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How to play Go Fish

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Go Fish is a classic card game designed purposely to be played among kids between 2 to 6 players ranging from 4 to 10 years old. It’s a simple game, and it doesn’t take long before someone learns the gameplay rules.

Player in the Go fish game aim to create sets of 4 cards in the same suit to discard out of their hand. The player with the most sets when the deck runs out of cards wins the game.

How to set up for Go Fish

Play the game between two to six players over 4 years old. 

Assemble a deck of 52 regular playing cards, or use the specialized picture cards specifically for Go Fish. For educational purposes, players may also decide to use flashcards instead. 

Dealer can be determined using a number of different factors, but sometimes it’s easiest for an adult to play along. Once a dealer has been identified, the dealer shuffles the deck and issues the cards to each player. 

How many cards do you give out in Go Fish?

If the game is played between two players, each player gets 7 cards, but each player is dealt with 5 cards with three or more active. The player on the left side of the dealer generally goes first.

Once the dealer issues the card, the remaining deck is placed at the center facedown to serve as the fishing pond where players will draw cards whenever their opponent fails to give them the card they ask for. 

How do you play Go Fish step by step?

The player on the dealer’s left side should go first. Using the cards in your hand, try to build sets of 2 or 4 by asking opponents if they have a card you need in their hand.

When the opponent asks a player a certain rank of card, the player should give out all the cards they possess of that rank. For instance, if the opponent asks for a Queen, the player should give all the Queens they have in their hand to that opponent.

If the player has the card, they should give the player who asked otherwise that may be considered cheating; if they don’t have the card, say “go fish” so that the player who asked for the card can draw the top card from the fish pond pile. 

The sequence continues as players try to find a match of 4 cards in the kind. The player with the most sets at the end of the game, wins. Game ends when the fish pond is empty and all the cards have been used.

Note that Go Fish is a game of variations, and the above gameplay rules are for the official game version. Some variants of Go Fish match 2 cards instead of 4, but the game’s main objective still applies to build the most sets and get rid of cards in your hand.

How to win Go Fish

A player wins Go Fish if they have the most sets of 4 cards of the same kind. Go Fish game ends when you run out of cards and the draw pile is empty.

If a player runs out of cards in their hand, then they can draw a card from the fish pond on their next turn. Use the card to question opponents and try to build more sets.

How to play Go Fish

Playing Go Fish: Conclusion 

Go fish rules are simple to learn, but the game is fun for kids and adults. There are game variations depending on the house rule applied, that’s why it’s always good to ask which rules to apply before the game starts.

The Go Fish game is a game of luck, especially the kind of hand someone gets. As a result, don’t get upset because of a bad hand. It’s just one round, and the outcome of one round does not affect subsequent rounds.

A player discards once they form a set of 4 cards of the same kind, or sets of 2 if the house rule allow for it. Remember, the game is about discarding sets of cards, and the more sets you put down the higher the chances of winning the game.

Build sets of cards that you can remove from your hand. Once the fish pond is empty, the game ends and the player with the most sets wins the game.

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