How to Play Nogginate

Players

Nogginate™ can be played with 2 to 6 players. When playing with 2, 3 or 5 players, everyone plays individually. When playing with 4 or 6 players, you play with a partner.

PlayersSetup
2Individual
3Individual
4Partners
5Individual
6Partners

Custom Cards

The numeric, freeze, jokers and bonus cards should be combined to form a stock pile.

CardQuantity (162)Point Value
0-3125
4-91210
101220
Freeze65
Joker1850
Bonus6100

Numeric Cards

  • Numeric cards are used to build Noggis and Nates.
  • A Noggi is a set of cards of the same suit that are consecutive in rank (ie: 4-10 of Spades).
  • A Nate is a set of cards of the same rank (ie: seven 4s).

Freeze Cards

  • Freeze cards block the discard pile when discarded, and prevent opponents from picking it up.
  • They can be melded into a Nate, but only on the turn on which you go out.

Jokers

  • Jokers are wildcards that can substitute for numerical cards in a Nate. They can also be used to block the discard pile, so the next player can’t it up.

Bonus Cards

  • You may meld a bonus card as a single card by placing it on the table. Every melded bonus card is worth 100 points, but only when you have the required Closed Noggis or Closed Nates. When you are lucky enough to have melded all bonus cards, you receive 1,000 points.
  • If you do not have the necessary Closed Noggis or Closed Nates and the round has ended, for every melded bonus card you have on the table, you receive 100 penalty points.
  • If the round is finished, and you have one or more bonus cards in your hand, you will be penalized 750 points, regardless of the number of bonus cards you hold.
  • You may also use the bonus cards to block the discard pile.

Cheat Cards

Playing with cheat cards is optional. The cheat cards should be combined to form a separate cheat card stock pile. They can be discarded into their own separate discard pile, which cannot be picked up. Once discarded, cheat cards are dead. Cheat cards have no value when left in your hand. They can be melded into a Nate, but only on the turn on which you go out.

CardQuantity (54)Ability
Combine6Join two Open Noggis to form one Super Noggi.
Hands Off6Place this card on an Open Noggi or an Open Nate to prevent an opponent from stealing one of its cards.
Jokernate6Make a Nate using only jokers.
Reconfigure6Move cards from an Open Nate and add them to an Open Noggi. The Nate must be left intact with at least three cards, where two of the three are numeric cards and not jokers.
Remove6Pull Jokers out of an Open Dirty Nate to make a Clean Nate. Jokers must be replaced with numeric cards.
Resurrect6Open a Closed Noggi or Closed Nate in order to update it. Then add cards to the Open Noggi and make it a Super Noggi, or remove jokers from an Open Dirty Nate if you have a Remove card.
Show6Show your partner one of your cards in order to help them with their play.
Steal6Take one card from an opponent’s Open Noggi or Open Nate to play on your Open Noggi or Open Nate.
Tell6Make a recommendation as to how your partner should play their cards.

The Steal cheat card is rather nasty. If a card is stolen that destroys the requirements of a meld (ie: at least three cards, consecutive in rank for Noggis, twice as many numerical cards as jokers for Nates), the remaining cards must be picked up by the player(s) that owns the meld. If playing with teams, you can distribute the cards between each other. When a card is stolen from the middle of a Noggi, any cards that maintain the requirements of a meld can be left on the table. But the rest must be picked up.

Deal

15 custom cards are dealt to each player. Cheat cards are not dealt.

The next custom card is placed face up on the table to start the custom card discard pile, and the remaining cards are stacked face down beside it to form a stock pile.

A separate stock pile is formed using the cheat cards. No card is placed face up to start the cheat card discard pile.

Melds

The objective of the game is to score 10,000 points for melds, which are sets of cards you display face up on the table. When playing with partners, melds belong to a partnership, not an individual. If you begin a meld, your partner can later add cards to it and vice versa. It’s easier to keep all the melds in front of one of the partners.

There are two types of melds, Noggis and Nates. For anyone or any team to earn points and lock in their score, they must have at least two Closed Noggis or two Closed Nates or one of each.

Noggis

A Noggi is a set of cards of the same suit which are consecutive in rank (ie: 4-10 of Spades).

You must use at least three cards to start a Noggi and at least seven cards to complete it. Noggis can be extended beyond seven cards, but you must have all eleven cards to form a Super Noggi.

When a Noggi is not yet complete, it remains face up on the table and is in Open status. When a Noggi has been completed with at least seven cards, its cards can be stacked together and placed face down on the table. It then becomes Closed. Further cards cannot be added to a Noggi after it is Closed. You may choose to leave it Open, in case you get the four additional cards for a Super Noggi.

Two Open Noggis already on the table cannot be merged into one Noggi, unless you have a Combine card and the combined Noggi forms a Super Noggi of eleven cards. If after you combine Noggis to create a Super Noggi there are extra cards, you must pick up the extra cards and put them in your hand.

Jokers cannot be added to a Noggi.

Nates

A Nate is a set cards of the same rank (ie: seven 4s). Jokers can be used to substitute for some of the cards of a Nate, with the following restrictions:

  • There must be at least twice as many numerical cards as Jokers.
  • There must not be more than two jokers in a Nate.

You must use at least three cards to start a Nate and at least seven cards to complete it. When a Nate is not yet complete, it remains face up on the table and is in Open status. When a Nate has been completed with seven or more cards, its cards are stacked together and placed face up on the table. It then becomes Closed.

If all the cards in a Nate are numerical, it is a Clean Nate. If it contains one or more jokers, it is a Dirty Nate. A Closed Dirty Nate should have a joker placed on top, so the scorer knows it’s Dirty.

Further cards can be added to a Nate, even after it is Closed.

You are allowed to merge two Open Nates of the same rank on your turn if you wish.

Play

Play begins with the player to dealer’s left and continues clockwise. A turn normally consists of:

  • Drawing two cards, either from the custom card stock pile or from the cheat card stock pile, or one card from each.
  • Melding some cards from your hand.
  • Discarding one card.

If your team has not yet melded, then the first time you meld, the value of the cards that you meld must be at least the minimum value shown in the following table. Your first meld is known as “going down”. The minimum depends on your team’s score to date:

ScoreMinimum Initial Meld
0 to 1,49550
1,500 to 2,99590
3,000 to 4,995120
5,000 or more150

Scores for bonus cards and scores for a Noggi or Nate do not count towards meeting the minimum meld.

When playing with partners, no table talk is allowed. In other words, you are not allowed to tell your partner what cards you have, ask them how you should play your cards or recommend how they should play theirs.

Discard Pile

Instead of drawing cards from the stock piles, you may draw from the discard pile in two situations:

  1. If you have in your hand at least two numerical cards which match the top card of the discard pile in rank, you may take the entire discard pile, provided you first meld the top card together with the two cards from your hand. If you have not yet melded, you can only take the pile if you meet the initial meld requirements using the top card of the discard pile, plus cards from your hand. The procedure is to take the top card from the discard pile and meld this card together with the two matching cards from your hand. If this is your first meld, meld further cards from your hand, so as to meet the minimum point requirement. Take the rest of the discard pile, and make any further melds you wish. Discard one card.
  2. If you already have an Open Noggi on the table, and the top card of the discard pile fits on one end of the sequence, you may take this one card from the discard pile and add it to your sequence.

Freeze the Discard Pile

You can discard a freeze card, a bonus card or a joker to freeze the discard pile and prevent the next player from it picking it up.

Going Out

When a player goes out, by playing so as to have no cards left in their hand, play ends and scoring is completed. You may go out either by melding all your cards or by melding all but one and discarding the last one. However, you are only allowed to go out if your team has Closed at least two Noggis or two Nates or one of each.

If you do not yet have the required Noggis or Nates, you must play in such a way as to retain at least one card in your hand. This means you are not allowed to meld all the cards in your hand. If you meld all your cards except one, then instead of discarding it you must end your turn by saying pass, and keep the card. This is the only case in which you are allowed to pass instead of discarding.

If you are able to go out, you must first ask your partner for permission to end the round, by saying “Partner, may I go out?”. Your partner will say “yes” or “no”, and you must abide by their answer.

If no one goes out, eventually the custom card stock pile will run out of cards. If there is just one card left in the custom card stock pile, the next player who draws from the custom card stock pile takes just that one card rather than the usual two, and completes his turn, melding and discarding in the usual way. When the custom card stock pile is empty, play continues until the next time someone wants to draw cards from the custom card stock pile. As soon as a player wishes to draw from the custom card stock pile, but no cards are available, play ends and scoring is completed, with no one getting the bonus for going out.

If there are no custom cards available, you cannot draw from the cheat card stock pile.

Scoring

When a player goes out, each team scores points based on the number of Closed Noggis and Closed Nates they have, plus any bonus cards, minus the value of the cards left in their hands and any penalties.

TypePonits
Noggi1,500
Super Noggi 2,000
Clean Nate500
Dirty Nate300
Jokernate300
Each Bonus Card100
All Bonus Cards1,000
Going Out200

The object of the game is to reach a score of 10,000 points. The first team that reaches or exceeds this score at the end of a round wins the game. If more than one team reaches this score at the same time, the team with the highest score wins.

Alternatively, you may choose to play a set number of rounds, and the winner is the team that has the most points at the end of the last round.

Be sure to download the free Nogginate Scorecard App. It calculates scores for you and allows you to save your scores, in case your game gets interrupted. It also includes a leaderboard, where you can track wins per player.

Tips

  1. It’s wise to keep in mind that every Noggi always contains a 4, 5 or 6. For example, if you’re trying to reach a Noggi of spades, and an opponent has a 4, 5 or 6 of spades laying on the table, the chance that you will succeed in forming a Noggi is lowered.
  2. You may want to hold on to any 4, 5 or 6 and not discard them to prevent your opponent(s) from picking them up.
  3. Freezing the discard pile with a freeze card, bonus card or joker is important. Picking up the discard pile, often results in accumulating more Noggis and Nates. So as the pile grows, you may want to pick it up, and prevent your opponent(s) from picking it up. It’s also usually filled with cards that freeze the discard pile, allowing the person who picked up the discard pile to continue freezing it.
  4. When playing with partners, it is wise to start Noggis and Nates as soon as possible, so your partner can add cards to them.
  5. When your score gets to 5,000 or above, jokers become very valuable, as they are worth 50 points and will help you go down with your first melds.

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