According to Hoyle, cribbage requires two to four players, though the printed rules assume there are only two players. The overall goal is to match combinations of cards such as pairs and runs.
Cribbage combinations include many that are common to other card games, such as three or four of a kind and flushes. One scoring convention unique to cribbage is that groups of cards that add up to 15 or 31 also earn points for the player.
Play requires a standard 52-card deck. Aces are the low cards and kings are the high cards. Different combinations of cards result in different point awards; points may vary depending on whether the combination is played or in hand. The first player to reach 121 points wins the game.
Cribbage play requires a special board. The board has rows of holes through which the players advance pegs after each hand. The points earned during that hand determine how far players advance their pegs. This provides an accurate secondary means of keeping score.
"Muggins" is an optional rule of the game that appears in the official rules. If a player forgets to claim points, opponents can yell "Muggins" to claim the points for themselves.