Crazy Eights Countdown is a fabulously fun family game, perfect for a rainy Sunday evening. 

How to play Crazy Eights Countdown



Set up

  • Grab a standard 52-card deck of cards and shuffle the cards.
  • Give each player a piece of paper with the number 8 written on it.
  • Decide which player will be the first dealer.



Your aim in each round is to get rid of your cards. If you are the first to clear your hand, start the next round with fewer cards. But who will complete the countdown first?

The play

  • The dealer shuffles the cards and deals eight cards to each player. Players are always dealt a number of cards corresponding to the number on their paper, so all players start the game with eight cards. The rest of the cards are placed face down in the middle of the table to form the draw deck. The first card of the draw deck is revealed to create the start of the discard pile.
  • Starting with the player to the left of the dealer and proceeding clockwise, on your turn, play a card from your hand onto the discard pile. The card played must match the suit or the rank of the card at the top of the discard pile. For example, if the Jack of Hearts is on the discard pile, you may play any other Jack or any other heart.
  • If you cannot play a card, keep drawing cards from the draw deck into your hand until you have a card you can play. You may choose to draw even if you have a card you can legally play.
  • There are wild cards in play. Each player’s wild cards correspond to the number on their paper. At the start of the game, eights are wild for everyone. You may play an eight of any suit on any other card. When you play the eight, you name the suit the next player must follow. As the game progresses different players will have different wild cards.
  • When one player manages to play all their cards, the round stops immediately. This player only crosses out the number eight on their paper and replaces it with a 7. In the next round this player will be dealt seven cards (and sevens will be wild for this player).
  • Rotate the role of dealer clockwise, reshuffle and deal for the next round.
  • Play continues with the winning player always reducing the number on their paper at the end of the



End Game

The game ends when one player who has only been dealt one card wins the round. This player wins.

Final thoughts

The countdown generating various WILD numbers makes this game very fun. It’s simple to play, easy to teach and the whole family can join in. 


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 Crazy Eights Countdown

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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 like games with countdowns, try Countdown Confusion! It’s a speed card-drafting game that’s designed to be deliberately confusing. 

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 like family games, try Spoons!