You may already know about this card under the name Two Four Jacks. However, suppose you’re not familiar with it. In that case, you’re in luck because I have put together this handy guide that will tell you all you need to know about the family card game switch.
The thing I love the most about this game is that you, or the other players, have the sneaky chance to put your opponents right back to the beginning of the game, a little like chutes and ladders, but more sneaky and intentional.
The switch card game is a shedding card game, which means that the aim is to do away with your cards as quickly as possible and before the other players. If you like shedding-type card games, then you should read my guide on how to play Crazy 8s, another of my favorite games.
A Bit About Switch
The Switch is a pretty easy game to understand, and the rules are simple. This makes it an excellent game to enjoy with the family, including the younger ones.
The rules can vary slightly depending on how many people you have playing, which you often find is the case with many card games. However, the initial rules are pretty straightforward.
You can play Switch with between two and eight players, so in this guide, I will stick to the traditional method of gameplay and tell you how you would need to adjust depending on how many people you have playing.
What You’ll Need To Play Switch
You’ll be pleased to know that all you need to play Switch is a standard deck of 52 cards. Most of you probably already got one of these stored in your cupboard, but if you haven’t, you can pick them up super cheap on Amazon.
As I mentioned, the rules can vary slightly depending on players, and the same goes for what you’ll need, so if you’re playing with more than four players, it’s best to have two decks of cards.
Getting Ready to Play Switch
To start the game, someone will need to shuffle the cards and then deal out seven cards to each person. Put the remaining cards in the center of the playing area, face-down, and turn over the top card because of the table.
Now, depending on what card this is, you may need to turn over another card. For example, if it is a power card, you need to return to the deck and reshuffled. (I will talk more about what each card means shortly). However, you’re good to go if it’s not a power card.
Rules & Gameplay
To begin, players must look at each of their cards, and whoever is sitting on the dealer’s left must try to match the card in the middle of the table. Matches can be made by either rank or suit. An example would be, if there are ten clubs on the table, you can play either a ten or a club.
The game continues in this fashion until you reach a point where a player can’t place down a card, which means they must collect a card from the stockpile.
The aim is to rid yourself of your cards before the rest of your opponents, so if you can, you want to avoid having to collect more cards, but this is unavoidable at a certain point.
If you get down to your last card, you must yell out “Last Card!” to the group, and if anyone else in the group realizes they also have one card left at this point, but they haven’t called it, they need to pick up a new card from the stockpile.
If the stockpile runs out at any point, shuffle it and start again, removing the top card from the discard pile before shuffling. This will continue as your discard pile.
You can throw the game in a different direction with power cards, which you can use to set your opponents back sneakily.
Below is a list showing you what each power card means and how to use it:
- Two’s – If a two is played, this means that the next player must pick up two cards from the stockpile; however, if that player also has a two, the trick skips them and is given to the next player in turn, who must continue to pick up not two, but four. If it moves even further, and that player has a two, then the third-person line would pick up six cards.
- Four’s – This works with the same rules as a two, except the unlucky player must pick up four cards, or eight, should that player have a counteracting four.
- Sevens – If you place down a seven, you can also play any other cards in your hand that is of the same rank as that seven.
- Eight’s – This means the next player must skip their turn.
- Jack’s – If you play a Jack, it changes the game’s direction, so instead of the person to your left taking their turn, the player to your left goes instead. The game continues in this direction until someone plays another Jack.
- Ace’s – These are wild cards. This means you can play an ace at any time throughout the game apart from after a two or a four. If you play down an Ace, you can then choose a new suit for the next person to match.
Winning the Game
The first person to shed all of their cards (get rid of them all through playing) wins the game. However, it’s important to mention that you can not win the game with an Ace. If the last card in your hand is an Ace, you must collect another card from the stockpile and continue until your next turn.
It’s up to you to end the game when the first player has won. Alternatively, you can continue playing until everyone gets rid of their cards, leaving one person the ultimate loser.
Other Ways to Play the Card Game Switch
There are several ways to mix up the game and make things more interesting. For example, you can put down cards in a run of the matching suit, such as if there is a club down, you could play down eight, nine, and ten clubs simultaneously.
You can also opt to play down all the cards in your hands of the matching suit.
Whatever rules you follow, the rest of the game is played the same. Make sure you set the rules before you start playing so that everyone is on the same page.
To Wind Up
As you can see, this is an excellent family-style game that requires very little skill. Once you’ve fully got your head around what all the cards mean, there isn’t anything else to it.
This will make a great addition to anyone’s game night, and if you’re looking for more games to add to that list for an excellent night, you should also take a look at The Chameleon game, or if you want more card-shedding games like this one, then check out my guide on how to play Uno.