The card game Elfer raus! Master uses the same basic game play as the decades old Elfer raus, but adds a few twists. The game is played using a deck of 103 cards, consisting of:
- 84 number cards, numbered 1 to 21 in four colours;
- 15 connection cards;
- 4 jokers.
There are also seven bonus cards used in scorekeeping.
At the beginning of the game, the eleven of each color is placed in the middle of the table in a column. The other number cards and the jokers are shuffled together, and each player receives a number of those cards as well as a number of connection cards. The goal of the game is to play all of your number and joker cards by building a grid – four rows, each from one to twenty-one.
Each turn, you may play up to four cards from your hand. If you cannot play a card, or don't want to, you draw one card from the draw pile. The cards must be played according to the following rules:
- You must place a number card next to a card that is one higher or lower of the same colour and that is already on the table. So, the red twelve must be placed next to the red eleven, and the red thirteen must be placed next to the red twelve (or in front of the red fourteen). So, the red thirteen cannot be played if neither the twelve nor the fourteen has been played unless you use a connection card.
- Alternatively, you can use a connection card to place a card above or below a card with the same number and a different colour. For example, if the green row is above the yellow row, and the green nine has already been played, you may use a connection card to play the yellow nine in the yellow row. The connection cards are not part of your hand, so they don't count toward the maximum of four cards that you may play during a round.
- A joker may be placed instead of any other number cards. If a player has a number card whose spot is occupied by a joker, he may exchange that card for the joker.
If a player completes a segment from one to eleven or from eleven to twenty-one, he receives a bonus card.
The game ends when a player has played the last card from his hand. Then, points are counted:
- Each bonus card is worth 11 points.
- Each number card that a player still holds is worth as many minus points as its value.
- Each joker that a player still holds is worth 11 minus points.
The player with the highest score wins.