OBJECT OF SAMPAN: The objective of Sampan is to play all of the cards you have available in your hand.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 8 Players

MATERIALS: 2 52 Card Decks

TYPE OF GAME: Children’s Card Game

AUDIENCE: 8 Years and up 


Sampan is a wonderfully easy game that is perfect for players of all ages. Originating in China, it was most well known as a children’s party game, but it is a great past time for anyone! The goal of the game is to rid your hand of all your cards. If you can be the first to do it, you win!


To begin setup, the decks must be separated. Remove the following cards: Jack, Queen, and King of Spades from both decks, the ace, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine of Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds from both decks. The deck should consist of sixty cards.

The number of cards dealt to each player depends on the number of players in the game. If there are two to three players, there are fifteen cards dealt to each player. With four players, there are thirteen cards dealt to each player. Five players mean there are eleven cards dealt to each player. If there are six players, there are nine cards dealt to each player. Finally, if there are seven or eight players, each player will get seven cards.

The game is ready to begin!


The first dealer will deal the cards facedown to each player one at a time. The rest of the cards will be placed facedown in the middle of the table, creating the stock pile. The top card is then revealed as it is placed beside the stock pile.

If any of the players have the exact same card as the one revealed, they have to play it on top of the discard pile. Once the same cards have been played, they may then play one other card from their hand. Any player who has that exact same card will play that card and then a random card from their hand.

Gameplay continues in this manner until a player has played all of the cards in their hand or there are no more cards available to be played. The game will then come to an end and a player will be chosen.


The game comes to an end when a player has played all of the cards in their hand or there are no more cards that can be played. The first player to play all of their cards will become the winner in the first case. In the second case, the player with the least amount of cards in their hand wins the game!

Nakoa Davis