Home » Cards and Dice » Swoop Card Game: Rules and How to Play?

Swoop Card Game: Rules and How to Play?

We always include Swoop when planning family game nights, mainly because it’s fantastic for all ages.

One of the things I love the most about Swoop is how it involves a mixture of luck and strategy and requires minimum equipment to play, so it’s accessible to everyone.

The funny thing about the Swoop card game is that whenever I ask my friends to play the game, many of them have never even heard of it, so I decided to investigate this online. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there about this game, which I find strange, considering it’s so enjoyable.

Honestly, I don’t even know who first introduced me to the game. It’s just one of those things I’ve always known about.

As not many people know about the Swoop game, I wanted to share my knowledge with as many people as possible so that more of you can enjoy it as we do.

Throughout this guide, I’ll be taking you through everything you need to know, including what you’ll need to play, the setup, the rules, and the scoring process.

Let’s get cracking.

What You Need to Play Swoop Card Game?

As I mentioned, you’ll need very little to play the Swoop card game.

Start by gathering 3-8 players and three decks of cards. Ideally, the cards will all be different to avoid confusion. These Nertz playing cards will work perfectly.

Nertz Playing Cards Bulk Pack

You’ll need more decks if you play with more than four people. Add another deck for each additional two players. Make sense?


Swoop – The Aim of The Game

The game’s primary objective is to get rid of your cards before the rest of the players. You also want to aim to have the lowest score in the group.

You can play the game for as many rounds as you like. We often play by the rule that the first person to 500 points is the overall winner and call it a day.

To Get Started Playing Swoop Card Game

Before you begin gameplay, you must ensure you’re correctly set up.

So, to get started, get all three of your decks (or however many decks you have, depending on the headcount). Mix them in the middle of the table, and ensure they all remain face down.

Each player now picks 19 cards of their choice.

The rest of the cards are optional for the game and can be discarded.

Now, out of your hand, place four cards down in front of you, face down. Then, place another four, face up, each one on top of the face-down cards. Still with me?

Okay, now you need to arrange your remaining 11 cards into numerical order in your hand.

Alright, you’re ready to start!

Rules and How to Play Swoop Card Game?

How to Play Swoop Card Game?

It’s entirely up to you to decide who will take the first turn. My family and I like to pick the person whose birthday is coming up next, but you can get creative with that part.

Once you’ve got your first player, they take their turn by playing cards from their 11 in hand, or from the four facing up in front of them, or both if they wish. The only rule here is that all cards must have the same value. I.e., all eights or all Queens.

On the contrary, you can skip your turn altogether if you wish.

It’s important to mention here that your face cards are worth the most points, so concentrate on getting rid of those over anything else. I.e., Kings, Queens, and Jacks.

If you have managed to play one of your face-up cards, you’re now allowed to play the card underneath it.

There’s a considerable risk involved with this move, though, because you’re not allowed to see the card’s value before it’s played. Therefore, you must evaluate the chances of it being lower than the previously played card and consider whether you want to risk it—a bit higher or lower.

For example, If you’ve played a face-up 8, followed by the card underneath, which turns out to be a 6, perfect move. However, if the follow-up card turns out to be a Jack, you take the entire pile from the middle. Ouch!

The game keeps going in this fashion until someone has discarded all of their cards, at which point, scores are added, and the person with the lowest points goes first the next time.

Keep a pen and paper handy for scoring so you can keep track of everyone’s scores through the rounds.

Swoop Card Game Hints and Tips

Now that we’ve covered the gameplay, here are some hints and tips that might give you the edge when playing. Feel free to share these with the group or keep them to yourself to let others figure out.

  • Aces and 2’s are the lowest cards. Keep hold of these for as long as you can.
  • If you can, play a face-down mystery on your first turn (when the pile is small).
  • If you play four cards at a time, this is known as a SWOOP. The middle pile is removed, and you get another turn.
  • Concentrate on the cards before you, and try to get rid of them before anything else.
  • Playing in a smaller group elongate shortens the game’s run time.
  • Pay attention to the other players, the cards they’re playing, and how many they have left.


I hope you’ve enjoyed playing something new today, and your friends and family will surely love learning how to play the Swoop card game. If you like this kind of game, there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll love playing the In Between card game.

About Bar Games 101

Bar Games 101 is a website devoted to helping you learn about the best games to play with your friends. We review the games, research the rules, and uncover helpful tips and strategies.

Get our free guide to the 50 Best Bar Games.