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zmobie's picture
Joined: 11/19/2008

Hey guys! I made up a game you can play with a standard deck of cards. If anyone can try this out and give me some feedback I'd be eternally grateful and shower you in praise!

Here's a write up -

Re-printed here for your convenience -

Cake-tastrophe! - a card game for 2-4 players.

Cake-tastrophe is a card game I made last week! In Cake-tastrophe, you are a clumsy baker who can't seem to get anything right. Try to build tall fancy cakes without tipping them over... but eventually you're going to make a big mess of the bakery. When you do, you try to salvage the mess you've made into something edible. Cake-tastrophe is a game for 2-4 players and you can play with a regular deck of playing cards (with the jokers in!)


Shuffle the deck and set out 4 face up cards next to the deck in a line. These are the different cakes you are building. The dealer then deals 3 cards and places them legally* on any of the cakes he chooses. Lower rank cards go on top, and higher rank cards go on the bottom. Think of the rank of the card as the width of that layer of cake. Wider layers of the cake go on the bottom.

The dealer then deals 6 cards to every player.

Each player must discard one card. Then play can begin!

Game Play

Players take turns playing cards legally to any cake they wish. If a player cannot play legally, he must choose cake, take all the cards in that cake and put them face up in front of him. He may then play his card on the empty space and start a new cake of that suit

Legal Play

  1. A card can only be played on the cake of the same suit.
  2. Cards played above the center card must be lower rank than the middle card and any cards already played above the center card.
  3. Cards played below the center card must be higher rank than the middle card and any cards already played below the center card.

Example - Suppose the center card is a Q of hearts. All legal plays on this pile would be, a K of hearts placed below the queen, or the Ace through Jack of hearts placed above. If someone played the 3 of hearts above the Queen, then the only legal moves left are the Ace or the 2 above the Queen, or the King above the Queen.

Completed Cakes - If one cake ever has the Ace on the top, and the King on the bottom, that cake is completed. If a player completes a cake, he starts a new cake by drawing the top 3 cards of a the deck, choosing one card, and placing it in the new space.

Jokers - When you play a joker, place it in the discard pile. You may take any card from any cake and add it to your play area.

Taking the Cake

If you cannot make a legal play, you have to take one whole pile of cards and put them into the play area in front of you. If you take a cake with only 1 card in it, you must take 2 face down cards from the top of the deck along with the card you grabbed.

A New Round

After all players have played all 5 cards in their hands, the next player in clockwise order from the last dealer becomes the new dealer. He deals 5 cards to each player.

Swap your cards! - In the second and third rounds, players may swap one card from their hand with cards in their play area. After all players have swapped cards, play the rest of the round as before.

Note - You do not reshuffle any cards after a round. The cakes stay in play from round to round, and all cards collected from 'taking the cake' stay in your player area.

Game End and Scoring

After 3 rounds all players count up their point totals! Whoever has the LOWEST points wins the game!

  1. Score 2 points for each card that is not part of a set.
  2. Score 2 points for each pair.
  3. Score 2 points for each three-of-a-kind
  4. Score 0 points for each 4-of-a-kind
  5. Score 2 points for a same-suited straight of 3 cards (ex: 2,3,4 of hearts)
  6. Score 1 point for a same-suited straight of 4 cards (ex: 2,3,4,5 of hearts)
  7. Score 0 points for a same-suited straight of 5 or more cards.

Thoughts and Conclusions

I wrote this game shortly after Unpub 4 while monkeying around with a standard deck of playing cards. I wanted to make a trick taking or climbing game of some kind, and I just randomly started placing cards in a configuration with 4 piles that grew in both directions at the same time.

I like that its a game where you don't want to take tricks, but if you do, you can mitigate the negative effects of taking them by making sets. A savvy player can take a lot of piles of cards and still end up with a very low point total. This gives him the freedom to play any card out of his hand he wishes, if he knows he can make large enough sets with them.

I haven't yet play tested the game with more than just myself, so if you have any input I'd love to hear it!


I plan on taking this game and expanding it out to use a custom deck of cards. Wild cards, card you can slip into a cake that you are blocked out of, and other ways to clear a completed cake might be interesting. I've dreamed up a few different card powers that would be fun and useful, and I want to try different sized sets of cards for each of the different cakes. Some minor differences inherent in how you are able to play each of the cakes would also be fun. I also want to have customer orders that give bonuses to completing or scoring specific cake types with specific card values in them.

There's a lot of work to do before this game is publishable, but it seems pretty fun in this bare-bones playing card game version. I hope you have fun with it!

donut2099's picture
Joined: 01/09/2014
I could see this being a fun

I could see this being a fun game with a custom deck. I think the standard card distribution might not be well suited (that's a pun) to the game, but it looks like a good concept.

zmobie's picture
Joined: 11/19/2008
donut2099 wrote:I could see

donut2099 wrote:
I could see this being a fun game with a custom deck. I think the standard card distribution might not be well suited (that's a pun) to the game, but it looks like a good concept.

I can always appreciate a good pun!

Yeah, I agree. I'm working on ideas for that now, but the core is there and feels pretty good so far. I need some more playtesting as a sanity check to make sure there isn't any glaring problems I'm missing before I start.

I think 5 suits, and a smaller spread of numbers might make the game more interesting. Higher chances of having to take a pile of cards, higher point totals, and more emphasis on trying to make sets. We'll see what happens.

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