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Did you know there are no official rules for hand and Hand & Foot? In fact, every time we played with my wife’s grandfather we learned of some new rule a guy named Lenny created. I think her grandfather may have secretly been Lenny. **Update: Lenny was real! Unfortunately, we cannot ask him why the rules kept changing.
These are some of the most popular optional rule changes submitted by our players and, of course, from Lenny.
Instead of four set rounds play first to 10,000 points wins.
Add a fifth round that requires players to meld with a clean book.
Beginning the Round
Rather than having everyone pick their own cards each player gets a turn to deal a round. If they pick up and deal the exact amount of cards required they received 1000 points. 500 points if one card over and 300 if 3 over.
Ending the Round – “Going out”
Players must always have at least one card in their hand and they must play out. Players may not discard their final card.
Melds / Books
Books cannot contain more than 7 cards and cards cannot be added to complete books. Additional melds of an existing book can be created with 3 or more natural cards.
Books can contain more than 7 cards but players have the option of creating a second book. Optional: If the player fails to complete the additional book those cards become negative points.
Wild books made of 7 wild cards can be created and are worth 1,000 or 1,500 points.
Red 3s are negative 500 points when caught in a player’s hand.
Black 3s are negative 300 points when caught in a player’s hand.
Red 3s are negative 300 points and black 3s are positive 5 points.
Clean books are worth 500 points and dirty books are 300 points.
Players may pick a card from the discard pile if the top card can be immediately used to create, or add, to a meld. If you pick from the discard pile you must pick the entire pile.
Players can only pick up from the discard pile if they have a natural pair of the card in their hand. They then take the top seven cards from the discard pile and must play the first card. If it is their initial meld only the top card counts toward the value.
If picking from the discard pile you must pick the top 5 cards. If the top card is a black 3 the pile is frozen and cannot be picked from.
Once a player has played all cards in their hand they must wait for their next turn to pick up their foot. While waiting the player must decide if they want the top discard or draw two cards
The discard pile must have 8 cards before anyone can pick up and players can only take top 8 cards.
To speed up the game
Some have found this to be a quicker way to enjoy more games without losing any competitive spirit. Who can argue with playing more games?
To help speed up play by making it possible to meld faster, add additional cards to the Hand on each round.
First round 2 cards.
Second round 4 cards.
Third round 6 cards.
Fourth round 8 cards.