Melee Dig

an enhanced card game for the new meleenium

This is a modified version of classic Dig, which itself is a descendant of the game Crazy Eights and is played in obscure parts of Lancashire, England.

The object of the game is to play all your cards onto the discard pile, primarily by matching the suit or rank of the top discard. A standard 52-card pack is used, ranking from 2 up to Ace. Several cards have special powers, which are described below.

5 cards are dealt to each player and the next card is dealt face up to start the discard pile. The remainder of the stock is placed face down next to the discard. If the discard is a card with special powers, the effects are the same as if the dealer had played it. The exception to this is that if the king of hearts is turned up, the dealer takes it into his own hand and reveals the next discard.

The player to the dealer’s left begins, and must play a card of the same rank or suit as the top discard, or an ace if available. If a player has no legal plays, he must draw a card from the stock, and may play this if it is legal to do so. Play proceeds clockwise.

The round ends when either a player has no more cards left, or the king of hearts is played (see below). When a player is down to a single card, they must announce this to the other players. If they fail to do so and it is pointed out to them, they must draw a penalty card from the stock and lose their next turn. If they play their last card without announcing 'last card' but nobody spots their transgression, the penalty is forfeit and the round is over. If the stock of cards is exhausted, the top discard is placed face up to start a new discard pile, and all the other discards are shuffled to start a new stock.

If a player goes out (has no cards left), they get to make any player of their choice pick up one extra card from the stock prior to the counting (see below).

Special cards

Aces: can be played without regard to the rank or suit of the top discard. The player gets to pick any suit to be the new active suit. King of Spades: the player announces ‘dig’, and all other players must draw one card each from the stock. The player then plays another card (drawing from the stock if he has no legal play). King of Hearts: the player announces 'count', and the round is immediately ended. The king of hearts can only be played if the player has no other legal plays (hearts, kings or aces). King of Clubs: allows the player to immediately play any other second card, after which play proceeds as normal. King of Diamonds: reverses the direction of play. Threes: these are the ‘melee’ cards. The player who played the 3 is the aggressor, the player to his left is the aggressee. If the aggressee or any other player has a 4 of the same suit, they must play it; that person then becomes the new aggressor, and the previous aggressor becomes the new aggressee. The melee may continue if someone (other than the current aggressor) has a 5 of the same suit, and so on. Once this sequence is broken, the final aggressee must pick up the number of cards indicated by the face value of the card played by the final aggressor. The exception to this is if the final aggressee has a jack or queen of the same suit, as this nullifies the aggression. In this case, the aggressee plays either the jack or queen and play continues with the next person. If the aggressee does not have the jack or queen of the appropriate suit, they have to pick up cards as indicated, but they may (optionally) play a legal card (not a 2 or 3) immediately, after which play continues as normal. A three cannot be played immediately after drawing. Jacks and Queens: break up melees of the same suit (see above). Eights: the next player is skipped. Twos: the next player must pick up two cards and lose their turn. However, if this player also has a two they must play it and the third player must pick up four cards and lose their turn, unless they have a two, etc. A two cannot be played immediately after drawing.


Unlike classic Dig, there is no lives system. Once the round is over, everyone counts up the total value of their remaining cards and the player with the highest total is eliminated from the game and the next round begins. In the event of a tie for highest score, neither player is eliminated. The winner of the game is the last player standing after several rounds.

The cards are counted as follows: Threes: 30 points each Twos: 20 points each Aces: 15 points each Face cards: 10 points each 410: pip value

#cards #game