¡Cambio!

Traveling means sharing! Just recently I met two guys in the Philippines who introduced me to this gem of a card game (also we traveled together for two weeks, but that’s a different story). It is my turn now to pass it on to you – for you to share. It’s name is „Cambio“. Of course, as with any game, you can turn it into a crazy drinking game, especially when you can buy a bottle of rum for 1$. How you do it, is up to you though. We had a lot of fun, sober and drunk.

Object — Figure out which cards you have and accumulate fewer points than anyone else by replacing high cards for low ones, burning cards and swapping cards with your opponents. The game ends when someone calls „Cambio,“ after which each player gets one last turn and the player with the lowest sum wins. Players must draw and play special cards from the deck to view their own cards, peek at opponents‘ cards, and swap cards on the table.

Setup — You need a standard card set without jokers, so 52 cards. Every player gets 4 cards face down, arranged in a vertical 2 by 2 grid – their order and location must remain the same throughout the round. Place the rest of the cards face-down for the draw pile. All players may then look at the 2 cards closest to them. Remember these cards because you can’t look at them again. For the first round, decide who goes first. In the rounds that follow, the winner goes first, the loser shuffles and deals and so on.

Play — Taking turns in a clockwise direction, each player does the following: Pick up the top card from the pile. You can now replace, face down, one of your own cards. The replaced card is then put in the discard pile, face up. You could also discard it directly, and, if it’s a choice card (see below), and you wish to use the action, carry out the action. Or, if you think you have the lowest score on the table, you don’t draw a card but rather call „Cambio!“.

If you decide to discard your card directly you can then burn one of your own or your opponents’s cards. Example: You discard an 8, the 8 gets put on top of the discard pile for everyone to see. If you have another 8 in your cards, regardless of its color, you may burn it; but you have to be quick. If one of your opponents has an 8 in their cards, they may now reveal and burn it. If two of you have an 8, the faster one wins their right to leave their 8 on the pile. There is only one burn per turn. The fun begins when you know one of the other players has an 8. If you do, you may burn it for them and replace their 8 with one of your face down cards. The same can happen to you if one of your opponent knows your cards. If you get rid of one of your cards, you don’t have to draw a new one. If you’re wrong though, you get that player’s card and take your own back as well. Also, if it’s a choice card, you can activate it.

If you chose to replace one of your face down cards, all other players may try to burn cards now, because replacing one of your cards with a new one revokes your rights to burn any cards this round. Example: You replace a face down 8 of your cards with a 5, the 8 gets put on top of the discard pile for everyone to see, players can now burn 8s and you cannot use the action of that card. The rest is exactly like explained above.

Choice cards – there are several cards in the game that have an action to it. Choice cards may be used for the action only when taken from the draw pile and discarded in the same turn. It is not obligatory to use the action.

  • 7 and 8: Peek at one of your own cards.
  • 9 and 10: Peek at one of another player’s cards.
  • Jack and Queen: Swap one of your own cards with one of another player, without looking at them (variation, see below).
  • Black King: Look at one of your own cards, then look at one of another player’s cards. You can now chose if you wish to swap them.
  • Red King: Gives you -1 points, meaning, the lowest possible score is -2 if you have both red kings and no other cards.
  • All card’s worth corresponds with their value: J, Q, black Kings and 10s are worth 10 points, 5 is worth five points and so on, Aces are worth 1 point.

Calling Cambio — When a player believes he or she has fewer points than anyone else at the table, that player may use his or her turn to call Cambio. A player may not call Cambio out of turn or draw a card in the same turn as calling Cambio. Once Cambio is called, all players other than the one who called Cambio take one more turn. Any card drawn after Cambio is called is played as a regular turn which means cards can still be replaced and choice cards may still be used to swap.

Endgame — After everyone has played their last turn, flip over the cards and count the points of all cards in each player’s hand (for card values, see above). The player with the lowest score wins this round, the lowest possible score is -2 if you have two red kings and nothing else. Everyone else receives the points in their hand – agree on a limit of maximum points to figure out who wins and loses. Or drink shots if you lose. Up to you.

Notes: Any card in a player’s pile may be replaced or swapped, even the ones you don’t know what they are; If the draw pile runs out of cards, reshuffle the discard pile and place it face down for the new draw pile; We also agreed that it’s possible to swap other player’s and / or opponent’s cards and not your own when playing Jacks or Queens.

Any questions – or did I miss anything? Let me know! Otherwise: enjoy!

8 Gedanken zu “¡Cambio!

  1. This is a really fun game! I have some questions:
    – If you burn all of your cards (have nothing in front of you) and then burn another player’s card for them, you have nothing to give them. So would you just deal them a card from the deck?
    – With the black king: do you disclose to the other players whether or not you completed the trade?
    – Does playing the red King have the same effect as the black King?

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    1. Usually, you can set a target, let’s say 100. After each round you count the points of the cards still on your stack and add them up. First one to reach the target loses. The one who says ‚Cambio‘ and loses gets double minus of what he’s got left. We never counted really, we just gave shots to the loser.

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  2. Hey, me and my friends play this game a lot and we just love it! We have a question:
    If a player burns all of his cards, And gets a J/Q, can he replace a card with someone else? If so, which card will he give the other player? A card from the deck?
    Thanks!

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