Venn Classic

By Darren Riches & Steve Palmer

5-20 Minutes

2-8 Players

4/5 Difficulty

The deck

The deck has 48 cards. There are 3 types of card and each has a Venn diagram of two different coloured circles. The overlapping circles create a third colour forming the inner and outer colours.

The 3 different Venn cards.

How to win

The object of the game is to find cards containing a chosen colour while stopping your opponents from doing the same.

The game is played in rounds and cards are lost or retrieved. The last player to have cards in their hand is the winner.

Set up

Shuffle the deck and deal six cards, face down, to each player.

The starting player for the first round is whoever most recently won a game of Venn Classic. If no one has won a game of Venn Classic before, the tallest player starts.


The game is played in rounds, each consisting of 4 stages:

Stage 1 – Placing
Stage 2 – Bidding & Pushing
Stage 3 – The Challenge
Stage 4 – Resolution

Stage 1


The starting player chooses one of the inner or outer colours, and a number of cards from one to six. For example:

“Red round, four cards”

Each player must then place that number of cards from their hand face down in front of them, side-by-side in a row; these are called the placed cards.

If players have any cards remaining, these are stacked face down into the player’s stale pile, and they play no further part in the round.

Once all players are ready, the starting player begins the bidding.

An example of a two card round with two placed cards and a stale pile.

Stage 2

Bidding & Pushing

— Bidding

The starting player opens the bidding by declaring how many cards of the chosen colour they will find. For example:

“I can find two reds”

Once bidding is open, any player, in any order, can raise the bid or pass. A player raising the bid declares how many cards containing the chosen colour they think they can find. For example:

“I can find four reds”

Bidding continues until there are no more raises; the highest bidder will begin the challenge.

— Pushing

This is where bluffing skills are required, and where games are won and lost.

Each time a player bids, they have the option of simultaneously pushing forward any number of their placed cards into their pushed cards row.

Pushing a card forward suggests that it contains the chosen colour – but it may not!

An example of a two card round with one pushed card, one placed card and a stale pile.

Stage 3

The Challenge

When all other players have passed, the highest bidder becomes the challenger. They must turn over the number of cards they bid for, and each card must contain the chosen colour. Cards must be turned over one at a time.

The challenger must first turn over their own pushed cards, if any, after which they can continue to turn over any of the other players’ pushed or placed cards.

The challenger succeeds if they turn over the required number of cards, all containing the chosen colour.

The challenger fails if they turn over any card that does not contain the chosen colour; if this happens they don’t turn over any more cards.

Stage 4


After the challenge is complete, all players pick up their placed, pushed and stale cards, and return them to their hand.

If the challenger was successful, all other players lose two cards into their discard pile. Otherwise, the challenger loses two cards into their discard pile.
  – or –
Cards can be recovered, once per player per game. A successful challenger may retrieve two cards from their discard pile. Otherwise, the player that caused the challenger to fail may retrieve two cards from their own discard pile. If cards are recovered, no other players lose cards.

— End the round

Players who have lost all their cards are out of the game.

If there is only one player left with cards in their hand, they are declared victorious!

Otherwise, the player to the left of the previous starting player starts the next round.

— Points to note

Stage 1 – Placing

  • If a player has fewer cards in their hand than the number chosen, they must place all of their cards.
  • Once bidding has started, cards cannot be changed or repositioned.
  • Players can look at their own cards at any stage, but must not reveal their cards to other players.

Stage 2 – Bidding

  • An opening bid of zero cards is allowed.
  • A player cannot make a bid lower than the number of their pushed cards.
  • Players cannot raise their own bid, but they can bid again after another player raises the bid.
  • Once a player passes they can only bid again if the bid is raised by another player.
  • Once a player makes a bid, they cannot retract or reduce it.
  • If multiple players bid at exactly the same time, the player with the higher bid wins.
  • If multiple players place the same bid at exactly the same time, the player who has just been outbid decides who wins the bid.
  • Sometimes multiple players will wait for others to bid first; resolve the stalemate by asking each player to raise or pass, rotating in clockwise order starting with the player to the left of the highest bidder.
  • Although players must not reveal their cards, they can discuss the cards they have played; banter and misdirection are encouraged.

Stage 2 – Pushing

  • Once a card has been pushed it cannot be changed or repositioned.
  • Bidding and pushing must be simultaneous; a player cannot push after they announce their bid.
  • Any illegal bid or push is ignored and reverted.

Stage 3 – The Challenge

  • The challenger cannot turn over their own placed cards.

Stage 4 – Resolution

  • Cards lost into a discard pile are always face down.
  • Any players losing cards choose which to discard.
  • If the challenger caused themself to fail they cannot recover cards, they must lose two cards.
  • Players can look at the cards in their discard pile when recovering from it.
  • If a player’s discard pile is empty, they cannot recover cards (players cannot have more than six cards).


  • Venn Master – Winning your last three games in a row with 4 or more players
  • Venn Grand Master – Winning three games in a row against the same players with 4 or more players
  • Fur hat – Win the first three rounds in a game and win the game
  • Tahrif – Lose the first three rounds due to failed challenges
  • Flawless – Win a game of Venn without losing any cards
  • Mind Reader – Turn over all other player’s cards to win, without turning any of your own
  • Ventriloquist – Win a game of Venn without issuing a challenge
  • Colour Blind – Win a round by placing random cards and revealing them


  • Red 1 – Ridwan
  • Blue 2 – Connectivity
  • Purple 1 – Aamar
  • Going Dutch – Making an opening bid of 0
  • Meth Lab – Stating you are going to turn over every available card (the highest possible call)

Note: Absolutely no moves, hands or anything related to Venn can be named anything to do with Russell, for example, ‘a Russell’, ‘the Russell’ or ‘Russell variation’.