Card Games

Five Crowns Card Game: Take Rummy to the Next Level

Those of you who read my post on Fill or Bust know that playing games was a big part of the time I spent with my grandfather. At my grandparent’s house there was no internet and the TV was rarely on, we spent our visits talking and playing games. The Five Crowns card game reminds me very much of a game we used to play called 3 13.

Five Crowns is essentially the same game as 3 13, except it uses a special deck of cards instead of using two standard decks like we used to do. I actually like using the Five Crowns deck better, but if you don’t want to spend the money I’ll also go over how to play the game with two standard decks of cards.

First off let me explain it, and you can decide if it’s even something you think you would enjoy.

Five Crowns Card Game Overview

Five Crowns is played with a specially designed double deck containing five suits running from 3 through King. In addition to the fours standard suits a suit of stars is added. There are also six jokers for a total of 116 cards.

The objective of the game is to make sets and runs of cards in your hand like you would in Rummy. A set consists of three or more cards of the same rank, while a run consists of three or more cards of the same suit in sequential order. In each round the number of cards in your hand is also the wild card that can be used to substitute for any other card in the game.

Five Crowns Card Game Runs and Sets

In the first round 3’s are wild, in the last round it’s the Kings. This in addition to the six jokers means that there are a lot of wild cards, but you’ll need them because just like gin rummy, all of your cards must play with a card left over to discard in order for you to go out.

Once a player is able to “go out” by playing all of their cards (which must all be played at once), each other player gets one more turn to try to make their hand. They are able to play any runs or sets that they have, and any cards left in their hand count as points against them.

Five Crowns Scoring

At the end of each round, players tally up their score by adding the point value of each card in their hand. Cards are worth points based on their face value, with jacks worth 11 points, queens worth 12 points, kings worth 13 points. There are no aces so you don’t have to worry about whether they are played high or low.

The player with the lowest score at the end of the eleventh round is the winner.

Why We Like The Five Crowns Card Game

There are a lot of reasons to love Five. Crowns. It hits our table quite frequently, here are some of the reasons why:

It’s Accessible and Easy to Teach

Most people have played Rummy at some point. Knowing that game makes it very easy to pick up this game. For this same reason it is easy to teach.

It’s Great for a Larger Group

Five Crowns plays up to seven players so it’s a great game when you have a large group. It’s hard to find a game that plays seven that isn’t a party game. This game is a great option!

It is Satisfyingly Strategic

As you get to the larger hand sizes there are lots of ways to solve the puzzle. You’ll end up breaking up sets because you have the cards to make runs, moving wild cards around etc. It’s very satisfying when you were headed in one strategic direction and after drawing a few cards you see a completely different way you could go.

Is Five Cards Worth the Money?

Five Crowns is a pretty inexpensive game, and if you like Rummy-type games, you’ll get hours and hours of play time out of it. You can usually find it for around $10. It cost about the same as buying two decks of bicycle playing cards which is what you would need to play the similar 3 13 card game, but with those you could also play other games.

I still think it is worth buying the special deck specifically made for the Five Crowns card game because the 3 13 double deck only allows for four players while the Five Crowns Deck plays up to 7. For $10 I. think this is well worth getting if you are a Rummy fan.

Can you Play Five Crowns with Two People?

Five Crowns can be played with 2-7 players.

Five Crown Strategy

Watch what the players on either side of you do

If you keep feed the next player cards that they need they will quickly be able to go out and stick you with a bunch of points. If the player before you is discarding a lot of the same cards, you can start making sets (if they’re not watching what you pick up). In addition you your own hand, you should be trying to determine what they are doing as well.

Use wild cards liberally – you don’t need more “naturals” than wilds

There is no rule in the Five Crowns card game that a set or run has to have more natural cards than wild cards. 5, Wild, Wild could be played as a set of fives, or 4,5,6 or 5,6,7 or 3,4,5. Playing those three cards as the correct run may allow you to attach them to other cards in your hand.

Move your wild cards around

This is especially important in the larger hands. Don’t lock your wild cards into place in your head. As you get more cards it may make sense to move the wild cards around.

Hang onto close but disconnected cards

If you have a 3,4,5 it may make sense to hand onto 7 or 8 in that same suit for a while. There are a total of 14 wild cards in the deck on each hand, plus in this case two natural sixes. There are a lot of potential cards that could help you connect those cards together. Eventually if it doesn’t look like you’re going to be able to make it work you can pivot.

Watch for the wild cards

Since the wild card changed every hand we always have someone at least once forget what the wild is and discard one. We usually say it’s a “friendly game” and let them pick it back up. If your game is more competitive than that, keep an eye on that discard pile for wild cards!

Can you Play Five Crowns Online?

I am not aware of anywhere you can play the Five Crowns Card Game online as of the time of this writing.

Five Crowns vs 3 13

Five Crowns is played with a double five suited deck that has eleven cards in each suit (3-K) and six jokers for a total of 116 cards. 3 13 is played with two standard decks of cards with four jokers for a total of 108 cards. We also used to play with a rule in 3 13 where each player is allows to play cards on the hand of the first player that went out in order to further reduce their score.

So for example, as long as I had something to put down, if the first player our had a set of Jacks, I could play any stray Jacks I had on their hand. Same with any cards I had that added onto any of their runs. This is not an official rule in Five Crowns but we often play that way.

Final Thoughts

The Five Crowns card game is a great game to try if you like Rummy. Even though it’s a game that has been around for a long time it is one we play quite often. Even though we try a lot of new games it’s important. not to forget these classic games, they are classic for a reason. This is a game you should really try!