- Each team will have one person playing with the White pieces and one person playing with the Black pieces
- Partners are allowed to communicate freely throughout the entire game
- Partners will give each other captured pieces (when White captures a Black piece, he or she will give that piece to his or her partner and vice versa)
- Players, during their turn, may choose to either move a piece on the board (following regular chess rules), or may place one of the received pieces (from rule 3) on the board (this counts as that player's turn!). When placing pieces, the following rules apply:
- The square must be unoccupied
- Pawns may not be placed on the first or last ranks (rows)
- The placed piece is allowed to put the enemy king in check upon being placed
- The placed piece is allowed to put the enemy king in checkmate upon being placed
- Upon reaching the last rank, pawns promote as normal. However, the pawn is placed on its side and the new piece is communicated to the opponent. If the promoted pawn gets captured, it reverts back to a pawn (the capturing player's partner will only receive a pawn)
- Calling check is not required; if a player fails to see that their king is in check, their opponent can capture the king, thus ending the game
- If a player is in checkmate, but would have the opportunity to block if given a piece, they must wait until their partner succeeds in capturing a piece that would be a legal blocking piece
- King captures, checkmates, and any illegal move ends the game (if a player notices an illegal move on the part of their opponent, they may declare an illegal move and "capture" the opponent's king, ending the game)
- A team wins as soon as one of its players checkmates their opponent, captures their opponent's king, causes the opponent to run out of time, or flags their opponent's move as illegal
Timed Play: bughouse is generally played with chess clocks set to five (5) minutes, or less, for each player. When a player's time runs out, their opponent can call time to win the game. Only the player's opposing team can call time. If the opposing team does not notice, the game continues as normal.
When playing with clocks, the touch move rule is also not in effect. A player's move is final as soon as that player presses their clock.
Stalling: when playing with clocks, it is legal for any player to "stall". Stalling is simply the action of not making a move until a certain condition is met. For example, a player may desire a particular piece and can wait until their partner succeeds in capturing that piece. If a stalling player's clock runs out, they lose on time, if their opponent notices.
Spectators: spectators are not allowed to comment on a game in progress (unless agreed upon by all four players ahead of time).