OBJECTIVE OF BOX:  Be the last player with cards in their box



RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – Ace (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Hand Shedding

AUDIENCE: Kids, Adults


Box is a hand shedding card game created by Richard Bradley.  In this game, players are trying to “stay alive” by keeping cards in their box, and successfully playing the last card to the trick.   As players lose all of their box cards, they are out of the game.  The last player to have box cards is the winner.


 Box uses a 52 card deck.  Shuffle the deck and deal eight cards face down to each player.  The first four cards are kept face down in front of them to form the box.  Spread them out to form a 2×2 grid.  Players do not look at their box cards. The second set of four becomes the player’s hand, and those cards may be seen.  Each player also has a space in front of them reserved for extra cards they are awarded for winning the round.  The rest of the deck is placed face down in the center of the table and forms the draw pile.


Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, that player plays the highest card from their hand to the table.  Each round, the first card played must be that player’s highest card.  Each following player must play a card that is equal to or lower than the card played before them.  For example, if the first player led with a 10, the next player must play a 10 or lower.  If the second player plays a 7, the next card must be a 7 or lower, and so on.  If two cards of the same rank are played in a row, the turn order reverses.  For example, if player 1 plays a 7, and player 2 also plays a 7, play reverses and begins going right.

When a player is unable to play a card that is equal to or lower than the card previously played, they draw one card from their box.  A player must also draw a card from their box when it’s their turn, and their hand is empty.  If the drawn card is equal to or lower than the previously played card, it is played and the round continues.  If the card is too high, it is given to the player that played previously and placed in their extra cards pile.  Once this occurs, the round is over with the player awarded the extra card deemed the winner.   

After the round ends, each player draws back up to four cards in their hand.  If a player successfully plays one or more cards from their box, they also draw cards to fill their box back up to four.  If the player draws from their box and is unable to play the card, they do not replace that card.  

The next round begins with the previous round’s winner playing their highest card.  The game continues until a player no longer has cards in their box.  When a player’s box is empty, and they were not allowed to refill it, they are out of the game.  The game continues until there is only one player remaining in the game. 


The last player to have cards remaining in their box is the winner. 

Mark Ball
Latest posts by Mark Ball (see all)