Ruckus is a simple game that has a few similarities to Rummy. Because of the simplified rules and game play it is very easy for young kids to learn and have fun with. And as an added bonus, older kids and adults can enjoy the game too. The main simplifications in this game are:
- Only sets of cards with matching values are important, which most kids can easily understand. Matching sequences of values in the same suit can be a bit of a stumbling block for the younger ones.
- There are no draw and discard steps. The dealer gives the players a new card each round.
Players: 2 or more players.
Cards: One standard 52-card deck is used, without Jokers. For more than 4 players consider adding a second deck of cards.
The Deal: For 2 players 10 cards should be dealt to each player to start the game. For 3 or more players deal 7 cards.
Objective: The objective of Ruckus is to "capture" as many cards as possible before a player goes out, or the stock is exhausted.
Each turn of the game has these steps:
- The Lay Down: Once the deal is done, all players must lay down any cards with matching values that they have in their hand on the table in front of them. For example if the player has 2 eights and 3 kings then they should make two piles on the table of the eights and kings.
- The Capture: Once everyone has put down their matches, players take it in turn to put down cards matching other players' matches. If the player has a matching card then they lay it down on top of the other player's pile, and then move the pile to their own part of the table.
- Next Deal: Once no more capturing can be done then the dealer deals another card to each player and another round of laying down and capturing commences. If the player receives a card that matches one of their own piles then they can lay it down on their existing pile.
End of Round
These deal, lay down, capturing turns continue until one of two things happen:
- All cards have been dealt and no more matches or captures can be played. Most of the time, all cards would be matched by now, but sometimes they can't be, e.g. with 4 players each player could end up with one of the same card number.
- A player manages to match all cards from their hand.
Once the round has completed as described above then all players count the number of cards on the table in front of them. (The total card count, not the count of matches.) The player with the highest count wins the round.
Optional Rules and Variations
There are a couple variations in the various descriptions of Ruckus that can be used to add to the excitement of the game, or to better accommodate the players who are playing the game. The dealer (or the adult who is supervising the game) can decide whether or not to use the variations based on the needs or nature of the players.
- Putting the "Ruckus" into the game: Some descriptions of the game state that the capture phase should be done all at once rather than in turns. This may or may not be a good idea, depending on the nature of the players. While it could add lots of excitement to the game, it could also ignite arguments or hurt feelings.
- Continue to the end of the stock: Some versions of the game do not have the option of ending the round when a player runs out of cards. Instead the player will get another card on the next deal and will continue with that card. For impatient players it may be better to end the game early. For those who would get a sense of accomplishment by finishing the whole deck then keeping the game going might be the better option.