The card game Speed, a variant of Spit, is a fast-paced battle between two opponents to rid themselves of all of the cards in their decks. This game only requires an understanding of the number and face values of cards. The rules are fairly simple and can be taught to young children who possess basic math skills.
Players may use two 52-card decks with different backings for each player, or a single deck may be split into even amounts of cards for each. Multiple decks and players will make for a more challenging game, but it will take longer to sort and restart each round. Players will determine an ending score for the game; typical play is to 25 or 50 points. Once each player has a deck, each player will draw five cards to her hand and deal 11 cards to either side of the play area. These stacks form the stockpile. The remaining cards for each player form the draw piles. One player will say “speed” or “spit” to signify the start, and each will flip one card face up from the draw piles and place it in the middle of the play space.
As soon as the cards have been placed in the middle, the game has begun. Play is simultaneous for all players. Each player can take any card from his hand and place it on any middle card that is either one higher or one lower than that card. For instance, if the middle cards are an 8 and a king, a player may place a 7 or a 9 on the 8 or an ace or queen on the king. The first card to land on the pile is valid.
Each time a card is played, it changes the value of a middle stack, and further cards must be within one value of the new card. Players draw new cards from their respective stockpiles when they have no possible plays remaining, up to the maximum of five cards. If neither player can play any cards from their hands and both are holding five cards, they can say “speed” or “spit” and deal new cards from the draw piles to the middle. When the draw piles run out of cards, they are shuffled with the played cards to create new piles, and players declare “spit” and flip over the top cards of the draw piles to resume play.
The first player to play all of the cards from his hand and stockpile wins the round. Winners are usually determined by the quickest reaction time and luck of the draw. It is tradition to tap both center decks and say “speed” or “spit” once your deck is empty to claim the win. In some variants of the game, the opposing player may continue to empty his hand until the win is claimed.
Players score points each round for each card remaining in the opponent’s stockpile deck and hand. Once the round has ended, the cards are shuffled and the game restarts. Speed can be played with any number of players or decks, and the hand size may also vary based on house rules. The first player to earn the determined number of points is always the winner.
- Bicycle Official Rules of Card Games; Joli Quentin Kansil; 1999
- Pagat.com Speed Rules