• Overall: Players collect sets of four cards of the same rank throughout the game.

  • Deal: A standard 52-card deck is shuffled and all cards are dealt between the players.

  • Play: Players take turns asking opponents for specific cards (of which they already own at least one card) to complete sets. For example if player A has a queen of spades, he may ask other players for the queens of heart, club or diamond. This reveals it to other players that player A has at least one queen. So basically it's a memory based game.

    • If the asked player has the requested card, they give it to the asking player.
    • If the asked player doesn't have the card, he takes the turn asking for cards.
  • When all the sets are completed, players ask for entire sets from other players made by them. The person who finished their sets first gets the chance to ask for entire sets from others. For example, player A has completed all the sets of cards he could and has no loose cards so he calls it out saying he's "packed". When everyone is finished making sets, player A gets the chance to ask for the sets that other players made. The person to collect all sets and make the deck wins.

There maybe some variations in this gameplay. Anybody knows what it's called?


1 Answer 1


This is Happy Families.

This game is better known for being played with a pack of specially printed cards. The cards featuring families of mother, father, son and daughter. Each family representing a profession or occupation. Players ask each other for, e.g., Mr Bun the Baker.

The game was invented in the 1860s as an educational amusement for children. A description is found at the V&A Museum with early cards being drawn by John Tenniel.

the game can be played with an ordinary pack of playing cards. The families are the card values and the suits are the family members.

The rules are just as you describe.

  • 2
    Is that the same as Go Fish?
    – shoover
    Feb 5 at 0:31
  • @shoover I've never heard of Go Fish, so I can't comment.
    – Chenmunka
    Feb 5 at 9:05
  • 1
    @shoover A very similar concept, but not the same game - in Happy Families, every card starts in a player's hand while in Go Fish only a small number of cards start in hand with the rest in the "pool". Feb 5 at 13:30
  • 4
    @Chenmunka It seems that English children grow up playing Happy Families, while U.S. children grow up playing Go Fish. :)
    – shoover
    Feb 5 at 18:52

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