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Dyslexia Specialists Since 1993

Racing Demon - the Game of Many Skills

Racing Demon is, as its name suggests a game of speed, and in a sense it's a very poor example of a social game to start with because it breaks all the rules of turn-taking and patience! However it is brilliant for sequencing, speed, visual attention, concentration, memory, spatial organisation and fine motor skills. My children beat me every time we play. Any number can join in: the more the merrier.

What is needed to play Racing Demon?

  • Each player starts with a complete pack of cards (it's important that each pack has a different design or colour on the back)


Setting Up the Game:

  • Players have to be facing each other with a space between them for the game play.
  • Each player deals a pile of 13 cards face down except for the top card which is turned face up (this is called the "croupette").
  • Four more cards are then dealt out in a line face up next to the croupette. (the line-up)
  • The rest of the cards are kept in the hand.
  • Make sure that plently of space has been left in the middle of players for the rest of the game.



How to Play:

  • When everyone has set up their cards, someone shouts "GO".
  • At the word "Go" the game starts:
  • Any player who has turned up an ace in their line-up moves it into the middle and immediately replaces it from the top of their croupette, turning the next card in the croupette face up.
  • There is no turn taking: each player goes through their remaining cards as quickly as possible, one, two or three at a time (one at a time is easier and quicker) building up the suits in the middle, starting with aces, and all the time WATCHING FOR OPORTUNITIES TO MOVE A CARD FROM THEIR FACE-UP LINE ONTO ONE OF THE SUITS THAT ARE BEING BUILT IN THE MIDDLE. Any player can move their cards onto any pile in the middle.
  • Cards from the line-up are always replaced with the top card of the croupette, and the next card in the croupette is turned up. The player who puts the final King onto a suit in the middle takes that pile and puts it to one side.

Who Wins:

  • The winner is the first player to get rid of all their CROUPETTE - not including the line-up: when they play their final card, putting it onto one of the suits in the middle, they shout OUT  and play stops IMMEDIATELY.

How to Score:

  • The winning player of that rounds gets 10 bonus points.
  • Any player who has claimed a suit with a King gets two bonus points for each suit.
  • All the suits claimed are now put back in the middle, face down, and the cards remaining in the middle are also turned over.
  • Each player now collects ALL THEIR OWN CARDS from the middle and counts them up.
  • then SUBTRACTS, as penalty points, the number of cards they have remaining in their CROUPETTE (not including the line-up) from their total cards collected in the middle.
  • A winning score is usually in the thirties; we usually play up to a hundred, which is probably four or five games and gives everyone (except me, usually!) a chance to go out.
  • Making it inclusive: the handicap. If it is appropriate, because particular players keep winning or coming last, you can even up the chances by adding one card to the croupette of the player who keeps winning, or removing a card from the player who keeps losing. It may even be more tha one card!

You have to play this game to appreciate the extent to which it develops speed, visual attention and concentration as well as early number concepts. Above all it is really good fun. My children are now 24, 17 and 13, and we still all play it, together with my son-in law who has now been inducted!- whenever we can. I still always lose... 

2014 Update: I've just read this article again, and had a bit of a shock: my children are now 34, 27 and 23; the two youngest now work for us, and my grandchildren will soon be playing racing demon. A tip if you are going to play the game yourselves: USE CHEAP, OR OLD PLAYING CARDS! They do get rather bent, quite quickly, as you can imagine. We don't sell any games based on racing demon, but for visual attention and concentration the Brainbox games are brilliant, and also my fast-moving games for initial blends and final blends, where players race to put cards and dice together to make words. And if you are hooked on using games for teaching (your own children or other people's!) my book + CD Learning, Games and Puzzles is full of ideas for games that you can adapt for all sorts of content.

Bob Hext, November 2014


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