Have you ever been playing cribbage, and heard your opponent called out ‘Muggins?’
You may be new to cribbage, or maybe your past opponents didn’t play with the Muggins rule. Either way, perhaps you have not heard the terminology before and want to know what it means!
In this article, I will explain the Muggins rule, discuss when it is used, and how you score for it.
I’ll also be covering when it should be used, and how it affects the flow of the game!
What is Muggins in Cribbage?
According to the rules of Cribbage, each player must count their scoring points out loud. After the count, the player must announce their final tally and peg their points.
If there are points still available that the player did not count towards their final tally, an opponent can announce “Muggins” and claim the points, allowing them to peg the remaining points for themselves.
So, essentially Muggins allows you to ‘steal’ points that were unclaimed by the person counting their hand, if they were missed!
Do You Have To Play With The Muggins Rule? Is It Official?
Muggins is an optional rule in the game of cribbage.
Often, when people are learning or are new to the game, they will play without the Muggins rule. If you think about it, this makes sense.
If an experienced player is playing against a novice, there could be an unfair advantage if the Muggins rule is used, as the experienced player will be better at accurately counting hands than novices. Counting points and recognizing card combinations gets easier the more games you play.
Is Muggins Frequently Used?
How often Muggins is announced in a game of cribbage depends on the skill level of the players involved in the game.
When experienced players are playing together, Muggins may not come into play very often because of the skill level of the players. Higher skilled players can recognize scoring combinations in their hand and are less likely to miss points. That being said, the opponent will also be more likely than an average player to see scoring points that might have been unclaimed. So, Muggins can make the game more exciting, even for those with a lot of experience.
Muggins is played most frequently by intermediate players. Intermediate players are more likely to occasionally miss points.
After all, some hands can get a little confusing to count for an intermediate player depending on the card combination in their hand. However, their opponent could have enough recognition of the card combinations to see what they missed, and score themselves some extra points.
Novice players are the most likely to miss points in their hands, or miss out on calling Muggins. It is common for new players to play without the Muggins rule. Other novice players might decide to play the game by acknowledging Muggins, but not scoring the points for it. This helps get the practice of noticing card combinations and to recognize Muggins while playing the game.
Can More Than One Person Claim Muggins?
There is no official rule regulating who gets the points if two people call Muggins at the same time.
Some people will play without the Muggins rule if the game is being played by over two players, as this allows for a more streamlined game play.
In other cases, most people will award the points to the person that shouted Muggins first. If this can’t be determined, then you may opt to divide the points between the players that claimed Muggins.
Does Muggins Affect Gameplay?
The Muggins rule can affect the flow of the game. Muggins can slow down game play because of the need to recount the cards after a player claims Muggins.
Therefore, if time is a factor in your game, I recommend that you avoid playing with the Muggins rule.
The positive advantages to playing with the Muggins rule is that it has all players paying attention to the counting of their opponents’ hands. This keeps players that aren’t currently counting more engaged in the game.
It also helps you to gain better card combination recognition, as you get to see situations where points were missed. Additionally, you get to practice counting during every hand, even when it’s not your turn – building your scoring skills faster!
Muggins is a great way to score additional points during the game, if the opportunity arises!
If you choose to play with Muggins, it is best to play with players at the same skill level to keep the game challenging yet fair.
Make sure all players know you are playing with the Muggins rule. This helps to avoid any confusion resulting in a player possibly missing out on points.
It is great to teach novice players the Muggins rule, but eliminate the scoring of points until the player has gained some experience or confidence to play with the rule enforced.
Whether you choose to play with it or not, we hope you have fun!
– James And Amara