OBJECTIVE OF SHIESTA: Be the first player to get rid of all your cards

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 – 5 players


RANK OF CARDS: (low) 4,5,6,7,8,9,J,Q,K,A (high), 2’s wild, 3’s & 10’s special

TYPE OF GAME: Hand shedding

AUDIENCE: Kids, Adults


Shiesta is a hand shedding game for 3 – 5 players.  In this game, players are dealt a hand and two rows of cards.  The first row is face down, and the second row is face up on top of the first.  Players will have to successfully play the cards in their hand before the face up cards can be played, and the face up cards before the face down cards can be played.  The final three cards are the most exciting to play because they cannot be looked at until they are played to the pile.  The first player to get rid of all their cards wins the game.


 Shiesta uses a 52 card deck.  Shuffle and deal three cards to each player.  These should not be looked at.  Place those cards in a row face down.  Deal three more cards to each player.  These three are placed face up on top of the previously dealt row.  Finally deal five cards to each player.  These five cards make up the player’s hand. The rest of the cards are placed face down to form a draw pile.

In this game, suit and color does not matter.



Before play begins, each player may swap cards between their face up row and their hand.  


The youngest player goes first and plays the lowest normal card from their hand (such as a 4 or 5).  The discard pile cannot begin with a 2,3,7, or 10.  Following players must play a card that is higher than the one on top of the discard pile, or they can play a special card.  If a player is unable to play a card, they pick up the entire discard pile and add it to their hand.

A player can play sets of the same card on the pile.  For example, if the top card on the discard pile is a 8, and the next player has two 9’s, they may play both of them to the pile.


After a player plays to the discard pile, they draw back up to five cards.  Once the draw pile is gone, drawing ceases and players begin to empty their hands.


Once a player empties their hand, they play the face up cards from their row.  Again, if they are unable to play, they pick up the entire discard pile.  They can no longer play their face up row cards until they play the cards in their hand.

Once a player manages to play all the cards in their hand and all the face up row cards, they can play the face down row cards.  These are not looked at until they are placed on the discard pile.  If the card cannot be legally played, the entire discard pile is picked up by the player.  The card they played from their face down row is now part of their hand.  


2’s are wild.  They can be played on any card.

3’s force the next player to pick up the entire discard pile and add it to their hand.  3’s played are removed from the game.

7’s reverse the order of play.  This card can only be played on a 7 or lower.  The next player must play a card lower than a 7.

10’s remove the entire discard pile (along with the 10) from the game.  The next player begins the discard pile anew.


The first player to successfully play all of their cards wins the game.
Source: Shiesta: Your New Favorite Card Game

Mark Ball
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