Strategy is key for Battlefield Cribbage. Remember, BFC is less about luck and more about strategy. This page is dedicated to provide some basic strategies. As you develop your own strategies feel free to send them to us, and they might get published on this page.
Monitor the likely cards that will be thrown into the crib. Alter play to prevent setting up the crib for a high scoring hand. This would be an exception to discarding a 5. Example, if it is apparent that someone will go out, dump cards that will help the opponent’s crib.
In general, take a five if it presented unless you are ready to go out and the five would end up in the opponents crib. In just a few hands a 5 can redeem a hand.
Do not use a 5 in pegging, unless two conditions are meet: 1) more than 70% of the cards have been played and 2) the opponent has a mature hand that does not use 5s. Picking up a 5 can redeem a hand quickly; therefore you only wish to give the card if there is not enough time for them to assemble a hand.
“Looking down the road”
When starting a run, look at the opponent’s hands and determine if you will be the net winner if other players have cards that will fit in the run. Do not forget that the player can lay a card on the run or replace a card to continue the run.
“Wait and see”
If you have a card that matches a opponent’s card and they are waiting for you to discard it so they can peg, wait until putting the card on the frontline such that it if they pair it the frontline will go over 31.
“Three legged man”
Be sure to remove the card from the deck if the opponent has set up two cards in order to play the third in a sequence from there formation to score a three-point run on the frontline.
“15 for 4”
Avoid placing a card on the frontline such that if the card is paired the frontline value is 15 or 31. Your opponent may pull the pairing card off the draw pile and place on the frontline for four points.
“Gathering acorns for winter”
If you are pegging runs, consider pulling a card off the run so you can get back in an upcoming turn.
“Giving one for the team”
It is okay to allow the opponent 2 points in pegging if putting the card gives you a good hand. Consider this if you are planning to go out soon.
“A partridge in a pair tree”
Pegging Offense (2-handed only)
If you have pair in your formation, especially low cards, and they do not help the hand, play one of the cards. This will force the opponent to pull the card off and put it their hand or give up two points, because you can pull off the card they play and they play the pair. This also works if you choose the card from the draw pile and it pairs a card in your formation, play the draw card on the frontline.
“Three little pigs”
If a pair is played on the frontline, it is your turn, and you have three down cards, draw a card looking for the three of a kind to place on the frontline. If the draw card does not match place a down card from your formation. Of course, only pursue this strategy if the cards on the frontline have not been played out.
Find two cards in your formation that sum to 11 or more and when added to the frontline after taking off the last card add up to 31. The play is that you remove the card from the frontline and replace it with one of the two cards. If you opponent doesn't take the card off, you will score 31 on your next turn. This often causes a player to take a card they do not want.
“Watch out for thin ice”
Monitor the cards being played and keep in mind how many of the cards were played. Use this information to determine the best hand to build. For example, if all the 8’s were played, do not build a hand that requires a 8.
“1st turn pegging”
Do not pair or put two consecutive face cards unless the last person to start. This is because the next player has four opportunities to find the card to create three-of-a-kind for six points.
“It’s not funny”
Joker Defense (2 handed play)
If the opponent has the joker, go out ASAP. This minimizes their ability to peg.
“Cast the net”
While pegging, only trade off double runs if the net-score difference will be zero.
“Go ahead punk”
Hold the joker to prevent the player to the left from going out. Use the opportunity to peg and if a good hand develops go.
“Push for the red-zone”
If you are in the lead, and you get a good start on cards (i.e. they fit can easily make a eight point hand or more) go out quickly. Even if everyone scores a good hand you increase your advantage because you reduce the points to the end. The principal is that all players will score points as someone looks for the magic run that will eliminate the lead, but if you are closer to the end, they will probably push you into the win.
“Die that you might live”
There will be many instances that it will be a wise thing to destroy your hand in order to peg. Ask the question if you opponent has a hand such that if you destroy your own will they go out and catch you with very few points in your hand? If not you may consider destroying you hand to gain pegging points. Also, if you have the joker, the threat of killing the round gives you freedom to destroy a good hand and pegging like crazy.
Cut Card Selection
If your opponent has a hand built in there formation, consider giving them a card that if scored would make there hand really good. Sometimes people forget that they can only play 4 of the 5 cards in their formation and they do not realize that the card you put on the frontline really doesn’t help. A rookie player may take the card and go out thinking that they will improve their hand tremendously and in doing this allow you to choose the cut card.
“Blah, Blah, Blah”
Prior to playing the game the players should agree upon the level of table talk allowed. For beginners table talk can be very helpful and even fun as new strategies are pointed out. For experienced players table talk could be used to mislead bringing a fun level of tension.