Introduction: A great solo game

Next Door or Over Two is a great one-player card game to teach to children. The rules are very simple, so it’s super quick to teach. In five minutes they’ll be playing by themselves – quite possibly round after round after round… You’re always aiming for a single pile at the end of the game, and that’s really hard to do. But the fact that you might get close and can give yourself a score to try to beat next time, keeps players hooked in.

How to play

Normal rules

  • Shuffle a standard single deck of playing cards.
  • Reveal the top card and put it face up in the top left of your table space.
  • Reveal the next card. If this new card is the same suit or same number as the previous card it can go directly on top of the first card. If not, it must be placed to the right of the first card. Draw a new card and continue. Each time you are checking the next door card for a matching suit or matching number.
  • When you draw a card that will be placed fourth in the row, as well as checking the next door card, you also check the card 3 away (this is the card you would have to jump over two other cards to reach). If the new card matches either of these two cards, you may place it on top of the other card. If the new card matches both the next door card and the card that is ‘over two’ then you may choose which of the two cards you place this new card on top of.
  • You may always move any card or pile regardless of where it is in the line. But, the card or pile on the right always moves left and sits on top of the one that is further left. 
  • As you move through the game, you may move cards on top of others which now allows that pile to be placed on top of the one to its left or over two. That is fine. This is called ‘chaining’. One card placed may create a chain reaction, allowing you to place multiple cards or piles on top of one another and reduce the number of piles you have on the table.
  • Your aim is to get down to one pile. That is a ‘Win’. Officially, if you have more than one pile, you lose, but I prefer to just keep score and see how close to a single pile I can get.

Perfect information variant

This variant works in exactly the same way – except for the fact that you lay out all 52 cards on the table at the start of the game – before you move any into piles. 

This is a more strategic game as you get the whole picture right at the start of the game. You should find it easier to ‘win’ this variant, but you’ll have a lot more interesting choices as you progress. 

Final thoughts

If you are teaching a child, start with the normal rules and let them have a bit of practice at that before moving onto the perfect information variant.

My granny taught me this game when I was little and I still play it. It’s low-effort and a good solo occupation for someone with limited bandwidth (me in the evenings!)

Are you looking for new games to play with the family? Check out the Dark Imp games – all designed for families. 


Video: How to Play Next Door or Over Two

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Other Great Family Games

Dark Imp Games

We specialise in creating original family games. You’ll find our Online Shop packed with options! If you’re looking for more games you can play solo, you’ll love Beach Life – a roll & write game in which you help five different types of sea creature to win points.

Card Games & More

In The Dark Imp Blog you’ll find all sorts of games you can play at home with regular playing cards or just with pen & paper. If you’re looking for other great games to play with the family, try Black Mariah. It’s a wonderful introduction to trick-taking and you’re trying to score as few points as possible!