The card game Go Fish is a fun easy to play game suitable for any age from the very young to the elderly. It has simple rules and the actual game play is simple. Simple but fun.
Children especially love this game as it’s easy to play, they don’t have to hold too many cards at a time and they can really feel part of a game with lots of other people playing. Of course they can play this themselves as well.
You can buy specific Go Fish card decks but an ordinary card deck is just as suitable and cheaper! Go Fish can be played by any number of players from 2 to 10 but probably the best number for an enjoyable game is four or five.
How to play Go Fish
To play Go Fish, you need a standard 52-card deck and at least two players. The object of the game is to collect as many sets of cards as possible. A ‘set’ is four cards of the same rank, for example, four aces or four 7s.
The dealer deals 5 cards to each player face down, however if there are only 3 or 4 players you could deal 7 cards although this number is harder for children to hold in their small hands. The remaining cards are placed face down in the middle of the table, forming the draw pile.
The player to the dealer’s left starts the game. On their turn, a player must ask any other player for a specific card by rank, for instance “Alison do you have any 8s?” If the player they ask has any cards of that rank, they must be honest and give them all to the asking player. The asking player then gets another turn.
If the player who was asked does not have any cards of that rank, they say “Go Fish.” The asker then draws one card from the top of the draw pile and ends their turn.
If a player draws a card from the draw pile and it completes a set, they show it to the other players and place it face up in front of them. They then get another turn.
If a player plays down their last card but there are still some on the draw pile, they must pick up the top card and continue play until all the cards have been picked.
The game ends when there are no more cards in the draw pile. The player with the most sets at the end of the game is the winner.
Go Fish Strategy
The strategy is simple – ask for cards that match the ones you already have in your hand in the hopes of making a set.
As the game progresses you can make very good choices as to who to ask for a specific card or cards. For instance if Billy asked Susie for 8s in his last go, but Susie said Go Fish, you can be pretty certain that Billy already has some 8s. So if you need 8s, he is the first choice of player to ask. Of course the other players are watching you too!
Go Fish is a good game to introduce children to playing with cards and one you can encourage them to play with friends.