How to play “Slaps” (a.k.a. Egyptian Rat Screw)

So this is not a game I made up, but its a game I really love and I wanted to share it with you all. If you have played this game before, and my instructions sound different, that’s okay. This is the way I learned to play, and the way that I play whenever I do play. I would love to hear about the way you play, though, so if you wouldn’t mind sending me a message, I would appreciate it. Also, please let me know if anything is unclear or worded oddly.

Note: This is taken from a webpage I made for the game (I haven’t got it up and running yet, hence me posting it here on tumblr.)


Slaps (aka - Egyptian Rat Screw)


What is Slaps?

Slaps is a fast-paced card game played with an oridinary deck of 54 cards (including Jokers). It can be played with 2 or more people. It is sometimes referred to as “Egyptian Rat Screw,” but “Slaps” is shorter and easier to remember.


How do you play Slaps?

Learning Slaps is very easy. The basic rules are very simple, but there is an endless number of new rules that can be added to give the game a tougher challenge.

The Basic Rules

  1. All players remove any and all jewelry (including watches), and gloves from their hands/wrists (Arm bands and bracelets are okay as long as they’re not excessive or very loose).
  2. Shuffle the deck.
  3. deal each player cards, one at a time, until there are no cards remaining in the deck.
  4. Each player may then shuffle their stack of cards as much as they want, but they are not allowed to look at any of their cards. (Players may not shuffle their cards once the game has started)
  5. Players may hold their stack of cards in their dominant hand or place it face down on the table in front of them. Once all players have done this, the dealer starts the game.
  6. The dealer takes the top card from his stack and flips it face up in the center of the table (or the center of the players), and then immediately pull his hand away. Players must always flip cards away from them, and never facing them. We will call this pile in the middle of the table the “Slap Pile”
  7. The person to the dealers left then flips the top card of their stack and places it on top of the dealers card, then the next player, and so on and so on. (This should be done quickly. A new card should be flipped almost as soon as the last one is placed.)
  8. Players can slap the Slap Pile at any time, but if they slap it at an inappropriate time, they get a penalty and must place one card from the top of their stack on the bottom of the Slap Pile. Then play continues with them flipping over the next card to get the cycle going again.
  9. If a player slaps the Slap Pile at an appropriate time, they collect all cards in the pile and add them to the bottom of their stack. Then they start a new Slap Pile by flipping over the top card of their stack.

When can you slap the cards?

In the Basic Rules, it is appropriate to slap the Slap Pile at any of the following times: (They have been given names to help you remember).

  • Doubles: If two cards with the same number-value (or Letter-Value for Face Cards - J - Q - K - A) end up on top of each other. For example, Alex flips over a 7 of Diamonds, and then Justin flips over a 7 of Clubs. Two 7’s will be on top of each other, and any player can then slap the Slap Pile and win all the cards in the Slap Pile.
  • Double Sandwich: If two cards with the same number-value end up with 1 card in-between them. For example, Rick flips over a 2 of Hearts, then Keith flips over a 10 of Spades, then Justin flips over a 2 of Diamonds. 2-10-2. This would be a “2 sandwich,” because the 2’s sandwich the 10.
  • Jokers: Any Joker can be slapped alone. Jokers are the only cards (in the Basic Rules) that can be slapped alone, whereas Doubles and Double Sandwiches require 2 cards.

Face Cards

There are special rules that apply to the face cards (Jack, Queen, King, and Ace), and they are as follows:

  • Jack: If a player flips over a Jack, the player to their left must flip over 1 card. If the card they flip over is not another face card, the player who played the Jack wins all cards in the Slap Pile, and then starts a new Slap Pile.
  • Queen: If a player flips over a Queen, the player to their left must flip over 2 cards, one at a time. If neither of those 2 cards is another face card, the player who played the Queen wins all cards in the Slap Pile, and then starts a new Slap Pile.
  • King: If a player flips over a King, the player to their left must flip over 3 cards, one at a time. If none of those 3 cards is another face card, the player who played the King wins all cards in the Slap Pile, and then starts a new Slap Pile.
  • Ace: If a player flips over an Ace, the player to their left must flip over 4 cards, one at a time. If none of those 4 cards is another face card, the player who played the Ace wins all cards in the Slap Pile, and then starts a new Slap Pile.
  • If at any time a new Face Card is flipped up, the player to the player who played the new Face Card’s left must follow the rules for that Face Card and the previous Face Card is ignored.
  • Additionally, if at any time an opportunity to slap cards appropriately comes up any player can interupt by slapping the Slap Pile and win the stack.

Winning the Game

A player wins the game when they have all 54 cards in their hand.

Additional Rules

In addition to the preceeding rules, there are a few other rules each player needs to know.

  1. Slapping In: While a game is being played, players who are not currently playing can “Slap In.” What this means is that if a player sees, in the Slap Pile, something that is appropriate to slap, they can slap it to get into the game. A player who slaps in wins what they slapped and starts a new Slap Pile. If a player attempts to Slap In, but slaps something that is not appropriate, they receive a Slap Penalty. For a Slap Penalty, the player who received the penalty must put their hand in the middle of the table and let each active player slap their hand once.
  2. Both Touching Rule: If two players slap the Slap Pile at the same time, the player whose hand covers more of the card than the other wins the Pile, the other player receives no penalty. If it is determined that both players hand covers an equal amount of the cards, then the Slap Pile is divided between the two of them (if its an odd number, one card is left in the Slap Pile at random). The player to the left of the players who both slapped the Slap Pile starts a new pile or continues the pile (if it was an odd number).

Cheating

A player is considered to be cheating if they do any of the following: (If a player is caught cheating, they get a penalty, and must place one card from the top of their stack on the bottom of the Slap Pile).

  • Keeping their hand on the pile. (After placing their card, the player doesn’t immediately pull their hand back)
  • Slapping at the same time as placing their card in the Slap Pile. (The player flips their card up and slaps the card immediately, without pulling their hand away first). This rule is similar to the first rule.
  • Blocking another players hand or view. (All players should have the same amount of room to move their hands/arms).
  • Sneaking. (A player puts his hand right next to the Slap Pile in anticipation of the next card being flipped.) All players hands should be at the edge of the table before they slap the Slap Pile (the player who just flipped the card should pull his hand up or away from the pile, but doesn’t necessarily have to slap from the edge of the table.)
  • Flipping cards facing the player or flipping cards from the bottom of the deck is not allowed.
  • Wearing Jewelry. (If any player is caught wearing jewelry during a game, they must take it off or forfeit the game. If they forfeit, all their cards are dealt to the remaining players.)

Advanced Rules

The advanced rules can be implemented in a couple different ways. One way is just to include some or all of them outright. Another way to implement them is each time a player wins a game, they can be added in for the next game. The advanced rules can include any or all of the following.

  • 10’s: This is usually the first rule I add after teaching the basic rules to a new player. Players can now slap any 2 cards that add up to 10 (2-8, 3-7, 4-6, 10). If this rule is implemented, ‘10’ cards are now treated like Jokers (they can be slapped alone).
  • 10 Sandwich: Like a Double Sandwich, but with 2 cards that add up to 10.
  • Ascending/Descending 3’s: Sets of 3 cards can now be slapped if they are in ascending or descending order. This could be 1-2-3, 3-2-1, 2-4-6, 6-4-2, 3-6-9, 9-6-3, etc. Cards slapped this way must be multiples (of 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, etc.). Examples of sets that would not be appropriate: 1-3-4, 8-7-5, 3-6-7, etc. Face card values are as follows: A-1, K-13, Q-12, J-11
  • 3 10’s: 10’s made up of 3 different cards. (2-3-5, A-4-5, 6-A-3, etc.)
  • Only Slap 3: You can apply this rule to any card with a Number value (no Face Card). Let’s say we picked 2. This rule makes it so that any player can only slap a 2 if there are 3 of them on top of each other (2-2-2). And slapping a 2-2 or a 2 Sandwich would denote a penalty.
  • Forbidden Card: You can apply this rule to any card (including Face Cards). Let’s say we picked 4. This means that no matter what a 4 card can’t be slapped. (The only exception is if it is part of a 10’s set or ascending/descending set as long as it’s not the top card.
  • Sticky Face: You can apply this to any or all Face Cards (No Number cards). Let’s say we pick King. If a King is revealed and you are not to the left of the player who played the King, you can slap the King and call “Stick!” or “Sticky Face!” If you do, the player to your left plays on the King as if you just flipped it up, and if no additional face card is played, you win the Slap Pile instead of the player who played the King.
  • Split 8’s: If an 8 comes up, a player can slap it and call out “Split!” If they do, the player who called it then flips a new card next to the current pile (This new pile is called the “Split Pile.” The player to their left then must flip 2 cards, one at a time, onto each pile, starting with the pile that has the 8 on it. Each player continues to do this until a pile is won. There can only be one Split Pile, so if an 8 is flipped up while a Split Pile already exists, it cannot be slapped unless it is a different appropriate time. Additionally, if a Face Card is flipped up at any time while a Split Pile exists on the table, the player to the left of the player who played the Face Card takes over and starts playing on the Face Card (if a Face card is placed on the Slap Pile before anything is played on the Split Pile, the Split Pile is ignored until the Face Card is resolved). If the Slap Pile is won while there exists a Split Pile on the table, the Split Pile becomes the Slap Pile and play continues normally.
  • Triple Suits: If 3 cards of the same suit (Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, or Clubs) are played on top of each other, you can slap them and win the Slap Pile.)
  • …Your Own Idea: You can always make up your own rule for Slaps and implement it.