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How To Play - Flinch - Game Rules
Celebrating its 100th anniversary card game, a perennial favorite Flinch
since 1903. Flinch the original and still the best stockpile card game.
 


 

FLINCHģ CARD GAME

OBJECT:
The object of the game is simple: be the first player to play all ten cards from your "Stockpile." You do this by, whenever possible, playing a card in numerical order onto a "Play Pile" in the center of the table. You also hold a hand of cards and youíll form several "Reserve Piles"
during the game to store cards from your hand until they are playable. These cards will eventually help you to play your Stockpile cards.
 
EQUIPMENT:
The equipment consists of 3 identical decks, totaling 135 cards. Combined, these cards make up nine "series," each numbered from 1  through 15. NOTE: remove the 9 FLINCH Wild cards from each deck before beginning play. They are used only in the new "FLINCH 2000" variation (those rules appear on the flip-side of these rules).
 
PLAYERS:
Any number from 2 to 8 may play. When more than four people play, youíll need to combine two gamesí worth of cards.
 
THE LAYOUT:
FLINCH is a game where cards are laid out in several different piles (see Illustration) and are referred to in the rules as follows:
 
ē THE STOCKPILES consist of the first 10 cards dealt face down to each player. You place your Stockpile cards in a pile directly in front of you and turn the top card of the pile face up, keeping it atop your pile.
 
ē THE HANDS are the next five cards dealt to each player. Pick up your hand and hold it so that you can see the cards, but no one else can.
 
ē THE STACK
is made up of all the cards remaining after the Stockpiles and the Hands have been dealt. These are divided into groups of five cards each and are not exposed. If you wish, you can use the tray in the package to arrange the five card groups in criss-cross fashion,
so that each group lies crosswise on top of the group immediately beneath it (see E, in the Illustration). If not, just form a Draw Pile. The Dealer will give the 5 cards on top to each player when a new hand is needed.
 
ē THE RESERVE PILES are formed after play has started. Whenever you pass or complete your play, you must place one card in front of your Stockpile. You place these cards alongside each other until you have started 5 Reserve Piles. From then on, you may play on top of any of the five Reserve Piles you desire. If, during the course of the play, you exhaust one or more of your Reserve Piles, you must start  them again before you can play on top of any of your remaining Reserve Piles.
 
ē THE PLAY PILES are formed after play has started. See THE PLAY and THE PLAY PILES, below, for more information about the Play Piles.
 
THE DEAL:
Select a player to be Dealer. The Dealer shuffles all the cards in play thoroughly and deals them as described above, forming the Stockpiles, the Hands, and the Stack.
 
THE PLAY:
The player to the left of the Dealer plays first. Letís assume thatís you. If you have a 1 card exposed on your Stockpile, play it to the center of the table. This is the first card of the first Play Pile. Turn up the next card in your Stockpile. If that card is also a 1 card, you must play it to the center of the table alongside the first card, starting the second Play Pile. When the card exposed on your Stockpile is not a 1, look in your hand and play in a similar manner any 1 card that you may be holding. If youíve been able to play a 1 card and hold in your hand (or have
exposed on your Stockpile) a 2 card, you may play it on top of any 1 card that has already been played. You may continue to play as long as you can build up in sequence on top of any of the Play Piles. All 1 cards  in your hand must be played, but other cards may be held and played as desired. NEW HAND: If during your turn you exhaust your hand, you draw a group of five cards from the Stack to form a new hand, then continue your turn. When you cannot play any cards or do not wish to play any more cards, you select a card from your hand and place it on the table face up to start a Reserve Pile. If, as occasionally happens, no player has a 1 card to start the game, each player lays down all five cards from his/her hand and starts five Reserve Piles. Each player, in turn, draws a new hand from the Stack. If there is still no player able to play a 1 card, players again place their entire hands in their Reserve Piles; since all five Reserve Piles have now been started, they may distribute them as they wish. All five cards may go onto one Reserve Pile if a player thinks it is advantageous to do so. After the first 1 card has been played, each player must end his/her turn by playing a card from his/her hand to one of his/her Reserve Piles.
 
THE RESERVE:
Once a Reserve Pile has been established, you may play from it to the center of the table if you have the proper card on top. You may do so at any time during your turn after you have played all of your 1 cards. 1 cards may never be played to a Reserve Pile. You are not required to play from your Reserve Pile, but should do so if it will help you to play from your Stockpile, or hinder your opponents from doing so. You may not look underneath the top card of any of your Reserve Piles but should try to remember what is there. It is usually wise to try to build Reserve Piles in reverse sequence for ease in remembering and in order to make possible the play of more cards on a single turn. When a Reserve Pile is exhausted it must be restarted by placing the next discard in the open space to bring the number of Reserve Piles back to five as quickly as possible. Cards, once played, cannot be moved from one Reserve Pile to another. Reserve Piles may be exhausted and re- established several times during the course of a game.
 
THE PLAY PILES:
The Play Piles go up from 1 to 15. Once a 15 is played, the entire Play Pile is removed from the table. When several Play Piles have been removed and all of the cards have been used from the Stack, shuffle these used cards and deal out again to continue the game.
 
CHALLENGING ("Flinch!"):
On each turn players must first play from the Stockpile if possible. If they fail to do so, any opponent may call "Flinch!" Any player so challenged must stop playing immediately, draw the top card from the Stockpile of the opponent who issued the challenge, and place it at the bottom of his/her own Stockpile. You may also challenge an opponent if you believe the opponent is holding a 1 card in his/her hand after it should have been played. If you are correct, the player challenged is penalized as above; if not, the challenger draws the penalty. A player
who is challenged and penalized ends his/her turn and does not discard to his/her Reserve Piles on that turn. If two players issue a challenge at the same time, the challenger nearest to the left of the challenged player receives the credit or penalty for the challenge.
 
HOW TO WIN:
The player who first succeeds in playing all of the cards from his/her Stockpile wins the game!
 
ADDITIONAL NOTES:
Once a card in your hand is exposed, it must be played. If it cannot be played, you must take it back into your hand, your turn ends, and you do not discard to a Reserve Pile. If you expose a card when it is not your turn, you must play that card first on your next turn. If you cannot, you must pass that turn. If the game becomes blocked (the Stack is exhausted and no player is able to play except one who refuses to play),  the player holding the releasing card must play it. If there is more than one player holding a releasing card, the first player with a releasing card, beginning with the player on the Dealerís left, must play it.
 
ABOUT FLINCH:
The first and greatest of all stockpile card games, FLINCH has entertained millions of people since it was first published in 1905.
 
Hereís a rare photo of an early play session. Note the man on the right;  thatís George Parker, the founder of Parker Brothers.
 
FLINCH became an instant success because of its novelty and simplicity. The novelty included the idea of playing onto several building piles and storing cards not yet playable in reserve piles. The simplicity is in the winning. You win by being first to play the mere ten cards in your stockpile. The goal sounds so easy, until youíre in the heat of the game against two or more opponents!
 
FLINCH cards are versatile, so more ways to play were created over time. And now weíre very happy to include the rules for FLINCH 2000Ėthe same great classic game, but with newly introduced FLINCH  Wild cards. Enjoy!
 
VARIATION:
An interesting variation is to start the Play Piles with either the 1ís or the 15ís, building up on the 1ís and down on the 15ís. Another variation is to start with 8ís, building both up and down. The 9, 10, etc. are built up from one end of each 8. The 7, 6, etc. are built down from the other. All other rules apply in both of these variations.
 
PARTNERSHIP GAME:
The same rules apply, except that if youíre in a Partnership Game you may also play from your partnerís Stockpile and Reserve Piles. If you have an opportunity to play from both your own and your partnerís Stockpile at the same time, you must play from your own first.  Otherwise, you play from your partnerís Stockpile exactly as you would from your own. After one Stockpile is exhausted, both partners continue playing from the remaining Stockpile until it is exhausted, after which the game ends. You may be challenged for failing to play from
your own or your partnerís Stockpile, for giving your partner information regarding the best way to play, for looking at a card underneath the Reserve or Stockpiles, for playing out of turn, or for failing to play a 1 card.

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