How to Play: Kings in the Corner

Filed under: Kids' Games, Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Activities: Big Kids, Activities: Tweens, Activities: Family Time

Put your kings in the corners. Credit: Getty Images

What you need: Two to four players and a standard deck of playing cards.

How to play: Each player is dealt seven cards from the top of the deck. A game play "board" is then set up on the playing surface. Four cards are laid down, face up, in a plus pattern, with the remainder of the deck face down in the middle. In this fashion, there should be a card north, south, east and west of the deck with empty spaces in the "corners."

The player who takes the first turn is determined by each player drawing a random card from the deck; the player with the highest draw goes first. Each turn begins with the player drawing a card from the top of the deck. Players then attempt to discard from their hand by playing their cards in descending numerical order in the same suit using the cards on the "board" as a starting point. For instance, if there is a four of clubs on the playing board, a player can take a three of clubs from his or her hand and discard it onto that four, and so forth. Players can continue playing as many cards from their hand as are eligible for play in this fashion. If at any time a player has a king in his or her hand, he or she should place it in one of the empty corners. These corner stacks now become active in game play and cards can be played on them during turns in the same fashion as the normal game board.

The rules: The twist in the game comes when a space in any one of the four main game play slots becomes vacant. This happens when the highest card in the chain of cards in any slot is applicable to be played on top of the lowest card on any other slot on the board. For instance, if the cards on the northern slot are "five of diamonds, four of clubs, three of hearts" and the cards on the southern slot are "two of clubs, ace of hearts" then a player may move the cards from the Southern slot on top of those on the northern. Now there is a "vacancy" in the southern slot on the board. If a player accomplishes such a move during a turn, he or she now has the privilege of also being able to play cards from his or her hand in ascending order (in alternating colors) underneath the highest card in any stack on the board.

This method of play can only happen when a vacancy is in existence and only during the turn for which the vacancy exists. The player ends this turn by filling in the vacancy with any card or combinations of cards from his or her hand. If a player fails to pick at the beginning of his or her turn, another player can call him or her on it and the person loses his or her turn. Also, if a player fails to notice a move that could be completed on the open board, as soon as the active player "knocks" that he or she is finished, the first player to slap the cards that could have been played gets to complete the turn and set out as many of his or her cards as possible and still gets his turn when regular play resumes.

How to win: The first player to play all of his or her cards onto the board is the winner.

What else you need to know: Another way to play is to be dealt seven cards, and play the cards in your hand or draw from the deck until you have something to play. Each row of cards may be moved to another row if it is playable. That will also count as your turn if you have no more cards left. If another player finishes before you, you may make an attempt to tie. If playing with two people, the loser shuffles. If there is a tie, anyone can shuffle.

Related: More Kids Games

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.