Speed Card Game (Rules and instructions)

Are you a couple looking for an exciting new card game to try? Check out Speed, a simple shedding-type card game for two players trying to get rid of their cards as fast as possible. These Speed card game rules explain the gameplay in detail. 

Speed is a popular Anglo-American card game involving some memorization, basic counting – and lots of rush. The one who gets rid of his cards first wins the game, so there’s no time to waste. 

Like Nertz and Phase 10 (see Nertz card game rules or Phase 10 rules for comparison), Speed requires you to get rid of your cards one by one, following a few simple matching rules.

Although the chance certainly plays its part in Speed, this game allows you to get better with each new round as you master your tactics. 

This Speed card game rules guide will cover the following: 

  • What is Speed?
  • What you’ll need to play Speed
  • Speed card game rules
  • How to play Speed (video tutorial)
  • FAQs
  • Other similar games to Speed (our guides)

Now let’s move on to a step-by-step guide on how to play Speed.

What is Speed?

As its name suggests, Speed is a game for those who like dynamic action and don’t hesitate to make quick decisions. 

Both players play simultaneously (there are no turns in Speed), so there’s not much time to think your moves through. Nevertheless, if you practice regularly, you’ll soon be able to play this game almost by heart.

Number of Players:

Ages: 7+

Difficulty: Easy 

Length of Play: 10 – 30 minutes

Category: Matching and shedding card game

Similar to: Spit, Knock Rummy, Nertz

Main Objective: Get rid of all the cards in your hand before your opponent does. 

Why We Love It: Speed is an ideal card game for when you want a fast and challenging yet straightforward battle with your friend or partner. 

What You’ll Need to Play Speed

All you need to play Speed is a standard deck of playing cards

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Jokers are not needed, so you can sort them out before you start playing.

Speed Rules and Gameplay

Speed will not surprise you with any overly specific rules if you’re not entirely new to shedding-type card games. What is somewhat remarkable, though, is the initial setup of this game, which goes as follows:

Starting the Game 

  • First of all, shuffle your cards thoroughly. 
  • Each player will get five cards for hand AND 15 cards for their personal draw deck. 
  • Place two face-down cards in the middle of the table between two players. 
  • On the sides, deal two more draw piles (so-called side piles) consisting of five cards each.

Players will first flip the two face-down cards in the middle. They do so simultaneously.

As I’ve already mentioned above, there are no turns in this game, so there’s no need to decide who’s going first. Both players can start playing at the same time.

How to Play Speed

The two cards you have just flipped over in the middle of the table will serve as your build piles. Your goal is to discard your cards on either of these piles as fast as possible.

Of course, while doing it, you must obey a few rules:

  • You can only play a card that is one number higher or lower than the current top card on the pile (Example: If the top cards on build piles are 6 and 3, you can only place 5 or 7 on the first one and 2 or 4 on the second one).
  • Suits play no role here.
  • Ace is both high and low – you can place it above King or below number 2. The sequence of cards can therefore form a loop.

You can replenish cards in your hand whenever you want to from your personal draw deck, BUT you can never hold more than five cards at any time. 

What if you get stuck?

If one of the players gets stuck, the other one continues playing normally. The stuck player can get back into the game whenever he gets the opportunity to play any of his cards again. 

If BOTH players get stuck, each flips one card from either of the side piles (not their personal draw piles!) and places it on the build piles simultaneously. This gives the game a fresh start.

Once the side piles are empty, shuffle each build pile individually and place it face-down on the side. Flip the top cards and put them in the center as at the beginning of the game.

Speed Scoring 

The game continues until one of the players runs out of all the cards in their hand AND their personal draw pile. The player taps the table with his hand and calls “Speed!”. He becomes a winner.

However, if you have time to continue, play several rounds. The player who wins three games first becomes a total winner

How to Play Speed – Video Tutorial

Speed Card Game Frequently Asked Questions

Are Spit and Speed the same game?

Spit and Speed are very similar shedding-type card games, but they differ in some aspects. Mainly, the cards are dealt a bit differently in Spit, being organized in five central stacks.

How do you get 3-player Speed?

Speed is normally intended for two players only. If more players want to play, you need to adapt the game in multiple regards. It is recommended, for example, to add a second deck of cards to the game, and creating three build piles and side piles is helpful too.

Can I draw a card from the side pile even if I did not run out of moves in Speed?

No. If any of the players have the opportunity to make another move, they are obliged to do so before flipping over a card from the side pile.

Other Similar Games to Speed (Our Guides) 

Are you looking for some exciting Speed alternatives? Here are our guides to a few card-shedding games you might also like:

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Read all the articles (32) written by Lucia Fajnerova