Salute the King is a card game for three or more players. No great skill or strategy is needed to play—it’s a purely a game of quick reactions and silliness! That makes it a great game to play as a family, especially with children.
Object of Salute the King
The object of Salute the King is to be the first player to run out of cards.
To play Salute the King, you’ll need one standard 52-card deck of playing cards, or two decks if playing with more than eight people. Because games of Salute the King can get pretty rambunctious, use a sturdy deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards to eliminate any risk of damage to the cards.
Shuffle and deal the cards out as evenly as they’ll go. It’s okay if some players have one card more than the others. Players may not look at their cards. Instead, each player gathers their cards into a face-down pile in front of them.
The player to the dealer’s left plays first. They turn a card from their pile face up and quickly place it in the middle of the pile. Players should turn the card by grabbing it from the far edge and flipping it away from them, so that they don’t glimpse the card before anyone else. After the first player turns over a card, the next player to the left does the same thing, and so on around the table. The idea is to get everyone into a rhythm of quickly turning up cards, one after another.
Whenever anyone turns up a face card or an ace, each player must react as follows:
- Ace: Stand up
- King: Salute
- Queen: Place your hand over your heart and bow (staying sitting down)
- Jack: Applaud
The last person to do the required action must collect all of the cards from the middle of the table and add them to the bottom of their card pile. Note that it’s important to do the correct action—saluting a jack or standing up for a queen isn’t going to cut it!
Game play continues until one player runs out of cards. That player is the winner.
You can easily spice up your game of Salute the King by switching out the gestures you have to perform when a face card or ace is turned up. Pretty much any simple gesture or reaction will do. You can also change the ranks that trigger the reactions. You can even make it into a mathematical brainteaser by requiring actions out of players when the pip values of the number cards on the table reaches a certain number, or when prime numbers are played, or whatever else you can come up with!
For a particularly zany game, allow the dealer to choose four triggers and the accompanying reactions at the beginning of each hand!