Cambio Card Game Rules and Cheatsheet

Cambio Card Game Rules and Cheatsheet

I’ve designed this page because this is my favorite card game and it seems that everyone’s pulled down the rules to it. I’ll keep this page up for as long as necessary.


The Basics
Cambio is played with 2 or more players.

You start by dealing four cards to each player face down in a 2×2 pattern and leaving the deck in the middle. The goal is to have the least amount of points by the end of the game. You may only play the game with one hand. Each player is given one chance to check out the 2 cards closest to them and memorize them. After that you may not peek again unless you pull a 7 or 8.

The game starts by the first player to the right of the dealer picking a card from the deck. You may swap the card you pull with one of your own. This would be in order to reduce the amount of points you have.


Face cards: 10 points

Ace: 1

Red King: -1

Joker: 0

When you “play” a card, you’re laying it face up in the throwaway pile beside the deck. Certain cards have rules when you play them:


Card Rules
7 or 8 – Look at your own card

9 or 10 – Look at someone else’s card

Jack or Queen – Without looking at the card, you can blind switch one of your own with someone else’s.

Black King – You can look at anyone’s card and switch anyone’s card with any one of yours.

Scenario: If you pull a 7 card and want to swap it with your 8 that you have face down, you are refusing to play the card and since you can only play the cards you pull, the 8 that you swapped and threw down in the throwaway pile does not count as a “Look at your own.”


Sticking a card
If a card is placed on the throwaway pile and a player knows one of their cards is the same, they can stick it on top of the matching card so now they have one less card. Only one player may stick per card (so be quick!) but any player may stick a card even if it’s not their turn. If a player knows another player’s card and is quick enough to stick that card, the player who stuck it can give one of their own cards to the other player. If you stick a card and are wrong about that card, you have to keep the card in addition to receiving a penalty card. If you attempt to stick another player’s card and it’s wrong, they keep the card and you still receive the penalty card.

Contribution: The way I’ve played is that you can’t stick your own discard. I think this makes sense, because then there could be a strategy if you have 2 cards of the same value, you could immediately force a discard of one of those cards to match the second card. However, we allow others to match someone’s discard. – from Charlotte Huang of San Francisco


When you are playing you can receive an extra penalty card if you:

Use two hands while playing

Stick a wrong card

The extra penalty card is placed face down next to the other player’s cards and the player is not allowed to see it when they receive it.


In order to win, one player has to call “Cambio” during their turn and cannot play a card if they call it. This must be done prior to the next player touching the deck. Once the player calls Cambio, the rest of the players get one more turn to play before everyone flips their cards and adds up their points. The person with the least amount of points wins. If there is a tie, the player who didn’t call Cambio wins. If there is a tie between two players who didn’t call Cambio, the player with the least value cards wins. (i.e. Joker, Ace and Red King, 2 = Joker, Ace would win)


Hints and Strategies
If you get a blind switch (Jack or Queen), you can blind switch with someone’s first two cards. The advantage here is that you may know what card you’re giving them which gives you the opportunity to stick it later and also you are playing defense by giving the other player an unknown so now they may only know 1 card of their 4.

If you pull a card from the deck, you can immediately stick it after you place it on the throwaway pile. You may only use one hand still so you’ll have to be quick otherwise someone will know your card.

If you have any changes to these rules or know of any sites that actually do have this up, please email me at Thanks!
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