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How To Play Go Nuts for Donuts

go nuts for donuts how to play feature

WARNING: Zatu is not accountable for any self-inflicted sugar comas induced via an over-consumption of Go Nuts for Donuts.

So, you have just treated yourself to a delectable new set of donuts collecting game. You have peeled off the lid, and your mouth is now salivating everywhere at the scent of that crisp, fresh sugary morsel game. What now? Well, first thing first. DO NOT EAT THE GAME OR ANY OF ITS CONTENTS. Now that is out the way, wash your sugar-dusted fingers, wipe that strawberry jam from your mouth and prepare to learn a new simple game that will bring plenty of fun for you and your friends/family. Enjoy Go Nuts for Donuts!


You will notice that, upon opening the box, there isn’t actually a whole lot to this game. The first thing you will need to do is take the deck of donut cards and separate them into different coloured cards.

The colours on the cards are not reflective of the type of card that it is, but rather for the player count. There are also a number of ‘dots’ at the top and bottom of the text box of each card. This represents how many players are needed to use that card.

  • Green cards have 2 dots and are used in a 2-player game.
  • Pink cards have 3 dots and are used in a 3-player game.
  • Purple cards have 4 dots and are used in a 4-player game.
  • Blue cards have 5 dots and are used in a 5+ player game.

You will use the cards indicated for how many players you have, plus all the cards in lower count games.

Also, dependent on the player count will be how many cards are up for grabs in the donut row. The counters with the numbers on will be used to number each ‘row’ and you will use 1 more than the number of players. The cards with the numbers on will be given to each player, one of each number up to the player count, plus 1 also.

Example 1: a 4-player game will use all the purple, pink and green cards. This game will also require tokens labelled 1 to 5. Every player will also have a numbered card from 1 to 5.

Example 2: a 6-player game will use all coloured cards. It will also require tokens from 1 to 7 and for each player to have cards numbered from 1 to 7.


So, that might have looked like a lot to digest (pun totally intended) but it is a process that will take you maybe 30 seconds at most.

As for the actual set-up, it is an even easier process. After the pre-setup is done, then you just lay the tokens down in ascending order, give everyone a set of numbered cards and shuffle all the donut cards together (that you are playing with). All of these will of course vary between player counts.

Place the stack of donuts face down to form a draw pile and reveal and place one donut into the space below each numbered counter. Each counter will only have one donut below it. It is important to always fill the donuts in ascending order, from 1 up to the last numbered token.

Playing the Game

Now that Go Nuts for Donuts is set up, which will take you less time than actually reading through what I have written so far, it is time to play!

So, the number cards that everyone has hold of are known as the selection cards. At the start of each round, every player will secretly choose a donut that they want. They will then take the numbered card that matches the number token above the donut they want, and place it face down in front of them. Once everyone is ready, then the cards are revealed at the same time.

Now, moving from the lowest selection number we check to see who has chosen which donuts. Always move in ascending order in case of any mix-ups. If only one person has selected a donut, then they win it, placing it in front of themselves face up. If more than one person chose the same donut, then the donut is discarded instead and those people get nothing this round.

When all the selection cards have been played, and everyone has gotten a donut, or not, then everyone takes back their selection card. New donuts are then drawn to fill in the blanks left behind, always being placed in the lowest slot first and filling up in ascending order. And a new round of donut selection begins.

The game will end when there are not enough cards left in the deck to fully replenish the cards up for grabs. Points are then counted. Predictably, whoever has the most points wins, if there is a tie, then whoever has the most cards of the tied players wins, if there is still a tie, then it is a joint victory.

Action Cards

If a card you have won is an action card, then the effects are resolved as soon as it is placed in front of you. Action cards are distinguishable as the effects on them are not for the end of the game, and they will always have little stars in the corners of the text box.

If several people have won an action card in the same round, then the effects are triggered in order of pick up. This is why it is always important to work in ascending order when playing Go Nuts for Donuts. The effects of a donut picked up from slot 2 will be played out before one is picked up in slot 4, for example.

Important note: an action card’s ability is only ever triggered when you pick it up from the donut row. If it is picked from the discard pile, taken from another player etc then its ability does not trigger. You will only get the card’s point value at the end of Go Nuts for Donuts.


You may believe that a simple little game like this does not hold much depth to it, but you would be surprised. The more players you have, the larger the range of donuts you will have access to in Go Nuts for Donuts. This means, the more players there are, the more varying and interesting your tactics can be. It is not often I recommend playing a game with the maximum number of players, but it really does do this game more justice doing so.

The Green Menu For 2 Players 

  • Chocolate Frosted – Allows you to draw the top card of the donut deck and place it in front of you.
  • Donut Holes – Accumulated score total depending on how many you collect:
    • 1 is worth 1 point.
    • 2 is worth 3 points.
    • 3 is worth 6 points.
    • 4 is worth 10 points.
    • 5+ is worth 15 points.
  • Éclair – Has you taking the top card of the discard stack.
  • French Cruller
    • Worth 2 points at the game end.
    • Allows you to discard any number of unselected donuts when you pick it up.
  • Glazed – Worth 2 points at the end of the game.
  • Jelly-Filled - Accumulated score total depending on how many you collect:
    • 1 is worth 0 points.
    • 2 or 3 is worth 5 points.
    • 4 or 5 is worth 10 points.
    • 6 is worth 15 points.
  • Maple Bar – Scores 3 points at the end of the game, but only if you have more than 6 types of donuts.
  • Plain
    • Scores 1 point at the end of the game.
    • If you have the most at the end of the game, you get an extra 3 points.
  • Powdered – Scores 3 points at the end of the game.

The Pink Menu For 3 Players

  • Boston Cream - Accumulated score total depending on how many you collect:
    • 1 is worth 0 points.
    • 2 is worth 6 points.
    • 3 is worth 0 points.
    • 4 is worth 15 points.
    • 5 is worth 0 points.
    • 6 is worth 25 points.
  • Double Chocolate – Draw 2 cards from the donut deck, select and keep one, place the other back on the top of the deck.
  • Red Velvet
    • Is worth -2 points at the end of the game.
    • Let's you pick a card of your choice from the discard pile.
  • Sprinkled
    • Is worth 2 points at the end of the game.
    • You must give a card to an opponent. If this is your only card, it has to be this one.

The Purple Menu For 4 Players

  • Bear Claw
    • Is worth -2 points at the end of the game.
    • Allows you to take a card from an opponent.
  • Cinnamon Twist
    • Is worth 1 point at the end of the game.
    • When you take this card, every player must give a card to the player on their left. If anyone has no cards, this card is discarded instead.
  • Coffee – Scores you 1 point for every card you have that gives you negative points.
  • Day-Old Donuts
    • Scores -7 points at the end of the game.
    • Take up to any 3 cards from the discard pile.
  • Milk
    • Scores 5 points at the end of the game.
    • Must discard 3 cards or discard this card.
  • Old Fashioned – Scores 5 points at the end of the game as long as you have fewer than 10 donut cards.

The Blue Menu for 5 & 6 Players

  • Maple Frosted – Scores 5 points at the end of the game as long as you have the fewest number of cards.
  • Mucho Matcha – Scores 3 points at the end of the game as long as you have fewer than 7 types of donuts.
  • Raspberry Frosted – When you take this card, you must discard another one of your cards. If you have none, then you discard this card.
  • Strawberry Glazed
    • Scores -2 points at the end of the game.
    • Allows you to discard one of your opponents’ cards. If none have any cards, then you still keep this card.

The Icing on Top

This is a whole heap more than you need to know to play Go Nuts for Donuts. I hope you found it even somewhat helpful though!

A few closing things to think about when you are laying in bed struggling to sleep:

Imagine my pain of typing ‘donut’ so many times when I am British and know the proper spelling is ‘doughnut’. Damn the Americanised dictionary!

Knowing just how tasty donuts/doughnuts are, if they were sentient, like animals, and all had natural faces on like in this game, would you still eat them? Would the jam taste a little more….. metallic?

And with that, I will say my goodbyes. See you on the next feature!