Pilatch Card Games


Torment your opponents while hatching plans of your own. Runway is a versatile game offering deep strategy, and has been compared to Gin Rummy, 500 Rummy, Shanghai, and even Magic: the Gathering.

Watch the Demo
Game Time
15 minutes
Deck Build
Use one 45-card Pilatch deck with all the ranks and Jokers.
A number used in multiple rules of this game.
Number of Players Value of X
2 6
3 6
4 5
5 5
Complete a "run" with X cards in it, where a run is a sequence of cards all of the same suit, and of adjacent ranks. (1 is low and Ace is high.)

Each player takes an Up/Down card, called a "direction card," and tosses it in the air so that it turns over at least once, to land randomly. The side that's showing determines the direction in which that player must build her run.

Randomly determine who will go first. Shuffle the deck. Deal X cards to each player. Place the deck in the middle of the play area.

Turn Structure

Turns are divided into three phases, in this order:

  1. Draw
  2. Build
  3. Discard
Draw Phase

At the beginning of your turn, you may either:

  • Draw the top card of the deck.
  • Put any number of cards from the "recycle bin" into your hand.

After doing one of the above, move to your Build Phase.

Build Phase

You may add to your run as many times as you like. Cards in your run will go face-up near your direction card.

You may also play Triples as many times as you like, which go into the "common area," and grant special actions.

Building Your Run
  • If you do not have a run, you may play a card from your hand face-up to start your run.
  • If you have a run, you may play a card from your hand face-up onto the "leading edge" of your run, if it is the same suit, and the next rank in sequence, as determined by your direction card.
  • If there is a card in the common area that is the next card in sequence from the leading edge of your run, then you may add that card to your run.
  • Each player may only have one run at a time.
  • Ace and 1 are not adjacent ranks, meaning that runs can't "wrap around."

If you have 3 cards in hand of the same rank but different suits, you may place them face-up into the "common area" near the center of play. This awards you one special action that you may exercise at any point later in that Build Phase.

Special Actions

To exercise a special action choose one of the following:

  • Draw 3 cards.
  • Flip any direction card(s) you choose.
  • Look at an opponent's hand. You may then exchange one card in your hand for one in hers, of your choice.

Jokers are suit-aligned in this game.

Triple 5s with help from Rock Joker
  • You may play a Joker onto the leading edge of your run if it's the same suit as your run. It represents the next card in sequence.
  • You may play one or more Jokers as a part of Triples, provided they are the proper suits. A Joker represents a card of that Triple's rank.
  • You may replace any Joker that's in a run or the common area with the card it represents, from your hand. Once in your hand, the Joker can become any rank again.
  • If you use a Joker to start your run, you must follow it with another card of the same suit, so long as that Joker represents an existing Pilatch card rank! (Remember, 1 is the lowest rank, and Ace is the highest.)
  • A Joker in your run does not count toward the X cards needed in your run to win the game. So if X is 6, and your run has one Joker in it, then your run will need to be at least 7 cards long to win.
Discard Phase

During this last phase of your turn, you have the option of putting your run in the recycle bin.

If you have more than X cards in hand, you must discard all but X to the recycle bin, face-up.

Your turn ends, and the next player's begins.

Optional Rules

  • Trading Cards

    Players can trade the cards in their hands with each other. There are no rules governing fairness of trades, nor disclosure of information. Enjoy.

    With larger numbers of players, consider disallowing the player who's taking her turn from initiating trades. It will help keep the game moving.

  • Especially Special Actions

    When you play triples you can also choose from these special actions:

    • Increase your maximum hand size by one card.
    • Shuffle the recycle bin, common area, and all players' hands into the deck. Each player draws X cards.
    • Take another turn after this one. If you haven't won the game before the discard phase of that turn, shuffle your hand and run into the deck.
    • Increase the number of cards in a run needed to win by one card (fourteen at maximum) for an opponent of your choice.
  • Multiple Decks

    With larger numbers of players, shuffle two or more Pilatch decks into one large deck. X is 6.

    During each player's build phase, if she has two or more of the same card in her hand, she may reveal them. Put all but one on the bottom of the deck, and one into the recycle bin. Then she draws as many cards as she revealed in this instance.

  • Biggest Run Wins

    Instead of ending the game when one player's run has X cards in it, keep playing until the deck runs out of cards. At the end of a turn, if the deck has no cards in it then the run with the most cards wins. If two players are tied for most cards in their runs, then look at the suits of those runs. Superior suit wins.

    If you're playing with multiple decks, allow runs to "wrap around" once they reach fourteen cards or more. This means that a player can add to her run going UP by placing a One above an Ace, or an Ace below a One when DOWN.

  • Handicap

    Whenever a player wins, she will need to create a run that is one card longer to win in successive games.

    You could decrease her maximum hand size instead, (or as well), if she really deserves it.

  • Pecking Order

    When a player would normally win, instead that player has "gone out." With four or more players, the game doesn't end until all players but one have gone out. When a player goes out, shuffle her run into the deck. Keep track of the order in which players go out. In the next game, rearrange players so that they take their turns in the order in which they went out. In each game, players may exercise powers over other players who went out later in the previous game than they did.

    Such powers might include telling somebody to drink, or to stand up, or to talk in an accent, or to only use T-Rex arms, or be disallowed from using pronouns. Whatever's fun/sadistic.

  • Build Easily

    Don't play with direction cards. Each player may build on either edge of her run.

  • Speed Up the Game

    If you drew a card from the deck in your Draw Phase instead of picking up from the recycle bin, then every time you add a non-Joker card to your run that turn, you draw a card.

  • Slow down the game

    As an action you can only take once per turn, during your Build Phase: "Trounce" the card on the leading edge of an opponent's run by playing the card of the same rank, of the superior suit. Both go to the recycle bin. However, if you played the trouncing card onto the leading edge of your run, then only your opponent's trounced card goes to the recycle bin; yours stays on your run! If the trounced card was a Joker, the Joker goes into your hand instead.

  • More Control

    Each player keeps her direction card in her hand before deciding to play a run. When she does start a run, then she may place her direction card either UP or DOWN, as she chooses. Should she discard her run, then she may return her direction card to her hand at that time.

    When starting a game while playing with this rule, deal each player one fewer card than normal. A direction card makes up the difference.

    A direction card in hand is treated like other cards in that it may be discarded or even stolen! However, a player may only have one direction card in play, at most.

  • Points

    When the game ends, total the number of points each player has in play, (both from Triples she played and her run), minus the points in her hand. Cards can have point values as follows:

    Aces and Ones - 25 points each; Face Cards, Tens, and Jokers - 10 points each; All other cards - 5 points each.

    The winner of the game gets an additional 50 points.

    Note that the game will end before the active player has a chance to discard at the end of her turn! However, she may build the longest run she can before winning.

    Play multiple games, with the ultimate victor being the first player to amass 500 points.

  • Infini-Deck

    Should the deck run out of cards, shuffle the recycle bin into the deck.

    If playing for points, you may instead want the end of the deck to signal the end of the game, and total players' points immediately.