Monthly Archives: February 2015

Not an RPG: Decktet

I bought a (couple of, so let me know if you want to borrow one) Decktet set a few days ago.

The short version: this is an under-sung work of staggering genius.
The short-ish but more descriptive version: this is a like a standard 52-card deck of playing cards, except it is 36 cards long (with an optional 9-card sideboard); the court cards are compressed down to just one card of each suit, there are 6 suits, and the numeral cards are each dual-suited.
I came to Set and Xactica first, which are my closest touchstones; the Decktet is significantly more whimsical than either of them. In particular, those exhaust their respective possibility-spaces of cards, while the Decktet leaves many possible combination-slots unfilled.

Like a standard deck of playing cards, you don’t play Decktet, you play Thricewise (I was terrible at it, but it was a good game, reminding me of Set), Jacynth (I was great at it, it’s a great game, though scoring is a little complex), Emu Ranchers (I didn’t like the theme and with 2 novices it’s not interactive enough, but I’d try it or something like it again), Magnate (… Awesome.), or so forth.

Notwithstanding my grace in victory or defeat, I’m really looking forward to my second deck’s arrival, so I can try the Decktet translation of Gnostica (a territory-holding game) or Emissary (ditto, but more resource-generation, too).

One thing that seemed missing but might be interesting: a drafting game.

My proposal, entitled Revisions! For 3 players.
This is a vigorous nod to 7 Wonders.
As such, cards are drafted during play and then score is evaluated in endgame.

Separate the deck into the 12 single-suited cards (the First Age), the 24 dual-suited cards (the Second Age), and the 8 triple-suited cards (the Third Age). Shuffle each separately.
Shuffle the Excuse (the 0-suited card) into the first age.

Deal each player a “draft” of 4 cards from the first age; each player drafts face down, all reveal, pass the remainder to the left. When you are left with only one card to pass, discard it instead.
Note that 1 card wasn’t drafted at all (the Excuse took its slot). That’s life.

The Excuse, the ace of moons and the crown of moons are special; they affect only the draft. After drafting a card but before sending the remainder on, a player may return any of these to the draft and draft a second card (or third, or fourth if they have multiple). Play then continues.

Having drafted all but one card and discarded the remainder, execute a scoring phase and then move on to the second age. See below for the rules on scoring; so as not to break the flow, these rules will move straight on through to requirements and the second age.

During the first age, cards have no requirements (they will instead satisfy prerequisites later).
Cards satisfy a prerequisite consisting of their rank and topmost (single) symbol. Cards require a prerequisite consisting of their rank and bottom-most symbol(s). I am avoiding the word “cost” because nothing is expended.
Numerically, Aces are 3 and Crowns are 5.
Thus: the Ace of Moons satisfies 3 and Moons. The Crown of Wyrms, likewise, 5 and Wyrms.
Contrariwise, the 2 of Moons and Knots satisfies 2 and Moons, requiring 2 and Knots.
You may satisfy a suit requirement you do not have by paying a victory point to a neighbor.

Okay, so far, so good. Second age part one. Deal each player a draft of 4 second age cards.
Draft-play reverses direction, heading to the right.
Remember, these dual-suited cards satisfy their top suit but require their bottom one.
At the end of this draft, do not score yet!
Second age part two: do it again with the remainder of the age; requirements are increased by 10.
Score now.

Third age, and 3-suited cards. Pawns should be read as requiring 20 (and 2 of their bottom suits), satisfying 0 and their top suit; courts require 20 and a pawn or king along with their two bottom suits.
Because there are 3 players but 8 Age 3 cards, something’s gotta give for draft size. Combine the discard pile of 4 cards from Age 2’s second phase in with the 8 Age 3 cards, and deal a draft of 4 cards to each player.
Score now.

Sum up the score for the 3 ages.
I hope you had fun.

Score flows along the requirements of your cards. What cards satisfy doesn’t do anything but allow you to purchase cards for which cards are requisite.
Suns: Coins; as knots, but scored in-game (2?).
Moons: nothing requires moons. The ace and crown of moons, however, count as knots.
Waves: Travel. Victory points by how your neighbor did (top sun one way, top moon the other?)
Leaves: Science. Victory points for sets by top suit and number of sets.
Knots: Culture. Worth some set number (4?) of VP at end of game.
Wyrms: Warfare. 1/3/5 to victor by age, -1 to loser, on each side.

This game has been neither play tested nor balanced.

As an additional modification, you might draft Age 3 first, before Age 1, as aspirational. If so, you would discard draft cards during any draft to build your aspirations. You get no points for unbuilt aspirations.

You can probably tune draft sizes to allow more or fewer players.