a strategic card game played with a single 52-card playing deck
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A strategic card game played with a regular 52-card playing deck.

Inspired by (elements borrowed from):

Principles for interesting gameplay:

  • There should be a small degree of randomness
  • There should be a strategy bottleneck (some factor limiting available strategies)


One standard 52-card playing deck is all that's needed.

Players draw from the same deck. When the deck is empty, the discard piles of each player are shuffled to form a new deck.

Card types

  • Units (♣ Clubs)
  • Events (♦ Diamonds)
  • Resources (♠ Spades)
  • Environments/Equipment (♥ Hearts)

Resource costs

Resource costs should be some function of the card's (or combination of cards') value.

Card strength/potency

Card strength/potency should also be some function of the card's (or combination of card's) value.

Varying rule sets

Use numerical properties of the cards to determine their abilities

  • e.g. primes have one ability, abilities by parity (i.e. even numbers have another, odd numbers have another)
  • how to deal with face cards and suits?

1 (A) odd 2 prime even 3 prime odd 4 even 5 prime odd 6 even 7 prime odd 8 even 9 odd 10 even 11 (J) prime odd 12 (Q) even 13 (K) prime odd

Extra components

A die?

Card combinations

Cards have effects on their own but can have different effects in combination with other cards.

What card combinations are valid (not all combinations do anything, for instance) and what effect they have are decided before each game. There may be a preset enumerated list of them; at the start of the game you roll dice to see which ones are active for that game.

Possible card effects:

  • Destroy resource
  • Destroy unit
  • Counter event
  • Purge environment/equipment
  • Instant damage
  • Restore life
  • Prevent damage
  • Buff unit
  • Debuff unit
  • Temporary resources

Ferris' Idea

TODO: Add more to shop TODO: Probably needs balancing


Required =

  • 52-card playing deck
  • Sheet of paper + pencil

Misc =

  • 20-sided die (used for the global resource counter)
  • die to keep track of the number of cards each player can use per turn



  • Each card in the deck can be played at any time to add X of that card's suit into your resource pool (e.g. 5 of diamonds will add 5 diamonds to your resource pool).

  • Face cards have the following values:

      Ace = 1
      Jack = 11
      Queen = 12
      King = 13
      Joker = 1 of any suit
  • You can't add resources while spending them (while you're creating a spell). Therefore, a spell's cost can not exceed the global resource counter (see below).

Global Resource Counter (GRC)
  • The total amount of all resources in your resource pool cannot exceed the value of the global resource counter.

  • The global resource counter starts at 2 (meaning at any time, each player can only have 2 of a any resource in their pool at any given time). The global resource counter ticks up by 1 on each player's turn.

    Example: If Player A goes first, the global resource counter starts at 2. Then on Player B's turn, the global resource counter ticks up to 3.

  • If you expend a card that exceeds the value of the global resource counter, then you add the difference of the maximum allowed amount of any given resource, and the current amount in your pool.

    Example: If the GRC is at 5, and you have 1 club, and you play a 5 of hearts, you will end up with 1 club and 4 hearts in your resource pool.

  • You can arbitrarily remove any amount of resources from your resource pool at any time.

  • Resource pools are emptied at the end of the current turn.

  • You can expend resources in the store, or to increase the number of resource cards you can play per turn.

  • To start, each player can only play 1 resource card a turn. They can increase the number of cards they can play but spending (1) + (X) where X = number of resource cards that player can play currently.

      Upgrade costs:
        Current | Next
        1       | (2)
        2       | (3)
        3       | (4)
        4       | (5)
        X       | (1) + (X)


  • The phase of the turn determines which types of spells you can create.

  • When you create a spell, you are must cast it.

  • All abilities must have legal targets, unless otherwise specified in order to be purchased.

  • Resources are expended to buy abilities from the store. All abilities modify properties of spells / permanents.

    The types you can create are:

  • The cost to create a spell of each type:

      Sorcery  = (1)
      Instant  = (2)
      Enchant. = (3)
      Creature = (3)
  • Spells use the stack / priority system from MTG.

  • All creatures start as (0/0)


  • All other rules (tapping, stack, combat, how damage works, when you can play cards of certain types, etc.) work like MTG, except the resources you have empty out at the end of your turn (instead at the end of each phase like in MTG).

  • There are no graveyards. Expended spells are removed from the game.

How to play

  • Each player starts with 20 life, and 5 cards.

  • The global resource counter starts at 2.

  • The game works like MTG, except each player draws from the shared stack. (Untap, Upkeep, Draw, Main Phase I, Combat, Main Phase II, End)

  • As resources are expended they are placed in the discard pile.

  • Used up cards are simply removed from the game.

  • If the center pile runs out of cards, shuffle the discarded pile, and use that as the new deck.

Sample Shop

(C)lub = cleverness, (D)iamond = greed, (S)pade = power, (H)eart = life

  - (XXX): ABILITY = Activated ability with cost (D)
  - (REC)          = Recurring ability at beginning of your turn 
  - EOT            = End of turn
Cost Creature Enchantment Instant Sorcery
C +0/+1 (REC) Target creature gains unblockable until EOT Tap target creature Untap target creature
Target creature gets -3/-0
D +2/-1 (REC) Add 1 resource of any type. Add 1 resource of any type. Lose 1 life Draw a card, then discard.
S +1/0 Prevent 3 dmg Gain 5 Life
H +1/0 (REC) Deal 1 dmg Deal 2 dmg Deal 3 dmg
0/+1 Haste
Target creature gets +3/+3
SSS First Strike You can use an extra resource card this turn. Destroy creature
You can use an extra resource card this turn.
CCC Counter spell Look at target player's hand.
HHH Destroy enchantment
DDD (D): Lose 2, Draw 1

Other ideas

  • ???