Pairs Review


With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I thought that I’d bring a game review to the table today that was sure to stuff you full of fun.  Enjoy!

Pairs is a game by James Ernest and Paul Peterson, published by Cheapass Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be drawing cards until someone gets a pair or folds. When this happens they will score points which is something that you would usually want to do. However in this game, points are bad. They’re real bad. As a matter of fact, there is no winner to this game only one loser. Players will be trying their best to not be crowned the loser.

To begin, shuffle all the cards together then discard the first five into a face down pile in the middle of the play area. This pile is the discard pile. That’s it. Play now begins.

Each round begins with the dealer dealing one card face up to each player. The player with the lowest card then goes first. On a player’s turn they can either fold or hit. If a player folds the round is over and that player scores points equal to the lowest card in play not just from their pile. That card is kept by the player to keep track of their score. If they decide not to fold they can hit and be dealt a new card. If the player gets a pair, two cards of the same rank, they score that many points and the round is over. One of the paired cards is kept face up to track a player’s score. Once either of these happens the remaining cards are discarded face down into the discard pile. A new round then begins. If at any time the deck runs out of cards, the discards are reshuffled, the top 5 cards are discarded and play then resumes.

This keeps on going until one player reaches the target score. That score is dependent on how may players are playing, from 31 points with 2 players to 11 points with 6 or more. The player that reaches the target score is the loser.


This games consists of only a deck of cards. The cards are very well made and the artwork is very bright and colorful with fruits and vegetables of every kind. Everything comes nicely packaged inside a small tuck box that fits in your pocket quite well. The cards are easily shuffled and they hold up really well. Apart from that, there is nothing else to really say. These are good quality cards.
8 out of 10

The rule book is a folded up sheet of paper. It’s double sided with a picture of an example game. Everything is easy to read and understand. The rules are laid out really well. There are rules for ties for having the low card, rules for using a cut card, along with a variation of the game called “Continuous Pairs”. There are also hints for dealing and a very detailed example of play. It’s really simple to follow and takes a very short time to read. Everything is really nicely done.
8 out of 10

The game is super simple to learn and play. It has a little bit of strategy to it and it doesn’t take a long time to play. It can be played in about 10-15 minutes. It’s really light and can be played almost anywhere. It’s family friendly even though it calls itself a pub game. I can see where this could be played as a drinking game or something of that nature. It could be used to see who washes the dishes or cooks dinner. I’m just throwing out suggestions. In any case, the game is fun and is a great little time wasting filler game.
8 out of 10

Pairs is a light card with tons of variations. This game is super simple and as I just said it literally has tons of different variations available. First off, the version that I played is the Fruit Deck. There are 11 different versions of the game available from Pirates and Goblins to Barmaids and Steampunk. As a matter of fact, each different version of the game has at least one different variant included with it. You can even download the Pairs Companion pdf that has every different variant available. I’ve only played the basic game so I can’t comment on how the other play. Needless to say though, I have plenty of variations to keep the game relevant for quite some time. It plays great with any number of players. It’s rather short and usually lasts no longer than 10-15 minutes. Fans of games like Phase 10, UNO or other classic card games like Poker will probably enjoy this. It’s small enough that it can be carried anywhere. It fits right inside your pocket. It’s family friendly and can be played at the bar. I recommend you try out one of the many different decks or you can just get them all if you’re a completist like me. I’m positive that you’ll enjoy the simplistic fun of this game.
8 out of 10



For more information about this and other great games, please check out Cheapass Games at their site.


About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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1 Response to Pairs Review

  1. Pingback: Pairs: Deluxe Edition Review | GAMING BITS

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