Pairs is a “New Classic Pub Game” published by Hip Pocket Games, an imprint of Cheapass Games. Using a simple triangular deck of cards (1×1, 2×2, 3×3, and so on all the way to 10×10), a single deck of Pairs supports more than 20 games, all of which can be found for free in The Pairs Companion.
In addition to the classic fruit deck pictured, there are a myriad of limited edition Pairs decks featuring different themes and artists including pirates, goddesses, muses, three Kingkiller Chronicle decks, and many more!
Players: 2-8 // Ages: 12+ // Time: 2 minutes // Price: $10 // Rules
HOW TO PLAY
Pairs uses a simple triangular deck of cards: that’s 1×1, 2×2, 3×3, and so on all the way to 10×10. There are many ways to play, but here’s the basic game:
Pairs is a simple press-your-luck game. Players take turns taking cards, trying not to get a pair. If you get a pair, you score points (and points are bad). You can also choose to fold, instead of taking a card, and score the lowest card in play. Folding gets you some points, but catching a pair could get you even more.
Pairs doesn’t have a winner, just a loser. The first player to reach a target score loses, and the target score depends on the number of players. For example, with 4 players, the loser is the first player to 16 points.
There are a dozen different Pairs decks, most with their own game variants. You can also download The Pairs Companion, a PDF containing more than 20 different games for the Pairs deck!