Structural features of the Decktet

This page discusses some of the structural features of the Decktet which make it different from an ordinary deck of cards. These are provided as possible inspiration for game design. Where a feature has been used in games, examples are given.

Of course, not every game will exploit every feature of the Decktet.

Cross-suited cards

Most cards have two suits each.

This is the most obvious feature of the Decktet, and it is the natural starting place for new designs. Some ways that this feature has been used so far:

  • In a trick-taking game, it is possible to trump and follow a non-trump lead with the same card. For example, see Ace trump, Gasp!, and Gongor Whist
  • A set of cards showing one of each suit might be as few as three cards or as many as six. See Bharg and Terrapin
  • It is possible to lay out a line of cards so that each one shares a suit with its neighbor, but the end cards do not share suits at all. See Biscuit, Quäsenbö, and Hermit

Variable number of suits per card

Cards have one, two, three suits each.

Although two-suited number cards make up a majority of the deck, not all cards have two suits. One-suited Aces and Crowns together make up a third of the deck. Three-suited Pawns are added in the extended deck.

  • A set of cards with every suit may be as few as three cards or as many as six. See Bharg

Different numbers of card per rank

There are three of each numbered rank, six Aces, six Crowns, four Pawns, and four Courts.

This means, for example, that collecting pairs or making a straight is harder with some ranks than with others.

Pairwise suit combinations

Suit combinations do not occur with equal frequency.

In the basic deck: Three combinations (Moons-Suns moons.pngsuns.png, Waves-Leaves waves.pngleaves.png, Wyrms-Knots wyrms.pngknots.png) occur three times each, making them more common than any other combination. Three other combinations (Moons-Wyrms moons.pngwyrms.png, Suns-Leaves suns.pngleaves.png, Waves-Knots waves.pngknots.png) do not occur at all at all in the basic deck.

These combinations can help your strategy in some games, even thought almost not games mention them explicitly in the rules.

  • Since some combinations never occur together, it is possible to have one suit get a bonus and the other a penalty without allowing any card to receive both. Epic?

Suits in order

Moons are on top, then Suns, Waves, Leaves, Wyrms, and Knots

For example, on the Discovery (5suns.pngwaves.png) the Sun suns.png is above the Wave waves.png.

  • In a trick-taking game, this can be used as a tie-breaker when two cards of the same rank both follow suit. See Ace trump.
  • You get a different distribution of suits if you look at just the top suit on each card than if you look at just the bottom suit. See Chicane and Double Knot.

Pawns and Courts

Each Pawn shares exactly one suit with every other Pawn.

This means that each suit is represented on two different Pawns, so (with Pawns in play) rank is not enough to break ties between cards of the same suit. Also, any two Pawns will have five of the six suits between them.

The same is true of the Courts. But note that it is not true of Pawns and Courts taken together. The Light Keeper (a Pawn) and the Rite (a Court) share no suits and so have all six suits between them. Other Pawn/Court matches share one or two suits.

Card type

Every card is either an Ace, an Event, a Location, or a Personality.

These were originally just for using the cards as an oracle, but they have figured in some games.

  • The personalities are face cards, grouped together in a way that cuts across ranks and suits. They are point cards in Adaman and Hermit.
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