Five crowns is a rummy-like game in which players try to combine cards of the same suit in sequential order or cards of the same rank irrespective of the suit. The game is played in rounds with scores awarded to players at the end of each round. At the end of the final round, which is the 11th round, total scores for each player are calculated and the player with the lowest score is declared the winner.
In each round, players try to be the first to go out or go out in the same turn as the first player to go out to avoid scoring any points at all. The objective at the end of the game is to have the lowest total score.
Five Crown Rules
Cards can only be played in combinations known as “Books” and “Runs”.
Jokers are always wild and can substitute for any other card in any round. The other cards can also become wilds depending on the round being played.
Any number of wilds can be used in forming “Books” and “Runs”.
A player must go out by playing all their cards at the same time except for one. The last card is discarded.
Once a player goes out, the remaining players have one turn left each.
Number of Players Needed
1 to 7 players.
Two decks of 58 cards each. The card deck used for playing Five Crowns have an extra suit, no Aces, and no 2s.
A dealer is selected from among the players. The dealer shuffles both card decks together. In the first round, each player is dealt three cards, one at a time beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. The number of cards each player is given increases by one in successive rounds. This means that in the second round, each player is dealt 4 cards while in the third round each player gets 5 cards. In the 11th and final round, each player gets 13 cards.
Once the dealer has shared the required number of cards to each player for the round, the remaining cards are placed face-down in the centre of the table to form a draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is then turned over to start the discard pile.
How to Play Five Crowns
Before explaining how the game is played proper, there are some things that a player needs to know. Remember that the game is played with two card decks, each having 58 cards for a total of 116 cards. In each deck, there are three Jokers and five suits: Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, and Stars. Each card suit has eleven cards: 3 through 10, Jack, Queen, and King. There are wildcards used in the game and these are discussed below.
Jokers are always wild and can replace any other card in any round of the game. The other cards too can become wilds depending on the round being played and are called rotating wilds. A rotating wild for a round can replace any card only in that round. The number of cards dealt in a round determines the number that serves as rotating wild for that round. For example, in round one three cards are given to each player so the rotating wilds for that round will be 3s. In round three where five cards are dealt per player, 5s wild be wilds for that round. In the 9th round where 11 cards are dealt per player, Jacks become wilds. In the 10th round where 12 cards are dealt per player, Queens are wild. In the 11th round which is the final round, 13 cards are dealt per player so Kings become wilds for that round.
In each round, players try to achieve the lowest score by being the first to go out or go out in the same turn as the first player to go out. A player can only go out by playing certain card combinations known as “Books” and “Runs”. A “Book” is made up of three or more cards belonging to the same suit in sequential order. An example of a “Book” is a combination of 3 of Hearts, 4 of Hearts, and 5 of Hearts. A “Run” is made up of three or more cards of the same rank irrespective of suit. A good example of a “Run” is 3 of Hearts, 3 of Spades, 3 of Diamonds.
Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer and progresses clockwise. On their turn, a player can draw the top card of either the draw pile or the discard pile. Note that the top card of the draw pile is faced-down but that of the discard pile is faced-up so the player knows exactly what they are picking when drawing a card from the discard pile. After drawing a card, the player must discard one card from their hand on the discard pile to complete their turn. The essence of discarding one card to complete a turn is to maintain the original number of cards dealt for the round.
Players keep taking turns until one player can go out. A player can only go out by playing all their cards at once and displacing the last one. The number of cards needed to go out in a round is the same as the number of cards each player got at the start of the round. In round one, for example, only three cards are dealt per player so a player can go out by playing three cards of the same rank which form a “Run” or three cards of the same suit that are in sequential order such as 4 of Hearts, 5 of Hearts, and 6 of Hearts in a “Book” combination.
Remember that players must form “Books”, “Runs” or both to be able to go out of the game. A player can form any number of “Books” or “Runs” with their cards. Jokers and wild cards can be used in forming “Books” and “Runs”. Any number of Jokers and wild cards may be used. For rounds that involve lots of cards, players must hold on to “Books” and “Runs” that they form until they can play all of them at once. You cannot play cards in bits. At the end of every turn, the number of cards in the hand of a player must equal the number given to the player initially unless the player goes out.
When a player is ready to go out, the player starts their turn normally by drawing a card. After this, the player lays down all their cards except one. The cards played by the player must be in combinations of either “Books”, “Runs” or both. The last card is then discarded on the discard pile to complete the player’s turn.
Once a player has gone out, all the other players have one turn left each to conclude the round. Each remaining player will take their turn normally by drawing a card but this time they must take an extra step by laying down any “Books” or “Runs” that they have before discarding one card. Each player must lay their “Books”, “Runs” or both in front of them. The players conclude their turns normally by discarding one card on the discard pile and holding on to any cards they may have left.
Players receive scores depending on the ranks of the unused cards they have at the end of a game round. Cards are scored as follows.
Each number card is worth its face value i.e. a 3 card is worth 3 cards, a 5 card is worth 5 points, etc.
Jacks are worth 11 points.
Queens are worth 12 points.
Kings are worth 13 points.
Wilds for that round are worth 20 points.
Jokers are worth 50 points.
Scores received by each player are recorded at the end of each round. To begin a new round, the player to the left of the current dealer takes over and becomes the dealer for the new round. At the end of the final round, total scores for each player is calculated and a winner is declared.
Winning the Game
The player with the lowest total score at the end of the 11th round is declared the winner.