Sequence (game)

Sequence, an abstract strategy board-and-card game, was invented by Douglas Reuter in Owatonna, Minnesota, over a two-year period in the 1970s. Mr. Reuter originally called the game, "Sequence Five". Reuter spent years developing the concept, and, in June 1981, granted Jax Ltd. an exclusive license to manufacture, distribute and sell the board game, Sequence, and its subsequent variations. The game was first sold in a retail store in 1982.


The object of the game is to form rows of five poker chips on the board by placing the chips on the board spaces corresponding to cards played from the player's hand.


Playing Board ; Instructions; 135 poker chips ; two full standard card decks.

Game rules

Sequence can be played with 2 to 12 players. More than 12 players cannot play. If more than three people are playing, they should divide evenly into two or three teams. With two teams, players alternate their physical positions with opponents around the playing surface. With three teams, players of a team must be positioned at every third player around the playing surface.
If the player who played first wins and the second player wins in the next turn it’s a tie.
The game board is placed on a flat surface with enough room to allow for the draw deck, a discard pile and marker chips. The jokers, if any, are removed from the deck as they are not used in the game.
To decide who goes first, one player shuffles the card decks into two stacks. Each player takes a card from the deck. The player with the lowest card will deal, and the cards are shuffled again. Each player or team then chooses a set of poker chips; all members of each team must use the same color chips.
The number of cards dealt to each player varies by the number of people playing:
Each card is pictured twice on the game board, and Jacks do not appear on the board.
The player to the left of the dealer goes first.
The player chooses a card from their hand, and places a chip on one of the corresponding spaces of the game board. Jacks are wild. Two-Eyed Jacks can represent any card and may be used to place a chip on any space on the board. One-Eyed Jacks can remove an opponent's token from a space. Players may use the Two-Eyed Jacks to complete a row or block an opponent, and One-Eyed Jacks can remove an opponent's advantage. One-Eyed Jacks cannot be used to remove a marker chip that is already part of a completed sequence; once a sequence is achieved by a player or team, it stands. Once a Jack is played, it ends the turn.
The played card then goes face-up into a "Discard" pile, the player then draws a replacement card from the draw deck, and play passes to the left.
A player may place chips on either of the appropriate card spaces as long as it is not already covered by an opponent's marker chip.
If a player possesses a card which does not have an open space on the game board, the card is considered "dead" and may be exchanged for a new card. When it is their turn, they place the dead on card on the discard pile, announce they are turning in a dead card, and take a replacement. Then they proceed to play their normal turn.


Each corner of the board has a "Free" space that all players can use to their advantage. This space acts as if it has a chip of each color on it at all times.
To form rows, chips may be placed vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Each complete row of five is counted as a sequence. Sequences of the same color may intersect, but only at a single position.
If the draw deck becomes depleted during play, the discard pile is shuffled and drawing begins again.
Sequence rules dictate no table talk or coaching between team members and a precise order in which hands must be played. If a player forgets to replace a card on their turn and if any of the other players points it out then, they cannot make it up in a later one and must continue playing the game with a reduced number of cards.


The game ends when a player or team completes 2 sequences.
Two Sequences in a row:
When two Sequences are required to win they can be in one straight row of nine chips. It is nine and not ten, because the rules state that "you may use any 'one' of the spaces from your first Sequence as part of your second." So, a straight line of 9 chips can be formed, in any order and is considered as two Sequences when the 9th chips in a row is placed.
If a Sequence is not announced by the player on creating one then it will not be considered a sequence until the player wishes so.


Unofficial variants

A fun alternative to standard Sequence game play is to go past the minimal number of sequences to win. Players compete to fill the entire board with complete sequences of five chips. Keep score of one point per sequence created. Different from standard game play, a player may remove chips from completed sequences to prevent opponents from scoring. For added difficulty, do not reshuffle the deck should you run out of cards. Game play ends when the board is filled and no additional moves are possible. To declare a winner, tally up the points. Whoever has the most points wins the game.
A fun variation for turning sequence into a drinking game for adults is for each player to pick one number or face cards. Each time any of the chosen cards is discarded, by any player, the player who chose it has to drink. Last man standing wins.
Another fun variation is if a player has two identical cards he or she may play both of them on the same turn. Any player playing a double would pick 2 replacement cards from the pile.

Official variations

Sequence comes in several versions, including: Sequence – States and Capitals; Sequence Numbers; Sequence 25th Anniversary Edition; Jumbo Sequence; Travel Sequence; Sequence Deluxe Edition; and Sequence for Kids. The major difference between the different Sequence versions is the game board sizes, shapes and topics.
There is also Sequence Dice which uses dice instead of cards. The object of Sequence Dice is to be the first person to connect a "sequence" of five chips in a row on the board, just as in the original game. However, a player only has to achieve one sequence in order to win instead of the two sometimes needed in the original. The board displays four interlocking arrangements of the numerals 1-9 and pictures of dice. The four corner spaces on the board depict dice arranged in a "snake eyes" pattern; that is, displaying one and one. The four spaces in the center of the board depict dice showing double-sixes. Players who roll "snake eyes" or double-sixes may roll again.
A variant allows pairs that become trapped by placing your color on each side of a pair of a single opponent to be removed from the board. One or three or more are not an option, but two, not a part of a sequence can be stolen by an opponent. Additionally, this allows for another option to win, as if a player captures any five pairs of any opponent, they win the game.

Legal issues

During a series of legal disputes, Douglas Reuter claimed Jax violated its licensing agreement which would provide grounds for contract termination. In response, Jax denied any violation. Meanwhile, both sides continue to profit from game sales. Jax garners 80 percent of its revenue from Sequence; Reuter receives a royalty on sales of Sequence. Mr. Reuter has also started a new game company called, "Game Inventors of America," which is located in Corinth, Texas.
Unauthorized variations of Sequence have appeared many times over the years. Names of the unauthorized versions include, "One-Eyed Jack," "Jack Foolery," and "Jack Off." In "One-Eyed Jack," the board is constructed using actual playing cards.
In March 2015, Jax Ltd. filed a legal claim against independent video game developer Iridium Studios over the name of their rhythm video game titled Sequence. Not wanting to pay legal fees challenging the claim, the video game developer promptly renamed their game to Before the Echo.