A weekly family game night is a great way for families to gather together and enjoy each other’s company. My family loves to play fun family card games regularly. We always play a game when we get together with my parents and my sister’s family. We play card games, word games, strategy games, and, even, board games. I just don’t like to play the classic game Monopoly, which my daughter loves. Thankfully, my husband will play with her.
We also love to try new games whenever possible. As a matter of fact. I usually get at least one or two new games for my family each Christmas. This past Christmas, I went a little overboard and got my family about 10 new games.
For years, we have had a specific go-to game whenever the entire family would get together. The card game Five Crowns, by SET Enterprises, which has become quite popular, is usually what we have played. Five Crowns is a rummy-style game that is great for families. It can be played by children ages 8 and up, and it is good for 2 to 7 players. I definitely recommend trying it if you have never played it.
The SWOOP Game!
Last year, my parents introduced us to a new card game called SWOOP, which we really took to. After learning how to play the SWOOP game, we have introduced it to several of our friends, who have since introduced it to their families and friends. Everyone we introduce it to loves it.
When my parents introduced us to the Swoop game, we decided to go online to find if it was available to buy. We could not find any information on the SWOOP game anywhere, and there are no game sets for sale. Luckily, all you need to play the SWOOP game, though, is 3 full decks of cards. You do not need to use matching decks, but my family has put together 3 matching decks of cards designated as our SWOOP deck. We put the decks into a Ziplock bag so that it is easy to grab and play.
The SWOOP game can be played anywhere, as long as you have a table large enough for everyone to gather around. We have even played the SWOOP game on camping trips.
As there are no instructions on how to play the SWOOP game online, I am sharing easy-to-follow instructions on the fun, unknown family card game SWOOP. There is no limit to how many people can play, and it can be played by children 8 years and up, making it fun for the whole family. I do suggest, though, that you limit a game to no more than 10 players, as the more players in the game, the longer the game may take to play.
How to Play the SWOOP Game!
As I stated, to play SWOOP, all you need is 3 decks of cards. Three decks of cards can be cumbersome to shuffle, so you start by using an “old man shuffle” in the middle of the table by spreading the cards out face down. Everyone then draws one card, and the person who draws the highest card goes first. Aces count as a “1”.
The objective of the game is to play cards of matching numbers into a pile in the middle of the table until you use all of your cards, thus ending the hand.
Before I go into the full rules of the game, though, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Jokers and 10s are referred to as SWOOP cards, which automatically SWOOP the pile being played. (I will explain further shortly)
- The first person to play all of their cards wins the hand.
- Multiple hands are played until someone reaches a pre-determined score. Depending on how many people are playing you can vary how many points are needed to win the game. When we have fewer people playing, we score the game to 250 – 500 points, but, when we have more people playing, we may play to 100 – 25o points.
- The player with the lowest score at the end of the game is the winner.
Choose someone to keep score. In our family, it is usually either my husband or father.
To start the game, everyone takes 19 cards into their hands. The remaining cards are set off to the side, as they are not used during the game.
Players then place 4 piles of 2 cards each in front of them – 4 cards face down and 4 cards face up on top of the cards.
Players will then have 11 cards in their hands. Players can use the cards in front of them or the cards in their hands at any time during their turn. However, the 4 facedown cards are “mystery” cards and cannot be turned over until they are played.
The first player plays any number of matching cards into the center of the table. Cards are played based on the number (rank or value) of the card, not the suit. If 4 of the same cards are played, this is called a SWOOP and the stack of cards is removed from the table. If a player SWOOPs the pile, they get to go again. If the player plays less than 4 cards, the next person to the left plays their hand.
Play continues to the left with players playing cards either matching the number (value of the card) played or a lower value card than the number played. For example, if I play two 7s to the middle, then the next player must also play 7s or a card lower in value (Ace through 6).
The pile is SWOOPed when either 4 or more of the same card is played or a SWOOP card is played. Jokers and 10s are SWOOP cards that automatically SWOOP the pile. Whenever a player SWOOPs the pile, the player continues to play their hand until they can no longer SWOOP the pile.
SWOOP (10s and Jokers) cards can be played at any time during a player’s turn.
Once a player is out of cards, the hand is over.
If a player is unable to play a card that either matches or is lower in value than the card played, they must still play a card. This card will be higher than the cards in the pile, and the player must show what card they are playing. The player then takes the pile into their hand. There is no limit to how many cards you may have in your hand.
When the hand ends, each player scores the cards in their hands. Cards are scored as follows:
- Aces and number cards are worth 5 points
- Face cards are worth 10 points
- SWOOP cards (Jokers and 10s) are worth 50 points
Again, the game ends when a player reaches the pre-determined score based on the number of players. The player with the lowest score wins the game.
Tips and Strategies for the Swoop Game
As we have learned to play SWOOP, we have developed some tips and strategies to play the game.
- Use your SWOOP cards strategically. Do not play them too early.
- Play your cards wisely keeping in mind that you do not want to use low cards too early.
- Aces are played as a “1” not and “11”.
- Play as many cards of a matching number as you can as it will help to lessen the number of cards you are holding.
- Utilize the cards in front of you that are face-up when playing cards in your hand if the numbers match.
- Mystery cards (cards facedown in front of you) cannot be played until the face-up card is played.
- Mystery cards cannot be turned over until they are played.
- Play a Mystery Card as the first card played during your turn if you are able.
- Pay attention to what cards other players have already played, if you can.
- Limit the number of players, as more players may make the game last longer, but there is no limit to the number of players.
- Try not to get stuck holding SWOOP cards when the hand ends.
I definitely hope that you give the SWOOP game a try, as I know that you will like it.
In addition to the rules provided above, I am providing you with a pdf copy of the rules for you to print out and keep on hand or give to your friends when you teach them to play. My family and I hope to eventually provide a video tutorial on how to play SWOOP someday soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
Simply fill out the form below and you will instantly receive the pdf via email. Please take note of printing tips:
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