OBJECTIVE OF FOOL: Be the first player to empty their hand each round, be the player with the highest score at the end of the game

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 – 8 players

CONTENTS: 88 cards, 2 Overview cards, 2 Fool discs

TYPE OF GAME: Hand Shedding & Trick Taking Card Game



Fool is a hand shedding and trick taking game designed by Friedemann Friese.  In this game, players are trying to be the first to get rid of all the cards from their hand.  During each trick, the player who plays the worst card must take possession of the Fool token.  That player is not allowed to participate in the next trick.  Throughout the game, the title of Fool will pass around the table until one player finally wins the game.


There are 88 playing cards for the game Fool.  The deck is composed of four suits including green with 26 cards, red with 22 cards, yellow with 20 cards, and blue with 14 cards.  There are also 6 wild 1 cards.

A separate piece of paper and pen will be needed for keeping score.


Based on the number of players, choose the correct Overview card and put it in the center of the playing space.  This card shows the number of cards and Fool discs needed for the game.  Please note that the setup for a 4 player game is illustrated in the instruction manual.  If unused, place the extra disc and cards off to the side. 

Place the Fool disc(s) used in the center of the table.  Shuffle the cards and deal out the entire deck.  Each player should have 12 cards in their hand.  In an 8 player game, each player will have 11 cards in their hand.

Designate someone as the scorekeeper for the game.


During each round, players are trying to get rid of all the cards from their hand.  Once a player has done so, the round ends.

Play begins with the player seated left of the dealer.  They start the first trick with any card from their hand.  Each player following must match the lead color if they can.  If the player cannot match the color, they can play any other color from their hand. 

The highest ranking card in the lead color wins the trick.  The player who played the worst card becomes the Fool.  They take the Fool disc from the center of the table, and they must sit out during the next trick.  When there are 7 or 8 players, two players will be designated as fools for each trick.


If all of the cards played to the trick are the same color, the lowest ranking card is considered the worst, and that player becomes the Fool.  If there are one or more cards played that do not match the lead color, the lowest ranking card in the non-matching color is considered the worst, and that player becomes the Fool.  If more than one non-matching color card of the same rank is played, whoever played the lowest number last becomes the Fool.


The trick-winner leads the next trick.  The player or players with a Fool disc do not participate in the trick.  At the completion of the next trick, the new Fool takes the disc from whoever had it, and the previous Fool jumps back into play.


When played to the trick, 1’s always become the lead card’s color.  A 1 can be played even if that player has other cards of the lead color.  Even though 1’s become the lead color, playing them is not required if the player does not have any other cards in the lead color.  Wild 1’s are always the lowest ranking card in the lead color.

If a 1 is led, the next normal colored card determines the color that must be followed if possible.


The round ends as soon as one or more players have played all of the cards from their hand.  After the final trick for the round is complete, the losing player or players must still take the Fool disc.


The game ends once a player has scored -80 or less.  It also ends once a player has scored 10 positive points six or more times during the game.  Keep a tally of this for each player.


The player or players who emptied their hand adds 10 points to their score.  If the player who emptied their hand takes a Fool disc after that trick, they earn 0 points.

Players with cards in their hand at the end of the round will deduct points from their score.  Normal cards are worth the value of the number on the card.  Wild 1’s are worth a 5 point deduction.


The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Mark Ball
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