Cribbage is a stimulating and entertaining card game for two, three or four people. It includes some mathematics, strategy and a bit of luck. Most of the playing is done with the deck of cards. There are several ways to score points, including cards that add up to 15, pairs and runs. The board and pegs exist only to keep score. A standard cribbage board has four rows of 60 holes, which are separated into groups of five.
Throw down one card, face up, and call out its value. The cards’ values are indicated by what they are. For example, an ace is worth one, a two is worth two and so on. Face cards are worth 10.
Have your opponent throw down the next card and call out the value of the cards added together. The goal is to reach 31. If you play the card that brings the total to 15, you score two points. If you play a card that creates a pair, you get two points. If you play the card that brings the total to exactly 31, you get two points. If you create a run of three, you get three points, and if you create a run of four, you get four points. Three of a kind results in six points, and four of a kind is worth 12 points.
Say “Go” when you cannot play anymore without going over 31, and the other person gets a point. At this point, begin again at zero and continue pegging. When you are both out of cards, pegging is over.
Count the points in your hand and crib. Cards that add up to 15 are worth two points. Pairs are worth two points. Runs are worth as many points as there are cards. For example, a run of three is worth three points, and a run of four is worth four points. Runs need not be in the same suit.
Using the Pegs to Keep Score
Move your peg as many holes as points scored. For example, if you score one point, move your peg ahead one hole. If you score 12 points, move your peg ahead 12 holes.
Use only your back peg to move forward, leaving the front one as a place marker (in a leap-frog pattern). The penalty for moving your front peg instead of your back peg is that your back peg becomes your front peg. This will result in loss of points.
Move your pegs up the outside row of holes and back down the inside. The first player to return to the starting point wins the game.
Things You'll Need
- Standard deck of cards (no jokers)
- Cribbage board
- 4 pegs (can substitute with matchsticks, toothpicks or similarly shaped object)
- Dan Zeisler, cribbage instructor, Northern California
Sadie Anderson is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz and holds a bachelor's degree in literature. She has written extensively for Demand Studios; her articles have been published on eHow.com and LIVESTRONG. Anderson has cystic fibrosis and uses her acquired knowledge to help other patients navigate the medical world.