Cactus, is a competitive card game where the objective is to score the lowest number of points. Cactus is played with a classic 52-card deck , and although similar to the card game golf  and Cabo, it incorporates elements of memorization and strategy.
Rules[edit | edit source]
Cactus is played with two players, however some variations include more than two players.
A round begins when each player receives four cards face down in a 2×2 grid and both look at the two cards closest to them.
For the first round, the player opposite of the dealer goes first, drawing a card from the top of the deck. Otherwise, the first player is determined by whoever won the previous round.
They can either choose to exchange the card they drew with one of their four cards or to discard the card drawn and use its power.
Cards[edit | edit source]
The point value of each card is as follows: Ace: 1 King: 0 Queen: 10 Jack: 10, all other values are face value, e.g. 10: 10, 6:6.
The “power” of a card can only be used once, and is as follows: 6, 7, and 8 the player looks privately at one of their own cards. 9, 10 and Jack the player looks privately at an opponent's card. Queen: the player exchanges any one of their own cards with one of their opponent’s cards, without looking at either. Ace, King, 2, 3, 4, and 5 have no power and no unique ability is granted when discarded.
Action Points[edit | edit source]
To decrease the total point value of the cards in front of each player, players get one action point at the beginning of their turn
Action points allow players to do the following:
A player can draw from the face-down deck and discard the card drawn, therefore using its power, or exchange the card drawn with any one of their cards. A player can use their turn to employ the power of the card face up in the discard pile if the previous player hasn’t used its power already. Effectively their turn consists of picking up the card using its power and discarding the same card again. For example, if player A draws a 2 from the deck and exchanges it for a Jack in his layout, then player B can use her turn to apply the power of the discarded Jack to look at one of player A's cards. A player can take the card face up in the discard pile and exchange it with one of their own.
Note: When exchanging a card players are not able to use the power of whatever card they discard (e.g. drawing a six and exchanging it with a Queen does not allow a player swap cards with their opponent).
Discarding Duplicates[edit | edit source]
If a card is discarded, that a player has a duplicate of in their grid, they can discard that same card on top of it. This allows you to decrease the number of cards you have, potentially allow you to end the game with zero cards. This does not count as a “turn” and can be done at any time.
You are not allowed to discard your duplicate or make any additional moves if you have called cactus.
If a card is in the discard pile and your opponent is first to place their same card on top, you can not discard your additional card, without it counting as your turn. You must pick up the last card played and discard both the one drawn and your identical copy, counting as your turn.
This counts as your turn because the power of discarding a duplicate was already used by your opponent.
When using the power of 6, 7, 8, if you view a card that is identical to a card played you can play it on top of that card within the same turn.
In the case, a player attempts to discard the wrong card onto the discard pile the player must take back the incorrect card and receive two face-down cards from the deck as a penalty.
Calling “Cactus”[edit | edit source]
A round of Cactus concludes when one player calls Cactus. Cactus can be called at any point in the game after the player that is calling cactus has used their action point and ended their turn. Cactus is optimally called when a player has a good indication they have less points than their opponent (see scoring below).
After calling cactus your opponent(s) each have one more turn.
Scoring[edit | edit source]
A traditional game is played until one player reaches 100. Whoever reaches 100 points is deemed the loser of that game.
A player gains points in two circumstances:
1. If your opponent calls cactus and after your last turn you have a higher point value than your opponent. You gain whatever point total you have. 2. If you call “cactus” and you don’t have the lowest points of all those playing, and in the case of a tie, you get whatever card value you have +10.
Cactus (Card Game)[edit | edit source]
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