9Stax: A Modern Homage to Crazy Eights | Casual Game Revolution

9Stax: A Modern Homage to Crazy Eights


Can you whittle down all your cards, one stack at a time, while jumping between them and trying to remember which cards are still in which stacks?

Published by One Horse Games, 9Stax is a 30-40 minute card game, designed for 2-4 players.


Each player has tokens numbered 1-9, which they lay out in front of themselves. Underneath each of your tokens, you deal a stack of four cards face-down. You may not look at these cards. The rest of the deck is placed in the center of the table to form the draw deck.

All players begin with stack one. When a stack is active, you may only look at the cards in that stack and only play cards from that stack. Cards mostly come in the colors green, red, purple, or blue, and either are numbered 1-9 or are an action card.

When it is your turn to play a card, your card must match either the color, number, or action of the last card played. When a number card is played, each player’s stack that is beneath that number token becomes their new active stack. If for any reason you do not have any cards in that stack, then you do not switch to it and you stay on your current stack. When an action card is played, you resolve the action listed on the card. For example, one action allows you to discard all the cards in your current active stack, while another action allows you to peek at the cards in any stack and then exchange one card from your current stack with one from the stack you are peeking at. Each player also has one immunity tile, which can be used once per game to block an action card that is played against him.

If you cannot play a legal card on your turn, you draw a card. If you can play it, you may choose to, otherwise you add it to your current, active stack. You must also draw a card if you do not play from the correct stack and use it to create a new stack for yourself.

Whenever you have discarded all cards from a stack, if you still have stacks of a higher number, you shift them all down towards the lower number tokens. The goal of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all their stacks.

9Stax components


9Stax feels like an homage to games like Crazy Eights or Uno, but manages to elevate that gameplay into something with a little more play choice and a nice mixture of memory. So, it’s got that fun, almost nostalgic element of hoping you’ll have a card in your hand that can be played in response to what another person just put down, but you also have some control over how the gameplay evolves. The cards in your hand are also constantly changing as you jump from stack to stack.

The memory element of the game is key, as you try to whittle down your own stacks, trying to remember what to pivot towards when it comes to numbers or colors. There’s also some take-that in the game with the action cards, and this can keep things a little bit more unpredictable as you never know when an opponent will come after you. We found it most useful to wait until the end, when you have fewer stacks, and other players might be more likely to target you, to pull out the immunity token.

9Stax could look just a little slicker, with the cover and card artwork feeling a bit too uninspiring. But the card quality is quite nice. However, while all sixes have a line underneath them to differentiate them, the nines do not. After a while you just remember no line, it’s a nine. But when you’re first learning, this can introduce mistakes more easily. That being said, the colors of the cards are also differentiated by shapes to make the game work for colorblind players, which is a nice addition.

If you enjoy casual, light card games, 9Stax feels like a nice, easy-to-learn successor to some of the classics, with a bit more game to it. There’s still an element of luck involved, but enough other elements to balance it so that it still feels light and fun, but engaging as well.

Pros: Stack mechanism offers a nice blend of luck and memory

Cons: Some of the graphic design could look a little slicker

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.

Eric Shurts
Eric Shurts's picture

Our family loves to play games when we get together at the holidays.  This game is a lot of fun.  After a learning round, the gameplay picks up speed once everyone grasps the concept.  Strategies start to evolve and the game builds in excitement.  We did buy the expansion so that more could play.  I recommend this for.families/friends that enjoy casual games. You have to be focused and pay attention because things move fast.  Great game.

Eric Shurts's picture
We love finding new and unique games and this was a huge hit! So happy to have found this little gem. I think the description above is perfect! It is a great mix of familiar games with a fun twist. No matter how many times we play each round feels different and we love that there is constant engagement throughout the game. We all know there are some games out there that move very slowly and you can get a little bored between turns but not this game! It's simple enough for an 8-year-old yet engaging enough for adults too! Highly recommend trying this for your next family game night.