This guide will run through all the Wizard rules to this classic Rummy-style card game.
Wizard works best when you’re in a small group of at least 3 players.
And with an intricate scoring system, you’ll find that seeing who won isn’t quite as straightforward as whoever wins the most rounds.
Each round, players not only compete to have the highest-scoring card, but they also score bonus points if they can correctly guess how many hands they win per round.
The Wizard card game at this stage should sound simple enough, but it does get slightly more involved, so continue reading to learn how to play Wizard, including all tips and tricks you’ll need to win.
What Is Wizard the card game?
Wizard is a version of the traditional card game Rummy which includes much of the same rules as other games of Rummy, such as tricks, trumps, and leads.
If you’ve ever played a Rummy card game before, a lot of the rules will be familiar already.
What differentiates Wizard from other versions, however, is that you’ll need 60 cards to begin playing, which involves getting yourself a special Wizard deck first of all.
The game also features a unique scoring system that you use to see who wins. It’s not just about the number of tricks you win, but also how many tricks you predict that you can win per round.
Number of Players Required: 3-6 players.
Who Can Play It: Recommended for10 years+.
Length of Play: 10 – 20 minutes.
Similar to: Canasta; Pitty Pat; Conquian; Tonk; Pinochle; Tripoley;
Main Objective: Correctly guess the number of tricks that you can take per round. Points get awarded for every correct prediction, most points at the end win.
Why We Love It: Wizard is a version of Rummy that allows players to get many rounds within a short space of time. It’s great fun learning the game as you’ll soon see that a proper expert of the game can win from any position.
Playing Wizard – What You’ll Need.
Get yourself the official Wizard card game set to be able to play this one, and this set includes:
- 52 standard playing cards
- 4 Wizard Cards
- 4 Jester Cards
If you find yourselves running out of score sheets while playing, then you can top them up, too, as they are the best way to keep track of scores throughout the game.
Alternatively, you can also buy the deluxe edition version of Wizard or the larger card version for those who need a little more help seeing the cards.
How To Set Up Wizard
Pick any way that you would like to decide who shuffles the cards. Generally, with card games, the best way to decide is to get everyone to draw 1 card each from the deck.
Whoever gets the highest card either shuffles or picks the player who they would like to shuffle the deck.
This is handy to keep in mind as it can decide who shuffles in pretty much any card game, whether you’re playing a game like Go Fish (see Go Fish rules) or even a game of classic UNO.
The player who has the lowest-ranked card will need to keep score throughout the game as well.
Add the Wizard and Jester cards to the standard deck and give them a good shuffle.
Wizard follows different dealing rules to most other card games; rather than get dealt out all at once, the dealer will do this in stages.
In Wizard, it’s important to remember that Jesters are the lowest-ranked card and the Wizard are the highest-ranked cards in this game.
The ranking in this game goes from highest to lowest – Wizard, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace, Jester.
Starting the Game
To begin with, the dealer will need to deal out each player just 1 card each with the rest of the cards placed in the middle of players.
The top card of the pile needs to get overturned as this decides the trump (suit) of the round.
If the Jester gets overturned, that round will not have a trump that players need to follow, whereas if a Wizard gets overturned, then the dealer can decide on the trump.
After each round finishes, the deal moves to the player on the left, who re-shuffles the entire deck and deals players out 2 cards.
There is no difference in the gameplay at this point. The only difference in how rounds get played is the number of cards increases by 1 after each round.
The game continues until the final round, where all the cards get dealt out to players; the number varies depending on the number of players.
How to Play Wizard
You play Wizard in the same way as other trick-taking and Rummy games where players use the cards in their hands to form tricks and lead the trump card.
Before each round begins, each player needs to guess how many tricks they are going to win throughout the round.
The number of predicted winning tricks cannot exceed the number of cards in each player’s hand, as that number is also the maximum number of tricks up for grabs per round.
So in round 4, each player will get dealt 4 cards, meaning that there will be 4 hands in that round and subsequently 4 tricks up for grabs.
It’s a good idea to write down the number of tricks that each player predicts per round, as these will be scored after the round finishes.
To win a trick, players need to lead whatever the initial overturned card is with a card that matches the trump.
Each player plays a card from their hand, even if it doesn’t match the trump. The order of victory goes the following way:
- The first player who plays a Wizard card;
- If a Wizard isn’t played, the highest value card that matches the trump;
- If no cards match the trump, the highest value card.
Whoever wins the trick gets to lead the next card, even if the next card starts a new round.
It’s also worth remembering that Jesters always lose in this game, but all cards in your hand must get played at some point during the round.
Scoring In Wizard
It’s vital that all players remember that the winner of WIzard isn’t necessarily the player who wins the most tricks.
Usually, the player who can correctly guess the number of tricks ends up winning.
For every round that a player correctly guesses their final trick number, they gain 20 points, plus an additional 10 points for each trick they win.
However, for every round that a player is incorrect, they lose 10 points from their rolling total but still gain 10 points for every trick that they win during the round.
The winner gets decided once the final round finishes. Work out the final totals, and then award the win to the player with the highest score at the end of the game.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you play Wizard with 2 players?
There is a version of Wizard played with just 2 players, but the rules are slightly different, and it doesn’t require a special 2 player deck as well.
Can you play Wizard with a regular deck of cards?
Although harder to set up and less convenient, you can play Wizard if you have 2 decks of cards.
You’ll need 2 decks as you play Wizard with 60 cards, and you’ll also need to decide beforehand which extra cards make up the Wizards and Jokers.
What happens if everyone plays a Jester in Wizard?
If at any point all 4 players play a Jester, the player who played the Jester first wins the trick.
Alternative Games to Wizard
If you like games like Wizard, then have a read through the Racko rules or take a look at the Phase 10 rules for more examples of games you can potentially add to your collection.
Alternatively, check out some of our game guides for card games you can play with a standard deck of cards, including our guide to the Palace card game and Idiot the card game too.