Play Nine Card Game Review: Playing Golf Without A Ball!

Play Nine Card Game Review - Cover Photo

How far things have gone… You can play golf without golf clubs or balls. All you need is a bunch of well-designed cards with different actions relevant to your favorite sport. It’s unbelievable how the gameplay makes you feel like you’re playing real-life golf, and one good reason for that is that the same rules will be applied in one way or another to both versions.

For people who haven’t played it yet, this may sound nonsense. This is why we decided to make a whole review about Play Nine, to be your guide and let you have all the necessary pieces of information. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to play this pretty fancy card game, you’ll be conscious of all pros and cons, and you also get to read about our experience with the game. 

  • Details you may be curious about;
  • What’s the box & in the box?;
  • How do you Play Nine?;
  • Our game experience;
  • The game app;
  • Purchasing the game & the competitors;
  • Final thoughts;

Details You May Be Curious About

  • Manufacturer: Bonfit America, INC;
  • Release year: 2007;
  • Box dimensions: 7.5 x 2 x 5.5 inches;
  • Game type: card game;
  • Level of difficulty: easy;
  • Recommended age: 8+;
  • The number of players: 2 to 6;
  • Cards: 108;
  • Special equipment included: Score gamepad, golf pencil & instructions.
  • Official website:;
  • Ratings: 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon, 12,747 ratings. 
  • The aim of the game: Make you use strategy and start a good competition between you and your closest people.

What’s The Box & In The Box

Once you see the box, it’s over. You’ll fall in love with it. Let’s see how it looks from different points of view:

Play Nine Card Game - The Box

The front looks just like that. There’s a glimpse of the cards, the name of the game, and a short definition of it. They’ve mentioned the age range and number of players as well, just so it’s simpler for you to create an opinion if the game would work for your group of people or not. On the top, there are also some details mentioned, such as the challenging part, and the fact that you’ll use strategy while playing. 

The back, undeniably, shares tons more details: 

Play Nine Card Game - Back Of The Box

Superficially it tells us about the main idea behind the game, and what could possibly happen while playing. For some reason, the same explanation is also written in French, and we love to see that! Below, you can read about the game’s official site, if you need extra information. However, we’ll get to that later. 

Guys, I can’t hide it. Here comes my favorite part of every card game: the cards!!! 

Play Nine Card Game - Cards

As we previously mentioned, Play Nine has a total of 108 cards, including 8 cards of each value (from 0 – Mulligan to 12 – Out of Bounds) and four Hole-in-One cards. Take a look at some of them:

Play Nine Card Game - Cards 2

Here are the value cards. See how creative and good-looking the graphics are? 

Play Nine Card Game - Cards 3

You may now see how the back of the cards looks, and also a special Hole-In-One card. Even though they may look nonsense, you will see how useful and great the gameplay they create. The main idea of these cards is that the normal value cards just add to the score, while the hole-in-one are minus points. 

You’ll get to meet all the other cards later once we start explaining the rules, however, we added some of them for you to create an idea of the game.

How Do You Play Nine?

Just to remind you, the game works well with any number of players from 2 to 6. To explain it quickly, here’s how the game is played in simple steps:

  • Start by giving 8 cards to each player. Place the remaining deck in the center of the table creating the draw pile. Then, flip the top card over to start your discard pile. Just like we do with UNO All Wild.
  • Each player has to arrange their cards into 2 rows, 4 cards in a row, but without looking at them. After this is completed, all players have to flip over 2 of the cards, randomly. This is called teeing and it’s the only time when 2 cards are flipped at the same time. The player on the dealer’s left begins the game.
  • There are two scenarios a player may have when it’s their turn: to like the card they drew or not. So, in your turn, you have to draw a card from the draw pile and look at it. If you like the card, you may switch it with any of your facedown or faceup cards. If you don’t like the card you just drew, you may discard it, and flip one of your facedown cards over. If it happens that you like the top card of the discard pile, you can also use that on your turn.
Play Nine Card Game - How To Play
  • You can draw and replace cards until you have one facedown card left. Even if all your other cards are already over, you can switch them to create the goal score. In this case, you may also skip turns (draw cards and discard without turning over cards). 
  • Once that play switches or flips the last face-down card over, the play ends for that player. About the others, they have one last shot to manage one card. After that shot, everyone has to flip all their cards and tally over individual scores. 
  • Now, all cards are added up individually, and hole-in-one cards tell you how many strokes you can cancel from the total score. However, there are some special exceptions to help you get an even lower score:
  1. Matching 2 cards: Once two cards match vertically (meaning they have the same value) they cancel each other and give 0 strokes;
  2. Matching 4 cards: If 4 identical are placed in the same 2 columns, they cancel each other and give a minus 10 stroke bonus;
  3. Matching 6 cards: 3 identical cards above and directly below, cancel each other and a minus 15 stroke bonus;
  4. Matching 8 cards: Once all cards have the same value, you get a minus 20 stroke bonus;
  5. The bonus of 4 hole-in-one: If you have 4 identical cards of hole-in-one, you get the minus stroke value of each card, and a -10 stroke bonus;
  • The game continues for 9 holes. After the ninth hole ends, whoever has the lowest score (adding up the scores of all holes) wins the game.

Our Game Experience: Is It Fair To Compare It With Golf?

Guys, this game is in my family’s top 3 games (competes with Cards Against Humanity). The four of us like to play the game at least twice a month. Let me share with you one of our gameplay experiences and cards we ran into. 

Of course, we always play based on the rules we mentioned above. Deal the cards (I’m usually the dealer), flip 2 cards over, and let the player to my left continued. I don’t really put many strategies while playing, but back in time, I decided to win. 

Play Nine Card Game - Our Game Experience

After I flipped over 2 cards, when it was my turn to play, I switched one of the facedown cards since the flipped cards were a 2 and a 3, which were considerably low numbers. The game was a beautiful chaos in itself. Felt like we were in a rush since the actions were going super fast, and this is one of the things I loved most.

During the game, my set of cards was always looking at a low score, on the mass of the holes. However, I was a bit disturbed during the 5th hole, and I was reaching a high score. The brain wasn’t braining. However, I got back, stronger! 

The first hole round ended with me having 8 points only, and that was a good start. I had 4 identical cards, so they all canceled each other, and a bonus of -10 points to the total which was 18 at the start. One thing that helped me a lot is that I had so much luck with the hole-in-one cards. Almost in every round, I had 2 of them! 

My family members weren’t doing badly as well. My mom didn’t use any strategy at that particular time, this is why she didn’t care at all and only wanted to have fun. Anyways, they ended up with 17, 20, and 26 points. Not bad at all. We played continuously for all 9 rounds. 

Once we finished all hole rounds, luckily, I had the lowest score, supposedly around 50 or something, while the other players had gone so far. The second winner I guess was my dad, who was super invested in the game, and one good reason is that he loves golf!

This game has one magical power: it always brings us closer and makes us spend time together, which we’re lacking. It has super simple instructions, makes you use strategy and create your game plan, which is such a great brain exercise. 

Play Nine Card Game - Our Game Experience 2

Tip: always use the scorepad to write the scores of each round. You’ll think you’ll remember, but you won’t. Yes, it definitely represents golf. With the holes, rules, illustrations, and other details. Even the main rule is the same: the golfer with the lowest score wins.

A Surprise: The Game App Of ‘Play Nine’

Besides having a super cool deck of cards, the manufacturer has also created a game app, for everyone who prefers playing using technology over dealing with physical cards. The app is available on App Store and Google Play. This is how the app looks:

Play Nine Card Game - The Game App

The gameplay is the same, there are 8 cards for each player, there’s one discard and draw pile and all that kind of stuff. The best priority of the app is that all the strokes and scores, and special exceptions are calculated automatically, so all that’s left to you is to play and have fun. 

It offers in-app purchases, but to play the casual game, you can download it for free.

Purchasing The Game & The Competitors

If you want to stick to the old but gold and buy the actual cards, here are some ideas: 

Even though it is not one of the card games under $10, I still think it has an affordable price. If you’re curious about the competitors, check them below:

1. Skyjo – $14.95

Skyjo - Play Nine Competitor

Just like when playing Play Nine, Skyjo requires a strategy to have a good game. It has 150 playing cards and each player gets 12 cards in a round. The game can be played by whoever is 8 years or older, with 2 to 8 people. The winner is whoever has the lowest score. 

2. Five Crowns – $11.26

Five Crowns - Play Nine Competitor

Even though they have a different style, Five Crowns and Play Nine have lots in common. The main thing is that in both games you win if you have the lowest score. Five Crowns is made to be played by 1 to 7 players, ages 8 and up. As a five-suited rummy-style card game is easy to learn and fun to play! 

3. Quiddler – $13.04

Quiddler - Play Nine Competitor

Quiddler is a card game made for 1 to 8 players, ages 8 and up. In both games you have to arrange cards, in our case, in Quiddler, you have to arrange cards in order to create words. The goal of the game is to get the most words or the longest word bonus. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re willing to play something completely safe for all ages, you should definitely go with Play Nine. Also, if you’re a fan of golf and you don’t have much time to go and play the real sport, the card game is a good match. Here’s a comparison of pros and cons if y’all need it: 

Super simple rules;
Safe for all ages;
Affordable price;
Good quality of cards;
Well-thought design;
Makes you use strategy and other skills;
Unique from other card games;
Has a game app you could use;
Doesn’t have any special pack or edition;

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