Card Games/Fool's Paradise

Fool's Paradise is an accumulation card game where certain cards have different point values and each player should try to get as many points as possible. This card game is best played with 4 to 5 players. At least 2 players are required and there is no upper limit, however as more players are playing in the same game, the game becomes less interesting and too slow.

The DealEdit

Given a dealer (one of the players), the dealer will deal out one card to each player face down plus one card to the center face up a total of five times. All cards dealt to the center will be placed in a horizontal row (still face up). Players receiving their cards may look at their cards as soon as they are dealt (as they are being dealt). The remainder of the deck is to be place in the center face down, these cards will become the draw pile. Once each player has five cards and there are five cards face up in the center, the game begins.

The GameEdit

The player to the left of the dealer starts first.

A Player's TurnEdit

When it is a player's turn, the player may collect cards according to the rules (read the next section). Once the player has collected his cards (if the player is able to), the player must draw one card from the draw pile into his or her hand. Upon drawing a card, the player's turn is over and the next player to the left may being his or her turn.

Collecting CardsEdit

Collecting cards is the essence of this game. There are some complexities to collecting cards, so be sure to pay attention.

To collect a card or multiple cards, a player must first choose a card from his or her hand, and then find a card or multiple cards that sum up to a multiple of the chosen card's value, where each single card collected is less than or equal to the player's card. Card suit does not play any role in collecting cards, only in point value (discussed later).

This is best explained with an example:

Given a players hand: 2, 3, 9, K, A (of any suits)
Given the center displays: J, 2, K, 5, 6 (of any suits)

The player could play a 2 and collect a 2
The player could play a K and collect a K
The player could play a K and collect a K + (J, 2)
The player could play a K and collect a K + (5, 6, 2)

In the example above, here are the 4 plays explained:

  1. Player plays a 2, and can collect any cards that sum to a multiple of 2. Only the center 2 can be collected. The 6 cannot be collected, even though it is a multiple of 2 because the 6 is greater than 2 and no card collected can be greater than the player's card (the 2).
  2. The player plays a king and collects a king from the center. This would be a waste since a king is valued at 13 and other cards can be summed to create 13.
  3. The player plays a king and collects the king, plus the jack and the two. Since the jack and the two together make 13, they can be collected with the king.
  4. Finally, the most efficient play, the king collects the king, along with the 5, 6, and 2 which sum to 13 as well. This play would acquire 4 cards from the center leaving only the jack.

All cards collected by a player are placed face down in a pile next to the player.

Not Collecting CardsEdit

There are two instances where cards will not be collected on a player's turn.

The first is if the player cannot use any of his or her cards to collect any cards in the center. If this happens, the player must choose one card from his or her hand and lay it down in the center, then subsequently draw a card from the draw pile.

The second is if the player wishes to leave cards that would otherwise be collected in the center to be collected next round when it is the player's turn again. This can be beneficial since it allows for the player to clear the board. However, the player also opens up the opportunity for another player to steal the cards that he has left. This move is the Fool's Paradise.

Clearing the boardEdit

When a player collects the final card that is face up in the center, the player is said to have cleared the board. When this occurs, after the player collects his card from the draw pile, the dealer must deal out five cards face up to the center.

Every time a player clears the board, the player is awarded one point immediately.


The game ends when all players are without cards. The player to play the last card, whether or not he or she collects any cards with the last card, is given all remaining cards in the center. After the game ends, collected cards are inspected and counted for points.

Card ValuesEdit

  • Two through ten is face value
  • Ace may be one or fourteen
  • Jack is eleven
  • Queen is twelve
  • King is thirteen


At the end of a game, everyone must count how many points they have. Here is the break down for how to count your points.

  • Spades: Any spade is worth one point.
  • Twos: Each two is worth two points.
  • Jack of Clubs: The Jack of Clubs is worth 5 points.
  • Most Cards Collected: The player who collects the most cards during the round is awarded one point.

NOTE: the Two of Spades is actually worth 3 points, one for Spades and two for a Two


To win at Fool's Paradise, you have to be the first player to reach a certain number of points. This number should be decided upon before the game starts. A good normal number to play with is 50 points.