RULES v. 1 ( last edit 4.27.2007)
- Created by Julian Legend Jimenez,
Sponsored by Thomas Gale at
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- Number of Players: 2 (or more)
- Duration: 15-60 min
- Atmosphere: medium-light card game
- Theme: abstracted medieval fantasy
- 52 deck of standard cards & optional joker(s).
Shrine is a playing card game in which the objective is to remove
all cards from the other players Shrine in order to win the
game. During the play of the game, players may add cards to their
Shrine, remove cards from the other players Shrine and play
special cards and combos to help them win the game. Shrine uses a
regular 52 card poker deck with an optional joker.
Note from the author: Shrine uses several special terms to describe
and cards. Please refer to the appendix toward the end of the rules
understand any terms you don't understand. You may want to browse
appendix first before continuing to read the rules to better understand
First, the dealer must deal five cards to each player face down.
Players put their set of five Pawn cards, face down in front of them
(without looking) into a stack and flips only the top card face up.
These stacks are called Shrines. The remaining undealt cards are put
in the middle face down and form the Deck. The players Shrine
may never have more than five cards total unless the player has a
Triad. Next, each player draws five cards from the Deck and play begins.
Players start out with five Pawn cards in their hand and can have
up to seven but no more. If a player has more than seven cards in
their hand at the end of their turn then they must discard until they
have only seven.
TAKING A TURN
A Player first draws one card from the Deck at the beginning of a
turn. During the players turn, he or she may: Heal their own Shrine,
Attack another players Shrine, play a Special card, take a card from
the Graveyard, play a Special Combo, or pass. Each player is allowed
to take only one of the following actions during their turn:
Drawing a card from the Graveyard Instead of drawing
a card from the deck, a player may choose to take the top card from
the Graveyard and add it to his or her hand. If a player chooses
to take a card from the Graveyard, it counts as their one action
for that turn. The player may not take anymore actions. Note the
graveyard is shared among all players (i.e. Each player does not
have her own graveyard).
Healing: Healing allows you to add cards to the top of
your Shrine. To add a card to your Shrine, you must have a pair
of Pawn cards in your hand that is the same number of the top card
of your Shrine. At least one of the two cards must be the same color
as the top card of your Shrine. Discard the pair of Pawn cards used
into the Graveyard and flip over the top card from the deck and
place it on top of your Shrine.
Attacking: Attacking allows you to remove cards from the
top of your opponents Shrine. To remove a card from another
players Shrine, you must take a Pawn card or a combination of Pawn
cards from your hand that is of equal value the opposite color of
the top card of the other players Shrine. Place the top card of
your opponents Shrine into the Graveyard and discard your Pawn card
or cards. If the top card of a players Shrine is a Token card,
it can be removed with another Token card of the same value but
opposite color. It can also be removed by a combination of Pawn
cards and Token cards that equal the value but are all still opposite
color of the Token card on top of the other players Shrine.
The values of the Token cards are: Jack = 11, Queen = 12, and King
= 13. Note: The exception to this rule is if the top card of a players
Shrine is a Dagger card. See the Dagger card section for how this
EXAMPLE: If the top card of your opponents Shrine is a
nine of hearts, you can remove that card with a nine of spades
or clubs. You can also use a combination of cards that equal the
value of the top card on your opponents Shrine but must
all still be of opposite color. You could use a five of spades
and a four of clubs together to remove the nine of hearts on the
top of your opponents Shrine. Note: The value of your attacking
Pawn cards must be equal to the value of the top card on your
opponents Shrine. Not greater. You could not use a five
of spades and a seven of spades to remove the nine of hearts because
it would equal twelve instead of nine. You must match the values
Playing Special Cards To play a special card, you must
discard one Pawn card of the same color as the special card you
wish to play from your hand, then put the Special card into play.
There are three Token cards: The King, the Queen, and the Jack.
Each Token card a player has in play gives them a different advantage.
Each special action takes up your action for that turn. A player may
not have more than three Token cards in play at a time ( four if that
player has a Triad) . A player may only have one of each kind of Token
card on the Field at anytime. Token cards can also be used to block
another player from removing a card from your Shrine. If a Token card
is removed from the Field during play, that player may no longer take
advantage of that Token cards special ability.
Playing Token cards To put a Token card into play, you must discard
one card of the same color from you hand into the Graveyard. Place
the Token card you wish to play on the Field in front of you. The
Token card is now in play. You may now take advantage your Token cards
Blocking with Token cards When your opponent attempts to remove
a card from your Shrine with one of his or her Pawn cards, you may
block with a Token card if you have any on the Field. To block with
a Token card, you must remove it from the Field and discard it to
the Graveyard. Your opponent then discards his or her Pawn card or
cards into the Graveyard. A player may not use a Token card to block
a Dagger card.
The King: (helps with attacking) The King allows you to
remove a card from your opponents Shrine without having to match
the exact number as the top card of the Shrine, but within one number
above or below the value of the top card. EXAMPLE: If the top card
on your opponents Shrine is a 5, then you can play a Pawn card with
a value of either 4, 5, or 6. The Pawn card must still be the opposite
color of the top card on your opponents Shrine.
The Queen: (helps with healing) The Queen allows you to
add a card to you your Shrine without matching the exact number
as the top card of your Shrine, but within one number above or below
the value of the top card. EXAMPLE: If the top card of your Shrine
is a 5, then you can play a pair of Pawn cards both with a value
of either 4, 5, or 6. At least one of the two Pawn cards must still
be the same color as the top card of your Shrine.
The Jack: (helps with stealing) The Jack allows you to take
a card from your opponents hand and then you must discard one card
from your hand into the Graveyard. You may not look at the other
players hand when choosing a card. A player may only use the
Jacks special ability as long as their opponent has at least
two cards in their hand.
Triad: When a player has one of each Token card in play
on his or her side of the Field, Its called a Triad. When
a player has a Triad in play, his or her Shrines maximum capacity
is increased by two. This means that player may now have up to a
total of seven cards in his or her Shrine. When a player has a Triad
in play, he or she may also play the Dagger card as a Token card.
If one of the players Token cards in play is removed from
the Field, thus breaking the Triad, the players Shrines maximum
capacity is returned to five cards. If the player has more than
five cards in their Shrine when the Triad is broken, then that player
must remove the top cards from their Shrine until they have only
The Dagger Card: The Dagger card can be used to remove one
of your opponents Token cards from the Field or remove the
top card from their Shrine. To play a Dagger card, you must discard
one card of the same color as the Dagger card you wish to play from
your hand into the Graveyard. Remove one of your opponents
Token cards from the Field or the top card of their Shrine, place
it into the Graveyard, and discard your Dagger card into the Graveyard.
Dagger cards cannot be blocked by Token cards. Dagger cards can
only be blocked by another Dagger card. Dagger cards can also be
Fizzled. Note: The Ace card is the Dagger card. When a Dagger card
is on the top of a players Shrine, that player cannot add anymore
cards on top of his or her Shrine until the Dagger card is removed.
The only way to remove a Dagger card from your opponents Shrine
is by using another Dagger card or using a pair of Pawn cards with
the same value.
EXAMPLE: A pair of 3s, a pair of Jacks, a pair of
9s, etc. Dagger Block: When a player plays a Dagger card,
their opponent has the option of blocking the Dagger card being
played with another Dagger card if he or she has on in their hand.
To do this, the defending player must play the Dagger card as
they normally would if it was their turn by discarding a Pawn
card from their hand that is the same color as the Dagger card
they wish to play. When a Dagger block is made, both Dagger cards
are then discarded to the Graveyard. The Dagger card as a Token
card: When a player has a Triad on the Field, he or she is allowed
to play the Dagger card as if it were a Token card. It is played
the same way a normal Token card is played. When the Dagger card
is on the Field as a Token card, it allows that player to draw
one extra card and perform one extra action on his or her turn.
If the players Triad is broken, then the Dagger card must
be removed from the Field and put into the Graveyard.
In addition to Special cards, the player also has Special Combos
that he or she can play. A Special Combo is a certain combination
of cards a player may have in their hand and play to perform a special
action. There are three different Special Combos in the game:
TRIPLET: When a player has three cards of the same value,
he or she may play a Triplet to remove all of his or her opponents
Token cards from the Field. When a Triplet is played, all of the
players opponents Token cards in play and the players Triplet are
placed in the Graveyard.
QUAD: When a player has four cards of the same value, he
or she may play a Quad to remove all of his or her opponents Token
cards from the Field and one card from the top of their opponents
Shrine. When a Quad is played, all of the players opponents Token
cards in play, the top card of their opponents Shrine, and the players
Quad are placed in the Graveyard.
RESURRECTION: When a player has three cards of any color
in his or her hand that are in sequential order of value (EXAMPLE:
3, 4, and 5 or King, Ace, and 2.), he or she may automatically place
the top card of the Graveyard into play. The player may use the
card to add to his or her own Shrine without having to match the
value or color of the top card of their Shrine or remove a card
from their opponents Shrine combined with other cards in the players
hand if needed. If the top card of the Graveyard is a Token card,
the player may choose to put the card into play on their side of
the Field without having to discard a card from their hand. If the
top card of the Graveyard is a Dagger card, the player may choose
to play the card as usual without having to discard a card from
their hand. If a player has a Triad on the Field and the top card
of the Graveyard is a Dagger card, then that player may choose to
play the Dagger card as a Token card without having to discard a
card from his or her hand.
The Fizzle is used to interrupt another players actions. If
a player has three or more cards in his or her hand during their opponents
turn, they may Fizzle their opponents action by discarding their entire
hand. This stops your opponent from performing any action such as
playing a Token card, playing a Dagger card, Attacking, or Healing.
When a players action is Fizzled, he or she must discard whatever
cards they were trying to play into the Graveyard. If you Fizzle one
of your opponents actions during their turn, and they have at
least three cards remaining in their hand (not counting the cards
they are currently trying to play) they have the option to counter
the Fizzle by discarding their entire hand as well, thus finishing
their original action and both players have no cards left in their
WINNING THE GAME
Players continue to draw cards and perform actions until one player
loses all the cards in their Shrine. The last player with any cards
in their Shrine is the winner. When the deck runs out, reshuffle the
Graveyard and turn it over to use as the draw deck.
THE BALANCE CARD:There is one Balance card in the whole deck.
It is added to the game before play begins and only if both players
decide to play with the Balance card in the game. The Balance card
MUST be played as soon as it is drawn or is turned over in a players
Shrine. Drawing the Balance card uses up that players action for that
turn. The Balance card can either help you or hinder you. When the
Balance card is played, all other players must equal themselves to
the person who played the Balance card by doing all of the following.
1. Drawing or discarding as many cards from their hand as it takes
to be equal to the person who played the Balance card. 2. Adding or
removing as many cards from their Shrine as it takes to be equal to
the person who played the Balance card. 3. And putting down or removing
as many Token cards in play as it takes to be equal to the person
who played the Balance card. The Token cards removed or added to the
Field must be of the same type as the ones on the player who revealed
the Balance cards side of the Field. If a player needs to add
Token cards to their side of the Field, search the Graveyard and draw
deck to find the correct cards. After the Balance card is played,
all cards remaining in the deck and the Graveyard must be reshuffled.
The Balance card is then removed from the game. To make a longer and
harder (frustrating) game, reshuffle the Balance card back into the
deck after it has been revealed. Note: The Balance card is the Joker
ALTERNATE HEALING: An alternate and easier method of Healing
is to do it the same way as Attacking except the player would have
to use Pawn or Token cards that are the same value and same color
as the top card of their own Shrine. The player then flips over the
top card from the deck and places it on top of his or her own Shrine.
This tends to make the game last a little longer because it makes
it easier for players to keep their Shrine filled to full capacity.
Players may still not have more than five (or seven if that player
has a Triad on the Field) cards in their Shrine at anytime.
ALTERNATE FIZZLE: A slightly easier way to perform the Fizzle.
The player still needs to have at least three cards in his or her
hand but instead of discarding their entire hand, they only have to
discard three cards. It works for a player trying to counter a Fizzle
with another Fizzle.
THE SHRINE: Initially, the Shrine is made up of five Pawn
and or Token cards. Additional Pawn and Token cards can be added or
removed during the course of the game. A player may never have more
than five cards in their Shrine at any time during the game unless
that player has a Triad in play, in which case they can have up to
a total of seven cards in their Shrine. When one player has no more
cards in their Shrine, the game is over.
THE GRAVEYARD: The Graveyard is the discard pile. At the
beginning of a players turn, he or she has the option of drawing the
top card from the Graveyard instead of drawing a card from the deck.
When a player chooses a card from the Graveyard, it also uses up their
one action for that turn.
THE FIELD: The Field is where the Token cards are placed
when put into play.
THE PAWN CARDS: The Pawn cards are the numbered cards in
a deck of playing cards. They are all the cards that are numbered
from 2-10. All Special cards except the Balance card (if players choose
to play with the Balance card in the deck) are also considered Pawn
cards until they are put into play as a Special card. Most of the
game revolves around the use of the Pawn cards. Using Pawn cards or
discarding them from your hand usually pays for actions.
THE TOKEN CARDS: The Token cards are the face cards in a
deck of playing cards. They are the King, Queen, and Jack cards. Token
cards allow you to use a Special advantage during your turn depending
on which Token cards you have in play. Each player may not have more
than one of each type of Token card on the Field at a time. Token
cards can be used to block your opponents attempt to remove a card
from your Shrine with a Pawn card. Each type of Token card allows
the player to perform a special action once per turn when it is in
THE DAGGER CARD: The Dagger card is the Ace card in a deck
of playing cards. Dagger cards are used to remove one of your opponents
Token cards in play or remove the top card from their Shrine. Dagger
cards can only be blocked by another Dagger card or by being Fizzled.
ATTACK: To remove the top card from an opponents Shrine.
HEAL: To add cards to the top of a players own Shrine.
DAGGER BLOCK: To block an opponents Dagger card being
played by playing another Dagger card.
TRIAD: When a player has one of each Token cards in play
at the same time.
FIZZLE: To counter an opponents action by discarding
the players own entire hand of at least three cards.
SPECIAL COMBOS: Special combos are certain combinations cards
a player may have in his or her hand that will allow them to perform
a special action during their turn. The three special combos are Triplet,
the Quad, and Resurrection.
THE BALANCE CARD: The Balance card is the Joker card in a
deck of playing cards. The Balance MUST be played when it is drawn
or discovered in a players Shrine. If the Balance card is drawn at
the beginning of the game when each player draws his hand, then he
or she must draw another card and reshuffle the Balance card back
into the deck. The Balance card is used to even out the game. It can
be the extra help you need to win the game or to lose it. The Balance
card is only used as an optional rule.
THE RULE OF COLOR: This is when ever the instructions tell
you that a card must be the opposite color of another card. The opposite
color of black is red and vice versa. Suits do not play any role in
this game and can be ignored. Only the color of the cards makes a
NOTES AND DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
I started making this game a long time ago and worked on it off
and on over the years. The idea was originally to make a game that
was similar Magic: The Gathering but using a regular deck of poker
cards. After working with different ideas about how to make things
like spell casting and creatures work, I decided
to go in a more abstract direction because it seemed close to impossible
to recreate the complexity and variety involved with a game like magic
using a regular deck of cards without making it overly complicated
and having to use some sort of cheat sheet to remember how to tell
what does what. Originally the game was much harder, took a really
long time to play, and the player was often stuck with no available
plays because they didnt have the right cards to play. The deck
was originally separated into piles of face cards and number cards.
The Shrine originally had ten cards in it and only consisted of number
cards. The player could only use one card that had to match the top
shrine cards in order to remove it or add to it. Only number cards
could be used to pay for playing the special cards. With twenty number
cards stuck in the shrines, the player would end up with only face
cards and have no way to make a play. This made the game very long
and dull. Players would have to pass and discard the majority of the
time. After a while I quit working on the game till about two or three
years ago when I decided to pick it up again and came up with quite
a few changes to make the game run smoother and a little faster. The
alternate healing method was the original way to add cards to a players
shrine. But after I made it possible to combine cards to reach the
value needed to remove cards from a shrine, it made healing a little
too easy and so players were able to add cards so often that it still
felt like the game to a little too long to finish. Thats when
I got the idea to use pairs to add cards to a shrine. It makes it
a bit difficult in the beginning of the game, but once a player gets
a queen on the field it becomes easier. I didnt want the player
to be able to heal too easily because I wanted the game to be played
fairly quickly. A game of Shrine can be finished in as little as five
minutes and I think the longest game comes close to twenty minutes.
I also had to make an adjustment to the Jacks ability so that
an opponent had to have at least two cards in their hand because otherwise
it was to easy to handicap your opponent early on if they only had
one card at a time and it was continuously taken away leaving them
with no almost plays to make. The balance card was also part of the
original game but also had to be turned into an optional rule because
it could make the game last way too long and frustrating. Its
still fun to play with the rule every now and then though. The Triad
was a later addition to the game and was originally very different.
It was originally called a tribunal and it allowed the player to have
two of each token cards in play at a time thus doubling the range
of their special abilities. It also let the player add and remove
cards from the shrines without having to follow the rule of color.
This made the game really unbalanced so it needed to be changed. I
still wanted to use the idea of getting some sort of benefit by having
all three token cards on the field at a time. I think the idea of
being able to use the ace as a token card was really cool. I also
changed the name to Triad because I think it made a little more sense
and sounded better. Im pretty happy with the way it ended up.
The last thing I added was the special combos and the fizzle action.
I really wanted to incorporate a few types poker hands in order to
do special actions because I think it adds to the strategy of what
cards the player uses to pay for actions and which ones they hold
on to. Although special combos can be rare to come by, when the player
does have them in their hand, they can do some pretty strong and powerful
actions. The fizzle was the very last thing I incorporated. From early
on I really wanted the player to be able to perform some sort of action
by discarding their entire hand. I needed to make sure the action
wasnt too powerful, so I though a type of counter move would
be perfect since I wanted to put something like that in the game from
the beginning and its useful. I made so the player would have
to have at least three cards in their hand in order to do this because
discarding your entire hand is the easiest thing you could do especially
if a player only had one card left. In which case a player could just
continually stop the other players actions every turn and put
the game in a stalemate. Even if the player more than three cards
in their hand, they have to discard their entire hand and not just
the three. I think this makes it pretty interesting so that a player
really has to think about whether they are willing to pay the price.
I did include an alternate Fizzle rule to make it I little less taxing
on the player to perform so they can recover from performing it a
little quicker. I had the name Shrine in mind from the
beginning. It was inspired by an old online game called Magestorm
that I used to play. The goal of the game was to change the other
players Mana shrines to your teams color. I didnt
want to call the stack of cards to be depleted life points or hit
points. I thought it was a little too cliché. Originally it
was just called the Stack. But that was too bland. I decided
to call it a shrine because I thought it was a more interesting and
creative. I originally had names for all of the face cards too based
on what they did. I called the queen a Cleric or medic because it
aided in healing. I called the Jack the Thief or Rogue because it
steals cards from the other player. I called king a Warrior or Mage
because it aided in attacking an opponent. I also considered calling
the Ace card an Assassin. I could never really settle on what exactly
to call each face card. In the end I decided to drop the names entirely
again because I felt they sounded way too cliché. I always
had a fantasy and magic theme in mind, but then I thought a slightly
more abstract theme for the names would be more interesting. I even
considered making some sort of background story for the game but felt
it wasnt really needed (much like this notes section) and would
take away a little from getting into the game. Im happy with
the names I gave to all the different aspects of the game because
I think they add a nice touch of flavor and all make sense to what
they are for without being too cliché. Anyways, thanks for
taking the time to read this section which turned out to be a lot
longer than I originally intended but since Ive been working
on this game I think for around five years and I wanted to let anyone
who might have been interested know how the game came about and evolved.
I hope everyone enjoys this game. I worked really hard on it and getting
to play just right. I would love to get some feedback. Please send
all questions and comments to: Brewtal_Legend(@)hotmail.com
Please take the time to drop me a line and tell what you think of
the game. I also have a couple other card games and non-card games
I have made and am still working on. Enjoy!
Copyright 2007, Julian Legend Jimenez