If you own a game of Donkey™, then you know you’ve potentially got a party in a box!   In fact you’re probably being invited to a lot of parties lately and the host is probably reminding you to bring your game along.  Imagine two, three or four tables all playing Donkey™ at the same time!  At one party we had six tables all playing at once!  The neighbor was as mad as a rabid dog and foaming at the mouth when he came over to complain about the noise, but since we were a man short at one of the tables, we sat him down in the empty seat, dealt him a hand and warned him of the ferocity of the other players if he got any froth on the pucks.  He’s been hooked ever since.

Rules for Hosting a Donkey™ Tournament:

  1. For starters, make sure you have a separate Donkey™ game for each group of six to eight players.
  2. Be creative and go with a theme for the evening:  Crazy Hats or Wild Ties. Your guests will be laughing before they even get in the door.
  3. Feed your guests ample food and water.  Nothing spoils a Donkey™ tournament like eight ravenous, blood-thirsty vultures afraid to walk over to the chips and dip table for fear they’ll miss a puck.
  4. Distribute your players evenly, six to eight per table.  Save a place for the neighbor.
  5. Each table plays according to the original Donkey™ instructions.   When all tables have narrowed their players down to two semifinalists, wipe up the spilled drinks from one of the tables and chairs, and seat all of the semifinalists at the clean table.
  6. The semifinalists will now play a game of single elimination (or cut-throat) Donkey™.  There are no words to spell in the final round and the kicker cards are set aside.   All semifinalists will be saving for a four-of-a-kind.  Choose a dealer any way you wish and place the pucks on the table accordingly (one less puck than there are players).  When the first deal begins, the semifinalists may not speak to any of the Donkeys from the previous game.
  7. Once a semifinalist misses a puck or is called out on a technicality, he must announce his fate (he is a Donkey!).  Any remaining player who speaks to this Donkey or any of the Donkeys from the original tournament tables will automatically become a Donkey, too.   (The semifinalists will drop like flies!)
  8. The final two players face off for a duel with one puck between them.  The dealer shuffles the cards.  His opponent cuts the deck in half.  The dealer chooses his half and his opponent takes the other half.  Each player deals his opponent four cards and places the remainder of his cards in front of himself.   When the dealer says “go” both players play off of their own stack of cards, discarding to their left.   If a player runs out of cards, he draws from the discard pile of his opponent.
  9. Only one player will get the puck and win the tournament.  All other players are a just a bunch of ……. Donkeys!   The winner of the tournament is exempt from having to help clean up the mess.    When the games have been picked up and put back in their boxes, set a date for your next tournament and invite your neighbor; he’s been a good sport.


  1. Our table is narrowed down to the final two, but the other tables are still playing.  May we talk to the donkeys until the Final Play begins?

Yes, this is a good time to make friends with the Donkeys at your table again; they’ll be the ones cheering you on in the Finals.  When the dealer at the Finals Table deals the first card, that’s your cue to stop speaking to the herds of Donkeys that will by now have surrounded you … back side facing in, and one foot ready to punch.

  1. Can a donkey that lost in the first game get put into the semifinals?

Yes, if the neighbor’s wife comes over and drags him home because he promised he would be right back and it’s been two hours, someone may take his place in the Finals.