Palace is a fun and entertaining card game with fairly simple rules. The game is easy to play, requiring only a simple strategy and a little bit of luck to win. To play Palace card game, a 52 card deck and a minimum of 2 players is all that is required. The basic idea of the Palace card game is for a player to be the first to exhaust their dealt cards. Looks fairly easy but then, there are rules guiding gameplay as you will find out.
The objective of the Palace card game is simple, avoid being the last player with cards! You need to get rid of your cards while sticking to the rules of the game. The first player to do so wins but if there are more than two players, the game may either be restarted or continued until there is only one player left with card(s).
Palace Card Game Rules
Cards are ranked from highest to lowest in this order Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3. There are two special cards, 10 & 2 that function as wilds. 10 clears the discard pile while 2 resets the pile. The rules of the game are simple as you will see below.
- Players take turns to play their cards in increasing order. The card ranks are provided above. If the previous player plays a 6, you have to play a higher-ranked card like 7 or you must pick up the entire discard pile if you are unable to do so i.e. if your hand cards are 5, 4 & 3.
- Each time a player plays a card, they must pick up a card from the draw pile until it is exhausted after which they can start playing from their Palace.
- You can choose to clear your Palace either by playing the cards from left to right or from right to left. You have to be consistent in whichever direction you choose to follow. If your face-up cards were cleared going from left to right, the face-down cards must be cleared in the same way. If your face-up cards were cleared from right to left, then the face-down cards must be cleared in the same way. When playing your face-down cards, you are allowed to look at the card next in line to see if you can play it. If you can’t, you lose a turn, pick up the discard pile, and the next player is allowed to play.
- Playing a 2 resets the discard pile and the player who played the 2 will have to play another card of any rank on the 2. You can play 2 on any card.
- Playing a 10 clears the discard pile from play and the player who played the 10 will start another discard pile by playing another card of any rank. You can play 10 on any card.
- Playing 4-of-a-kind together will also clear the discard pile. A player may be allowed to play out of turn to complete a 4-of-a-kind. The player that completes the 4-of-a-kind gets to start a new round.
- In some variations of the game, if you draw a card of the same rank as the one you just discarded, you can add it to the discard pile provided the next player has not played.
- A player forced to pick up the pile while playing either the face-up cards or the face-down cards will have to play the picked cards before returning to playing the face-up cards or the face-down cards.
Number of Players Needed
A minimum of 2 players and a maximum of 5 can play a game of Palace. So, if there are 2 players available, the game can be played. If there are more players available, it means more fun to be shared. No more than 5 players can be involved in a round of Palace card game.
A 52 card deck is all that is required to play the game. If there are more than 2 players, 2 decks of cards will be required as you will run out of cards quickly if only one deck of card is used in that scenario. So, two 52 card decks will be needed for a game involving 3-5 players.
First, determine the dealer and also the player that will go first when the game starts. This can be done by having players pick a card randomly from the card deck. The player who draws the highest card is made the dealer. Other players will take positions after the dealer depending on the rank of their chosen card. The player with the next highest card is free to choose any seat, and so on. The person seating to the left of the dealer is allowed to play first. Another way to determine the player that goes first is to deal cards for the game proper and the player with the lowest face-up card is allowed to go first.
Next, the cards are shuffled thoroughly after which 3 cards are dealt to each player face-down. Typically, cards are dealt starting with the player on the left of the dealer who is also the first to play. Players cannot look at the first 3 cards dealt to them which are the face-down cards until the draw pile in the middle of the table has been exhausted. Another set of cards different from the earlier 3 is dealt to individual players.
This set comprises 6 cards each per player and is also dealt face-down but players are allowed to look at these 6 cards and pick the best 3 that will be placed on top of the 3 face-down cards. These cards placed on your face-down cards are your face-up cards and it’s usually better to pick higher cards as your face-up. Both the face-down and the face-up cards constitute your Palace. The remaining 3 cards from the pack of 6 dealt to you become your hand to play with. The dealer then places the rest of the cards on the table as the draw pile. These cards are placed within easy reach of all players and are placed face-down.
How to Play Palace Card Game
To begin the game, the dealer picks a card from the draw pile and places it down face up. This card becomes the starting card of the discard pile. The first player will then play on this card to start the game. He or she must play a card that is either of the same rank or higher than the starting card. Note that players are allowed to play multiple cards that are of equal or higher rank to the last card played.
After a player completes their turn, they must pick up cards from the draw pile to replace the cards they just played. This is because a player must have 3 cards to make their hand but a player with 3 or more cards in their hand need not draw from the draw pile. A player that cannot play when it’s their turn (does not have a wild card or a card of equal or higher ranking than the last played card) must pick up the entire discard pile.
The next player is then allowed to play any card from their hand. The concept of the game is that each player plays what they can on the discard pile ( a wild card, or a card of equal or higher ranking than the one played by the previous player) after which they draw up to 3 cards from the draw pile. A player that is unable to play their turn picks up the discard pile. The game continues this way until the draw pile is depleted. 2s and 10s are special cards and function as wilds.
You can play them on any card. Playing a 2 resets the discard pile and the player who played the 2 is allowed to play another card of any rank on the 2. Playing a 10 clears the discard pile from play and the player who played the 10 will draw up to 3 cards from the draw pile and start another discard pile by playing another card of any rank. Similarly, playing 4-of-a-kind together will also clear the discard pile. If 4 of the same numbers are played in a row by one or multiple players, the discard pile is cleared. In some variations of the game, a player is allowed to play out of turn to complete a 4-of-a-kind. The player that completes the 4-of-a-kind gets to start a new round.
Winning the Game
To win the game, you have to play all your cards including both your face-down and face-up cards. It looks simple but then, for the game to end the draw pile must be completely drawn i.e. depleted. Then when you run out of hands and are unable to draw anymore, you will move to your face-up cards and lastly your face-downs.
Note that you must continue to play from your hand until you have no cards left in your hand. If it gets to your turn and you are unable to play, you will still pick up the discard pile even though the draw pile has been exhausted. However, if it gets to your turn and you don’t have any cards left in your hand, you can then play your face-up cards.
As stated earlier, multiple cards of the same rank are allowed. If you exhaust your face-up cards and it gets to your turn to play again, you are allowed to pick from your face-down cards and play. If you cannot play your chosen face-down-card as it is of a lower rank to the card played by the previous player, you must sadly pick up the discard pile.
The game goes on till one player completely runs out of cards and is declared the winner. If more than 2 players are involved in the game, players can either choose to restart play or continue to determine other positions once a player runs out of cards. The last player with any cards left loses the game.