We talk a lot about flashy video games and freshly released board games on EFG, but today I want to take a moment to share the instructions for one of my family’s absolute favorite card games. We spend a lot of time playing Frustration Rummy as a family, especially on family vacations. We laugh. We yell. We talk a lot of trash. (Of course, we do. I’m there.) Frustration Rummy is a rummy-style card game where players compete to complete different steps (often called contracts) that each involves a different combination of cards.
Cards Required to Play Frustration Rummy
- 4 players – 2 standard playing card decks with 4 jokers
- 5-6 players – 3 standard playing card decks with 6 jokers
- Wild Cards – Jokers and Deuces
The Rules For Frustration Rummy
- Deal 11 cards to each person for each hand. (This is how we play as taught by my Pop Pop, but some versions have you draw 13)
- A player’s turn begins by drawing the top card from the deck or the discard pile.
- The player may then “meld” if they have the appropriate cards for the step they are on
- Then they discard a card from their hand. Note: A player MUST have a discard at the end of their turn. There are no exceptions.
- If a player “melds” and completes a step they will then be playing to “Go Out.” This ends the hand.
- Each Step must be made by a player during a hand to advance to the next step. For example, if a player completes a step and then goes out and you did not, then you will remain on the same step and they will move forward.
- All 11 steps must be completed to win – if more than one player completes the 11 steps during the hand, the lowest-scoring hand wins.
Frustration Peg Boards
You can definitely play Frustration and keep track of what step you are on using paper. (That’s what my mother insists we do.) But, there are very cool peg boards that help you keep track of things. You can buy them all over the place, but this is a very nice handmade one sold on Amazon.
Book – Groups of cards of the same number. The suit does not matter.
Run – Groups of cards where the numbers are in descending or ascending order. They must be in the same suit.
Note – You must have more natural cards in a book or run than Wild cards. You cannot even have the same number.
|Step 1||2 Books of 3 cards|
|Step 2 ||2 Runs of 3 cards|
|Step 3 ||1 Run of 4 cards and 1 Book of 3 cards|
|Step 4 ||2 Books of 4 cards|
|Step 5 ||1 Run of 5 cards and 1 Book of 3|
|Step 6 ||3 Books of 3 cards|
|Step 7||1 Run of 7 cards|
|Step 8 ||1 Run of 6 cards and 1 Book of 3 cards|
|Step 9 ||2 Runs of 4 cards|
|Step 10 ||2 Books of 5 cards|
|Step 11||1 Run of 9 Cards|
Notes and Reminders
- A wild card may be replaced in any run (but not books) with the card it represents, but only if the wild card can be used to meld in that turn.
- Additional melds of 3 cards can be played and more cards can be played on other melds after a player has completed their step meld.
Cards Games Similar to Frustration Rummy
Rummy is an old game that has been played the world over. As a result, there are countless variations. Some of the more popular versions are:
Phase 10 – This is a commercialized version that is packaged like Uno (and you’ll probably find them right next to each other). The biggest difference is that steps and contracts are referred to as phases.
Aggravation – The rules of Aggravation are similar to Frustration. The difference is that once you have completed your contract you can immediately start to work on the next one without waiting until the next hand.
Gin Rummy – This is more of a distant cousin with a focus on accumulating points as opposed to merely completing steps. You can find the complete rules for Gin Rummy here.
What do you think? Are you going to play our family favorite? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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what if there is 2 people playing is it the same rules
The rules remain the same if you play with up to 4 people.