Rules for "Joybells"

(aka "May I")


Can be played with 3-6 players (4 is optimal).
Requires 2 52-card decks including Jokers.

Object - The object of each round of play is to get rid of all your cards. The object of the game is to have the lowest score (i.e. points count against you).

Playing - Joybells is played in 7 rounds. For each round, players are dealt 12 cards, and the remaining cards are placed face down as the draw pile. The dealer then takes one card from the draw pile and places it face up next to the draw pile to start the discard pile. Play starts to the left of the dealer and continues to the left. Each turn, the player draws a card from either the draw or the discard pile (except after a "May I") and then discards. After each round, deal passes to the left.

"May I" - If, immediately after a player discards (or on the first turn of the game when the dealer has placed the first card for the discard pile), another player wishes to take that card and it is not his/her turn, they ask "May I?" If all players who come before him/her up to and including the player whose turn it is allow, the player takes the card plus one penalty card from the draw pile. If any other players do not allow the "May I", then the one closest to the player whose turn it is (including the player whose turn it is) must take the card and, if it is not their turn, one penalty card. If the player whose turn it is does not end up taking the card, then they take their turn normally after the "May I", except that they may not draw the next card down in the discard pile; they must draw from the draw pile. Additionally, only the most recently discarded card may be "May I"-ed. Once a card is discarded, and no one picks it up on the next player’s turn, it may never be retrieved.

For example:

D   B

Assume player A discards a card and player D wishes to take it. Player D says "May I". If both players B and C agree, player D takes the discard plus a penalty card. If player C wanted the card, he could take it (plus a penalty card) because he plays before player D. If player B wanted the card, he could take it without penalty since it is his turn. If player C or D took the card plus the penalty card, then player B would take his turn normally, drawing from the draw pile only.

Groups and Runs - A group is 4 or more of the same number card, such as 4 Kings or 5 10’s. A run is 4 or more sequential cards in the same suit, such as the 3, 4, 5 and 6 of Diamonds. For runs, Aces are always low (i.e. they come before 2, not after King).

Laying down cards - In order to lay down cards, you must have the correct combination of groups and/or runs. In each round the required number of groups and/or runs changes. When you have the required combination, you lay down in front of you only the cards that satisfy the requirement. For example, if the requirement is 2 groups, you may lay down 2 groups of 4 or more cards, but you may not lay down 3 groups or 2 groups and 1 run, nor may you lay down 1 group now and 1 on a later turn.

For each round, the requirements are:

Round 1 Two Groups
Round 2 Two Runs
Round 3 One Group and One Run
Round 4 Two Groups and One Run
Round 5 Two Runs and One Group
Round 6 Three Groups
Round 7 Three Runs (no discard)

Round 7 - In Round 7, the player must use all of his/her cards, including the card drawn from the draw or discard pile, in his/her 3 runs. In other words, in order to lay his/her cards down, the card the player draws must fit into or complete the 3 runs, and the player lays all these cards down into 3 runs with no discard. This ends the round.

Wild Cards - Wild cards are the Jokers and all 2’s. They may be used in groups or runs as needed.

Playing remaining cards - After you have laid down the required groups and/or runs, you may play any remaining cards on cards laid down by other players. You may add to groups that have been laid down (e.g. playing a King on another player’s group of Kings). Runs can be played on in two ways. You can either extend the run (i.e. play the next consecutive card(s) at the beginning or end of the run), or you can replace wild cards in a run with the corresponding card from your hand (e.g. you can replace a wild card taking the place of a 10 of Clubs in a run with a 10 of Clubs from your hand). Wild cards in groups may not be replaced. Any wild cards so replaced must be played on another group or run during that turn, possibly in conjunction with other cards from your hand.

If you cannot play all the cards from your hand, play continues and you draw and discard as usual, playing new cards you draw if possible, or playing on the cards laid down subsequently by other players.

Ending the round - Play continues until one player has no more cards left. The points for each player are determined by the cards left in their hand.

Number cards (3 - 10) Face value
Face cards (J-K) 10 points
Aces 15 points
Wild Cards (Jokers, 2’s) 20 points

The player with the least number of points at the end of the last round is the winner