How to Play Add and Subtract

Add and Subtract is a fun little card game for kids ages 7 and up. As you probably gathered from the title, it’s great practice for those hoping to practice their addition and subtraction.


How to Set Up Add and Subtract

Set Up Add and Subtract card game

Add and Subtract is a game for just 2 players. All you need is a deck of cards, 52 cards or 32, it doesn’t really matter, but if you both need help keeping track of the points, you can also include a paper and pencil.

  1. Shuffle the cards and place them in a stack in the center of the table where both players can reach them.
  2. Be sure to rid the deck of any Joker cards. They’re not needed for the game.
  3. Both players pick one card each from the top.
  4. The player with the higher number will be adding, and the player with the lower card will be subtracting. Check the bottom of the guide to see the points for each card.
  5. The dealer (doesn’t matter who) will pass out the rest of the cards. All cards must be passed out face down.


The Rules of Add and Subtract

Rules of Add and Subtract Card Game

The aim of the game is to reach one of two goals: 70 through adding, or 30 through subtracting.

  1. The players will begin with a “pot” of 50 points.
  2. The player who is adding will start first.
  3. The “add” player will begin placing a card in the middle of the table, face up where both players can see. Whatever the number of points is on the card, that number will be added to the starting 50. For example, the card he lays down is a 6. You add 6+50 and get 56.
  4. Next, the “subtract” player will choose a card to play.  The “subtract” player takes the number on the card away from the previous total that was added up. In our example, the “add” player made it to 56. If the “subtract” player lays down an 8, then 56-8 will make the “pot” 48 points.
  5. Both players will continue taking turns placing their card on the center pile in the middle of the table.
  6. The “add” player will try to reach 70 points while the “subtract” player will try to reach 30 points. Meeting either goal will cause the player on that end to win.
  7. If the cards run out, then the player who didn’t shuffle the first time will shuffle the discard pile and redistribute them.
  8. Optional: If you want to make the game just a bit more challenging, then you can add the rule that the “add” and “subtract” players need to hit their goal exactly in order to win. That means having points over 70 or under 30 will not win the game.


Point System

Point System in Add and Substract card game

  • Aces are worth 1 point.
  • Number cards are worth their face value. For example, the 5 card is worth 5 points
  • Jacks are worth 11 points
  • Queens are worth 12 points
  • Kings are worth 13 points
  • Jokers are not worth anything. Discard them before playing.