Knaves is one of the cool card games for kids.

Stay away from the jacks!


3 players
Ages 8 and up
Need standard deck of cards
Paper and pencils to keep score


To begin, each player draws a card. The highest card holder shuffles and deals 17 cards to each player, face down, one at a time.

Arrange your cards in suit and value order. The last card is turned over - this is the trump suit for that hand.

Trump cards beat all cards from any other suits.

But, if the turned over card is a jack, there is no trump suit for that hand, and the jack is put to the side.

The object is to win as many tricks without a jack as possible (ie, beat all other cards layed down in one round of play).

The player to the dealer's left starts and throws any card out. The next player to the left adds a card of the same suit if he has one.

If he doesn't, he can throw a trump card or card from another suit. Player # 3 does the same.

If trump cards aren't played, the highest card in the suit that led wins that trick. If trump cards are played, the highest trump card wins.


Aces are high here.

The winner piles his cards beside him and throws a card out to start the next round. When all cards are played, the hand is over.

Points are awarded for each trick won. If you have jacks, subtract as follows:

  • jack of hearts - 4
  • jack of diamonds - 3
  • jack of spades - 2
  • jack of clubs - 1

But if one player gets all the jacks, she receives 10 points.

Once the totals for that hand are added up, the player to the first dealer's left shuffles and deals another hand.

To Win

Play continues until a player reaches 20 or more points and is the winner. If two players go over 20 points, the highest score wins Knaves.


If you have a suit with only one card, you can play that and then trump the next trick.

If you have a suit with lots of cards, you can play those cards first.

And, don't play a queen, king or ace unless you're sure the jack has been played.

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