OBJECTIVE OF PANJANDRUM: Be the first player to get rid of all their cards

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 – 5 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 56 Rook playing cards

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 1 – 14 (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Hand shedding



Panjandrum is a hand shedding game created by George Parker.  It uses a 56 card Rook deck without the inclusion of the Rook card.  In this game, players must empty their draw pile by playing cards to the center building piles or onto their opponent’s delay piles.  Although this game works well for 3 or 4 players, it is most fun with a full 5 player count.  


 Shuffle and deal out the entire deck one card at a time.  Some players might end up with more cards than others, and that is okay.

Without looking at the cards or rearranging them in any way, each player places the cards they were dealt face down in a pile in front of them.



The player to the left of the dealer begins the game by drawing the top card from their pile.  If that card is a 1, they play it face up to the center of the table.  This begins a building pile for that color.  Having played the 1, the same player draws the next card from their draw pile.  If it is a 2 in the same color as the previously played 1, the player may add it to the pile and draw again.  If it is a 1, that card is played to the center to begin another building pile.  The player continues this until they draw a card that is unable to be played.


When a player draws a card that cannot be played, they play it face up to their delay pile.  This concludes that player’s turn.


Once a player has a delay pile, they must play from that if able before playing from their draw pile.  Cards are to be played on the building piles in the center of the table first if able.  If a play to a building pile is not possible, other players’ delay piles are eligible to be played upon.  Other player’s delay piles can be built up or down with no regard to color.  

If a player is unable to play a card from their delay pile, they draw the top card from their draw pile.  If that card cannot be played, it is added to their delay pile, and the turn ends.

When a player has played all of the cards from their draw pile, they must flip their delay pile over and begin playing from that as the new draw pile.  


During play, if a player makes a mistake in how they play, an opponent at the table can call out panjandrum. For example, if a player missed a possible paly from their delay pile, and they draw a card from their draw pile, an opponent can call panjandrum.  The player that made the mistake must accept two cards from the player who called it, and one card from everyone elses draw pile.  Those cards are added to the bottom of the receiving player’s draw pile.

If a player incorrectly calls out panjandrum, they receive the penalty cards – two from the player they falsely accused and one from everyone else.


The first player to get rid of all their cards wins the game.

Mark Ball
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