What Are Muggins in Cribbage: A Comprehensive Guide

Cribbage is a popular card game that has been enjoyed by many for centuries. It combines strategy, skill, and a bit of luck to create an engaging and entertaining experience. One unique aspect of cribbage is the concept of “muggins.” In this blog post, we will dive deep into what muggins are in cribbage and how they can impact your gameplay.

Understanding the Basics of Cribbage

Before we delve into the world of muggins, let’s briefly cover the basics of cribbage for those who might be new to this exciting card game. Cribbage is typically played with a standard deck of 52 cards and involves two or more players.

The goal in cribbage is to be the first player to reach a certain number of points (usually 121). Points are earned through various combinations formed during gameplay, including pairs, runs, flushes, and more.

Introducing Muggins: What Does It Mean?

Muggins refers to an optional rule in cribbage where players can score points that their opponents have missed. This means that if an opponent fails to claim points on valid combinations during scoring or accidentally counts incorrect points on their hand or play during gameplay, another player can call out “Muggins!” and score those overlooked points instead.

Rationale Behind Muggins Rule

The inclusion of muggins adds an interesting twist to cribbage as it encourages players to pay close attention not only to their own plays but also those made by their opponents. By keeping track of potential missed opportunities for scoring by others at all times, you have a chance not only to increase your own score but also to prevent your opponents from gaining an advantage.

This rule is not strictly enforced in all cribbage games, as it requires a certain level of attentiveness and can lead to more contentious gameplay. Some players prefer the traditional approach of only scoring what they themselves claim, while others enjoy the added challenge and excitement that muggins introduce.

How Muggins Affects Strategy

With muggins in play, cribbage strategy takes on a whole new dimension. Players must carefully assess their plays and anticipate potential missed points by both themselves and their opponents. This encourages a heightened level of focus throughout the game.

Muggins also introduces an element of risk versus reward. While calling out “Muggins!” can potentially earn you extra points, if you miss any overlooked points or make an incorrect claim during this process, your opponent has the opportunity to call out “Double Muggins!” against you instead.

When Can You Call Muggins?

In most cases, muggins can be called anytime during the scoring phase when valid combinations are being claimed or missed by players. However, it’s essential to establish clear rules before starting the game regarding when and how muggins may be invoked to avoid confusion or disagreements later on.

Friendly Reminders for Playing with Muggins

If you decide to incorporate muggings into your cribbage games, keep these friendly reminders in mind:

  1. Carefully watch both your own moves and those made by your opponents for potential missed scoring opportunities.
  2. Be respectful when calling out “Mugins,” ensuring everyone understands why they are losing potential points.
  3. Avoid rushing into claims; take your time to avoid miscounting points or missing any yourself.
  4. Discuss and agree upon the muggins rule with all players before starting, ensuring everyone is on the same page.


Cribbage is a fantastic card game that offers countless hours of entertainment. The inclusion of muggins as an optional rule adds an extra layer of excitement and strategy for those looking to enhance their cribbage experience. By paying close attention to plays made by both yourself and your opponents, you can take advantage of missed scoring opportunities and gain an edge in gameplay. Remember, clear communication among players regarding when and how muggins may be called is crucial for a fair and enjoyable experience. So gather your cards, invite some friends over, and enjoy the thrill of cribbage!