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Dead Mans Draw Poker (working title)

Wild west Playing Cards

Idea: Take a quick version of Draw Poker, but make it more competitive and feel more like a western shootout, where speed makes a difference. Also I would love to pair this with a "Gunfighter Deck" a custom deck of cards with famous gunfighters in the face cards and a full wild west theme (kind of like the picture here)

How to play: 2 players sit across from each other at a table. each player is dealt 10 cards, arranged face down in two rows of Five: one bottom row, and one top row. Also each player gets 4 additional cards laid face down off to the right of them and one card in the center of the table:

Once both players are ready, the youngest one shouts "Draw" and both player flip over their cards, trying to create 2 poker hands with the cards they have, one top hand (the speed hand) and the bottom hand (the accuracy hand) each player may discard up to 4 cards to try to draw a better hand just like in draw poker, but may freely move cards from top to bottom. Once they discard the cards they don't want to keep, and have moved them off to the left far enough to be obviously discarded they pound the table with their fist. The first of the two gets to take the center card in addition (a bonus for being faster, in case of a tie neither player gets it)

Both players put together the best hands they can, with no more than 5 cards on top and 5 cards on the bottom.

Once both players have their poker hands decided and announced they are finished: they are compared and scored:
the player with the best top hand is the one who shoots first, which can make all the difference if it's a kill shot.

If the shots are in the same category:( i.e. both players have 2 pair) the shots are simultaneous. If one is a tier higher than the other, the higher hand gets off the shot before the other fires and therefore if a kill, the other player doesn't get a shot off.

The bottom hand decides how accurate the shot is and therefore how much damage is done based on this chart:

Royal Flush (Instant Kill) Shot in the middle of the forehead (bullseye) (plus gets a bonus draw card in next game played for intimidation)
Straight Flush (Instant Kill) Shot in the Head
4 of a Kind (Almost Killed) Shot in the Chest ( 8 points ) No draw cards for next round
Full House: Shot in the Chest / Heavy Damage ( 7 points ) minus 3 cards from draw next round
Flush: Shot in the Gut / Heavy Damage (6 points) minus 2 cards from draw next round
Straight: Shot in the Hip / Medium Damage (5 points) minus 1 cards from draw next round
3 of a kind: Shot in the Leg / Medium Damage (4 points)
2 pairs: Shot in the Arm / Light Damage (3 points)
1 pair: Shot in the Shoulder / Light damage (2 points)
High Card: Just a scratch / No Damage (you gotta do better than that, partner)

If both players are still standing, start another round, 10 points of combined damage is enough to kill the target...

please let me know your thoughts...



What's the significance of this center card? Why would a player want to draw it first? Is it worth points? Does it restore health? Can a player win in some other way than causing 10 points of damage to their opponent?

The reason I ask these questions is because a player may need more of an incentive to finish first. Otherwise I suspect a typical player will simply wait and see what hand their opponent has made, in order to counter it as best as possible. I can imagine players holding off on hitting their fist on the table just so they can rearrange the hands from one row to another after their opponent has already done theirs.

I recommend you incentivize finishing first with something strong, so that there's a reason players need to balance finishing first with assembling better hands.

It doesn't seem like there's much of a chance for players to bluff one another (since all cards are face-up), which is a major component of traditional poker. Have you attempted to play the game with hands face-down instead of face-up? What was the reason for the cards to be played face-up? Can you allow players to choose to place cards face-down instead?

I think it's a nice touch to have players assemble two separate hands to determine two separate phases of action. However, instead of revealing everything all at once, maybe you want to try one of these:
- Players start with a draw deck of 10 cards, and draw 1 at a time, choosing to add it to their speed or shot hand.
- Two cards are dealt face-up at the center of the table, and players need to assemble their own cards to go along with these two. This hand resolves who is faster. Once speed is resolved, deal another two cards shared between players, and this hand determines damage.

I imagine this adds more of the original feel of poker to the game, and also connects with the new speed and damage features you're adding to the game.

Why are you choosing to reward the winner of the duel? Is the game supposed to be played over multiple rounds, or just to 10 points/damage? If it's multiple rounds, why give the current winner an advantage?


I have a lot of questions about this game, as it stands now. Please don't take them as personal attacks, because that's not what I mean by asking so much.

Hopefully, the additional suggestions are useful. Best of success on your design! :)

IDK about the game... but

Your card samples look real cool! As far as the game is concerned, that's a playtesting thing. And what I mean by this is A LOT of "ideas" sound great before being actually playtested -- and then when they are, they turn out to be "not so good" after all.

So I guess it would be best if you created a sample deck and playtested the game to try to sell us on how much FUN the game really is...

And then the next step is either making copies through "The Game Crafter" (TGC) or AdMagic ( In either case get something more professionally done to send to Publishers and start the whole marketing of your game...

Perhaps someone might be interested in re-selling the game!

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut