The Official Rules of the Card Game: Cunt-Soul

Version 1.1


Cunt-Soul is an adaptation of Fuck Brains which is itself an adaptation of the popular game Shit Head. It can be played with up to 4 players (more if you use multiple decks). The game is played with a full 54 card deck i.e. including 2 Jokers. The objective of the game is to be the first to play all of one’s cards.

Setting up the Game

The dealer deals each player three face down cards and nine cards for their hands, the remainder of the cards are placed between the face down cards as the source pile. See below:


Syntactic and Semantic Value

In Cunt Soul, all cards have a syntactic value and a semantic value. The syntactic value is the value as displayed on the card, e.g. 5 or J. By default, the semantic value is the syntactic value, however a card may have its semantic value altered as a result of the mechanics of the game. In some situations, a card may get a special semantic value: table.

Starting the Game

Each player selects three cards from their hands which will be placed face up and one card which will be face up next to their face up cards as their field card. However, these are placed faced down initially so that no one can get an unfair advantage from seeing others’ cards. Once everyone has placed these cards, they are turn face up. The player to the left of the dealer then begins their turn and play continues clockwise.

Basic Game Mechanics

A player’s turn consists of playing one or more cards onto the discard pile. Multiple cards of the same syntactic value can be played at once.

A collection of one or more cards of the same syntactic value which get played during a player’s turn is called a link (the value of a link is the value of any of its members).
A chain is a collection of links played sequentially one after another (according to the card abilities) in a player’s turn. Usually a player’s turn consists of only one chain, and a chain consists of only one link, however certain card and field card abilities can affect this.

Generally, links played must have a syntactic value greater than or equal to the semantic value of previous, though many cad values have the ability to affect this. When there are no cards in the discard pile, a link of any value can be played. If a player has no valid cards to play, they must pick up the enitire discard pile; play then resumes with the next player.

When a player’s hand is reduced below the default hand size of 5 at the end of their turn, they replenish from the source pile (as long as it still exists) until they have 5 cards in their hand (note: the default hand size is increased by 1 for every A in the field card position, see below).

Once the source pile has been exhausted, players no longer relpenish their hand. When a player then uses up all the cards in their hand, they may start playing their face up cards as if they were cards in their hand (in any other). However, if at any time they cannot play, they must pick up the whole discard pile into their hand, and use up its cards before they can regain access to their face up cards.

Once a player has used all their face up cards, they may then play their face down cards. If it is revealed on playing a face down card that that card is not valid, then the player who played that card must pick up the entire discard pile (along with the played card).

Finally, once a player has played all their face down cards, they take their field card into their hand, which may be played as normal.

Note that plays trancend the barrier between a players hand and their face up/face down cards (and also their field card). In other words, a chain can consist of cards taken both from a players hand, their face up/face down cards, and their field card (as long the cards are played in a valid order: a player wishing to make a chain including cards from their hand and their face up cards may only do so when they have no other cards in their hand, nor are there cards in the source pile, for example). The same does not apply to links however.

Under certain conditions, the discard pile gets burned. In this situation, whole discard pile is taken out of the game.

Changing Field Cards

Although there is no obligation to change field cards, players may wish to change the flow of the game in order to react to being behind or if a player is particularly far in front, or just to try and gain some advantage in the confusion.

A player wishing to change their field card may do so providing they have not changed field card more than three times prior to this occasion and that the source pile still exists. A player aiming to change their field card does so at the start of their turn; they swap their current field card for one in their hand. Note: it must be done in this order.

Note that when a player has played all their face down cards and picks up their field card, the field card ability ends at the end of their turn.

Winning the Game

To win the game a player must simply play all of their face down cards; however, play continues until last place has been decided, this player is dubbed the ‘sole-cunt’.

Card Abilities

Each link has a special ability. Initially, this special ability is determined by its syntactic value, as given in the following table.

Value Ability
2 Overrules*.
3 Following player must play a syntactic-3 or syntactic-Joker.
4 Allows the player to extend the current chain by playing a run of links from the 4 up to at least up to 6. All links in the chain are ‘ability-less’: their abilities are not in effect.
5** Allows the player to swap any one card in their hand with one of their face up cards, if they want. Note that a horizontal face up card must be replaced by a horizontal face up card.
6 Overrules*. When played, its semantic value of the link becomes the semantic value of the previous link and then the game proceeds as it had been its semantic value; for example, when playing a 6 on 5, the semantic value of the 6 becomes the semantic value of the 5—that is, a 5—and then the player who played the 6 can swap with a face up card, as per the ability of the 5. Note, when a 6 is played as the first link in the discard pile, it gets the special semantic value of table.
7 Overrules*. The player decides whether the following player must play higher or lower in syntactic value than 7. 7s can be played on 7s.
8** Skips the turn of the following player.
9 Any link can be played on a 9.
10 Overrules*. Burns the discard pile.
J The player gets to choose whose turn it will be after them (they cannot choose themselves).
Q The player must extend the current chain by playing another link after playing the Q (but it must be able to be played on a Q: if they cannot do so, they must pick up the discard pile).
K** Changes the direction of play i.e. clockwise to anti-clockwise or vice-versa.
A** High card; if a player plays on an ace they must pick up additional cards equal to the number of aces in the link.
Joker Cancels the power of the previous link, and its semantic value becomes the syntactic value of the previous card. Can be played on absolutley any value (including a 3). Jokers act retroactively, and as such may give rise to paradoxes (see below). Like the 6, when the Joker is played as the first card in the discard pile, it gets the special semantic value of table.

* Able to be placed on cards which have a greater semantic value (except when a played 7 prevents this).

** These card abilities stack within links.

There is one non card specific effect: whenever four cards of the same syntactic value are played consecutively, they burn.

Jokers and Paradoxes

Since Jokers act retroactively, paradoxes can arise. For example, if a Joker link is played on an 8, then the Joker cancels the power of the 8 (skipping a person) retroactively, so that the Joker couldn’t have been played, but then the 8s power wouldn’t have been cancelled, so the Joker would have been played, and so on. This situation causes the discard pile to burn, as above. The values for which this situation arises are: 8, Q, J (when the person chosen by the J-placer would not normally be next), K (in games of more than two people), 6 (if the 6 is played on a card of higher semantic value).

The fact that Jokers act retroactively also has other concequences. When a Joker is played on a 4 which has been used to start a run, the player who played the 4 and the run must pick up the whole run (excluding the 4). When a Joker is played on a 5 that was used to swap a card, the player who played the 5 and swapped must swap back.

Field Abilities

As well as each value having an ability it also has a field ability. This is a global effect to all players whilst it is in play. Each player has a field card that can be swapped with a card in the player’s hand under certain conditions.

The field cards have been designed such that they change the flow of the game dramatically; as such, in order to swap, each player must sacrifice their effectiveness in the later game. For more details on field cards, please see the section on changing field cards.

Find below the field abilities.

Value Field Ability
2 Stops all values except 2 from Overruling.
3 Whenever three cards of the same syntactic value appear consecutively in the discard pile, their semantic value becomes 3, which then act in accordance with the ability of the 3. (Technically speaking, the link which contains each of the cards gets semantic value 3.)
4 Pods can no longer consist of more than one card.
5 Pods of semantic value 5 now swap with face down cards rather than face up cards.
6 The source pile is flipped up-side down. Players now draw from the face-up side; as such every other player can see what they draw.
7 Each player decides whether the next player must play higher or lower than the semantic value of the link played (though playing a link of the same syntactic value is always allowed). Note: this beats the ability of the 9: e.g. playing a 9 and saying ‘lower’ requires the following link to be lower than 9. Also, all other values may be regarded as both higher and lower than the special semantic value table.
8 With regards to card abilities, all links now contain twice as many cards; e.g. a link consisting of a single K changes the direction twice, and a link consisting of two 8s skips four players.
9 All links of syntactic value equal to or less than 9 get semantic value 9 by default (note that when there’s a 3 as a field card, the field ablity of the 3 overrides that of the 9: e.g. three 4s get semantic value 3, rather than 9).
10 When cards are burned they are added to the bottom of the source pile, if it exists (otherwise they burn normally). This affects the burning of face up cards when changing field cards. Warning: if a 10 is played as the last possible field card (so all players have their face up cards horizontal), then it will probably take a long time to finish the game, since it is no longer possible for cards to leave the game by burning; do this with caution!
J After every card played, that player gets to choose whose turn it will be next (but they can’t choose themselves). This does not override normal cards, e.g. if an 8 is placed, the person who played does not get to choose the next player, and one person is skipped.
Q No abilities stack within links.
K Changes the orientation of play e.g. from playing equal or higher (in value) to playing equal or lower. This also affects the 4: runs now go in reverse.
A Increases the number of cards in the normal hand by 1.
Joker Cancels all card abilities.

As before, all field abilities are stackable.

Note that if a 6 and at least one A are chosen as the initial field cards, then the effect of the 6 preceeds that of the A. That is, the top card of the source pile should be revealed, then each player should take more cards as appropriate.

Note on Two Player Games

Some card and field abilities will have no effect in two player games, for example, when a J is played, either as card or in field position, the effect cannot come into play as a player cannot choose themselves to be the next person to play. Similarly the K as a card has no effect in a two player game.


Value Ability Field Ability
2 Resetter Small is Mighty
3 The Bitch Three’s a Bitch
4 Runner I’m so Lonely
5 Swapper Bottom-Swapper
6 Mirror I See You
7 Higher or Lower Bifurcation
8 Skips One Stacker
9 Clean Slate We the People
10 Burn Phoenixes
J Chivalry Plague of Chivalry
Q And Another No Shelves
K Back to You Unnatural Order
A High Five Big Hand
Joker Neutralise Exterminate


Fuck Brains was developed by Nemos Thorpe and Matthew Hopley. The original rules can be found here. Cunt Soul is based on a slightly modified version of Fuck Brains, and was developed by Henri French and Sam Adam-Day.


You can contact Sam at, or Henri at

Other Formats

These rules are available in HTML form and as a PDF. The lastest source can be found at Github.


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