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Frustration Card Game Rules for Camping

Card games can be all sorts of fun but there can be times when you’re struggling to remember the rules or having a little debate over the way a game should be played.

Some games everyone knows the rules to, but then there are others where people can have very different opinions because they were first taught it in a particular way.

Even within Australia if you travel between states you may find some people have grown up playing a game one way while others play something with the same name but slightly different rules.

This can make for an interesting time when travellers get together and bring out a couple of packs of cards. Take Frustration for example.

One of my favourite card games to play with my parents when we go camping (oh alright, travelling in the motorhome, but it’s a sort of camping to us) is something they picked up at a motorhome rally from a lady by the name of Colinda Spark.

Now Colinda is from Western Australia, which means they were taught WA rules, which means I was taught those same western ways and that’s I’m about to share here.

You may find yourself playing with people who remember the rules differently, but that’s okay. As long as you all decide which way you’re going before the first hand is dealt it’s easy to just go with House Rules.

Frustration Card Game

What makes Frustration fun is that there are ten different hands to collect, and as soon as you’ve been the first person to achieve one you move on to the next.

My folks have a handy laminate with the rules on, and you may want to keep a print out of the list of hands handy too. No matter how many times you’ve played this game it can be hard to remember what you’re collecting next.

So here we have it… how to play Frustration. Or at least the Frustration that we’d play by my House Rules…

Frustration Card Game Rules

– You will need two packs of cards. Ignore the suits, they’re not used

– Deal 11 cards per player. Put the remainder of the deck in the centre with one card turned up beside the deck

– Twos are wild and can be used in the place of any card

– The dealer starts and then players take turns clockwise

– Players pick up one card from either the deck or discard pile and throw one out each time

– There are ten games which are played in order from one to ten

– Only a complete set or run can be put down. Once other players have put their sets and runs down you may add to their cards, saving one to throw out

– The first person to go out stops the game

– Only the players who completed the sets required in the current game move onto the next one

– The first person to complete all ten games wins

As for the games, I’ve included a picture of a handy cut out guide for you.

Frustration Card Game Rules

So to recap that would be…

1: Two sets of three of a kind

2: A run of four and three of a kind

3: A run of seven

4: A run of five and three of a kind

5: A run of four and four of a kind

6: Two sets of four of a kind

7: A run of eight

8: Five of a kind and a pair

9: A run of nine

10: Two sets of five of a kind

So there we have the way we play it, but how about you?

Did you grow up with another version of frustration, and if so how would we play if we were using your cards?

And have you ever tried your hand at playing Bush Rummy? That’s another favourite of ours and you can check out the rules to Bush Rummy here.

And while we’re talking cards, I love the way there are so many different kinds out there for different things. For example, if you’re finding you get a bit stressed in life, perhaps the mindfulness game Cards for Calm could be a good one for you to play by yourself or with a good friend from time to time…

Cards for Calm can help reduce anxiety

Or if you’re like me and enjoy shuffling the oracle cards to see what comes up, you may like to check out the gorgeous decks by Alana Fairchild, including her Sacred Rebels oracle deck

Alana Fairchild Sacred Rebels Oracle deck

But whether you’re playing cards with friends or family, or just sitting down to a game of solitaire or checking in with yourself through mindfulness and oracle style cards, I hope you enjoy every shuffle and moment.


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If you liked this story and fancy sharing it, here’s a Pin we prepared earlier…

Frustration Card Game Rules - How to play the frustratingly fun card game. It's perfect for travel or camping game time.

Leave a Comment

  1. Blake O'Sullivan says

    We play a different version with 31 hands all together and jokers are included also as wilds

  2. Danielle says

    Love frustration. We play 9 “rules” and each player gets 12 cards. We also score and the game keeps going until the person with the lowest score goes out on no. 9. Also the dealer doesn’t go first and our house rule is that no one can go out on the first round (only because when you play with a ton of people sometimes you don’t even get a go and that upsets all the kids)

    • I like your style, Danielle! I think I’ll have to shake things up the next time I sit down to play it by trying your rules. Such a great game, even if it can be frustrating 🙂

  3. I’ve got a couple of variants 😉 Jokers and 2’s are wild cards, can only pick up from discard pile if it’s the last card you need to go out (otherwise you pick up from the deck) and 50 points off if you cut the deck for exactly the number of cards to deal plus the first for discard pile. Also have 3 sets of objectives, two for 10 ‘levels’ and one for 15 levels which is really insane. I don’t think I’ve ever completed the 15 levels. For more than 2 players I will often keep the game going until all players have completed level 10 – as the first person out doesn’t always have the lowest score!

    A few years ago I made a PDF with the rules, objectives, alternative objectives, scoring and a score card to make it easy to introduce other people to the game. I’d be more than happy to share it!

  4. Marilyn Brucken says

    If you lay out your required “runs” or “sets” and the play continues and you have another run or set do you get to lay them out on another turn? And can you play on your own “sets” “runs” on the next few hands? Thanks!

    • Hi Marilyn, absolutely! Well, that’s the way we play it anyway. We also add our cards to another person’s runs or sets. Once they’re down on the table they’re fair game to help you get rid of your cards and be the first person out 🙂

  5. Can this be played with only two people?

  6. How do you make it through all levels without running out of “deck” cards? It’s been so long since I’ve played Frustration and am trying to teach my family how to play.

    • Hi Jill, you need to play with at least two decks to get you started, and then you recycle them as you go. Hope that helps!

      • Brenda says

        I need to know how to count the cards if you don’t complete your set.

      • Hi Brenda, we don’t actually count the cards, it’s more of a race to be the first person to finish all ten games. But that said, if you and your friends want to also count them to see who came second and third etc you can always add that little twist to it. Enjoy!

  7. Dawn, you can have different combos, whichever you prefer. We play this game for a long time and some combos look harder and take longer time than the others, so we substitute them with other, simpler combos as long as everyone agrees. As Amanda mentioned, there’re no exact rules written in stone, people play as they like

  8. Vicki Lloyd says

    HI, do the runs need to be in the same suit? Or, can the runs be open to different suits?

  9. Fred Penguin says

    It has probably been close to 20 years since I last played frustration. The version I played seems a little different to the version you laid out here. We had 10 cards dealt and 20 levels. Some of the levels required all 10 cards, so whoever finished that set got to advance while everyone else had to stay on their set as all the cards would be re-dealt.

    And I don’t think we continued to draw cards after you finished a set.

    • Wow you’ve done well to remember it after 20 years! And I like hearing about different versions. I think as long as everyone you’re playing with agrees on the rules before you start (and remembers what they are half way through) then it’s fun to have our own slight twists on it.

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