OBJECTIVE OF PILES: Form point winning piles for your team!

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players (fixed partnerships)

NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A

TYPE OF GAME: Strategy



Piles is 4 player game with two pairs of partners. Team members should sit across from each other at the table.

The dealer, who is chosen randomly, deals each player 10 cards. Cards should be dealt out one at a time and face-down, starting to the left of the dealer. After, the remaining 12 cards in the deck are placed in the middle of the table face-up and arranged into a layout. The layout should be a 4×3 rectangle of cards, this layout is referred to as the castle. 

Cards are worth their intrinsic value.

  • Aces are worth 1
  • 2-10 are worth face value
  • Jacks are worth 11
  • Queens are worth 12
  • Kings are worth 13


The player to the dealer’s left initiates play by placing a single card on the castle. Each player does the same, turns pass to the left. Players form piles on top of the cards within the castle. These piles are controlled by their top card.

The color (either red or black) of cards first played assigns teams their colors. So, if the first person to play plays a 5 of Spades, that player and their teammate are the black team, and their opponents are the red team.

Within the castle, there are certain rules on the piles. Each pile can have 2 to four neighbors, that is piles which are either horizontally or vertically adjacent from each other. The four piles in the corners will have two neighbors, and the other 6 remaining piles have 3 or 2 neighbors, while the two interior piles have 4. The value of a card on the castle depends upon its neighbors: the card (on top) is worth its intrinsic value +1 for every neighbor which is the same color and -1 for every neighbor which is a different color. So, if a pile with a red 6 on top has two red neighbors it is worth 8. Or, if a pile has a black 10 on top and has 1 red neighbor and 3 black neighbors it is worth 12 (like a Queen).

Specific Rules of Play

  • You can always put a card on top of another if they are the same color
  • Cards of opposite colors may be placed upon each other, this changes which color controls the value of the pile. The card placed on top of its opposing color must create a higher total value than the previous card on top. This means including the way the neighboring cards affect the pile’s value.
  • Players can choose to pass on their turn. If this happens, the player to their left will randomly pick a card from their hand. This card is kept by the player who took it and will be later added to the piles they pick up with their team.


The game finishes after each player has had 10 turns or when players run out of cards completely. After, each team collects piles which are topped with cards of their team color (the black team grabs piles topped with black cards; the red team grabs piles topped with red cards). However, all the cards within the piles that are the opponent’s team color are used for the final score. So, the red team scores the black cards they collected, and the black team scores the reds.

When scoring, cards take on different values.

  • Aces are worth 9 points
  • Kings are worth 4 points
  • Queens are worth 3 points
  • Jacks are worth 2 points
  • All other cards are worth 1 point

The winning team is the one that scores the most points!



For more information on the game Piles, contact Fabio Pozzi at fabpozzi@libero.it

Nakoa Davis

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