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Official Egyptian Ratscrew Rules

Egyptian Ratscrew is a fun and energetic card game that combines elements of chance, quick thinking, and strategic slapping (don't worry, it's all in good fun!). Here's how to play:


Be the last player remaining by collecting all the cards from the deck through playing and strategic slapping.


1. Shuffle the Deck: Mix all the cards in the deck face down.

2. Deal the Cards: Deal all the cards face down evenly to the players. Depending on the number of players, some might have one or two more cards than others. This is okay.


Egyptian Ratscrew is a whirlwind of card reveals, slapping the discard pile, and collecting sets. Here's how it plays:

Turns and Playing Cards:

  • Players take turns in a clockwise direction.

  • On your turn, draw the top card from your deck and place it face up in the center of the playing area, forming a discard pile. You don't get to see the card you play until it's placed face up.

Slapping Rules:

  • This is where the excitement begins! Here are the key slapping moments:

    • Number Slaps:  If the card played is a numbered card (2-10), the player two places to the left of the person who played the card must immediately slap the discard pile.

    • Royalty Slaps (Jacks, Queens, Kings, Aces):  If a face card (Jack, Queen, King, or Ace) is played, all following players (including the person who played the card) must try to slap the discard pile first.

Winning the Slap:

  • The player who successfully slaps the discard pile first after a playable card (number or face card) is revealed wins that round.

Collecting Based on the Slap:

  • Depending on the reason for the slap, here's what the winning player collects:

    • Number Slap:  The winner takes the entire discard pile, including the card they just played.

    • Royalty Slap:  The winner only takes the single card that was just played (the face card). The rest of the discard pile remains for the next round.

Dead Cards (Optional Rule):

  • Some variations introduce a concept of "dead cards." If a player slaps the discard pile incorrectly (e.g., slapping on a non-playable card), their next card played is considered "dead." Dead cards cannot be used to trigger winning slaps for the player who lays them down, but they can still be slapped by others according to the normal rules.

Running Out of Cards:

  • If a player runs out of cards in their hand due to playing and collecting from the discard pile, they are out of the game.

Winning the Game

The last player remaining with cards in their hand wins the game! They are the ultimate Egyptian Ratscrew champion!


  • Quick Reflexes:  Sharpen those slapping skills! The faster you react to playable cards, the more cards you can collect.

  • Observing Others: Pay attention to how many cards each player has remaining to gauge who might be close to running out.

  • Strategic Slapping (Optional):  In some variations, you can strategically slap the discard pile even on non-playable cards to disrupt other players' rhythm or cause confusion. However, be careful not to develop a reputation for false slapping, which might lead to penalties depending on the group's rules.

Egyptian Ratscrew is a perfect game for bringing a burst of energy and laughter to your next game night. It's a simple game to learn but requires quick thinking, sharp reflexes, and a touch of strategy. So, shuffle the deck, get ready to slap, and see who emerges victorious in this fast-paced card game!

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