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Rules to Play the 'Sequence' Board Game

Rules to Play the 'Sequence' Board Game

Old school games have always been fun, and if it were to involve poker chips and cards - even better! We bring you the rules of the delightful 'Sequence' board game, along with some tips and strategy to play the game.
Rashmi Sunder
Then and Now
The game "Sequence" was developed over two years by Douglas Reuter in the 1970s, and was originally called the "Sequence Five".
If you're fascinated by poker chips and love a card game any time of the day, but want to avoid the risk and stress of gambling some money along the way, then this game serves as the perfect compromise.! After a few years of molding and reworking, Mr. Reuter came up with a brilliant game that brings you an ample amount of fun, one that can be played by adults and kids alike. All you need is the 'Sequence' board came, a couple of your mates, and over time, some slick skills, and your own your way to becoming a 'Sequence' master!

We will now show you how to play the 'Sequence' board game, along with its layout and the instructions.
Sequence Board Game Layout
Sequence Board Layout
Sequence Board Layout
Directions For The Sequence Board Game
What You'll Need
  • 2-12 Players
  • The Sequence Board Game Which Includes:
  1. The Board
  2. 104 playing cards (2 decks of 52 cards each, no jokers)
  3. 50 green poker chips
  4. 50 blue poker chips
  5. 35 red poker chips
The Idea
The objective of the game is to make a sequence of 5 poker chips of the same color, either horizontally, vertically (up and down), and diagonally. This is done by playing a card and then placing your chip on the corresponding image of the card on the board. The number of sequences you need to make to win a game varies based on the number of players you have. If you have 2 players or 2 teams, then you need two sequences to win. If you have three players or three teams, then you need to make just one sequence to win. The game can be played with only 2-12 players (multiples of 2 or 3). If you have just 3 players, you can have an individual game, more than 3 players need to form teams in the multiple of 2 or 3.
When you have two teams playing, players alternate their physical positions along with their opponents around the board. With 3 teams, this position is altered with every third player.

While setting up, you need to make room for the board, the chips, individual discard piles, and a drawing deck.

With two teams, you only use the green and blue marker chips, and avoid the red, which is only used in the event that there are 3 teams.

Each player cuts cards, and the person with the lowest deal will be the one to shuffle and deal the deck. Play begins with the person to the left of the dealer.

The distribution of cards is as follows:
  • 2 players = 7 cards each
  • 3-4 players = 6 cards each
  • 6 players = 5 cards each
  • 8-9 players = 4 cards each
  • 10-12 players = 3 cards each
Rules and Gameplay
The Sequence board depicts each card in a deck twice, while the Jacks are not depicted at all.

The first player selects a card from their hand and throws it in the discard pile. This is the card for which he will place a marker chip on the board corresponding to the image of that card. He then picks up another card.

He can play this marker chip on either depictions of the same card, as long as that space is empty.

If you fail to pick up a card before the next player, then you have to play the remainder of the game with a smaller deck, because you cannot replace this card in any subsequent turn.

If you have a card in your hand that you can't use because the 2 spaces corresponding to it are already filled, then this card is known as the "Dead Card". If you have one of these, you can throw it in the discard pile when your turn comes. You have to let the others know that it is a "dead card" and pick up a replacement card from the drawing deck. You then continue to play your normal turn.

The four corners of the board are known as "free spaces" and are marked with images of the poker chips. If you use one of these corners, then you only need four more marker chips instead of five to complete your sequence. Two players can have a sequence coming from the same "free space" (think horizontally and diagonally from the same corner).

Sequence of the same color can intersect, but only at any one point of the sequence.

A marker chip once played cannot be removed, except when a Jack is in play, which we will explain now.

In the whole deck, there are 4 two-eyed Jacks and 4 One-Eyed Jacks. The former acts as a wild card and if played, you can place your marker chip on any free space available on the board.

The one-eyed Jack on the other hand is known as the "anti-wild". When you play this card, you can remove one marker chip from the board that belongs to your opponent, provided that it is not already a part of a sequence. You cannot place your marker chip in this place until the next turn (if the space is still open). When you want to play a strategic game, these are the cards that come in handy.

If your drawing deck is exhausted, reshuffle the discard piles and resume play.

Passing tips, or underhand signals to teammates (called table talk) is not allowed, and if caught, each member of the team has to forfeit one card from their hand into the discard pile.

The game ends when the player/team achieves the required number of sequences.
Alternate Versions
To make the game more interesting, players can increase the number of sequences required to win, or can even remove chips from already formed sequences of opponents.

You can also make it intense by disallowing the reshuffling of the discard pile and the game ends when the board is filled, or there are no more moves left.

The game has some unauthorized variations that are called "Jack Off", "Jack Foolery", and "One-Eyed Jack"- the latter's board is built with real decks.

Officially, the 'Sequence' board game has a number of different versions which include- "Sequence-States and Capitals", "Jumbo Sequence", "Travel Sequence", "Sequence Numbers", "Sequence for Kids", "Sequence Deluxe Edition", and the "Sequence 25th Anniversary Edition".
So now that you know how to play Sequence, we hope your weekends with friends and family have an added bit of entertainment and fun!