- 32 beach cards
- 12 Mermaid/man cards
- 4 Seaweed cards
- 2 Sneaker Wave cards
- 1 Sea Monster cards
- 26 Shell cards
Object of the Game
Collect the most shell points by playing Mermaids/ men or pairs of beach items to the discard pile. Who- ever has the most points when one player is either out of cards or holds only the Sea Monster wins.
Divide the cards into a Beach deck and a Shell deck, according to card back.
Shuffle each deck separately to make sure the cards are well mixed.
Deal 5 Beach cards face down to each player. (7 cards in a two player game). Hold cards in your hand, secret from opponents. Stack the rest of the Beach deck face down in the middle of the playing area.
Stack the Shell deck face down next to the Beach deck, leaving space for discard piles for both of them.
The player with the waviest hair goes first and play continues to the left. On every turn, take ONE of the following six actions:
- Discard a Mermaid/man card and then draw the top card from the Shell deck. As a bonus, take another turn!
- Discard a Mean Mermaid card and take one Shell card from any player.
- Discard a pair of matching beach items and then draw the top card from the Shell deck.
- Ask another player for a match to a Beach card in your hand.
- Discard a Sneaker Wave card and choose a player to lose any one Shell card.
- Discard a Seaweed card and choose a player to draw one Beach card.
All of these options are described in detail below.
Mermaid and Merman cards are powerful because they not only let you draw from the Shell deck, but they also give you a bonus turn. To make this happen, play a Mermaid or Merman card to the Beach discard pile.
Then draw the top card from the Shell deck. See "Drawing from the Shell Deck" for more details.
You then get to take another turn!
2. Mean Mermaids
There are two not-so-nice mermaids in the Beach deck: Evil Eva and Meany Marty. When you play either one of these identical twins to the Beach discard pile you do not draw a card from the Shell deck.
Instead, you may steal one face up Shell card of your choice from any player. Place the Shell card face up in front of you. This ends your turn. (No bonus turn).
3. Pairs Of Matching Beach Items
If you have two of the same type of beach item in your hand, play them to the Beach discard pile and then draw the top card from the Shell deck.
See Drawing from the Shell Deck for more details.
4. Ask A Player For A Matching Beach Card
If you can't do any of the above actions, you may ask another player for a match to one of your Beach cards. For example, "Do you have an umbrella?"
If that player has a match in her hand, she must give it to you. Discard the pair and then draw the top card from the Shell deck. If she doesn't have a match, she must say, "Go to the Beach!"
This means that you must draw the top card from the Beach deck. If you draw a matching beach item or a special card (mermaid/man, sneaker wave, seaweed), you may play it immediately. Otherwise, add it to your hand and play passes to the left.
5. Sneaker Waves
Sneaker waves are particularly sneaky because they take opponents' Shell cards back into the ocean!
Play this card to the Beach discard pile and choose any one face up Shell card from a player to go into the Shell discard pile. This ends your turn.
Seaweed may be good for you, but it's yucky for opponents!
Play a Seaweed card to the Beach discard pile and then choose a player to add the top card from the Beach deck to his hand. This ends your turn.
The Sea Monster
Don't get caught holding the Sea Monster at the end of the game because it eats all of your highest numbered Shell cards!
If you have the Sea Monster in your hand, try to pass it to another player before the game ends.
Drawing from the Shell Deck
Any time you discard a Mermaid/man card or a pair of matching beach items, you get to draw the top card from the Shell deck. You may draw one of two types of cards:
1. Shell Cards
Shells are worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 points. Place the Shell card face up in front of you. Whoever has the most shell points at the end wins.
Starfish force all players to pass one Beach card from their hands face down to the player either on the left or right.
Read the direction on the card and pass accordingly. Place the Starfish card in the Shell discard pile.
If you only have one card in your hand, you still must pass it.
This is a good opportunity to pass a card you don't want. (Hint-Hint: The Sea Monster!)
End of the Game
The game may end in one of two ways:
- One player is completely out of Beach cards.
- One player is left holding only the Sea Monster card.
At either point, anyone holding the Sea Monster must reveal it and then discard all of her highest numbered Shell cards. Then each player adds up the values of any remaining face up Shell cards. Whoever has the most points is the winner. In case of a tie, whoever has the most individual Shell cards wins.
Note: If you discard a Mermaid/man or a pair of beach items as your last card(s), you still get to draw from the Shell deck.
If you draw a Starfish, all other players still have one last chance to pass a card to the left/right before the game officially ends.
End Game Scoring Example: At the end of the game Emily wound up holding the Sea Monster, which means that it "eats" both of her highest numbered (4) Shell cards. She counts up the rest of her shells for a total of 11 points.
Tips for Younger Players
When playing with younger players, remove the Mean Mermaid and Sneaker Wave cards from the Beach deck. Also, here's a tip for figuring out the totals at the end of the game: Place each player's Shell cards in a row and then count up the individual shells on the cards.