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Play Gris

First suggested by Roverway 2024 United Kingdom Contingent
Play this fun Norwegian card game

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Playing cards

Før du begynner (Before you begin)

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here.  Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely. Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers.
  • You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Roverway is a European event for Scouts and Guides aged 16 to 22, which takes place every three to six years. It is a unique event due to its age range and emphasis on youth-led adventure. 

The next Roverway will take place in Norway in summer 2024. The event is divided into three parts: a semi-independent expedition, a jamboree-style camp and a post-event experience. Find out more on our Roverway 2024 page. 

Norway is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe that has mountains, glaciers and big bodies of water, which are called fjords. Many Norwegians embrace the nature through outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking and skiing. Oslo is the capital of Norway.


Gjør klar denne aktiviteten (Setting up the Game) 

  • Make sure you have enough packs of cards for everyone to use.
  • You may want to get into small groups for this activity. 
  • For 4-8 players, you should use a full pack of cards.
  • For 10+ players, you should use 2-3 full packs of cards.

Forklar leken (Introduce the game)

  1. Gather everyone together in a circle. Tell everyone that they’re going to play a game of cards, called Gris.
  2. Explain that Gris is the Norwegian version of card games they may already know called Pig or Spoon. For Gris, when you’ve four cards of the same kind, you must place your thumb on the edge of the table, instead of touching your nose, as you do in Pig, or grabbing a spoon, as you do when playing Spoons. 
  3. Ask everyone to get into small groups for this activity. Depending on how many people are in each group, depends on how many packs of cards they’ll need. 
  4. Ask each group to find a space and sit down.  
  5. Each group should pick someone to be the dealer. The dealer should remove all the Jokers from the deck, then shuffle and deal 4 cards to each player facedown. 
  6. The dealer then collects the left-over cards in a pile and places them to their right. Keep the remaining cards in a deck next to the dealer.  

La oss leke (Lets Play)

  1. The aim of the game is to collect 4 of the same number of card.
  2. Each player can only hold 4 cards at once throughout the entire game.  
  3. The players look at their hands and should silently decide which 4 cards they may want to try to collect.  
  4. The dealer plays first picking up off the deck and decides if they want to swap that with a card in their hand or discard it to their left.
  5. The player on their left picks this up and again decides whether to swap or discard to their left. This moves around the circle until it reaches the player before the dealer, who puts their card in a separate discard pile. 
  6. The dealer does not need to wait for the card to go all the round the circle before taking another card. 
  7. Players continue to pass their cards around the circle, keeping the game going quickly. It can get hard to keep track of what’s going on, but that makes the game more fun and exciting! 
  8. The first person with 4 of a kind, such as all 4 Aces or all 4 Nines, should silently touch their thumb to the edge of the table or on the floor in front of them. 
  9. As soon as someone moves their thumb, all the other players should copy and do the same, even if they don’t have their own 4 of a kind. 
  10. The person who’s last to touch their thumb to the table or floor at the end of the round loses and is out of the game. 
  11. The game continues until there is only one or two players left. 
  12. The winner deals the next round.


In this activity, we played Gris, a traditional Scandinavian game. What was it like playing the card game? Did you enjoy it, or did you find it difficult? Is it like any other games that you know? How did it compare to the usual game of Spoons or Pigs that you may have played? Was it easier or harder?  

This activity was all about concentration and focus. You had to put your thumb down as soon as you noticed that someone else has. How did you concentrate on the cards in your hand, passing the cards, and watching out for people putting their thumb down? How did you remain alert and focused? Did you have a good technique, method, or strategy to help you? Did it get easier as the game went on? What worked best? Although you can get caught up trying to get your own 4 of a kind, it’s important to pay attention to other people's movements and check the thumbs on the table throughout the game. 

What was it like having to put your thumb down quickly too? If you got a four of a kind match, did you have a strategy to putting your thumb down? Did you make it obvious to other players or try to do it subtly and sneakily? 

This was all about learning about other countries and culture. Why do you think it’s important to learn about lots of countries and cultures? Do you know any other games from other countries? What game would you teach someone from another country? 

This game could have variations. What would you do to make this game harder, sillier, or more fun? 


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

  • To make this activity easier, you could use smaller groups, have an adult or young leader join each group, or play the game at a slower pace.  
  • To make it easier, and keep more people in the game, you can use the spelling method to score points. The losing player of each round is given a single letter from the word ‘Gris’, such as they get the letter ‘G,’ and then ‘R’. The first player to receive all the letters to spell out the word loses. With this variation, the rules stay the same, but the game takes a little longer
  • To make it harder, you could play in bigger groups or use more packs of cards. 
  • Make sure there’s a role for everyone. If anyone doesn’t want to play, they can take on another role, such as just being the dealer for the group. 
  • People could work in pairs if someone doesn’t want to do the activity independently or if they may need more support to take part. For example, if someone might struggle with reacting and putting their thumb down quickly, their partner could then help them, while they hold the cards. 
  • If anyone struggles with the action of placing a thumb down, you could change the action that everyone needs to do. It could be sticking their tongue out or holding an ear. 
  • People can move at their own pace, so you don’t need to make it fast unless it works for everyone. 
  • Large print or jumbo cards may be useful for anyone who struggles with fine motor skills or vision loss. 
  • For anyone who may not be able to hear the rules or activities, consider printing them a version that they can read at the same time. 

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

These activities have been designed as Roverway is happening in Norway in 2024. Try some of our other Scandinavian Activities, such as Skiv Heks or take a look at 10 more card game ideas. 

Young people can take turns in being the dealer and running these games.