The Pit card game is unique; it uses its own special deck, and rather than being trick-taking, the game is about bidding for commodities and managing resources. It does have a bit of a learning curve to it, though, but our in-depth guide will teach you how to play.
When it comes to card games, you’ll be spoilt for choice from classics like Blackjack and Poker to drinking games like Bullshit. But the Pit card game is something a little different. The game is similar to Monopoly but still plays very differently from the popular board game.
What is The Pit Card Game?
The Pit card game was first sold in 1904 by the Parker Bros, of Monopoly fame. Hasbro now owns the game under its original name, but other companies have created their own versions. This has led to the Pit card game being known by a few different names.
Quick 7 and Cambio are two of the most popular alternatives. To add to this confusion, sometimes the cards included can be slightly different too. However, no matter which version of the game you get, the game is played in the same way.
In this card game, each player is dealt commodity cards with the value of their hand being equal to the commodities they have. Players will blindly offer to trade some of their cards with another player.
When one player gets all nine cards of one commodity, they must shout “corner on” to end the round. That player will then be awarded some points; how many depends on which commodity they have.
The game then starts again, with the cards being reshuffled until one player reaches an agreed-upon points goal. This is just a basic outline of how the Pit card game works, though. Next, let’s take a more in-depth look at the rules.
What You’ll Need To Play?
To play Pit, you’ll need a card set. Thankfully finding one should be pretty straightforward, and this Deluxe Pit Card Set would make a great choice. It includes all the cards you need and a starting bell.
Getting your head around how the Pit card game works can take a bit of time. But to help you learn the basics, we’ll take a quick look at the commodity cards. While the names can vary in some game sets, they work in the same way.
In most modern versions of the Pit card game, you will have eight different commodities. With nine cards of each one, giving you 72 commodity cards in total. Below we have listed the commodities and their values.
- Oranges – 50 Points
- Soybeans – 55 Points
- Oats – 60 Points
- Sugar – 65 Points
- Corn – 75 Points
- Coffee – 80 Points
- Barley – 85 Points
- Wheat – 100 Points
Most modern versions of Pit will also include two unique cards, the bull, and the bear. These cards don’t have to be used but can add a fun new element to the game. For example, the bull card works like a wild card in Uno. While the bear effectively is a penalty card that will knock points off your total. We’ll talk more about these cards in the rules guide below.
Rules and Gameplay
The Aim of The Game
The Pit card game aims to be the first player to get all nine cards of a commodity. You need to race against other players to do this. But cards are traded blindly, making it quite tricky. But with the right strategy, you can win, so let’s look at the setup and rules you need to know.
Before any cards are dealt, players first need to decide whether to use the bull and bear cards. If you are playing Pit for the first time, we recommend leaving these cards for a later game. Then decide the point goal; 200 or 250 is usually a good starting point for first-time players.
The pit can be played with between three to eight people; the number of commodities used in the game should equal the number of players. So, you may need to remove some cards from the game before playing.
Once the deck is ready, make sure it is shuffled well, and then deal each player nine cards. Once this is done, ring the bell to announce the game has begun! Now, let’s take a look at how you play.
Once the bell has rung, the game starts, and it won’t end till one player has got all nine cards in a commodity. You can take between 1 – 4 cards from your hand during the game and offer them to another player.
You do this by shouting out how many cards you want to trade, and then you must wait till another player takes you up on the offer to trade. You then must trade the cards face down. This continues till one player manages to get an entire commodity.
When one player achieves this, they should ring the bell again to announce the end of the round. They should then reveal their cards to the other players, and they will then be awarded some points based on which commodity they have.
The game then starts again, although you can use different commodities if you like. This continues till one player reaches the agreed-upon points goal. If you are using the bear and bull cards, there are some extra rules to remember.
Bull and Bear Rules
If you decide to use the Bull and Bear cards, your game will have some new elements. The Bull card is wild, meaning it can take the place of any other card. If you get a complete commodity and the Bull card, it will double your commodities’ total value.
The Bear card, on the other hand, is effectively a penalty card! If you have this card in your hand when the game is called, you will lose 20 points. Furthermore, if you complete a commodity while still having the Bear card, it will knock another 20 of your total as well.
The Pit Card Game – Tricks and Trades
The Pit card game is plenty of fun once you get used to the more unorthodox way of playing. To win, you’ll need to think carefully and know how to strategize. If you’ll looking for a fun cerebral card game, give Pit a try.