Ninety-Nine is a simple counting game for two to six players. Players use the differing values of cards to modify a running count of cards played to prevent themselves from forcing the count above 99.

Object of Ninety-Nine

The object of Ninety-Nine is to avoid making the running count of cards played exceed 99.


Ninety-Nine requires the use of one standard 52-card deck of playing cards. Since this is a post made by Denexa Games, it should come as no surprise that we recommend the use of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards in a bit of shameless self-promotion.

You will also need three tokens or lammers. Poker chips work well, but you can use whatever sort of trinket or marker is convenient. Distribute three tokens to each player, and then shuffle and deal four cards to each player. The deck stub is placed in the center of the table, forming the stock.

Game play

The player to the dealer’s left plays a card face up to the center of the table, announcing its value. They then draw a card from the stock, restoring their hand size to four. Should a player forget to draw before the next player’s turn, they are not entitled to draw later; they must continue the game with a diminished hand. The next player in turn plays another card, adds or subtracts its value from that of the initial card, then calls out the running count as modified by their card.

The following are the values of cards and other effects that they have:

Card Value Other effect
Ace +1 or +11 Value at player’s option
2 +2
3 +3 Next player skipped
4 0 Order of play is reversed in games with more than two players
5–8 +face value
9 Count automatically becomes 99
10 ±10 Value at player’s option
J, Q +10
K 0

Players continue playing and drawing until one player cannot play a card without the count exceeding 99. (Note that it is perfectly fine for the count to equal 99, even for an extended period of time, so long as it is not greater than 99.) When this occurs, the player forfeits one token and a new hand is dealt. When all three tokens are lost, the player drops out of the game.

Game play continues until only one player remains.