The card game known as “Hand of the Hanataz” is played throughout the world of Zyathe’ in gambling tents and taverns alike. The origin of the game goes back to the land once known as Calanta, but is now modern day Madronog. Three well renowned Hanataz performers known as the Troupe of the Brazen Burlap escaped an orokonoid war camp with their lives and a new game. The famous trio are known for their travels and for their magical sack which held everything needed to set up an amazing sideshow.
During the orokonoid invasion of Calanta the troupe was captured and placed in a wooden cage by a large warparty. Of the old traveling folk tales involving La’erly Sudderfang (a female ordrin juggler), Krery Boldensung (a male dwarven bard), and Meu Happunstein (a male halfling brewer), this one in which they gamble for their lives with the Orcish Cheiftain Mikar the Meatsplitter is told most often.
The Troupe of the Brazen Burlap sat in a wooden cage at the edge of the firelight. A group of orokonoids gathered around the fire on stumps and large rocks finishing their dinner. Krery begins to hum a tune softly while he taps his knuckles against the wood. “Cut that out.”, said Meu, “You attract the ire of our captors and we may become dessert.”
“Sorry, just helps calm the nerves a bit yer know.”, replies the dwarven bard.
La’erly points a finger at a sack being opened by one of the nearby orcs. “What’s that?” she whispers as the orc begins to pull what looks to be finger bones from the bag. He then opens a second bag and draws out a set of wooden carved runes.
“That’s it! Runes of dark power! They’ll be conjurin some terrible demon next and sacrificing us up as favors to their dark god.”, exclaimed Krery.
Meu interrupted, “It looks like a game...yeah they are playing a game. The bones are the currency it seems, and the runes are the pieces.”
La’erly pressed herself up against the wooden gate of the cage and extended her arm in an impossible looking angle and pulled the pin from the gate’s latch saying in an eager tone, “I love games.” The gate quietly swung open and she went to the fireside and looked over the closest orokonoid’s shoulder.
“She couldn’t have done that hours ago?” remarked Meu as he moved to recover the magical burlap sack that was the namesake of the troupe. Krery hesitantly stepped out of the cage and nearly fell as a loud bellow of anger escaped from the largest orc at the campfire.
“You really should have played the one with the mountain looking symbol.” chided La’erly in a perfect orcish dialect as she pointed to the pile of runes laying on the ground near the campfire. The orc who had just bellowed at the loss of so many bones shook his head in agreement before realization dawned on him who it was that had offered the unsolicited advice.
Krery’s whisper seemed much louder than he had intended in the silence that followed, “Run La’erly.” The orokonoids around the campfire were frozen in utter surprise and looked to their leader, who then bellowed a laugh. The large orc stood and waved a large hand toward where he once had been seated.
“Well then half-breed, you shall play my next round. Perhaps if you show me how I should play better, I will let you go free. How should Chieftain Mikar the Meatsplitter change his game?”, the chieftain said with as much joviality as threat in his demeanor. La’erly gleefully took a seat and began to instruct while her companions were escorted back to their cage by more than a few orokonoids.
“Firstly, you are the chieftain, so you always play “the house”. This means we need a way for everyone to play against each other but for you, great chieftain, the rules are different. So if I were you, I’d play like this.”, said La'erly, placing a rune face down in front of her. “Now the game goes like normal between everyone else. But then whoever wins has to wager against your hidden rune or split their winnings with you.”
Mikar the Meatsplitter was intrigued and told those at the fire to try this new way of playing. Indeed after five rounds the chieftain’s winnings had grown. True to his word, he allowed the Troupe of the Brazen Burlap along with their magical sack to go free. As soon as the troupe made it safely away from the war party, La’erly pulled a deck of cards from their magical sack and began creating her own version of this orcish campfire game. Today we call this game “Hand of the Hanataz” as the house’s hand always plays last against the winner of the pot.
Tabletop Misfits Playthrough Video:
https://youtu.be/HtbC7nxM63s (Needs to be rerecorded with new changes.)
The Chrysalis Creative Endeavors game that this game was based on: Runes & Bones
3-8 players using two decks. (3-4 players using a single deck)
Keep control of the pot until your next turn to challenge the Hand of the Hanataz to win the pot.
Remove the Nubs from the deck. These are only used for tracking who is active in the current hand.
Give every player 15 silvs.
(In Roleplay scenarios, the characters just come to the table with the silvs they have.)
Put a Nub in front of every player face up.
Deal 5 cards to each player.
Each player puts a silv into the pot. (1st turn only!)
Place a 5 card “Hanataz Hand” face down on the table.
Place the Hanataz token by the pot.
Place the Fool Token(s) by the pot. (One per fool in the deck.)
Whoever controlled the pot in the previous hand starts the new hand. Choose randomly for the first hand.
Set up for each hand:
On a player’s turn they have 4 options.
When playing a number card next to the pot, you can take control of the pot in two ways:
When you take control of the pot, take the Hanataz token and place it on your Nub card to show everyone who’s card controls the pot.
If you start your turn with the Hanataz token on your Nub, you then challenge the Hanataz hand by choosing a face down Hanataz card and flipping it into the discard.
If the Hanataz hand’s card beats the card that controls the pot, the house takes half of the pot rounded down.
When refilling the Hanataz Hand, do not change the position of any of the face down cards. Simply add new cards face down to the empty spaces. Only when certain conditions occur will the Hanataz Hand be “refreshed”.
Refresh the hand of the Hanataz by discarding all cards in the Hanataz hand, shuffling the discard pile into the deck, and replacing the Hanataz hand with five new cards from the top of the deck when either of the following occurs during gameplay:
<N> Nub - Not used in Gameplay. Placed face up in front of each player to help other players see who is still an “Active Player.” When a player “Nubs Out”, they flip the Nub in front of them and cannot play or be targeted until the next hand.
<J> Jester - Jester’s Insight: Look at a face down card of the Hanataz hand and choose to place it back in the same position or shuffle it into the 5 Hanataz cards. Draw one card. Play a card from your hand.
<W> Wizard - Conjuration: Draw 2 cards
<D> Dragon - Hoard: Take 3 coins from the pot. If this leaves the pot empty, the round is ended and a new round is set up.
<R> Rogue - Thievery: Take two silvs or a silv and a random card from any player. If a player doesn’t have them or doesn’t wish to fork them over they are out of the game. Hanataz gambling masters always remember players who refuse to pay and don’t allow them to rejoin a game without verifying their coin.
<C> Crown - Gambling Tax: All players must add a silv to the pot or “Nub Out”.If the player controlling the pot “Nubs Out”, control of the pot returns to the Hanataz. The house adds a silv to the pot as well.
<K> Knight - Protection: Counter a Rogue or Dragon card just played. This is the only card that may be played “off-turn”. If you are nubbed out you may only play a Knight if you are targeted by a Rogue.
<F> Fool - Trick and Trade: Draw a face down card from the Hanataz hand and place it into your hand. Shuffle the Fool into the Hanataz Hand and place it face down again in the center of the table. Take the Fool token from the center.
If a fool is revealed from the Hanataz Hand at the end of a round, the player with the fool token takes the pot instead (or splits it with whoever else has a fool token in case of multiples in the deck.) If the Fool token is still in the Hanataz Hand’s control, the Hanataz takes the pot (or splits it with another player controlling a fool token). The discard pile and the Hanataz Hand are then reshuffled and the Fool token(s) returns to the Hanataz Hand’s control at the center of the table.
- What if a player is forced to nub out or forced out of the game while still controlling the pot?
Control of the pot goes to the Hanataz Hand, all face up number cards are put into the discard pile, and the first player to play a number card then takes control of the pot.
- What if everyone nubs out? Does the pot stay for the next round?
No. The Hanataz Hand takes the pot if nobody is left in the round to claim it. (Unless playing the “no house rules”)
- Set Round Option:
Play a set number of rounds (6) and whoever has the most silvs at the end wins the game.
- Increasing Pot Bonus Option:
Add 1 silv to the pot from the Hanataz Hand for each previous round played to make each round’s pot richer.
Example: Round 2 - add 1 silv to the pot. Round 3 - add 2 silvs, and so on for rounds 4, 5, and 6.
- Increasing Card Cost Option:
When a player is forced out of the game, increase the cost of cards during round setup by 1.
- Players’ Choice Option:
Before the game begins the player’s choose which face cards to include.
More face cards equate to more chaotic gameplay, but also gives more power to the Hanataz Hand.
- Extra Face Cards Option:
Use the extra face cards included in the Deck of Perilous Fortuity:
<T> Troll: "Pay Toll" All active players must give you a silv or nub out.
<A> Assassin: "Assassinate" Force a player to nub out. If that player controls the pot, discard all number cards and control of the pot goes back to the Hanataz Hand.
<B> Bard: “Tip the Performer” Place the Bard next to the Hanataz Hand. For the rest of the round, players must place a silv on the Bard in order to play a face card. The player who played the Bard gains all silvs on the card at the end of the round. If no coins are on the card at the end of the round, the Hanataz will pay the Bard’s player 5 silvs. Discard the Bard before starting the next round.
<P> Priest: "Divine Intervention" Discard all number cards. Then reveal cards from the top of the deck until you reveal a number card. Play that card and take control of the pot. Discard all other revealed cards.
- No House (Non-Hanataz) Version:
This is to be used if you want to remove the roleplay element of the Hanataz Gambling Master taking a cut when the Hanataz hand beats players or if the Fool would pay the Hanataz. In this version, all silvs brought into the game will end up with the players instead of a “house” taking any of them away. It brings much more "action" to the game for those who enjoy a good "game of chance." Play normally with the following changes:
Fool’s Down is likely the most popular of the gambling games played with The Deck of Perilous Fortuity in all the known realms. The game is somewhat similar to the game of “Texas hold-um Poker” in our world. It has a number of variations and different methods of play but all revolve around the Fool Card. The game is typically played by two to ten players (with a hired or house dealer, or with the deal rotating between players on each hand). Wagering can be limited or unlimited depending on the table and game being played. In common folk games, Forelays (Antes) can be coppers to silvers. In the great halls of the sovereigns, Forelays can range to a hundred gold pieces or more with Wagers in thousands and thousands of golds. If played in a gambling hall, the house typically takes a “grab” of 5% to 10% of each winning pot. Tipping of the dealer is expected.
Fool’s Down is a gambling game in which each player plays his or her own hidden cards (called Down cards) along with a common set of cards that are revealed to the table.
Cards are dealt in a clockwise direction starting with the person to the dealer’s immediate left. The deal passes from player to player on each successive hand moving one to the left by one position for every new hand. If a dealer is used, he or she will deal for each player on each successive hand, progressing around the table as if each player were dealing for themselves.
During a hand, the person who is second to the left of the dealer acts first and play proceeds in a clockwise direction until it reaches the last person in position who is to the immediate left of the dealer (though, depending on betting, play could go around the table multiple times as players, Wager (Bet), Bump (Raise), and Match (Call).
The person in the last position (to the immediate left of the dealer) is also the person who makes the Fool’s Bet (see below).
A hand has an initial round before cards are dealt where players put up a Forelay (Ante) which is placed in front of each player prior to the cards being dealt. Forelays can vary widely but are typically a modest amount compared to the actual bets being made in the game. Note that in all games, however, the Forelay known as the Fool’s Bet is always made (see below).
All players Forelay the same amount, except for the one player to the immediate left of the dealer. This player Forelays double the amount that all others are Forelaying. This is called the Fool’s Bet. The player making the Fool’s Bet rotates in position each time a new hand is dealt. In all cases, the Fool’s Bet is made by the person directly to the left of the dealer. Because the deal is passed every time a hand is played, the Fool’s Bet also rotates in kind, remaining to the left of the dealer as the deal is passed.
After the Forelay, cards are then dealt in a specific manner for six betting rounds. The order of all rounds are as follows: The Forelay, The Deal, The Cast, The Dance, The Trick, and The Down (See below for how these rounds are dealt).
Wagering takes place during each round in order starting with the player on the dealer’s immediate left. If a house dealer is used, the house dealer will deal each player’s deal for them around the table in the order the player would normally deal from his or her position.
On each round, players can:
Wager (make a Bet) to start the wagering. Note that there are games where the bet amount has a maximum limit and others where bets are unlimited. Much gold can be lost in these types of unlimited wagering games.
Match (Call) a Wager (this is called “Matching” as in “I Match”) which is putting into the pot enough chips or coins to equal the amount put into the pot from the most recent Wager and any additional amount from any Bumps (Raises) that were made by a player in an earlier position in the current round. In the first round, players must at least Match (Call) the Fool’s Bet amount to continue in the hand. The Fool’s Bet, as noted above, is the amount over and above the standard Forelay made by all other players. Typically, this is double the amount of the Forelay but it can vary widely depending on the type of game being played and the rules of the house.
Bump (Raise) the Wager amount after a player in an earlier position has already made a Wager,
Wink (Check) their hand (this is called “Winking” as in “I Wink.”) which can only be done if a bet has not yet been made in the current round by a player in an earlier position),
Or, Duck (Fold) their hand (this is called “Ducking” as in “I Duck”) which is turning in their cards to quit the hand (keeping them face down when they do). Once a player has ducked, he or she can no longer can participate in the hand and any Wagers that the player has made earlier are forfeited.
Note that to continue playing in the hand after the initial deal, a player must at least Match the Fool’s Bet on their first turn — assuming no other player has Bumped (Raised) the Wager at that point. If they choose to not put in the amount needed to get their Forelay equal to the Fool’s Bet, they must then Fold (Duck) their hand and forfeit their ante.
Players may only do any of the actions noted above when it is their turn in the round based on their position vis-à-vis the dealer.
The round will continue around the table from the first position to the last until all players have stopped Bumping (Raising) the Bet and have either Called (Matched) the last Bump/Wager (Raise/Bet) or Ducked (Folded) their hand. When that has happened, the round is over, and the dealer will move to the next round in the hand (see below).
After the Forelay, each player is initially dealt two cards face down. Once all the players have looked at their two Down cards (without revealing them to the other players), wagering then takes place beginning with the player to the left of the dealer and continues in position order ending with the player to the dealer’s immediate right (who is also the person who was required to make the Fool’s Bet). As noted above, all players must at least match the amount of the Fool’s Bet on their turn in this first round to continue playing. (assuming that no player in an earlier position has Raised the Bet to more than the amount of the Fool’s Bet in the first round). This is done after they have seen their first two cards and in order of position.
Players that Duck (Fold) their hands may not play in the subsequent rounds and are simply skipped to the next player in the order of their position at the table.
Once the Forelay (Ante) has been made by all players, and the first two Down cards have been dealt and all Wagers and Bumps made and Matched, then cards are revealed from the deck as noted below, with betting taking place after the cards are revealed on each subsequent round in order of position. The cards that are revealed in these rounds are “common” cards in that all players use the revealed cards, in combination with their Down cards, to make the best hand possible.
In every round, all players must either:
Wink (Check) if no one has bet yet before them,
Wager, if they choose to do so long as no one has bet yet before them,
Match (Call) a Wager or a Bump (Raise) made by a player who is earlier in position,
Bump (Raise) if the player wishes to increase the current bet on the table, or,
Duck (Fold) their hand.
The order of all rounds in a hand is as follows:
The Shuffle: Before each game (hand) of Fool’s Down, the cards are shuffled once and then the player to the right of the dealer cuts the cards. After the Shuffle, play will then proceed.
Round One: The Forelay (the Ante) – where all players put their initial bets in front of them in preparation for dealing. A player who does not Ante will not receive cards. The person second to the left of the dealer posts his or her Ante first and then each player in subsequent position posts his or her Ante in order ending with the person to the immediate left of the dealer who posts The Fool’s Bet. This is typically an amount that doubles the Ante (but can be much larger depending on the game being played and the rules of the house). A person who chooses not to Forelay cannot participate in the hand. A player who leaves the table or declines to bet when he or she is in the Fool’s Bet position is typically charged a fee equal to the amount of a single Fool’s Bet before being allowed back in to play the game.
Round Two: The Initial Deal – After all Forelays are made, each player is then dealt two cards (called Down Cards), in order of position starting with the player who is second to the left of the dealer, one card at a time, face-down. Once all the players have looked at their Down Cards (without revealing them to the other players), betting then takes place in order starting from the person second to the dealer’s left with each player required to do one of the following actions:
Add to his or her ante by at least the amount to equal the Fool’s Bet,
Make a Wager (Bet) that is larger than the amount of the Fool’s Bet,
Bump (Raise) a previous player’s Wager,
Match (Call) a Wager that was made by a previous player, or
Fold (Duck) their hand.
Betting continues around the table, in order of position, until all players have either: 1) Called (Matched) the most recent Wager or Bump, or 2) Winked (Checked) in the case of no betting, or 3) Folded (Ducked) their hand.
Note that if all the players at the table only match the Fool’s Bet, the player in the Fool’s Bet position may simply choose to Wink (Check) and allow play to proceed to the next round without any further betting.
Round Three: The Cast – After the players are dealt their two cards face down and the first round of wagering has taken place, the dealer then Burns (Discards) the top card and then takes the next top three cards from the deck and reveals them one at a time, face-up, in order of the first card to the third card drawn, and sets them on the table from left to right. This revealing of cards is called “The Cast.” These cards are “common” cards and are used by all players to make the best five-card hand possible in combination with their Down cards. The remaining players then Wink, Wager, Bump, Match, or Duck in order of position beginning with the player who is second to the dealer’s left and skipping any players that have Ducked their hands already. This continues until all remaining players have Matched (Called) the most recent Wager or Bumped or Ducked. Then the round is over.
Round Four: The Dance – Once round three is completed, the dealer then Burns (Discards) the top card again and then takes two cards from the top of the deck and sets them, face-up, on the table to the right of the three cards from The Cast. These cards are called “The Dance” (or, sometimes, “The Dancer”). These cards are also a “common” card and are used by all players, along with the Cast, to make the best five-card hand possible in combination with their Down cards. The remaining players then Wink, Wager, Bump, Match, or Duck in order of position beginning with the player who is second to the dealer’s left and skipping any players that have Ducked their hands already. This continues until all remaining players have Matched the most recent Wager or Bumped, or Ducked. Then the round is over.
Round Five: The Trick – Once round four is completed, the dealer then Burns (Discards) the top card again and then takes one card from the top of the deck and sets it, face-up, to the right of the previously revealed two Dance Cards and the three Cast Cards. This card is called “The Trick” (or sometimes, “The Curse”). This card is also a “common” card and is used by all players, along with the Cast cards and the Dance card, to make the best five-card hand possible in combination with their Down cards. The remaining players then Wink, Wager, Bump, Match, or Duck in order of position beginning with the player who is second to the dealer’s left and skipping any players that have Ducked their hands already. This continues until all remaining players have Matched the most recent Wager, or Bumped, or Ducked. Then the round is over.
NOTE: This round is called The Trick because of a special OPTIONAL rule that is often played in games of Fool’s Down. It states that if a Dragon, Jester, or The Fool Card is revealed as the Trick card, all players still in the game may exchange one of their two Down cards for a new card from the top of the deck. These are dealt in the same order as dealt for the hand. It is not a requirement that the Trick round be played this way but more often than not, this variant will be a part of the game. If this variant is played, it’s called “Turning-the-Trick.”
Round Six: The “Fool’s Down” card – Once round five is completed, the dealer then deals each player still playing in the hand a single card face-down. After the players look at the card (without showing it to the other players), the remaining players then Wink, Wager, Bump, Match, or Duck in order of position beginning with the player second to the dealer’s left and skipping any players that have Ducked (Folded) their hands already. This continues until all remaining players have Matched the most recent Wager, or Bumped, or Ducked. Then the hand is over.
At this point, the first remaining player to the left of the dealer must show his hand and the other remaining players must do so to determine the winner. Players who do not wish to show their hand (perhaps because they were bluffing, or simply don’t want the other players to see their losing hand) may Duck their hand at their turn instead, effectively surrendering the hand for a loss.
The winner is determined by the player who can make the best hand using two of the three cards they were dealt in combination with three cards from the common cards on the table. Note that this means that the “Fool’s Down” card may be used as one of the two from the player’s hand. They do not have to use only the first two cards they were dealt.
The four Jester Cards and the Fool Card are typically played as Wild Cards in the game of Fool’s Down.
If a Jester Card or the Fool Card is dealt to a player in his or her first two cards, or in the Fool’s Down Card, said card acts as a wild card.
Should a Jester Card or the Fool Card come in the Cast, Dancer, or Trick, the card(s) are discarded and replaced with a new card from the top of the deck.
NOTE: In the game variant “Fool’s Rules,” the Fool Card appearing immediately necessitates that all other players at the table (whether they have Ducked from the hand or not) must pay the amount of the original Fool’s Bet to the Fool’s Bet Player if he/she/they are still in the hand. This includes if the Fool Card is in the player’s hand or down card.
If the Fool Card is dealt to a player as his or her last card (the Fool’s Down card), depending on the variant of the game being played, it will either:
Cause the player getting The Fool card to be eliminated from the hand completely… even if his/her hand was the winning hand (this is the way the traditional Fool’s Down game is played and why it is named “Fool’s Down” because the Fool Card “takes one down” as it were),
Win the entire pot (this variant of the game is called “Fool’s-the-Winner,” or “Fool-on-You”),
Split the pot with the winning hand (this variant of the game is called “Fool’s Cut” and is the most popular of the three options).
The game host or house decides whether the game to be played is a traditional Fool’s Down, Fool’s-the-Winner, or Fool’s Cut game (and if Fool’s Rules or Turning-the-Trick will be part of the game). If playing traditional Fools Down, it is a common practice that, should the same person get dealt the Fool Card on the Fool’s Down round (last card) three times in a night, they win the “Fool’s Bag.” This is a side pot that builds up over time (usually kept by the house). The Fool’s Bag is, by tradition, split 50/50 with the receiver of the three Fool’s Down cards and the rest of the people playing at the table. The Fool’s Bag pots can get rather large as one person getting three Fool’s Down cards in a single session is very rare.
The order of the cards in the Deck of Perilous Fortuity, high to low, is Dragons to Nubs (1’s).
The suit order, highest suit to lowest, is: Flames, Stones, Waves, and Winds.
The best five-card hand wins excepting the stipulations named above. The hand is made up of two cards from the three that the player is dealt (which includes the Fool’s Down card) and three cards from the ones on the table which were revealed during The Cast, The Dance, and The Trick. The winning hand order is as follows:
Fool’s Five (Four of a kind plus a wild card)
Dragon’s Court (Rogues thru Dragons, same suit; can use a wild card)
Crown’s Court (Any five-card straight, same suit; can use a wild card)
Fool’s Court (One face card of each suit using a wild card)
Four Dandies (Four of a kind natural)
Fool’s Four (Three of a kind plus a wild card)
The Castle (Three of a kind and a pair in one hand with or without a wild card)
Five Elements (Five cards all of one suit with or without a wild card)
Fool’s Elements (one card of each suit with a wild card)
Running Five (Five cards in numerical order with or without a wild card)
Three Dandies (Three of a kind natural)
Fool’s Three (pair plus a wild card)
Two Twins (two pairs of the same cards with or without a wild card)
Twins (one pair of the same card with or without a wild card)
That is how, I’m told, that Fool’s Down is played.
Order of play
Nubs through 10s, R, K, W, C, D
(Jesters and Fools are wild if face down and replaced when dealt face up)
Conundruze, the god of creativity and ingenuity, also known as the “Mad God”, is lord over all things unpredictable. Yet, as most may consider his followers quite reckless, eccentric, and undisciplined, believed even to be in the practice of worshiping chaos itself, there is an odd beauty in their ministrations. Because, more often than not, truth be told, adding a bit of dissonance to any creation can result in the most profound discoveries.
The Day of Tomes, the 30th of Sepu’un is a well-known holiday on the calendar of Zyathé which commemorates the importance of wisdom and knowledge. Mages, Wizards, and sages suspend their studies for a day to gather materials enabling them to display arcane works of great spectacle. It is also a day when many will give offerings to the Mad God as this is the day improvisation and ingenuity are much required. After these grand displays, the practitioners gather for a time of revelry lasting late into the night.
It is said that on this day, many centuries ago, a follower of Conundruse, whose name has been lost to time, sat down at the feast to cajole his companions to try a new game with the Deck of Perilous Fortuity. He claimed that earlier in the day, shortly after giving deference to Conundruse, he had an epiphany about a way to use the cards to divine the secrets of the Eterniverse. Yet it must be done in concert with others, and only a most devout follower of the Mad God could ultimately read the cards and understand the outcome.
While some believe this was just an excuse to find a way to endear himself to others after having been shunned most of his adult life for his eccentric ways, interestingly enough the game was, though significantly random, actually quite fun. The table loved it, and it became a tradition to play after these feasts during Days of Tomes. Soon the game took on gambling variations and turned up in gambling houses and Hanataz tents across the known world. To this day no one knows what the original rules were, and most players employ their own unique house rules, but the core game mechanics are all the same. It can even go by many different names. Some believe the name Conundruze is spelled this way due to a change in dialect, or even language over the centuries. But the fact remains that this game is well loved by many and has left its own special mark upon the reputation of its namesake. Though Conundruse is still considered fearful and dangerous, just the fact so many play the game provides substantial worship for the god. And thus, his place within the deific realms remains secure to this day.
Dealer = “Caster”
Shuffle two decks together. Determine which rules variant and optional rules will be used.
Deal 8 cards to each player face down. Players do NOT look at their hands. Place the rest of the cards face-down in the center of the table to form the draw pile.
Each Player Randomly places their cards in a 2 wide by 4 high grid on the table in front of them. This is called the player’s “Castle” (See example below)
Each player will turn only two cards of their choice in thier castle face-up. They then move these to the top paired spot of the castle closest to the other players (so they can more easily see them) while keeping the other 6 cards face down to form the rest of the 2×4 grid.
Starting layout example:
The game’s objective is to be the player with the least amount of points. The paired card values are added to each other and then all 4 pairs are added together to get the total score. (or cancel each other out if they’re a match), so Choose wisely! (see the Scoring section for more details).
Roll a d20 to determine who is the first dealer. For subsequent games the dealer moves to the next person on the current dealer’s left.
The player to the left of the dealer will then start the game by drawing a card face up from the top of the draw pile. They can choose to 1) take the card and replace any one of their cards on their castle face-up or 2) discard the card and pass their turn to the next player. If they replace a card, they must discard the card that was replaced.
The next player to the left of them can then choose to 1) take the card the previous player just discarded and place it into their Castle or 2) draw a new one and choose to either keep the card to replace one of their own cards or discard it. The Player turn is then over and the next player starts their turn.
The starting top two face-up cards in each castle can be replaced as many times as the player chooses until they replace a face-down card inside their castle. After this they can no longer replace any card that is face up on their castle.
Whenever you replace a face down card, you must discard that card – no matter what it is. The next player can then choose to take it, or draw a different card face down off the top of the draw deck.
The final round happens when one player has turned over all of their cards inside the Castle. Each player remaining can take one more turn until it reaches the player who finished flipping all their cards in their Castle. At this point the game is over and all remaining face-down cards are turned face-up.
The game’s objective is to have the lowest number of points (even negative) at the end of the game. Card values are listed below:
|Printed value on the Card
|Rogue, Knight, Wizard, Crown
|Pair of Jesters (regardless of suit)
|Pair of Dragons (regardless of suit)
|Pair of Fools
The Pair of card value is then added together. If a pair of cards match (regardless of suit), then they cancel each other out and the score for that pair is zero. For example, a pair of 7s are worth 0 points instead of 14. Yet because it is so rare, a pair of Fools is worth -10 points. You do this for each of the 4 pairs in your castle and this becomes your total points. This is your score for the game. The player with the least amount of points wins!
– The Fool card (2 in the game total) can be used to grant a “steal” action. When a player draws a Fool off of the top of the deck, or if it happens to land on the top of the discard pile, the player can use it to steal any other face up card in any Castle on the playing field. The Player takes 1 face up card in any Castle and replaces the empty slot with the Fool. The Player then replaces one of their own face up cards with the card they just stole. That card that was replaced in your Castle is then discarded. The Fool card is worth 10 points (since it is a face card). BUT, if two Fools happen to get paired they would total -10 points.
(Optional Rule) If a player has a “Full court” – at least one of each Knight, Rogue, Wizard, and Crown in their castle when scoring begins – All of these face cards become worth 0 points regardless of the other face up card.
All players play to a predetermined total (typically 50) and when a player reaches that total they are out. The last player standing wins.
Note: Each of the following actions REQUIRE that you play the card in your castle or gatehouse before enabling the action. Card powers may only be activated if the card has been drawn face down from the top of the draw deck.
Fool: Whenever The Fool is played the player may choose to cast Vicious Mockery on the entire table (Yes, made up, on the spot!). Other players can choose to reward them by giving the player a chip of their choice as a “tip”. Or, if not playing the betting variant of the game, just applaud (or groan and boo them).
Rogue: When a Rogue is played you may attempt to “backstab” one other player. Roll a d20. On 12-20 you can make them swap any 2 cards of your choice in their castle. On a 1-11 you fail, prohibiting you from taking the special action.
Or, if you are playing the betting variant of the game, when a Rogue is played you may choose to attempt to steal a chip from the pot. Roll a D20. 12-20 is a success. On a 1-11 you fail, prohibiting you from taking the special action. The chip you wish to attempt to steal must be declared before you roll the dice. Note: A player can only steal a chip of a specific value if they already have that value of chip to lose.
Knight: When a Knight is played you may attempt to “riposte” in which you may draw another facedown card off the top of the deck and choose to also play or discard that card. Roll a d20. On a 12-20 the action is successful. On a 1-11 you fail, prohibiting you from taking the special action.
Wizard: When a Wizard is played you may attempt to cast “arcane recovery,” which allows you to go through the discard pile and choose a card to replace any face up card in your own castle. Roll a d20. On a 12-20 the spell is a success. On a 1-11 you fail, prohibiting you from taking the special action.
Crown: When a Crown is played you may attempt to invoke “courtly influence” which allows you to swap any 2 cards in your own castle. Roll a d20. On 12-20 you succeed. On a 1-11 you fail, prohibiting you from taking the special action.
Jester: When a Jester is played, the player may choose to cast Vicious Mockery on the player to their left by reciting a friendly mock (yes, made up, on the spot!). Other players can choose to reward them by placing a chip into the pot as a “tip”. Or, if not playing the betting variant of the game, just applaud (or groan and boo them).
Dragon: Dragons are worth -3 points so there is no need to give them a special power. They’re already awesome and get to gloat. So, the player may choose to gloat as well. Bragging rights, after all!
Optional Rule – The ”Gatehouse”: Once per game a player may choose on their turn to play a card and place it face up in the “Gatehouse”. This spot is NOT used in scoring. You can activate card powers from this location when the face card is played. This card can be swapped, stolen, or manipulated as per the special powers given to face cards but can never be replaced by a draw card action.
Each player buys-in to each game with an ante. Each player may look at their bottom face-down pair of their cards but not reveal them. Once the top two cards are turned over the player with the lowest showing score must place a bid and each other player has a chance to meet, raise the bid, or fold. Keep betting till all bids have been met. The next time a bid is at the end round. The first person to turn over their final card can place a bid.