Choose an initial dealer based on who wrote poetry most recently. Pass the dealer role clockwise at the start of each new hand. Shuffle the deck and deal 10 cards to each player. 

Tip: It is not important to keep the hidden from other players, feel free to spread them out in front of you to make composition easier. 


Each player then assembles a poem using their hand of cards. Lines of the poems are made by stacking cards so that one of their white sections, and the phrase on it, lines up with the phrase on the next card. The cards may be rotated and any of the four phrases may be used, but only one phrase from each card at a time. A poem may consist of any number of lines, and a line may consist of any number of cards. Optionally, you may set a five minute timer during this phase to keep the rounds short. 

Reading and Scoring 

After everyone has finalized their poems, each player reads their poem starting with whomever is sitting clockwise from the dealer. The score for each poem is then tallied (See ‘Scoring your poetry’), and whomever is left with the most points wins the round. If you are playing multiple hands, make sure to record the scores so they can be added up to determine the final winner. Three hands is a typical game length, and a good place to start.

Scoring your Poetry

In Rhyme Scheme Classic, poems are scored based on the following rubrics. Each of the following ways to score gives points if it is fulfilled within a poem individually, meaning that a single poem can score in multiple ways. Moreover, the scoring requirement must only be present in the poem, and additional lines that do not interfere with the structure of the scoring requirement are allowed. For example, if a poem was played that had a haiku in the first three lines, and then a fourth line on the end, this would not invalidate the haiku. 

Simple Rhyme (3 Points)

Two adjacent lines that end in words that rhyme.

Written Example: 

There once was a man from Brussels

Who got into lots of tussles 

End Rhyme (2 Points)

A single line that ends in two words that rhyme with each other.

Written Example: 

Without cause, pause

Acrostic Poem (1 Point*)

A group of connected lines that spell a word with the first letter of each line. *Scores 1 point per letter in the spelled word.

 Written Example: 

Danger to me

Anyone could see

No one could know

Chance would have it

Everyone would go 

Haiku (7 Points)

Three connected lines that have a syllable count of Five, Seven, and Five in that order. 

Written Example: 

Oh, this game is fun

Even though I cannot Rhyme

I can make Haikus

Ballad (10 Points)

Four connected lines in which the first and third line rhyme, and the second and fourth line rhyme. 

Written Example: 

Making a Ballad 

Whilst I am Dancing

Making a Salad 

Whilst I am Prancing 

Limerick (15 Points)

Five connected lines that begin with two lines that rhyme with each other, followed by two shorter lines that rhyme with each other, and end with a longer line that rhymes with the first two. 

Note: There are always two simple rhymes in a limerick, and the points for those are included in the points for a limerick.) 

Written Example:

There once was a game about rhyming

Points both for scheming and timing 

Perhaps write a ballad 

Or make a word salad 

And watch your score keep on climbing