Palace Card Game Rules and How to Play

Palace is an easy shedding-type card game spiced up with special functions of certain cards. This Palace card game rules guide will teach you how it’s played.

Palace, also called Castle, is a fun card game ideal for beginners. The players try to get rid of all their cards first, stacking equal or higher-ranking ones on each other.

With its fast pace and simple rules, playing Palace can remind you of minimalistic card games like Idiot (see Idiot the card game rules) or Speed (see Speed card game rules).

Key highlights of this Palace rules guide:

  • What is the Palace card game?
  • Palace rules
  • Palace scoring 
  • Palace rules in pictures 
  • Palace (Video tutorial)

Read on and learn how to play Palace step by step.

What Is The Palace Card Game?

Palace Card Game Info Image

Palace is a simple card game where players aim to discard their cards faster than opponents. What makes this game original is the presence of ‘special’ cards with unique functions. 

Number of Players: 2 – 5 

Ages: 6+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 10 – 20 minutes.

Type of Game: Shedding-type card game

Similar to: IdiotSpeedSpit

Main Objective: Get rid of all your cards before your opponents.

Our Take: Palace uses a simple principle of shedding-type card games, upgrading it with a few original rules. Playing this game is great fun for the entire family.

What You’ll Need to Play Palace

If you want to play the Palace game, you’ll need the following:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 52
  • Cards Omitted: Jokers

Palace Card Game Rules

Shuffle your cards thoroughly, and deal 3 down-facing cards to each player, laying them side by side in front of them. 

Place another 3 cards face-up on top of the down-facing cards.

Finally, deal each player 3 cards to hold in their hands

Place the remaining cards face-down in the center of the table as your draw pile

Starting the Game

Once everyone has their cards, they can look at the 3 in their hands and swap them with one of the face-up cards on their pile if they wish.

Whoever has the lowest-ranked card starts playing the game by placing it face-up on the table, creating a new discard pile.

Play continues around the circle in a clockwise fashion.

The Gameplay & Cards Rank

Players take turns in the game placing cards on top of the discard pile, first using the ‘normal cards’ (see below) in their hand of equal or higher rank than the card on top.

Example: If Player 1 discards 8, Player 2 can only play 8 or higher-ranking cards on top of it.

The term’ normal cards‘ refers to Ace, King, Queen, 9, 8, 6, 5, and 4. The remaining cards are ‘special’ since they possess special functions in the game (I’ll explain these shortly). 

Unlike the normal cards, you can play the special cards at any time, regardless of order, except for the 7 – you must still play this card in the correct succession.

Once a player has played a card, they draw the top card from the draw pile (until the entire pile will eventually be used up).

When the players use up the cards in their hands, they move on to the 6 cards in front of them.

You can play the 3 up-facing cards in any order, but they always stay visible to the other players. The 3 face-down cards cannot be looked at until they’re played.

If a player cannot play the correct card, they must pick up the entire discard pile and add it to their hand. The next player then picks any of their cards to restart the discard pile.

‘Special Cards’

The ‘special’ card rank can mix the game up with the following effects:

  • 2 – Reset the discard pile, so the next player can play any card they choose.
  • 3 – The next player must play a card equal to or higher than the card below the 3.
  • 7 – Reverse the discard pile, so the player on the left has to play a card lower than the card underneath the 7. It reverts to normal afterward.
  • 10 – Destroys the discard pile and removes those cards from the game permanently. 

A player cannot end the game with a special card. If the last face-down card drawn is a special card, that player must pick up the draw pile and continue playing the game.

Palace Scoring

There is no scoring in the card game Palace. The first player to get rid of all their cards (including the 6 in front of them) wins the game. 

Card ranking

To avoid any doubt, here’s the rank of the ‘normal cards’ in Palace from the highest to the lowest value: Ace; King; Queen; Jack; 9; 8; 6; 5; 4.

Palace Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Each player gets 3 down-facing + 3 up-facing cards aligned in front of them and 3 cards for their hand. The remaining deck forms a draw pile. 

Palace card game rules 1 image

Step 2

The cards are split into ‘normal’ (upper row) and ‘special’ (below). Special cards have unique functions in the game, such as reversing, resetting, or eliminating the discard pile. 

Palace card game rules 2 image

Step 3

Normal cards (in our case, 4-5-6-6) must be played on top of the cards of equal or lower rank. Any special player card (except for 7!) can be played freely in the game.

Palace card game rules 3 image

Step 4

If you cannot play the right card, add the entire discard pile to your hand. The next player can play any card to restart the discard pile.

Palace card game rules 4 image

Step 5

The first player to get rid of all their cards (in our case, it’s the player on the left) wins the game.

Palace card game rules 5 image

Palace – Video Tutorial 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any Palace card game rules you can add?

Yes, it’s easy to add your house rule to Palace. People often add more special cards and assign them various functions, such as skipping the next player or reversing the game.

Can you play Palace with 2 people?

Sure! Palace is one of those card games you can enjoy even in a pair. Still, the more players, the more unpredictable and fun this game usually gets.

Why is the game called Palace?

This card game is known as Palace or Castle because the piles of cards aligned in front of each player represent a palace-like structure they must turn by turn dismantle.

Other Similar Games to Palace (Our Guides) 

If you like Palace, read our guides to a few other simple shedding-type card games below:

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Read all the articles (121) written by Lucia Fajnerova