We use cookies to create the best possible browsing experience for our users.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our use of such cookies.
OK Learn More

Game rules - "Lame Duck"

Lame Duck


Lame Duck is an easy-to-learn and fast paced card game for four players. The aim is to play all of the cards in your hand and to get as few minus points (in the form of lame ducks) as possible. The winner is the player who has the least lame ducks.


  • Pond: The game is played on a pond. All cards are played, sorted and assigned to a column on the pond. You can find more information about all game elements below. Oh yeah, try clicking on the water surface and see what happens! :)
  • Hand: Your own cards! At the beginning of each round, each player has 10 cards in their hand which they must play one after the other.
  • Card area: The card area is there to give players a better overview and understanding of what cards are played, the order they will be assigned in and which column they will be assigned to.
  • Time limit: In the card area, there is a clock which counts down. This shows how much time is remaining in order to select a card to play. If the time runs out before you have selected a card, a random card from your hand will automatically be selected.
  • Card columns: The four card columns at the top of the screen are the so-called "destination columns". All cards are assigned to these columns after being played. The order of the cards in each column is determined by the card value, starting from the lowest value increasing to the highest value.
  • Duck counter: This number shows how many lame ducks, i.e. minus points, you and your opponents have collected.
  • Ducks in the column: The small duck symbols show how many lame ducks are credited for each card. Adding these numbers together in each column shows the amount of minus points which will be credited for each column, if a player places the sixth card.
  • Duck: The duck goes by the name Simon - pretty much the laziest drake in the pond. His favorite activity is snoozing in the sun and yawning is his mother tongue.

Summary of the basic rules

  • Rule 1 - The aim of the game:
    Try to play each of the cards in your hand one by one onto a column at the top of the screen without collecting lame ducks i.e. minus points. The player with the least amount of lame ducks at the end of the duel wins.
  • Rule 2 - Assigned cards:
    The cards are assigned to columns based on two conditions:
    • Cards are always placed in ascending order based on the card value, i.e. 4, 8, 21 etc.
    • The card played will always be assigned to the column where the highest card in that column has the smallest difference in value to the new card. This means that if the highest cards in the four columns are 4, 32, 43 and 97 and a 39 is played, it will be assigned to the column with 32 as the highest card.
  • Rule 3 - Collecting cards:
    In the game, cards, i.e. lame ducks (minus points) can only be collected in two ways:
    • A column is classed as "full" when five cards have already been placed. As soon as a sixth card is placed, in accordance with Rule 2, the player whose card it was receives the sum total of the lame ducks from that column. The sixth card then becomes the first card of the new column.
    • If a card is played with such a low value that it cannot be played in accordance with Rule 2, the player must select one of the four columns. The player then receives all of the lame ducks (minus points) from that column.

Further Information

  • All players take their turn at the same time. Each player selects one card to play which remains face down in the card area until all players have selected a card.
  • Basically, each turn consists of a player taking only one action: selecting one card which is then placed in the card area.
  • Once all four players have played a card in the card area, these are then assigned to the columns in ascending order. This means that if the cards played are 4, 63, 19 and 45, first the 4 will be assigned, then the 19, then the 45 and finally the 63.
  • If a player has played a card with a lower value than the top card in each column, they must take a further action: selecting one of the four existing columns and collecting all lame ducks from that column, as stated in Rule 3. Their card then begins the new column.
  • The round is over once the last card has been automatically assigned.


  • Important: As a further incentive, we offer particularly experienced players the additional game mode "Lame Duck" - Expert. The idea is the same, however, the amount of cards is reduced (only cards with 1-44) and the time limit and gameplay is tougher for experienced players. This allows a more exact analysis and tactical gameplay.
  • Please note that you can choose how many rounds you wish to play against your opponents in the lobby when opening a duel.

Lame Ducks

Lame Duck
  • The duck counter shows how many lame ducks you and your opponents have already collected. Don't forget: the fewer, the better.
  • The color of each number also shows which place you currently occupy. White is first place, yellow second, orange third and red for the lame duck, i.e. fourth place.

    Lame Duck

    1 duck
    Lame Duck

    2 ducks for all values ending in 5 (5, 15, 25 etc.)
    Lame Duck

    3 ducks for all values ending in 0 (10, 20, 30 etc.)
    Lame Duck

    5 ducks for all multiples of 11 (exception see below) (11, 22, 33 etc.)
    Lame Duck

    7 ducks for the 55, as it is a value ending in 5 as well as a multiple of 11
Lame Duck
  • The total amount of lame ducks in a column is automatically displayed as soon as a player has to choose a column to collect.

Card area

Lame Duck
  • Each player has their own slot in the card area which is labeled with their username. Each player's place is at the far left.
  • The card area is designed to offer a clearer overview and a chance to compare your cards with your opponent's cards. The cards are placed here before being assigned to the applicable column. Don't forget that the cards are assigned beginning with the lowest card and ending with the highest card.
  • The small clock in the middle of the card area shows how long each player has in order to take their go.

Sort your cards

Lame Duck
  • Click on this symbol in order to sort the cards in your hand, either ascending or descending. As default, the cards are in ascending order.

Current score

Lame Duck
  • Clicking on this symbol shows you the current results table.

Show game explanations

Lame Duck
  • You can switch the game explanations on or off with this button.

Card preview

Lame Duck
  • The card preview feature displays which column your card will be assigned to before you have selected it. As your opponent's cards are not taken into consideration with this preview, this is only a "possible" preview. The actual assigning of the cards can be completely different depending on your opponent's cards.

Tips and tricks

  • Never forget that the cards are ordered in ascending order and with the smallest difference. Take care when selecting as the columns can dramatically change. If all four players play cards on the same column, you could be collecting a whole column (and lots of lame ducks) even though the column only had 2 cards on it one turn earlier.
  • If you have a lot of cards with low values, or the "1" card, play them as soon as possible. Don't be scared to collect small columns at the start as you can select the column you wish to collect. You can therefore select the column with the least amount of lame ducks. Later in the game, the columns are typically longer and having a low card may therefore result in you collecting lots of lame ducks.
  • Don't forget to check how many lame ducks are in each column. The length of the column can be misleading as a short column may have cards with many minus points whereas a long column could only have cards with one minus point per card. The color of the card helps you to see this easier.