How to play Egyptian Rat Screw 🐀

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Other names: Egyptian Rat Screw, Egyptian Ratslap, Egyptian Rat Race, Egyptian Ratkiller, Egyptian War, Bataille Corse

In this guide, we will refer to the game as ERS


ERS uses a standard 52 card deck.

Number of players: 2-4

Start of Game

The deck is shuffled at the start of the game and each player is dealt an equal number of cards. The cards for each player are kept face down.


Play occurs in clockwise order. The objective is to win all of the cards in the deck.

Players take turns flipping cards from their pile onto a pile in the center of the table without looking at the card as it is being flipped.

There are two categories of cards (suits are irrelevant):

  1. Special cards: J, Q, K, A (Jack, Queen, King, Ace)
  1. Normal cards: 2 through 10

If a player puts down a normal card, nothing happens and it becomes the next player's turn

However, if a special card is played, a countdown is started for the next player. The next player has a set number of attempts to play a special card and it remains their turn until either they run out of attempts or they play a special card. If they fail to play a special card then all of the cards in the middle go to the previous player.

The number of attempts allotted for each special card is as follows:

  • J → 1 attempt
  • Q → 2
  • K → 3
  • A → 4


Let us assume we have two players Alice and Bob

If Alice plays a Queen then Bob has two attempts to play a special card. Let's assume they play a 2 followed by a 3. Then, they failed to play a special card in their two attempts and the pile of cards goes to Alice. However, suppose now that the second card played by Bob was actually an Ace. Then, it becomes Alice's turn again and she has four attempts to play a special card

Slapping Rules:

These rules are what change this game from one of chance to one of skill.

Players can win the pile of cards in the middle if the slap the pile when one of the following conditions is met:

  • Double - the top two cards have the same rank (e.g. 9 ♣️ 9 ♦️ )
  • Sandwich - the first and third card have the same rank (e.g. 9 ♣️ K ♠️ 9 ♦️ )
  • Add to Ten - the top two cards add to 10 (note that aces count as 1 for this rule) (e.g. A ♠️ 9 ♦️ or 3 ♠️ 7 ♣️ )
  • Marriage - the top two cards contain a king and queen (e.g. K ♦️ Q ♠️ or Q ♦️ K ♣️ )
  • Top & Bottom - the top card and bottom card have the same rank

Players can slap the pile at any time, so it does not have to be their turn.


If a player slaps the center pile when none of the slapping conditions are met then they must burn a card (i.e. place their top card under the bottom of the center pile)

End of Game

The game ends once one player collects all of the cards.