OBJECTIVE OF TACOCAT SPELLED BACKWARDS: The player who moves the Tacocat to their goal space first wins the game. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players  

CONTENTS: 1 gameboard, 1 Tacocat token, 38 cards, 7 tiles 

TYPE OF GAME: Tug of War Card Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 7+ 


Tacocat Spelled Backwards is a two player trick taking tug of war card game.  Each round, players will battle for control of the lead.  Players can attack with 1 or more cards, and the defender must either win the trick or sacrifice their lowest card.  The player with the lowest card for the final trick wins the round.  That player gets to move Tacocat closer to their goal.  The first player to get Tacocat to their goal wins the game. 


The box itself opens up to be the gameboard.  There are goal spaces on either end of the board.  Between goals are seven numbered spaces, and the number on the space determines how many cards are dealt to each player. 

The 38 card deck contains 

The Tacocat token is what players are trying to move into their goal space.  During play, the Tacocat will be moved based on who wins. 

The seven tiles are used to cover up spaces that the Tacocat was previously on.  This shortens the board and makes following rounds much more tense. 


Open the board and place it between the players.  Each player should be seated behind their goal so that Tacocat is pulled back and forth between them.  Place the seven tiles in a stack near the board.  Place the Tacocat token on the center space of the board marked with a 7.   

Shuffle cards and deal seven cards to each player.  Players can look at their hand, but they should not let their opponent see the cards.  The rest of the deck goes face down as a draw pile.  There also needs to be room for a discard pile. 


Each round of the game follows the following sequence: Replace Cards, Duel, Play, Move Tacocat, & Place Tile. 


Players get the chance to replace cards in their hand at the beginning of each round.  Each space on the board has one or two arrows on it.  The player with the arrow pointing at them gets to replace cards first.  They may choose and discard as many cards as they like.  The player is not required to replace any cards.  Cards chosen are placed face up in the discard pile. 

After they are finished, their opponent gets to replace up to the same amount.  They are not required to replace any cards if they do not want to.  For example, if the first player replaces 3 cards, their opponent may replace 0, 1, 2, or 3 cards.   

At the start of the first round, both players get to replace as many cards as they like.   


The duel determines who will get to attack first.  At the start of each round, both players pick one card from their hand and hold it face down on the table.  At the same time, players turn their cards over.  The player with the highest card gets to attack first.  Discard both duel cards and begin play.   

If there is a tie, discard the cards and duel again. 


The player who wins the duel gets to attack first.  They pick one card from their hand and place it face up in front of them.  The opposite player has two options: defend the attack or sacrifice a card. 

Defend the attack by playing a card of equal or higher value face up to the table.  If the opponent does this, they get to attack next. 

If a player is unable to defend (or chooses not to), they must play their lowest card face up to the table.  If the opponent sacrifices their lowest card, the same player attaches again. 

There are also two types of Jumbo Attacks: sets and sequences. 

A set is two or more cards of the same rank.  A sequence is three or more cards in sequential order.  When attacking with a Jumbo Attack, the defending player must defend or sacrifice against each card individually.  If the defender successfully defends against all three cards (cards of equal rank or higher for each attack card), they win and get to attack next.  If the defending player has to sacrifice a card against even just one of the attack cards, they lose. 

A player is not allowed to Jumbo Attack with their final card.  Both players must have one card remaining in their hand at the end of the round.   

Continue attacking and defending until both players have one card left in their hand.  Players show their last card at the same time.  The player with the lowest card wins the round. 

If both players have cards of equal rank, the round is a tie.  Tacocat does not move.  Shuffle up the entire deck and deal a new round. 


The player that wins the round moves Tacocat one space toward them on the board.  Cover the space that Tacocat was just on with a tile.  Tacocat can no longer move onto that space.  If it would ever land on a cover space, simply skip over it and place Tacocat on the next available one. 

To continue the game, shuffle up the entire deck and repeat the above steps until Tacocat has been moved to one of the goal spaces. 


The first player to get Tacocat into their goal wins the game. 

Mark Ball
Latest posts by Mark Ball (see all)