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On Guard - 2p card game {standard 52 card deck}

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JewellGames's picture
Joined: 06/03/2012

On Guard
Origins based on the card game of “War” but with strategy, hand management, and card counting.

The object of the game is to balance your combinations of action cards to attack and score hits while parrying incoming attacks. The player to score the most hits against their opponent wins.

Preparation (Pret)
Each player chooses a color and keeps all cards of one suit (A-K) and the Ace, 2 and 3 of the same color off suit for a total of 16 cards as their hand. If the players decide to play with Jokers, each player also puts one Joker in their hand. The remaining unused cards are set aside.

Action Cards (A-10)
The number of outer symbols (per side) equals the card's Attack. The number of inner symbols equals the card's Parry.

Technique Cards (J,Q,K)
Each noble has a different technique, these cards are played in conjunction with action cards to alter engagement.

Turn Sequence (Allez)
Each player secretly selects any combination of action cards from their hand, as long as the combination does not exceed a sum of 13. At least one action card must be selected each turn.

  • Techniques
    In addition to action cards the player may also secretly play technique cards with their combination. Multiple techniques can be played on the same turn.
    • King – Increased Tempo
      The sum of your action combination may add up to 15.
    • Queen - Riposte
      If your Parry is greater than your opponent's Attack you score hits equal to the opponent's combined Attack.
      If the player's Parry is not greater than their opponent's Attack the Queen’s technique has no effect.
    • Jack - Double
      If your Attack is greater than your opponent's Parry your scored hits are doubled.
      If the player's Attack is not greater than their opponent's Parry the Jack’s technique has no effect.
    • Joker - Appel
      The opponent's highest numbered action card is ignored.

After both players have selected their cards, they simultaneously reveal their selections. A player scores a hit (touché) for each Attack that is greater than their opponent's Parry. Once all hits have been scored, played cards are discarded and the next turn begins.

End of Bout (Arret)
The bout ends when a player has no action card to play that turn. If the other player has remaining action cards they may execute a Final Attack combination (still limited by the sum of 13) and each Attack scores a hit against their opponent. Techniques cannot be played during the Final Attack.

Winning the Game
The player that scored the most hits against their opponent wins the bout. *Salute*

  • Tiebreaker (Barrage)
    In the event of a tie each player collects all their discarded action cards into hand and assigns “odds” to one player and “evens” to the other.

    In quick turns, each player secretly selects one action card from hand and then simultaneously reveals their selection. If the sum of the two action cards is even the “evens” player scores a hit, and if the sum is odd the “odds” player score a hit. The first player to score 3 hits wins the tiebreaker and the bout.

Fencing Terms
En garde - A warning from the judge to both fencers to prepare to fence.

Pret - After the judge warns the fencers with "en garde", the judge will then say "pret" to alert the fencers that the
match is about to begin.

Allez - A command from the judge to tell the two fencers to have at one another.

Attack - Any movement intended to score a touch (or hit).

Parry - The defender moves their weapon to "push" aside a blade that is attacking.

Touché - The French word for "touched" is used to acknowledge a hit, called out by the fencer who is hit.

Tempo - The manner of responding to an adversary's attack, measured in relation to the timing of the adversary's actions.

Riposte - An attack that a fencer makes immediately after they execute a parry.

Double - A double touch, two attacks that arrive within 40-50 ms of each other.

Appel - Stamping the front foot to the ground, to produce a sound to distract or startle the opponent.

Arrêt - Stop, a command from the judge to tell the two fencers to halt.

Barrage - A fight-off to determine a result in the event of a tie.

Salute - A gesture of respect and civility performed with the weapon. Performed at the start and end of a bout.

JewellGames's picture
Joined: 06/03/2012
PnP Rules & Quick Reference Guide

I will have a pnp copy of the official rules tomorrow and will work on fitting it all on one side of an A4 sheet.

The reverse side will have a quick reference guide for movement card advance & retreat values, noble maneuver effects, and a hits tracker (if it fits around border).

JewellGames's picture
Joined: 06/03/2012
Specific Playtesting

Specific Playtesting Questions:
What rules were confusing? Any typos or grammar errors?

Did the quick reference guide help? What would you add or change to it to make it better?

How many times did you play? About how long did each game last?

Did you use Jokers for your playtest?

Were any of the maneuver powers too strong? too weak?

What step of the turn took the longest to complete? How would you help reduce the time?

What was your strategy with movements and maneuvers? Did you execute the "final attack"? If so, how many cards did you have left?

Did a game ever end in a tie? If so, how did you feel about the tiebreaker mechanism?

General Playtesting questions:
What did you like most about the game?

What did you like least about the game?

How did you feel about the theme combined with the mechanisms?

Do you think this game appropriate fulfills its genre (lite strategy 2p standard card game)? Why or Why not?

Would you play this game again?

JewellGames's picture
Joined: 06/03/2012
New low ink card design and rule updates

PDF rules are here.

Here are ruleset tiers for whichever way you prefer to playtest the game.

"Stesso tempo" or Simple Ruleset follows all the rules except technique cards are excluded. This allows beginner players to first learn the game basics.

"Mezzo tempo" or General Ruleset follows all rules described under the standard playing card format.

"Dui tempi" or Extended Ruleset follows all rules described under the standard playing card format but also introduces the unconventional combination cards and meta game setup (using the low ink custom cards). During setup players create their hand from a mix of the conventional and unconventional cards maintaining a balance of two 1s, two 2s, two 3s, and one 4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10 (plus J,Q,K,Jo*). This allows the players to customize their fencing style.

PDF Low Ink cards are here.

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