How to Play Beggar My Neighbour | My Baba

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I first learnt this card game when I was in university. It is one of the simplest games out there, but it can go on for a really long time.   I still really love this game, and in fact played it with my old university friend (who taught it to me) the other week when we went to Wales by train.   As it’s simple game you could probably play it with children who are 4/5 years old, so long as you slowed the pace down.

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You will need:

  • A pack of 52 playing cards

Players: 2

Begin by dealing out all the cards. Keep the cards facing down (just like in snap).

The first player lays down his top card face up, and then the second player plays his top card. This goes on alternately until an ace or face card is played. These 4 cards (ace, king, queen, and jack) are known as the penalty cards.

If a player lays down one of these cards the opponent has to pay a penalty: four cards for an ace, three cards for a king, two cards for a queen, and one card for a jack. When the penalty has been paid, the player who played the original penalty card wins the pile of cards and puts them to the bottom of their pack.

The game then continues as before.

HOWEVER, if in the course of a penalty being played another ace or face card is put down, then the original payment stops and the other person must now pay the new penalty. This can go on for a while. The hand is lost by the player who, in playing his penalty, doesn’t put down an ace of face card.

The game is over when one player has won all the cards.

After a few games the pace of play should pick up. The hardest part of this for younger children is remembering how many penalty cards to play. I originally taught this game to EC and YC when they were 4 and 5, so now that they are 7 and almost 6 this should be nice and easy for them.

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How to play beggar my neighbour. A card game for all ages.

About The Author

Nanny Anita
Norland Nanny

Nanny Anita is our resident Super Nanny. Having trained at the famous Norland College, in Bath, she has over 12 years experience, working all over the world with children from 2 months to 17 years old. Nanny Anita is an expert when it comes to keeping the little ones entertained and writes a column with Leonora called 'Get Crafty' for Little London magazine. Nanny Anita has been on hand to answer our reader questions, and she provides weekly arts, crafts and activities for families to do with their children at home. She really is a modern day Mary Poppins!

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