Speed Card Game Rules and How to Play

Speed is a shedding-type card game for two players who compete in matching and discarding their cards. These Speed card game rules explain it in detail. 

Speed is a simple Anglo-American card game for all ages. As its name suggests, the winner is whoever moves faster and gets rid of all their cards first.

To achieve this, players build card sequences, following a few rules that can remind you of games like Double Solitaire (see Double Solitaire rules) or Spit (see Spit card game rules).

Key highlights of this Speed card game rules guide:

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

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to play Speed.

What is the Speed Card Game?

Speed Card Game Info Image

Speed is a game of dynamic action and quick decisions. Both opponents play simultaneously (there are no turns), matching and discarding their cards one by one.

Number of Players:

Ages: 7+

Difficulty: Easy 

Length of Play: 10 – 30 minutes

Type of Game: Matching / shedding-type card game

Similar to: Spit, Double SolitaireNertz

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

Our Take: Speed is an ideal card game for when you want a fast and straightforward battle with a single opponent.

What You’ll Need to Play Speed

 To play Speed, you’ll need the following:

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

Speed Card Game Rules

Let’s start with Speed’s initial setup, which is quite unique.

Starting the Game 

  • First, shuffle your playing cards thoroughly. 
  • Each player gets five cards for hand AND 15 cards for their personal draw pile. 
  • 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.

There are no turns in this game, so both players can start playing at the same time.

How to Play Speed

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

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 pile, BUT you can never hold more than five cards at any time. 

What if you can’t make any turns?

If one of the players gets stuck:

  • The other player continues playing normally. 
  • The stuck player returns to the game whenever they can play any of their cards again. 

If both players get stuck:

  • Each player 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 again.

Speed Scoring 

Speed rules don’t include any scoring. The game continues until one of the players runs out of all the cards in their hand AND their personal card pile.

The player taps the table and calls: “Speed!” to become a winner.

Tip: If you want to make the game longer, play several rounds. The player who wins three games first becomes the total winner.

Speed Card Game Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Speed card game rules 1 image

Both players start with 5 cards in their hands and 15 cards in their personal draw piles.

Step 2

Speed card game rules 2 image

Place 2 cards in the center as your build piles and 2 piles of 5 cards on the side as the side piles. Players turn the central cards over to start the game.

Step 3

Speed card game rules 3 image

Simultaneously discard cards one by one to either of the build piles. They must always be 1 rank up or 1 rank down from the previous cards. Suits don’t matter. 

Step 4

Speed card game rules 4 image

Ace is both high and low to create an “endless” loop of cards.

Step 5

Speed card game rules 5 image

Replenish your hand from your personal draw pile whenever you want, but you cannot hold more than 5 cards at any time.

Step 6

Speed card game rules 6 image

If both players get stuck, turn over the topmost cards from the side piles to restart the game. 

Step 7

Speed card game rules 7 image

The player who gets rid of all their cards first (both in hand and in their personal draw pile) wins the game. 

Playing Speed – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Spit and Speed the same game or two separate games?

Spit and Speed are not the same game, although they share many similarities. The main difference is that the cards are dealt differently in Spit, organized in five central stacks.

How do you get 3-player Speed?

For a 3-player Speed, you must adapt the game in multiple ways. It is recommended to add a second deck of cards to the game. Creating three build piles and three side piles is also helpful.

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

No, you cannot draw from the side pile if you have the option to make another move. Before flipping over a card from the side pile, you must proceed with all the possible moves.

Other Similar Games to Speed (Our Guides) 

If you like Speed, here are our guides to a few more card-shedding games you should enjoy:

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Read all the articles (121) written by Lucia Fajnerova