OBJECT OF GNAV: The object of Gnav is to win stakes. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 20 players

MATERIALS: 42 card Cuckoo deck or 42 Cuckoo pieces, chips or markers, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Cuckoo Card Game



Gnav is a cuckoo card game for 2 to 20 people. Its played with a 42-card cuckoo deck or pieces and is played elimination style. The goal of the game is to be the last player standing and this is done by trying to always have a higher card than at least one other player. 


Each player will receive the same amount of chips or markers at the start of the game. The first dealer is random and passes to the left for each new round. 

The dealer will either shuffle the cards or pieces and then deal each player a single card or piece. The player may look at their card value but must not show anyone. 

The fool is the exception. If a player receives the fool, they must knock on the table to tell the other players. The fool has other special rules described below under the End of Round section. 

Card Rank 

There are 42 cards in the deck; 2 of each of the cards described in the ranking order below. 

Cuckoo (high), knight, cat, horse, house, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, pot, owl, and fool (low).


The player left of the dealer starts the round and continues clockwise from them. On a player’s turn, they may keep their card or swap it with the player to their left. When swapping the player to the left may not refuse unless they have one of the top 5 ranked cards. These are called the matadors and if a player has a matador, instead of swapping they state the type of card they hold. 

When a cuckoo is declared the player states “stop cuckoo”. All swapping stops and cards will be shown, and the loser is determined. 

When a knight is declared the player states “cut off”. The player who attempted the swap must pay a marker into the center pile. They do not get to swap, and their turn is over. 

When a cat is declared the player states “meow”. The player who attempted the swap must pay a marker into the center and all previously made swaps are undone, and everyone right of the cat holder must receive their original card. 

When a horse or a house is declared the player states “pass the horse/house”. The player who attempted the swap must now try to swap with the player left of the horse/house holder. 

Once the dealer is reached, they may swap with the top card of the deck but must follow the above rules if a top 5 card is revealed. 


After the dealer has swapped or kept or a cuckoo is declared the round ends and players reveal their cards. The player with the lowest ranked card pays a chip to the center. If there is a tie both pay to the center. 

In the case of a fool. The fool and the next lowest card must both pay to the center. If there are two fools, they will both pay to the center but may choose to sit out of the next round. 

If a player pays their last marker to the center they are eliminated from the game. 


The game ends when a single player remains in the game. They are the winner. 

Amber Crook
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