The Classic Parlor Game
From Cheapass Games / Hip Pocket Games!
Pairs is a simple parlor card game. It uses a simple triangular deck of cards: that's 1x1, 2x2, 3x3, and so on all the way to 10x10. There are many ways to play!
The basic rules:
Players take turns taking cards, trying not to get a pair. If you get a pair, you score points (and points are bad). You can also choose to fold, instead of taking a card, and score the lowest card in play. Folding gets you some points, but catching a pair could get you even more.
Pairs doesn't have a winner, just a loser. The first player to reach a target score loses, and the target score depends on the number of players. For example, with 4 players, the loser is the first player to 16 points.
There are many different Pairs decks, most with their own game variants! You can also download the "Pairs Companion," a PDF containing more than 20 different games for the Pairs deck!
Echo Chernik's second Pairs deck is based on her amazing Goddesses of Cuisine illustrations, ten embodiments of food including Cheese, Coffee, Spice, Tea, and many more. The Goddesses of Cuisine deck contains the bonus game The Judge, a cooking game for 3-6 players.
The Judge is a game about a cooking contest. Players "cook" by choosing cards from their hands and playing them face-up into a recipe. Then "The Judge" reveals cards one at a time, rejecting any recipe that contains a matching card. The surviving recipe(s) score the point values of the cards they contain.