OBJECTIVE OF LITERATURE: The first player to earn 100 points win.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 6 or 8 players (played in teams)

NUMBER OF CARDS: 48 card deck

RANK OF CARDS:  A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

TYPE OF GAME: Collecting



Literature is a team game in which players try to collect cards by asking for them. The nature of this game makes it similar to Go Fish or Authors. In fact, its similarities to Authors is perhaps the reason it was named Literature. However, the exact origin of the game is unknown but it is believed to be at least 50 years old.


The game is best played with 6 people; two teams of three. However, eight players with teams of four is also a great way to play.

The dealer prepares the deck by removing all four 8s. The 48 card deck then forms half suits, also referred to as sets or as books. Each suit (Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, Hearts) is split into two half-suits. There is the minor or low cards, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and there are the high or major cards, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. Teams try to claim as many half-suits as possible.


The first dealer is chosen randomly by any method players prefer. They must shuffle the deck and then deal each player 1 card, face-down, one card at a time. The dealer does this until each player has 8 cards (in a 6 player game) or 6 cards (in an 8 player game).

After each player has a full hand, players should examine their cards. However, players cannot share their hands with other players, especially their teammates.


The Questions

The dealer goes first. During a turn, players can ask a player from the opposing team 1 (legal) question. Questions must fulfill this criterion:

  • Players must ask for a specific card (rank and suit)
  • Players must have a card in hand from the same half suit.
  • The player questioned must have at least one card.
  • You cannot ask for a card in hand already.

If a player has the card in hand asked for, they must pass it to their opponent, face-up. The questioner then adds that card to their hand. However, if they do not have the card that was requested, it becomes their turn and they ask the next question.

The Claiming

Claim fulfilled half-suits by laying the completed set on the table, face-up.

If during play, you suspect between your teammates and yourself there is a full half-suit you may claim it by on your turn declaring, “Claim,” and then naming who has the cards. If done correctly, your team claims the half-suit. If wrongly claimed, whether that be who possess the cards and/or what they may be, but your team has a half-suit, the opposing team claims the half-suit.

Once a half suit is claimed, players with cards of that half suit must reveal them. The cards are stacked in front of a member of the claiming team. The game continues.

Information for the Public

Players at any times can ask what the previous question was and who asked it, as well as what the answer was. Questions prior to that are called, “History,” and are not allowed to be discussed anymore.

The only other question players may ask is how many cards a player has in hand, both opponents and their teammates.


As the game continues, players will begin to run out of cards. Players who do not have cards in hand cannot be asked for cards, so they do not have a turn.

An empty hand can be the result of laying down a claim. If this is the case, you can pass your turn to a teammate who still has cards in hand.

Once a team is completely out of cards in hand, questions can no longer be asked. The team with cards in hand must attempt to claim remaining half-suits. The player whose turn it is, under these conditions, must try and claim sets or half suits without talking with their partners.

Once the game is completed and all half-suits claimed, the team with the most half-suits claimed are the winners. Ties rarely happen, but may be broken with best out of three games.

Nakoa Davis

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