99 is a fun and easy to play card game. It is enjoyed by adults as well as children from the age of 8 upwards. The game is played with a standard card deck of 52 cards. Players are handed 3 tokens at the start of the game and must try not to lose their tokens to stay in the game. A round is concluded immediately a player plays a card that takes the total points of the discard pile over 99. That player loses a token and a new round begins. The game ends when only one player has any token left.
The objective is to be the last player with a token.
99 Card Game Rules
If a player forgets to draw a replacement card from the draw pile immediately after playing a card, this mistake cannot be corrected once the next player has had their turn. The player who failed to draw a new card from the draw pile must continue to play the round with one card fewer until a new round begins.
A player loses a token if they take the value of the discard pile above 99.
Number of Players Needed
3 or more players.
A standard 52 card deck (no Jokers). If more than 4 players are involved, 2 card decks are used.
Tokens (could be pennies, buttons, poker chips, etc.)
One of the players is selected as a dealer. The dealer shuffles the card deck and deals three cards to each player. The undealt cards are placed face-down on the playing surface and become the draw pile. Three tokens are handed to each player after which the game starts.
How to Play 99
Players take turns to play their cards in a clockwise direction, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. The played cards are placed face-up in the middle of the playing surface and are referred to as the discard pile. The game begins with no discarded card which means the total points is 0. The total points of the discard pile build up as players take turns to drop cards.
Number cards add points to the discard pile based on their face value. Jack and Queen add 10 points each when either is played. More details on the card scoring system for 99 is provided in the latter part of this piece.
On their turn, each player discards one of their three cards to discard pile and draw the top card of the draw pile to bring the number of their cards back to three. A player on their turn must announce the total number of points of the discard pile after discarding one of their cards on the pile. If a player cannot play without taking the value of the discard pile over 99 points, that player loses and the round is over. The player that lost must give up one of their tokens and a new round begins.
The player to the left of the dealer who is still in the game becomes the new dealer. Each player is dealt a new hand and new round commences. The new round is played in the same way as described above. Once a player runs out of tokens, they are eliminated. The game continues in rounds until only one player is left with a token. That player is declared the winner.
Scoring system for 99
Ace: Adds either 1 or 11 points to the value of the discard pile. The player that drops an Ace determines if the Ace is worth 1 point or 11 points.
4 card: When a 4 card is played, the direction of play is reversed but no point is added to the value of the discard pile
9 card: If a 9 card is played, the value of the discard pile remains the same as no point will be added. However, play passes to the next player in turn.
10 card: A card either increases or decreases the value of the discard pile by 10 points at the discretion of the player that plays it.
King: If a King card is played, the value of the discard pile is immediately set to 99.
Jack and Queen: If either is played, 10 points are added to the value of the discard pile.
Number Cards: Number cards add points equal to their face value to the value of the discard pile. The exceptions are 4, 9, and 10 and how these impact the game has been discussed above.
If the draw pile runs out before a round is concluded, the top card of the discard pile is set aside to start a new discard pile but the value of the discard pile is maintained. The remaining cards of the old discard pile are shuffled and placed face-down on the playing surface to form a new draw pile so that game can continue.
Winning the Game
A player loses a token if they take the value of the discard pile over 99. The game is played in rounds and continues until only one player is left with any token.