Kings Cribbage was invented in 1998 (or whereabouts) by Gary and Roy Cowley, as a combination of Cribbage and Scrabble. Since it's not a traditional game - just based on one - it's a bit outside this site's original scope. However, the official rules are rather terse and easily misunderstood, so a more detailed description could be useful. This has been written mostly based on playing lots of Kings Cribbage on eCribbage.
Components, setup, and deal
A Kings Cribbage set includes a board, 13 by 13 squares (minus a 3 by 2 patch in the corner, which displays the game's name), a bag with 104 tiles divided into two suits (light and dark) and 13 ranks (Ace to King), and four racks. Up to four players can participate, but like both Cribbage and Scrabble, it's clearly best with two.
The tiles rank, from lowest to highest: Ace, 2-10, Jack, Queen, King. Aces are worth 1 card point each, Jack, Queens, and Kings are worth 10 card points each, and the other tiles go for their face value. Sixes can be turned around to become nines and vice versa, but once placed on the board their value is set.
Each player draws a tile from the bag, and the one who draws the lowest tile makes the first turn. Then, the tiles are put back into the bag, the bag is shaken, and each player draws five tiles and puts them on their rack.
On the first turn, the player to begin puts a valid hand of two or more tiles on the board and scores for it. The next player then lays another valid hand connected to the first and scores for the new hand (or hands), and so it continues.
If a player cannot or doesn't want to play, he can either pass, or exchange one or more tiles with the bag.
Valid hands and scoring
- Any combination that gives the sum 15 in card points, for example 96, Q5, or 348, is worth 2 points.
- A pair of like tiles is worth 2 points. A three-of-a-kind is 6 points, a four-of-a-kind 12 points, a five-of-a-kind 20 points.
- A run of three tiles in sequence is worth 3 points, a run of four is 4, and a run of five is 5. Note that a run may not "turn the corner", and aces are always low, so QKA and KA2 are not valid runs.
- A hand can have many different combinations of fifteens, pairs, and runs. A few examples:
- K69K has a fifteen (69) and a pair (KK), for 4 points.
- JJ5 has two fifteens (J5) and a pair (JJ), for 6 points.
- 98799 has a fifteen (87), a three-of-a-kind (999), and three runs of three (987); 17 points.
A hand may not have more than five tiles, and may not have tiles uninvolved in any scoring combinations.676878 is an invalid hand, since it has six tiles. 666T is an invalid hand, since the ten isn't involved in any scoring combinations.
- The first player to put tiles on the board gets a 10 point bonus.
- A player who manages to lay all his five tiles in one move gets a 10 point bonus.
- A flush, with five tiles in the same suit, earns 10 extra points to the player who lays or extends to it. (Note that having five tiles in the same suit isn't enough to make a hand valid.)
- All tiles laid in a move must be connected in a straight line.
- For all moves but the first, the tiles must be connected to tiles already on the board.
- All hands formed must be valid (see previous section), and may not be longer than 5 tiles.
This opens for four basic types of moves: connecting, extending, connecting-and-extending, and parallel.
7A7A 8 9
7A7A = 8 points (4 for fifteens, 4 for two pairs)
3 3 Q 5QKK
5QKK = 8 points (6 for fifteens, 2 for the pair)
4 points (2 for the (pre-existing!) fifteen, 2 for the pair)
Connecting and extending
87879 4 4 7
7447 = 8 points (4 for fifteens, 4 for pairs); 87879 = 24 points (8 for fifteens, 4 for pairs, 12 for runs); bonus for laying five in one turn = 10 points; total = 42 points
9TJJ5 = 14 points (6 for fifteens, 2 for the pair, 6 for runs); 69 = 2 points; 5T = 2 points; bonus for laying five in one turn = 10 points; total = 28 points
When the bag is empty, the game continues as before (though without the option to exchange tiles), until either one player runs out of tiles or all players pass in succession. Any players left with unplayed tiles subtracts their value in card points from their score. The player with the highest score after that wins.
- eCribbage includes an option for "reduced first move bonus". When played with this option, the 10 point bonus for laying five tiles in one turn cannot be combined with the 10 point bonus for making the first move.
- The official rules include a "Joker" option, which is akin to "muggins" in Cribbage: if a player fails to record the full value of their move, another player may shout "Joker!" and claim the unclaimed points. A wrongful shout of "Joker!" receives a 5 point penalty.
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This page was last updated 2019-04-26.