Designed by Chris DeLeo
Players 2-4
Length ?
Extra Material None

a tableaux-filling Decktet game for 2 to 4 players, plus a solitaire variant

The game is played on a five by five grid (the spread). On your turn, you add one card to the spread, score points depending on the connections between the played card and nearby cards, and possibly draw cards depending on those connections. You are penalized for any cards left in your hand at the end of the game.

Object of the game: To score points by placing cards.


Shuffle the deck, deal cards face up into the spread, then deal a hand of cards to each player.


With two players, deal 5 face up cards: one card in each corner of the spread and one in the center. (See fig. A) Then deal each player a 10 card hand.

With three players, deal 4 face up cards: one card in each corner of the spread. (See fig. B) Then deal each player a 7 card hand.

With four players, deal 5 face up cards: one card in each corner of the spread and one in the center. (See fig. A) Then deal each player a 6 card hand.

Play begins with the player on the dealer's left and continues clockwise.

Game play

On your turn, take one card from your hand and place it into an openning in the spread. Each card you place in the spread may score points in several different ways. Total points any for basic scoring, pairs, sequences, and power plays. If the balance is negative, then you lose points for the turn.

Scoring the play

Basic scoring: Consider this card (the one you played) with respect to each horizontally or vertically adjacent card. If this card is at the edge of the spread or is next to an empty space, it does not score on that side.

Add the rank of the two cards together; Aces are 1, Crowns are 10, and other cards are as numbered.

  • If the sum is 9 or less, one of the cards is an Ace, and the other card has a suit matching the Ace: Add points equal to the sum of the two cards.
  • If the sum is 9 or less, without a matching Ace: Lose points equal to the sum of the two cards.
  • If the sum is exactly 10, score zero points.
  • If the sum is exactly 11: Draw a card.
  • If the sum is between 12 and 19: Add points equal to ten less than the sum; e.g. a sum of 14 scores 4 points.
  • If the sum is exactly 20: Draw a card.

Note that card draws are cumulative. For example: Boris plays a Crown adjacent to an Ace, another Ace, and another Crown on three different sides. His Crown plus each Ace add to 11, and his Crown plus the other Crown add to 20. So he draws three cards.

Pair bonus: If this card is the same rank as an adjacent card, add 5 points.

If this card matches more than one adjacent card, score for each pair.


Straight bonus: If this card completes a continuous line of three or more cards that are in rank order, add 20 points. Straights may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.

Aces count as before 2, Crowns count as after 9, and straights may not wrap around. If you make more than one straight, score for each.

Three of a Kind bonus: If this card completes a continuous line of three or more cards of the same rank, add 30 points. Threes of a Kind may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.

If you make more than one three of a kind, score for each. Cards that contribute to three of a kind may not be scored as pairs.

Although it is possible to score multiple straights or threes-of-a-kind, they must be in different lines. For example, playing in the middle of four card straight does not score the straight bonus twice; it doesn't count as two overlapping three card straights. However, playing so that your card completes two straights in two different directions does score twice (for 40 points).

Power Play: If this card is an Ace or Crown and you play it adjacent to an Ace or Crown of the same suit, then you score a power play. Add the total value of all other cards of showing suit in the spread. This may be as little as zero (if there are no other cards of that suit in the spread) or as many as 44 (if all the other cards of that suit are in the spread.)

Since the Ace and Crown sum to 11, you will draw a card as part of basic scoring when you make a power play.

End of the Round

The round ends when all 25 places in the spread have been filled. If you drew cards as the result of play during the round or if you are playing a four-player game, then you will have at least one card left over at the end. You lose points for each card left in your hand: Subtract the rank of each number cards, subtract 10 for each Crown, and subtract 15 for each Ace.

A new round then begins, with the new dealer being the player on the old dealer's left. Since there is a definite advantage to going first and a disadvantage to going last, a game consists of one round with each player as dealer.

The extended deck

If you want to spice up the game, you can add in the Excuse, the Pawns, or both. Just shuffle them in at the beginning of the game. (The Excuse adds something to the game. The rules for Pawns really don't work out so well.)

The Excuse: The Excuse counts as a blank. It scores zero points when played in a spread, accrues no basic scoring when cards are played next to it, and exacts no penalty if still in hand at the end of the round.

Pawns: For the purpose of basic scoring, Pawns are counted as being rank 1. However, they also work like Aces; if a card and a Pawn sum to 9 or less, the points are added if the card and the Pawn share a suit but subtracted only if they do not. For the purpose of straights, Pawns are between 9s and Crowns. A Pawn in your hand at the end of the game costs 10 points.


Flush bonus: In this variant, there is a bonus for completing a configuration of four or more cards that share a suit. A flush may be in a straight line (including diagonals) or in a two-by-two box. This scores 10 points. It is possible to score for multiple flushes with a single play.

Note that cards in a flush will also have other suits that they do not share, but there must be one single suit that they all do have.

Muggins: Players must explicitly announce what their play is worth after a card play. If a player fails to claim points to which they are entitled, other players who notice the extra points may steal them.

Blank slate: As an alternative way to setup and play the game, begin by dealing 24 cards equally among the players (6 each to 4 players, 8 each to 3 players, 12 each to 2 players) and dealing only 1 card face-up to the table. All cards played to this "blank slate" grid must be orthogonally adjacent to a card already on the table (beginning with the 1 face-up card, of course). The game will still end when a 5x5 grid is complete, but the bounds of that grid will not be determined at setup, but by play.

If the tableau of cards is already 5 cards tall or 5 cards wide, a player may not play a card that would make it taller or wider (respectively)—that dimension of the grid is set. Until the tableau reaches 5 cards tall or wide, cards may be played that would extend it in any direction. As a result, the starting card may ultimately be anywhere in the final grid: in the center, on a side, or in a corner. This dynamic grid shape and the adjacency rule provide for a game experience more focused on long-term planning.

(In the Revised and Expanded Decktet Book, starting with one card is the default rule, and starting with five cards already in play is listed as a variant.)


As a solitaire, Quincunx is played against the tableaux in an attempt to earn as many points as possible.

The solitaire game is played on a 4x4 grid. Starting cards are dealt in each of the four corners. Deal yourself an 8 card hand. Scoring is as per the usual rules, except that Straights and Threes of Kind may not be scored on diagonals.

If you run out of cards before completing the spread, you lose. This means that you will need to arrange basic scoring for 11 or 20 several times. Don't do it too many times, though, because cards in your hand at the end still count as a penalty.


Original design: Chris DeLeo

Rules text: P.D. Magnus

Playtesting: John Milanese, Cristyn Magnus

Solitaire variant: Jack Neal



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