Clay's extended rules for ZAR

Multideck ZAR

You can play ZAR with more than one ZAR deck, or more precisely with more than 2 half decks. The following describes the 3 and 4 half deck variations (Deck and a Half ZAR, and Double Deck ZAR, respectively). The Deck and a Half variation is recommended, but the rules will scale to any number of half decks. Note that in an N half deck variation, that every card in the deck has exactly N − 1 identical matching cards.

Starting a Multideck Game

Multideck ZAR can be played with 2 to 14 players. Beware that seating a large number of players around a table such that they are all easily able to reach the card piles in the center is not easy. Moreover, shuffling the larger number of cards will take more effort. Shuffle the deck well (8 (or 9) times for Deck and a Half ZAR and 9 (or 10) times for Double Deck ZAR, cutting it after each 2 shuffles)! Deal one card at a time to each player until they each have received 15 minus the number of players cards (minimum 3, maximum 10 cards). Proceed using the regular starting the game rules.

Multiple Card Plays

In addition to doubles, triples and quads become possible. So does making a multiple card play and matching someone.

Triples and quads work analogously to doubles. Substitute "DOUBLE" in rules and declarations as appropriate with "TRIPLE" or "QUAD". Example declarations are:

  • "TRIPLE",
  • "QUAD",
  • "ZAR'PLE",
  • "ZAR'QUAD",
  • etc.

Command cards

  • An odd number of Crabs reverses direction.
  • Triple Frogs skip the next 3 players; Quad Frogs skip the next 4 players, etc.
  • Triple Wasps count as Draw 6; Quad Wasps count as Draw 8, etc.


  • A match may itself be matched.
  • A player may match himself multiple times in a row.
Action Declaration Declaration (matching yourself)
Playing a match on a match "MATCH" "DOUBLE"
Playing a match on a double "MATCH" "TRIPLE"
Playing a match on a triple "MATCH" "QUAD"
Playing a double as a match "MATCH-DOUBLE" "TRIPLE"
Playing a triple as a match "MATCH-TRIPLE" "QUAD"

Playing "MATCH", "MATCH-DOUBLE", "MATCH-TRIPLE", etc., each cause exactly one card to be drawn.


Player 1 plays a Frog; player 4 matches it with a double ("MATCH-DOUBLE"); and player 2 matches player 4 ("MATCH").

Player 1 must draw a card; then player 4 must draw a card; and then a quad skip happens from player 2.

Note that drawing for a match does not prevent further matching. As always, play ultimately proceeds from the last player to play a match.

The Chameleon card

Each ZAR deck comes with 2 blanks cards. Consider using them as Chameleon cards.

The Chameleon card is a Power card worth 6 points. It has no color or symbol of its own. It can only be played in turn, except to match another Chameleon card. It can be played with other cards (including Chameleons) to make doubles, triples, etc. Other cards can match it once it has assumed a specific identity.

There are two ways to play a Chameleon:

  • It can be played on any card. When played it becomes an exact match of the card it was played on (or in the case of it being played on a Chameleon card, whatever the last non-Chameleon card which was played). Follow the normal rules for matching whenever this is played.
  • It can be used as an exact match for any card in your hand. When played this way, the multiple card play you are making must be a legal play on whatever card is on top of the Playpile.

When played as a Peacock or Dragon, you must declare a color or symbol, respectively.

If a player goes out, a Chameleon card can not be played to resume the hand, except if it is played as a match on another Chameleon on the top of the Playpile.


Assume play is proceeding clockwise in a 4 player game.

  • Player 1 plays a Blue Sun; Player 2 plays a Chameleon ("MATCH"); and Player 1 plays a Chameleon ("MATCH"). Players 1 and 2 both draw for their matches and Player 2 faces a virtual Blue Sun, unless someone matches first by playing the other Blue Sun.
  • Player 2 plays a Blue Wasp ("DRAW 2"); and Player 3 plays 2 Red Wasps and 2 Chameleons ("QUAD-DRAW 10"). Player 4 now has to draw 10, unless he can play a Wasp or a Chameleon. If this is a multideck game, someone could still match first by playing a Red Wasp or, if Player 3 placed a Chameleon on top of the Playpile, another Chameleon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: If I am the dealer and I have just started a new hand, can I play a Chameleon card before the next player plays ("DOUBLE")?
A1: No. Once you have flipped over the first card, it is no longer your turn. You can not match yourself because the Chameleon can only be played in turn, except to match another Chameleon. That is not possible because a Chameleon is a Power card, so it could not have started the hand. However, if you have both a Chameleon and the card matching the Playpile, you could play it as part of a "TRIPLE".