Screw Your Neighbour Card Game: How to Play, Rules and Strategies

Welcome to the world of “Screw Your Neighbour”, a card game that marries bluffing, strategy, and a spot of luck!

While the mechanics of the game are simple, the penalty nature of the point system makes it a popular choice as a drinking game, adding a lively twist to the card game.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the rules and strategies of “Screw Your Neighbour” card game.

How to Play “Screw Your Neighbour” Card Game: A Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating through the mechanics, here’s a detailed guide on how the game unfolds:

Dealing and Setup

First, determine the dealer. This could be done by drawing cards, with the highest card holder assuming the role. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals one card, face-down, to each player.

Players discreetly view their cards, ensuring not to reveal them to others.

Peaking at playing card to reveal it's a 2 of Spades

Player Turns and Actions:

Starting with the player to the dealer’s right, players decide, in a clockwise order, whether to keep their card or swap it with the player to their left.

So, while decisions are made in a clockwise direction, the cards, when swapped, move counter-clockwise.

An Example with Four Players:

  • Let’s name our players A (dealer), B (to A’s right), C (across from A), and D (to A’s left)
  • B decides first and chooses to swap cards with A.
  • C, up next, chooses to keep their card.
  • D decides to swap cards with C.
  • Finally, A, the dealer, doesn’t actively choose but must accept the decision made by B. This highlights the unique position of the dealer, who essentially has their choice made for them by the player on their right.

Round Endings, Points Calculation and Game Continuation

Once decisions are finalised, cards are turned face up.

The player holding the lowest card is “screwed” and receives a penalty. This might be a set point value, any other predetermined penalty, or if you’re playing a drinking game version, a penalty drink!

If there’s a tie for the lowest card, all those players receive the penalty.

The game comprises several rounds, continuing until you reach a previously agreed endpoint, such as a set number of rounds or when a player accumulates a certain penalty score.

Post each round, the role of dealer shifts to the left. This rotation ensures every player experiences the strategic implications of being the dealer.

Strategies and Tips for “Screw Your Neighbour”

Though “Screw Your Neighbour” leans heavily on luck, a dash of strategy can certainly tilt the scales in your favour. Here are some pointers to consider during gameplay:

To Swap or Not to Swap: As a rule of thumb, if you’ve got a card higher than 8, it might be wise to hold onto it. The middle numbers can be trickier. It’s all a gamble, but sometimes, taking a risk can pay off.

Observe Your Opponents: Body language can reveal a lot. If the player to your right hastily decides not to swap, chances are they have a high card. Conversely, hesitation might indicate a middling card, and they’re pondering the risk.

The Power of the Queen: Remember, the queen is your safety net. If you’re fortunate to get one, revel in the momentary power – and watch the amusing drama unfold as others swap cards, while you sit back, immune.

Avoid Tunnel Vision: It’s easy to become solely focused on your immediate neighbour, but it’s beneficial to keep a broader view. If you notice multiple players opting not to swap, the likelihood of low cards being on your left increases.

Arming yourself with these strategies can make the difference between smoothly sailing through rounds or, well, getting “screwed”.

Game Variations

While the core “Screw Your Neighbour” game offers plenty of thrills, some players love to introduce a twist or two. Here are a few popular variations to spice things up:

  • Double Trouble: Players receive two cards instead of one. The game then progresses as usual, but players decide which of their pair to exchange or retain. This introduces an added layer of strategy and unpredictability.
  • Timed Decisions: Add a dash of urgency! Players have a limited amount of time (perhaps 5 or 10 seconds) to make their decision, injecting a burst of energy and challenge to the game.
  • The Joker’s Wild: Integrate one or two jokers into the deck. The joker can be the highest or lowest card, based on your group’s preference. This can majorly shuffle the dynamics, especially if two jokers assume different roles!
  • The Protective Jack: Much like the role of the Queen, the Jack can also be assigned a protective role. This could either replace the Queen or act alongside it. Players with a Jack , similar to those with a Queen, are exempt from exchanges for that round.
  • Point-Based Penalties: Rather than a single penalty for the card ranked lowest, distribute additional penalty points to the lowest card values. For instance, an Ace might lead to a 3-point penalty, and a 2 results in a 2-point penalty, penalising the two lowest cards in the deck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is “Screw Your Neighbour” known by any other names?

Yes, it sometimes goes by alternative names like “Ranter-Go-Round“, “Chase the Ace“, or “Cuckoo“, depending on the region or variation.

How many people can play “Screw Your Neighbour”?

Ideally, the more the merrier, but an ideal game size is between 4 – 8 players. A larger group size gives each player a higher chance of not being “screwed”, but the round time can be too long with a very large group.

“Screw Your Neighbour” is also possible to play as a 3 player card game.

Can children play “Screw Your Neighbour”?

Absolutely! The rules are straightforward enough for children to understand. However, depending on your chosen penalties or stakes, you might want to adjust them to be more kid-friendly.

How do you play the “Screw Your Neighbour” drinking game?

To turn “Screw Your Neighbour” into a drinking game, simply agree a drinking forfeit as the penalty for the player who loses each round.

To spice things ups, you could also assign a harsher drinking forfeit to a specific card in the deck, such as the 7 of Clubs. Whilst the chances of a player finishing the round with the assigned card is unlikely, it adds an extra layer of anticipation to the game!

How long does a typical game of “Screw Your Neighbour” last?

The duration can vary based on the number of players and the agreed-upon end conditions (like a set number of rounds). Typically, with 4-6 players, a game might last anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.

What’s the best strategy for winning?

While much of the game is down to luck, being observant can give you an edge. Pay attention to the choices and reactions of others, especially the player to your right, as they directly influence your decision.

Conclusion and Further Exploration

If you’ve delved into the intricacies of “Screw Your Neighbour” and enjoyed its blend of luck and strategy, you’re likely keen to explore other card games that offer a similar buzz. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. President (or Scum): This is a game of clear hierarchies, where players aim to get rid of their cards first to rise through the ranks.
  2. Spoons: A frantic game where players try to collect four of a kind and then stealthily grab a spoon. The last player left without a utensil is out!
  3. Cheat (or Bullshit): This game is all about deception. Players aim to get rid of their cards but can lie about what they’re playing. The key is not to get caught!

Do you have any tips, strategies, or variations for “Screw Your Neighbour”? Share them in the comments below!

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