Welcome to the Ultimate Snap wiki
This wiki is dedicated to the ultimate Snap card game - where the winner of each round changes the rules, ensuring endless entertainment and hilarity.
Feel free to add to the rule examples (following the established format), or suggest changes.
These are the official rules of Ultimate Snap, the authoritative, exhaustive reference attempting to address every common situation.
These are the basic rules of Snap, but reverse of the usual - players try to lose all their cards rather than take them all. This results in better play with many players since everyone (except the last player) must attempt to snap. Added to the basic rules are the "Irish snap" rules, to make the game more challenging.
Standard 52-card deck, no jokers.
Order of play
Cards are dealt evenly between players, face down. Players may not shuffle or look at their cards, instead taking turns (in a clockwise direction) to put their top card face up in a pile the middle of the table.
To "snap" is to place your hand on the card pile while saying "Snap!". The last person to put their hand on the pile is the loser of the round.
It is not a valid snap unless the player's hand remains in position until the loser is determined, the hand is open and not holding anything, they say "snap" within a few seconds of putting their hand on the pile, and they did not put down another card at the same time. A player can correct an invalid snap, eg. by moving the card they put down away from the card pile, and then snap again by once more putting their hand on the top of the pile and saying "snap".
Losing a round
The first player to lose a round (for whatever reason) must gather up the pile of cards on the table, adding them (face-down) to the bottom of their hand, and then place their top card face-up on the table to start the next round.
When to snap
Basic snap rule
If the card just put down on the pile is of the same rank as the card under it, players must attempt to snap.
Irish snap rule
The player starting a round must say "one" when placing the first card on the table. The next player says "two" when they place their card, the next "three", and so on up to "thirteen", after which the count goes back to "one" and continues. This is called the Irish count. If the rank of the card put on the table is the same as the number counted, players must attempt to snap. If a player fails to say the count when it is their turn, before the next player puts their card down, or if they say the wrong number, they lose the round.
If a player touches the card pile when the conditions for a snap are not met, except to add their card to the pile, they lose the round (this is called a false snap). Note that this applies only to the first player to do so - if other players try to snap after the first player, they are not penalized.
Winning the game
The first person to have no cards in their hand is the winner of the game. The winner starts the next game, after (optionally) making a new rule, as below:
Whoever wins the game, may change the rules by either adding a new rule, or removing an old one. The following rule changes cannot be made except with the agreement of all players:
- Changes to the meta rules.
- Rules that discriminate for or against a specific player or subset of players, except for discrimination on the basis of skill or speed (which is already present in Snap).
- Rules crossing expected boundaries - mostly common sense, these depend on the group and usually go without saying:
- Rules requiring people to leave the room.
- Rules crossing personal boundaries (eg. removing items of clothing).
- Rules likely to result in extra damage to the cards.
- Rules that are hazardous or likely to result in pain (eg. snapping with bony body parts like fists or heads)
Feedback from other players should be considered, but the winner has the last say.
The game starts with two conditions (basic snap (same rank), and Spanish snap), having the same effect (a normal snap).
Here are some commonly added rules. Pick an effect to replace the normal snap, or combine any condition with any effect. Rules should be balanced to provide an optimal frequency of snapping (too few snaps, or too many, makes the game less fun).
- A particular rank of card
- A particular card (rank and suit)
- Double snap: ie. consecutive cards with the same rank, and the second card matches the Spanish count
- Triple snap: as above but meeting three snap conditions
- Consecutive snap: consecutive cards of consecutive rank (aka runs), ie. ace followed by two
- Consecutive wrap-around snap: ie. ace followed by two, or king followed by ace
- Reverse-consecutive wrap-around snap: ie. two followed by ace
- Reverse-consecutive wrap-around snap: ie. ace followed by king
- Sandwich snap: A card has the same rank as the card before the previous card, ie. ace followed by six followed by ace
- Don't snap (if this would normally be a snap)
- Snap with both hands - last person to put both hands on the pile is the loser of the round
- Snap by touching your head with your hand, then putting that hand on the pile (this is often considered the normal rule in Snap)
- Snap with pillows instead of hands
- Snap with closed fists instead of hands (ouch)
- Snap by putting both hands on your head
- Snap by putting your hand on the head of the player clockwise of yourself (ouch)
- Snap by running around the table, making a full circuit and coming back to your place, before snapping as usual
- Reverse play order
- Skip the next player's turn
- Toggle counting aloud
- Toggle everyone attempting to speak with an Irish accent
- Totem snap: At the start of the game, a small object is placed in the playing area where everyone can reach it. This is called the totem. On this snap (or alternatively all snaps), players may snap by grabbing the totem instead of snapping on the card pile. The player who grabs the totem is not the loser of the round, even if they were last to snap (rather the loser is, as usual, the last to snap on the pile). The totem winner may then replace the totem anywhere in the playing area so long as it is reachable by all players. This effectively gives that player an advantage as they may place the totem closer to themselves.
Example rule changes
- The loser of the round must cluck like a chicken while tidying the cards and adding them to their hand.
- Players only count aloud the first four ranks for the Spanish snap rule, after which the count is silent. A player counting a number above four rank loses the round.
- Variation: The first card played in a game determines the number of ranks to count.
- King salutes: When there is a snap on a King, players must salute before they snap.
- The winner of the game is not the first player to run out of cards, but the second. To win the game, one player must have no cards, and the winning player must put down their last card. A player with no cards continues to play as normal, still being able to lose a round and pick-up cards, however they are not penalized for false snaps (this is to stop them being able to gain cards trivially). A player with no cards still says the Spanish count when it is their turn. Note that it is obvious beforehand that a snap is coming; a snap before the player says the number is an invalid snap.
- Simpler variation: The first player to run out of cards is no longer able to win the game. Thus they don't care about losing and are likely to lose every snap, thus letting win the person with the fewest cards after them win - unless they try to manipulate the results.
Meta rule changes
- The winner cannot choose the rule changes but must instead roll dice to randomly select a rule from the rule examples above (or a subset of it).
- The winner must propose at least two rule changes, and the other players vote on which they prefer. In case of a deadlock, the winner can decide.
- Play doesn't stop when a winner is established; instead it continues until there is a second winner. The second winner has the power to veto a single rule change proposed by the first winner.