Piles may be stolen multiple times.

Keep a rapid pace. As soon as there’s a break in the action, the dealer hands out one card to each player, face down.

Resume play with matches being pulled from hands, single cards added to player’s piles, and piles being stolen from opponents.

When a player is down to one card in his hand, place it face down on the table and yell “Ruckus!” All play stops immediately and the hand ends.

Total the score. Players score one point for each card in front of them, minus any cards remaining in their hands. The player who shouted “Ruckus” scores an additional five points. The first person to reach 75 points wins.


Sets in a hand must be laid down, but players may hang on to single cards that could otherwise be played if they choose. For example, if you have a set of “Monkey in the Bottle” cards and another one is dealt to you, that card may be held to reclaim that pile if it is stolen from you.

Move fast, but not too fast. When cards are dealt, pause just long enough to let other opponents steal from each other before you lay a card down to make the final steal. Pause too long, however, and the dealer will move on without you or someone else can go out, leaving you with an extra card in your hand.

Keep an eye on the number of cards other players are holding. Lay down any cards that can be played if you suspect someone is going out.

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