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Diamond Heist - Simple Solitaire Playing Card Game

Diamond Heist

A simple solitaire game in which the player must arrange a 3 by 3 grid of numbered playing cards such that all horizontal, vertical, and diagonal sums are equal (15 diamonds).

Game Rules v1.2


Wow simple but COOL...

I took a look at the rules and... they're pretty "cool"!

The only thing that "sort of" bothered me was the NAME of the game. I get that the name "matches" what you are doing...

However it feels a bit "unsatisfying"... Queen Fifteen...?

Instead of using a normal Deck, I would create a CUSTOM mini deck of 10 cards. And some ideas that come to mind is something like "Royal Heist".


A> The 1 to 9 cards are DIAMONDS
B> The Jack of SPADES is the "thief"

And the "idea" is that the "thief" is trying to UNLOCK the access to the "Royal Vault" and to do so he must crack the combination which is 15 all around... Something to that effect.

It's just an idea. If you don't like it... that fine too.

But definitely a cool game! I'm going to try out a game tonight!!! But with the Diamonds and Jack (Wink).

How did you come up with this game???

It's compact and seems to be "trivial" at FIRST, but there actually are some tough decision making to ensure that the game can be won... Definitely more of a mental exercise that I had originally thought.

The two (2) things that impress me the most are:

A> Moving clockwise fashion around the board. Where the heck did you get that idea???

B> Losing if the Queen is in a position where the sum is GREATER than 15.

Those two elements to your game are REAL cool. It's amazing how SIMPLE the game seems ... but you can lose too (if you don't play smart).

Anyhow great job... It's really a cool "mini" game!

Question for you:

Q: Do I just "shuffle" the cards and place them in whatever position I like?


Must I have the EXACT "starting" formation as in the rulebook??

I've been trying and I keep "losing" (LOL). Are there any kind of hints you can give OR is this like the Rubic's Cube ... where you need to be a genius to solve???


I like the theme you provided

I like the theme you provided and will work on rules that cater to that theme.

I have had the idea of a token moving clockwise around the board and have been trying to incorporate it into several designs. I would like to use it in a two-player game next.

Shuffle the cards. That is just an illustration of a possible starting setup.

The winning the game arrangement is pretty much how the cards should look but the numbers could be rotated 90,180,270 degrees or flipped vertically and horizontally. I could give more hints if desired.

Some suggestions

I would remove the solution from the rules... Makes it SEEM "to easy". But it does give the "solution" and it shouldn't be in the rules. Give yourself more credit... The game works and there are variations to the "solution"... Like I said I would NOT include it.

What I would include is some kind of "hint" mechanism. And what I mean by this is a REAL way of "playing" without divulging the "solution".

I'm not the designer... So I don't know of any "strategies"... But IF you could share some "strategies" INSTEAD of the "solution" ... That would make your game 10x time better!

Aside from COPYING the solution you provided (rotated and flipped, etc.) Are there any "move" strategies???

I finally WON!

Having played the Puzzle... I finally won. But I have to say the ONE (1) HINT that I would put in the "rules" is that the "5" should be in the CENTER position.

That should be enough to TRY to find a solution... Usually (and I'm not 100% sure) there is only one or two valid moves...

Don't include the SOLUTION, it makes the game ... TOO SIMPLE. Not "easy" because you have to watch WHAT you move and where it will lead. BUT simple because you have a "blueprint" to try to mimic.

And that kinda takes away the SURPRISE while playing the game!

So good to ensure that you just put a "hint" (with the "5") and leave the solution out of the Puzzle ...


Another POSSIBLE HINT is....

You could ADD a 2nd HINT which is:

2> To win, you must ensure that the THREE (3) HIGHEST cards ("7-8-9") are in three (3) different rows AND columns.

That is also HELPFUL but doesn't give the solution away either. Like you said, it's just another HINT combined with the FIVE ("5") in the CENTER ... that MIGHT be just enough to help solve the Puzzle.

I'm still thinking up a VALID "Move" strategy... Will play some more and see if anything jumps out at me.


Yup those 2 hints WORK!

You are near the "solution" once all three of the highest cards are in separate rows and columns. From there, it is maybe 1 or 2 turns to solve the Puzzle by looking at which cards NEED to be moved into their "final" positions.

Not that this is related to THIS game... But if you are looking at designing something with two (2) players ... something like:

1> Player 1 moves the spotter clockwise.

2> Player 2 moves the spotter counter-clockwise.

Just a general idea... That you can maybe work off of. If you could design a two (2) player designing with the spotter and rotation around the cards... Not saying it's "possible", just giving you some "general" ideas.


I renamed the game and

I renamed the game and updated the rules with the new theme and solution hint.

Looks good!

Definitely MORE of a "Challenge" now... Since you only have a "HINT" in how to "solve" the Puzzle. And the new name is cool too! (And I checked on BGG, there is no other "Diamond Heist" game in their listings...) My advice would be to create a page for the game on BGG, so as to protect the name of the game. And I tried the domain ... but I'm not sure if it is you who already own the domain name?!

Anyhow great job creating this small yet very intricate game...


Or maybe create a BGG page

Call it "Jewell Games", a collection of small but challenging "mini" games. I seem to believe that you have a bunch of these "under your belt". Would be worthwhile to publish or make available all that content from BGG.

You've worked very hard on these games, and my recommendation to you is to share them with the public as a "collection" of games.


hello. a nice little "magic

hello. a nice little "magic square" puzzle with clever twist. i agree there might not be much commercial value but you might be able to come up with a couple of other micro games to add to the value, possibly using some extra cards (but i would keep the deck 18 or less).
have you tried the game with a bigger square? 4×4=16 diamonds + 1 thief and 1 instruction card.(18 total)

Yes, I have a digital 4x4

Yes, I have a digital 4x4 prototype that uses custom cards (since it goes to 16) that had thief movement values ranging from 1-4 on them as well. It’s definitely a beefier and more difficult game.

I hope to flesh out this basic idea and introduce more complex gameplay soon.

i think that would be more

i think that would be more sellable especially if you can think of a couple of other games using the same cards.
the fact the 16 card version uses custom cards adds to the value as it can no longer be played with a standard deck. this is the reason i refuse to buy uno.
i don't think the extra movement values are necessary, and they may add a layer of complexity you simply dont need, but i may be wrong- I'm sure you tested it both ways.
theoreticly a magic square can be any size (and have any set of numbers) there are some interesting papers on the puzzle (i say interesting, maybe just informative).
one variation you might think about is the sliding magic square- it is a cross between the classic square and those kids sliding picture puzzles (its often called a 15 puzzle). when you have found the solution the space is filled by the 16th card.

How about...

Using 1-8 Diamonds and 1-8 Hearts??? I'm not the designer ... so I don't know how it would work with the 4x4 design.

"Thematically" I would say that the goal would be the steal the Jewels (Diamonds) and Assassinate the Guards (Hearts).

Like I said, I don't know the "mathematics" of it, I just felt something in this "direction" might be feasible somehow. Not sure...

@Gregg can definitely *explore* this idea further and see where it may lead. Like I said there might be some kind of "solution" possible. I just don't know what it is.

Cheers and hoping you can design some 4x4 to test out!

Update: Maybe you can even use that clockwise/counter-clockwise principle in this game... IDK(?) But something like:

A> if you move 2 Diamonds, clockwise
B> if you move 2 Hearts, counter-clockwise
C> if you move both a Diamond and a Heart, player's choice

Just some ideas... I have no clue if they would work or not... I merely speculating at all these *plausible* ideas. @Gregg would have to determine if some (or any of them) might work or not...

Note: Another VARIATION could be:

A> if you move 2 Diamonds, Card #1 + Card #2, clockwise.
B> if you move 2 Hearts, Card #1 + Card #2, counter-clockwise.
C> if you move both a Diamond and a Heart, Card #1 - Card #2, positive clockwise, negative counter-clockwise...

Something like that might be an alternative...

magic square puzzles have

magic square puzzles have also been designed that require not only does every, row, column and diagonal add up to X but so do the quadrants (the center number will be in all 4 quadrants) and or the 4 corners.
i have a feeling creating the puzzle is just as hard as solving it though so good luck with that.

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