How To Play - IN A PICKLE GAME - Game
Before you play!
There are two different ways to play this game, depending on the mood of
the group. For a highly creative game with opportunities for
lively debate, follow the regular rules. For a more
narrative-driven, less "open-for-interpretation" game, choose the
alternate game play. (The second version is strongly recommended
for two players.)
Win the most rows of cards by playing the "largest" noun in an
ever-changing string of cards.
Remove the card holder from the box and place it within reach of all
players. Select a person to deal five cards face down to each
player. Players look at their cards but keep them secret from
opponents. Place four additional cards face up in the middle of
the playing area in a plus shape with the arrows on the cards pointing
away from the center.
How To Play
The player to the left of the dealer goes first and continues
clockwise. On your turn, play one noun card from your hand face up
to any of the four rows that either Fits inside or that is
larger than one of the outermost cards already in play.
Note: the arrow on the cards indicates the direction of
If the noun on your
card is larger than one of the outer cards, place it so that it
overlaps the card furthest from the center.
If the noun on your
card is smaller than one of the outer cards, place it
underneath the card closest to the center in any of the rows.
Remember, you may
only play a card over the largest or under the smallest card in each
row. You cannot play in between two cards.
Use your imagination and be sure to announce your play as you go.
If you can't play a card or choose not to play one, you may exchange up
to three cards and skip a turn. Put the card(s) you don't want at
the bottom of one of the face down decks and draw the same number of
cards from the top of any deck into your hand. This ends your
turn, and play moves to the person on your left.
Draw from the deck
to bring your hand back up to five cards at the end of each turn.
The card you play
only has to relate to the card it directly touches, not the entire row.
(See alternate game play for a different approach to this rule).
You may add a
modifier such as "a," "an," "the," or "my" when playing your card.
However, you may not embellish your card with other nouns to make it
Sometimes a fit may
be more conceptual than logical. For example, while unlikely, it's
possible that a Kangaroo could fit in a Library. Or, taken
literally, the Universe could fit in a Dictionary (it's a word, after
all). You are encouraged to stretch your imagination and think
outside the box. However, be prepared to defend your play if
someone challenges! (See "Challenges")
Some words have
multiple meanings (i.e., Jam, Spring, Change). Because your card
only has to relate to the card it touches, you may re-interpret words
with each new play. For example, one player puts Lawyer in a Jam.
The next player could play Sandwich on top of Jam.
A note about "in"
vs. "on". This is a game that's all about "in." However,
some people use "on" interchange-ably. In most cases, there's a
clear distinction between the two. (A Clown in a Phone Booth is
different than a Clown on a Phone Booth.) But sometimes the
difference may not be as clear. (Do you stand "in line" or "on
line"?) Whatever the case may be, everyone must agree before the
game begins if "on" scenarios are allowed or not.
As mentioned above, you are encouraged to think creatively and play
cards that might not "fit" in an obvious way. However, other
players may challenge your play if they don't agree with the logic of
the fit. If another player offers a challenge, you get a chance to
defend your card by making a statement for your case. For example,
"Yes, you can fit a Turkey in a Purse. It's sliced turkey."
After a short time for debate (keep in mind; this is supposed to be a
friendly game, not the Supreme Court!), all players vote (except the
challenged player), using thumbs up for "okay" and thumbs down for "no
If more players vote that your card fits, it stays in place and the
game continues as usual. However, if you lose the challenge, you
lose your turn and play continues to the left. Remove your card
from the playing area and discard it to the bottom of a draw pile, then
draw a new card from the deck.
Note: If there is an even number of players voting and
there is a tie, the decision goes in favor of the challenged player (the
Winning a Row of Cards
If you play the fourth card to any row, you start a Pickle Round, In
which all players vie to win that row of cards. Starting with the
player to your left and continuing in order, each player gets one chance
to play a card that is LARGER than the card furthest from the center.
If you don't have a card that can beat that card or don't want to play a
card, say "pass", and play moves to the left. The round ends with
the player who started the Pickle Round getting one final chance to
trump the last card played.
Whoever played the
largest card, wins the round. That player collects the row of
cards and places it face down in front of him or her. Then start a
new row by drawing a card from the deck and placing it face up in place
of the old row. (There should always be four rows in play.)
All players replenish their hands back up to five cards, and play
continues as normal to the left of the person who started the Pickle
Round until someone places the fourth card in another row.
Pickle Round Notes
During a Pickle
Round, you can only play cards that are larger than the largest card in
Once someone starts
a Pickle Round, all player is focused on the row in contention. No
cards may be played to other rows.
Any card played
during a Pickle Round can be challenged by another player, just like in
including the person who started the Pickle Round, may not replenish
their hands until the round is over.
Winning The Game
To win, be the first player to collect the required number of rows
Three Players: Four Rows
Five or Six Players: Three Rows
Play using the rules above, however every card played must relate to
ALL the other cards in the row, not just the one it touches. In
other words, each row should tell a "story" of sorts. Be sure to
announce the whole row to the group each card you play.
In the second example, you could not play a card such as Atlas on top of
New York because the other words in the row do not relate.
Furthermore, words with multiple meanings (i.e., Jam, Spring, Change),
still need to relate to all the words in the row. However,
challenges, Pickle Rounds and all other rules still apply.