Five Crowns is a rummy-style card game where the objective is to have the lowest point total after all eleven hands have been completed. In this way, the game is similar to another rummy-style card game: Phase 10. It is most similar, though, to Three Thirteen.
Five Crowns uses a specialized deck of card with 5 suits, and each hand players are dealt a varying number of cards: 3 for the first hand, 4 for the second hand, up to 13 for the 11th hand. Additionally, the game uses both jokers and wild cards. The wild cards correlate with the number of cards dealt for the hand (e.g., each player has 3 cards to dealt to them for the first hand, so 3’s are wild; the 11th hand has 13 card dealt, so kings are wild).
Time to Play: Games generally last 45 minutes.
Recommended Minimum Age: 8 years old
Game Publisher: Set Enterprises
Two 58-card decks, each containing 5 of each suit (stars, hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds) and 3 jokers (116 cards total)
Runs: A run is a sequence of three or more cards (e.g., 3-5) containing the same suit (i.e, cannot be a mix of two different suits). Any card in the sequence can be replaced by a wild card or joker.
Sets: Sets (or books) are three or more cards of the same value, no matter which suit. Cards in a set can be replaced by wild cards or jokers.
Wild Card: Wild cards can substitute for any card in a book or run. The card value serving as the wild card for a particular round changes.
- Select a dealer.
- The dealer shuffles the deck, and then deals 3 cards to each player.
- The remaining cards are placed in the center of all players; this is the draw pile.
- The dealer turns the top card of the draw pile face up; this is the start of the discard pile
- Each hand after the initial hand functions the same way, except one extra card (compared to the prior hand) is dealt.
Five Crowns Card Game Rules
Playing a Hand
The player to the left of the dealer starts each turn.
On each player’s turn, they may either add the top card of the draw or the discard pile to their hand.
The goal for each player is to play out their hand by creating sets or runs. A set or run must contain at least three cards.
Play continues until one player lays out all of their cards. At that point, each other player has one more turn in which to empty their hand.
Once the points have been totaled, all cards are shuffled and the next hand is dealt. Remember: the number of cards in hand increases by one each round.
Scoring a Hand
Scores will need to be tracked through pen/paper or digitally.
The winner of the hand scores zero points, whereas all other players score points based on the cards remaining in their hand:
- Jokers: 50
- Wild Cards: 20 (changes for each round)
- Kings: 13 points
- Queens: 12 points
- Jacks: 11 points
- All Other: Point value = Face Value (10’s = 10; 9’s = 9, etc.)
Only cards left in hand are scored. Once scores are tallied, the next hand begins with the player on the left (clockwise) becoming the dealer.
|Round||# of cards in hand||Wild Card|
Winning the Game
The winner is the player with the fewest points at the end of all 11 rounds. Though not part of the official rules I have seen, our “house rule” is that in case of a tie, the winner is the player who went out the most number of hands.
Avoid High Point Cards If All Things Equal
All things being equal, it is better to complete your books or runs using lower value cards. This way you score fewer points if you do not successfully play out your hand. This said, I would not sacrifice a good start (e.g., two kings) to pursue this strategy; instead, if it’s the first hand and you have two pairs (e.g., kings and fours) after drawing your card for the turn, then I would toss a king into the discard pile.
Ditch Jokers / Wild Cards
If it’s your final turn after a player has gone out, then you may consider discarding a wild card or joker. You have to decide whether it is more important to reduce the number of points assigned to you, at the risk of helping another player lay out all of their cards. This may depend on the score differential between yourself and the current winning player, or player(s) closest to you if you are currently winning.
Playing to Not Lose
If you’re on the last hand and have a healthy lead on everyone, then you can pursue a strategy of keeping as low card values as possible. As an example: if we consider 8 as an average score, then a lead of 105 points (8 x 13 + 1) is most likely safe for you to implement this approach. Just keep in mind that some opponents will not approve of this strategy.
Where to Buy Five Crowns
The easiest way to buy Five Crowns is through Amazon (note: affiliate link).
The quickest way is most probably your local Target, although not all stores may carry the game. You can check availability at the Walmart website.
If you enjoy the game and have younger kids, you may consider picking up Five Crowns Junior.
Interesting Facts about Five Crowns
- When was Five Crowns Invented? Five Crowns was released in 1996.
- What are the most points someone can score (i.e., lose in the most glorious fashion)? You can score as high as 1,225 points.
Playing Five Crowns By Yourself
I’m not going to list out the directions here; instead, I will direct you to SET’s official solitaire rules.
If you’re looking for other fun solitaire card games, none of which use a traditional 52-card deck, then check out my list on this site.