Sleep Sort

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Sleep sort is a cooperative card game that involves sorting a deck of cards. Everyone is dealt two cards, and a one-minute timer is started. At any time, anyone can place a card down, forming a stack of face-up cards in the center. When the timer ends, the goal is for this stack to have the cards initially dealt to everyone, in the right order, from bottom to top. No communication (verbal or non-verbal) is allowed, other than placing the cards in the center.

The canonical ordering is 2 Clubs, 3 Clubs, 4 Clubs, ..., Ace of Clubs, 2 Diamonds, 3 Diamonds, etc., with the suits going Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades (the alphabetical ordering). As soon as a mistake is made, it's usually polite to announce it and end the game.

The difficulty of the game can be adjusted by changing the number of cards, or by forcing a certain number of cards to be played face-down. Each player can choose which of their cards are played face-down. For three through six players, the difficulty goes roughly like this:

  • 2 cards, both face-up.
  • 3 cards, all face-up.
  • 3 cards, two face-up, and one face-down.
  • etc. idk the rest of the list

Note that after a certain number of cards, the game actually gets easier without further adjustment. For example, if the entire deck was dealt out, then the game would be trivial.


As the name suggests, the game is about implementing sleep sort. Ideally, everyone should count the number of seconds in their head, and play their card at the appropriate time.


A silly variant is choose-your-own-X sleep sort, which is particularly fun if people don't know much about the canonical ordering of X, or if there aren't well-defined bounds. For example, choose-your-own positive integer sleep sort, or choose-your-own real number between 0 and 1 sleep sort. We've also played choose-your-own-Pokemon sleep sort, trying to get it in Pokedex order, as well as choose-your-own historical figure sleep sort, trying to get it by date of death.

Other ideas: choose-your-own book of the Bible, choose-your-own US president, etc. For this, it's probably better to not stop when a mistake is known to have happened, and just keep going, and just try to minimize number of inversions. More fun not to research until the end.