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RULES v. 2 ( last edit 12.31.2010)


  • Created by Thomas Gale, © 2003 - 2010
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  • Number of Players:4 (you could try with 2 or 3)
  • Duration: 10-30 min
  • Atmosphere: sequencing card game
  • Theme: vying for the throne


  • deck of 52 cards (remove jokers)
  • score sheet + pencil (optional)


Four kingdoms are trying to gain power to claim the emperor's throne. The winning side will have presented its power most efficiently by remembering past conflicts.


At game end everyone counts the cards in their "trick pile". The player with the most cards wins (not necessarily most tricks). A full proper game is where everyone plays a game as each suit once. Highest totaled score after 4 games is winner.


Each player gets a full suit (diamonds, hearts, spades, clubs) of 13 cards. (Randomly determine or players may choose suit.)

Each player separates the ace, deuce, and 3 (special cards).

Each player then draws three cards blindly (at random) from the remaining cards in hand and puts them in a stack before them face down, called "hidden reserve".

Each player then may organize their remaining hand (including the ace, deuce and 3) which is kept hidden from other players.



Each turn there is a skirmish.

All players simultaneously decide one card from their hands to play and places it face down on the table to show they are ready. Once all players are ready the played cards are revealed.

The ranking of cards is as follows with the King most powerful and the Ace weakest: K(13),Q(12),J(11),10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

If there are no ties, the highest ranking card sum wins the skirmish and the owner takes the trick unless someone intervenes. The winner puts the trick face up before her. (Multiple tricks won may be in one messy pile before a player or neatly stacked.)

The last round (and game end) occurs when any player has no cards in hand. (note reserve cards may still be left unused). The last round is played out to completion.


Special rules intervene: (The value of these cards is still valid as far as determining the round victor.)

Ace Envoy(adds one): After cards are revealed in a round a player may play her ace which adds one to a played card. This may only be done to help another player tie or gain 1 more point to win the round. You can't play an ace to add to your own score. Multiple aces can be played in a single round to cancel or add up. This may cause ties which will need resolving.

Deuce Power (weakens royalty): If one or more deuce is played in a round then all face value cards are worth only 10 points. This results in more likelihood of ties.

3 of Clubs (the martyr): one must give the top card of your reserve to another player to put in their hand.

3 of Spades (the gravedigger): one must take the top card of any reserve (including your own) and put it in your hand.

3 of Diamonds (the robber): one must take the top card of any reserve (including your own) and add it to your trick pile.

3 of Hearts (the lover): one must flip the top card of any single player's reserve (besides you) after cards have been revealed in a round. That card adds to that person's total.


If there are ties, then special rules apply to break the ties:

Involved players draw the top card from their own hidden reserve stack to break the tie. Highest wins. (If one player has no reserve cards but the other does, then player with remaining reserve card wins) If still a tie, then draw again from the reserve. If tie can't be broken due to empty reserves, then the cards played for that round are discarded from game entirely.

No giving obvious hints to other players as to what you are about to play.


Flip a coin (or roll a die) at the beginning of each round:

      Heads (or even) - highgest total wins trick

      Tails or (or odd) - lowest total wins trick (including ties) (aces subtract in this case)


This isn't a tremendously innovative game, but it is simple. Hopefully it's not too similar to too many of the billion other cards games out there. I wanted a game that each player had a full suit in hand and then I went from there with deciding for fairly simple rules. Kind of weak, standard storyline premise too, but hopefully the game is fun. This is not playtested yet. As I haven't played there might be a risk of there being not enough ties, or too many ties at end etc.

version 1 last edit - - 11.21.05

versions 2 last edit -- 12.31.09

I updated this b/c the tie breaking rules were too complicated. I rolled the optional rules into the main game. Game still seems a bit weak to me.


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