Panic: A Fun Card Game

daffodilsThe other day I brought some carnations home from the store.

I added some daffodils from my yard.

The flowers have been so bright and cheery on my red tablecloth with a yellow place mat that I thought I would take a picture of them and share it here.

For today’s posting, I want to explain how to play a card game called Panic.

Our family has enjoyed playing the game — so much that the cards are crinkled, bent, and worn.

Several years ago, I wanted to purchase a new set of cards. Well! I had originally ordered them through the mail. I sent off a letter to the address that I had (from years earlier) inquiring about the game. The letter was returned unopened. I’ve done a search online for the company that made the game only to get results for food, an art gallery, an investment company and a Christian rock group.

No card game.

Panic the card game is fun to play for the whole family.

Since this game can be played with Rook cards or face cards, you won’t have to worry about not finding any cards to buy.

Here are the directions on how to play. You need one deck of cards for each player. (It is a good idea if the sets have different designs on the back so it is easy to sort the cards at the end of the game.) Each player shuffles his cards. When one person says “begin” each player quickly deals five cards face up in a row in front of him. Then, he counts out 12 additional cards and places them face down next to the row of five cards. This is his reserve pile. He does not look at the reserve cards. The remainder of the deck are the extra cards and they stay face down in the player’s hand.

The object of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all of the cards.

Everyone plays at once. If there is a card with the number one on it (if you are using Rook cards) in the row of 5 cards in front of a player, the player places that card in the middle of the table. If you are using face cards, start with the number 2 card. Any player can now add a card on top of the number one card by playing cards in numerical order. Continue placing cards on top of the stack in numerical order until the 14th card (or the ace card in the face cards) is played. The person who laid that card on top of the pile places the stack to the side and out of the way. No more cards can be placed on top of it.

If a player takes a card from the row of five in front of him and places it on top of a stack of cards in the middle of the play, he takes a card from his reserve pile, tuns it over, and places it face up in the row of five cards. A player must have five cards in front of him at all times that are face up.

If a play cannot be made from the five cards that are facing up in front of the player, the player takes the extra cards in his hand, counts three cards, and turns them over placing them in a pile face up with only the top card exposed. The exposed card may now be played onto the center stacks of cards if it can be played in numerical order. If the card that is turned over is a number 1 card, it can be placed in the middle of the players to start a new pile of cards. If the exposed card in the hand is played, it will expose another card that may also be played. If that card is also played, another card is exposed and can be played.

If the exposed card cannot be played, an additional group of three cards is taken from the top of the extra cards held in the player’s hand and turned over placing them on the pile allowing only the top card to show.

Players continue turning cards over from their hand (in groups of three) while looking for cards that he can place on the piles in the center of play. When all the extra cards in the players hand have been turned over, the player quickly picks up the pile of extra cards, turns them over so they are face down in his hand, places the top card on the bottom of the deck, and begins again going through the deck, three cards at a time, playing only the top exposed card.

Speed is important! The more cards a player can turn over, the more cards the player can quickly place onto the center stacks. The faster the player goes, the sooner he will get rid of all of his cards.

When a player has played all of his cards, the player yells “PANIC’ and is the winner. This ends the game. Players can sort cards into individual decks and start over — if there is interest and desire to continue playing another game.

Are these directions confusing? I hope not. If by any chance they are, feel free to e-mail me your questions. Send them to

Now gather your grandchildren around you and let the playing begin!

(Note: this has been shared at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson’s link party.)

16 thoughts on “Panic: A Fun Card Game

  • Nina Lewis Post author

    Jann, we played lots of games growing up, too. And, I’ve played lots of games with our kids. As our grandchildren are getting older, we’re playing games with them. Lots of good times!

  • Jann Olson

    I came from a family that loved playing games. Both cards and board. The tradition has continued with my own family. I think I have played this one before, but had forgotten all about it. Pinning for future reference. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  • Nina Lewis Post author

    Playing this in the library might not be a very quiet activity! But they would like it! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.

  • Nina Lewis Post author

    Hi Kim,

    We play hand and foot, too. I got burned out playing Uno when our youngest was 2 and that’s all he wanted to do. Playing Uno with a 2 year-old and with only 2 people was NOT my cup of tea. But I did it anyway — at least twice a day for about a year. That’s why I don’t like to play it now!

    Happy playing,

  • Kim @KandyKreations

    I have never played this game before, but I know I’ve played something like it. I’m trying to remember when, where, and what it was called. Ugh…I hate getting older.

    Our family loves to play card games. Our favorites are hand and foot, uno, and skip bo. I think we’ll try this card game the next time we have a family fun night. The kids would get a kick out of a new game to play.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I have a feeling we’ve got a new obsession on our hands!

  • Brittany

    Thanks for the instructions! I work with teens at the public library, and I’m always looking for ideas of games to play. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty 🙂

  • Marianna

    Oh, I like that this game can be played with regular cards. My grands are too young to play this right now BUT their parents aren’t! Looking forward to a fun night in the near future!!

  • Holly Elizabeth

    Im 17 amd i have two sisters that are 15 and 11. It is going to my sisters and my grandparents this new years eve. I couldn’t think of anything to do this year. But i came across your game here and I thought we would give it a shot so thank you ma’am.

    Holly Elizabeth(:

  • DigiGram Post author

    Nutsy, huh? What a fun name. I hope you like this game as much as our family does.

  • DigiGram Post author


    You’re the first person that I’ve come across that is familiar with this game. Our family loved it!

    Thanks for your kind words!

  • Wendy

    Thanks for leaving the instructions for PANIC! This was a game my cousins taught me and we used to play a lot in the summers when school was out. They even called it “Panic”. Your instructions were very clear too. I have been looking for the instructions for this game for a long time and my husband is dying to play it again with friends. Cool web site. You can tell that you are a fun and caring grandma.

  • DigiGram Post author

    I’ll have to check that site out!

    I’m wondering if the company that I got the cards from was a small business that ended up going out of business. . . .

    Thanks for your comment!

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