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Playtesters wanted - light two-player card game

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Joined: 02/05/2012

Quick comparisons are Lost Cities (in that it has a touch of the 'multi-player solitaire' to it), UNO (in that it has a 'take-that' component to it, but not too cut-throat), and Weed! (for reasons described below).

I'd picked up a copy of "Weed!" the card game, and thought that it was actually quite a fun little filler game, and that while I'm sure it sells most of its copies because of its novelty theme - growing pot - it could just as easily be re-themed in any other way and appeal to a family friendly audience. A few different themes occurred to me, and one of them had to do with mining, instead of 'gardening'. What developed out of that was a game that resembled 'Weed!' but very little, and had more in common with a game like Lost Cities, but still had elements of both, and more interaction, certainly, than Lost Cities has between players' hands.

To playtest with friends, I developed a way to play this with two decks of regular playing cards. Ideally, of course, it has artwork (and I do have some of this) but I don't expect anyone to print off decent cardstock to play a prototype. So I include here the rough rules for the prototype, modified to use two regular decks of cards:


100 Hundred Silver Bars

This is a two player game. Without art, you will have to use your imagination a bit. I will describe how to play with two decks of playing cards shuffled together.

Suits do not matter in this game. With art, there will be no suited cards.

Cards Ace, 2, 3, 4, 6 (note, no 5s): 40 silver bar cards.

Cards 7, 8, 9, 10: 32 connection / mining cards.

Cards KINGS (6 of them - put the kings of spades aside): 6 Rubble cards

Cards QUEEN (6 of them - put the queens of spades aside): 6 Shovel cards

Cards JACK (6 of them - remove two): Lo Thief

Cards JOKER (3 of them - remove one): High Thief

Queen of Spades: Worker's Strike

5's and two remaining KINGS: locks

Thus with two regular decks with 2 jokers in each deck: 1 joker, and 2 jacks are put aside and not used.

General Play:

You are two small precious metal mining operations in competition in a tight market. The Aces, 2s, 3s, 4s, and 6s represent numbers of silver bars mined. Each player has five vaults available to be filled with silver bars to go to market. The first player to fill all five vaults and lock them (5s) causes the round to end and both players must ship their mined silver. The first player to successfully ship 100 silver bars wins the game.


Be the first player to successfully ship 100 silver bars. This will take more than one round to accomplish, but can be accomplished in two rounds.

Perfect Round:

A round in which a player scores 80 points. This is exceptionally rare. There is no bonus but bragging rights.


Each player gets five 'lock' cards. These are not included in players' hands (they are put aside in a pile), but can be played on a player's turn instead of playing a card from their hand.

Decide on the initial dealer by whatever means works for you (youngest player, roll a die, draw a card and high card deals, flip a cat, etc..). The dealer deals 7 cards to each player. The non-dealer plays first. The dealer changes each round.

Each player has five vaults in front of them. These begin empty, and are filled with silver bars waiting to be shipped.

Each player plays a card and then picks up a card from the top of the draw pile. Play continues until one player has locked all of their vaults, or until the draw pile is empty, at which point scores are calculated. At all times, players will have 7 cards in their hand. On any turn, a player may choose to discard one of their cards into the discard pile instead of playing a card and draw a new card. Sometimes, this is the only move available.

Note that if playing a 'lock' card - instead of a card from your hand - you do not pick up a card from the draw pile. If ever you have more or less than 7 cards in your hand at the end of your turn, something has gone terribly awry.

The Cards:

Fives and 2 Kings: These are locks. When you are satisfied with the contents of one of your vaults, or you wish to protect it from 'gotcha' cards, a lock can be placed on the vault. When one player has locked all five of their vaults, the round ends. A lock can only be played on a silver bar card (not on an empty vault space, not on rubble, and not on a miner)

Ace through six (minus fives): Silver bars. An Ace is one silver bar. A six is six silver bars. You place these in your vault. At the end of a round, these are tallied up for your score of silver bars shipped that round. *Note that both players score points for all of their locked vaults, including the player who has not locked all five of his or her vaults at the end of the round*.

Seven through Ten: Miner cards. These represent mining activity and allow you to add to and increase the value of the contents of your vault. For example, if you have played an Ace in your first vault space, you could play a 'miner' card on top of that ace. In a subsequent turn, you could play a silver bar card of any value higher than the ace to accumulate additional points. Cards played on a 'miner' card must always be of a higher value than the card underneath it, but do not need to be sequential (you could play a 'six' over a 'two', provided there is a 'miner' between them)

Kings: These are 'rubble' cards. Play them into an empty vault space on your opponents side. Your opponent will not be able to play any cards into that vault until that rubble is removed via a 'shovel' card.

Queen: A shovel card. When played, removes one rubble card. Note that the Queen of Spades is an exception, and has special rules.

Jacks: "Lo thief": when played, allows the player to 'steal' the lowest value card from the opponents' vault. The card must be on top, ie., not under a 'miner' card, and must be able to be played into one of the thief's vaults immediately. (You can not steal a card and place it into your hand, it must be played into one of your vaults - ie. on an empty vault space or on a miner card). A card can not be stolen from a locked vault.

Joker: "Hi thief" : when played, allows the player to 'steal' the highest value card from the opponents vault. The same rules apply as for playing a 'Lo thief' card.

Queen of Spades: A worker's strike. When played, any active miners (that is, those on top) of the opponent's vault spaces are placed in the discard pile. The strike card is placed above the opponents vaults - on their turn, they must spend their turn resolving the labour dispute by placing the 'strike' card into the discard pile. They may take no additional action.


Both players score points for every silver bar card in a locked vault. Every silver bar card in a locked vault counts toward the point total, not just the highest card.

For example, if one vault looked like this (where 'M"s represent miner cards, and 'L' represents the lock):

A M 3 M 4 M 6 L

That vault scores (1 + 3 + 4 + 6) 14 points for the player.


- it can sometimes be advantageous to lock up the last of your vaults early, even if you have some cards in hand that could still be played out, in order to lock in your points and force an end to the round before your opponent gets a chance to catch up. The tension between when to lock a vault to secure points, and when to leave it open - but vulnerable - in order to try to accumulate additional points is key to the game. But remember, you can't lock an empty vault.

- even if your opponent does not have any miners active, it can be advantageous to play a 'worker's strike' card. This saves you from having to discard a different card, and still causes your opponent to miss their next turn

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