Guide to games: Kids’ games: How to play go fish

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Guide to games: Kids’ games: How to play go fish
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How to play Go fish
Go fish is a simple gem, full of deviousness and theatricality. Those who suffer excessive inner smugness should, however, exercise caution: there is real danger of losing friends and alienating family members.

Go fish

Go fish

Deal five cards to each player and leave the rest of the stack face down on the table. Play commences to the left of dealer. The starting player asks one other player for a card belonging to a certain rank (ie a four or a king). Importantly, the asker must already hold at least one card belonging to the rank they are requesting – otherwise, it’s an illegal ask. Someone will notice sooner or later.

If the player cannot comply, they reply “go fish”. The asker picks up a card from the deck and play moves along to the next person. If, however, the asked player does have a card of the correct rank, they surrender it to the asker, who can then request another card from any other player. They continue until someone tells them to “go fish”.

When a player collects four cards of the same rank they have collected a trick, which they should put on the table in front of them. If at any stage laying down a trick leaves this player with no cards in their hand, they pick up the top card from the deck and the turn moves along to the next player.

The game is over when all this fishing has left the deck depleted and nobody has any cards remaining that are yet to be made into tricks. Whoever has the most tricks is the winner.

How to spice it up
By collecting tricks that consist of two rather than four cards, or asking for all of a player’s cards of a given rank rather than just the one, or asking for a specific card – using suit as well as rank.

Top tips
Try to remember what everyone else has asked for, especially where someone has acquired two cards of the same rank from other players – you now know they’re three-quarters of the way to a trick: all you need is the fourth card in order to steal it.

Conceal your most precious holdings: if you hold more than one card of a given rank, try not to ask for more unless you’re sure the other player can comply. Otherwise you leave yourself open to an annoying loss.

How evil will I become?
As evil as a con artist who steals £20 while lending you a fiver.

Guide to games: Kids’ games: How to play go fish
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