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Deck Town

If Charlemagne were a badger, Zark City would be Deck Town.

Deck Town is a 2–5 player game based on Andrew Looney’s Zark City (a simpler Zarcana-style game for a traditional deck of cards). I devised it in order to work my way up to actually playing Dectana, after having merely deciphered it.

I announced it at BGG and found out it’s not the first attempt to make a Dark City.

Setup

Each player receives a supply of nine Looney pyramids (three of each size) in a unique player color.

A Myrmex deck is recommended. To create a Myrmex deck from a double Decktet, remove both Excuses, one set of Aces and Crowns, and two each of the Pawns and Courts (leaving six each).

To begin, deal out three cards each.

If any player receives no number cards, deal out one more card each. Repeat until every player has at least one number card.

Terminology

Number card
a card of rank 2–9
Board
the set of number cards laid out on the board, traditionally in a t-bone fashion
Connected
the board must always remain connected, with every card either orthogonally adjacent or diagonally adjacent to another card. (Diagonal adjacencies can be created only when flying away from a spot, not when building or landing a flown card.)
Occupy
you occupy a card if you have at least one pyramid on it
Control
you control a card if you occupy it and no one else does
Block
a set of three or more orthogonally-adjacent cards
Suit match
cards in the Dectet can have multiple suits; two cards show a suit match when at least one suit is shared between them
Straight flush
a straight flush in the Dectet all share a single suit (their other suits may differ) and form a numerical run. For this game, a straight flush must have at least four cards, but they need not be laid out in run order in the block.
Three of a kind
three cards that all share the same numerical value but do not share any suits (no repeats), in a block
Poker block
a poker block is a straight flush block or a three of a kind block. The goal of the game is to control a poker block.

Rules

On the first turn, each player chooses one number card from their hand. Reveal them simultaneously; the player who chose the highest ranked card goes first. (In case of ties, use the natural Decktet suit order to determine the winner.)

The first player hatches their chosen card. The remaining players do the same in clockwise order.

Play continues in clockwise order. On each player’s turn they have a choice of eight actions:

Actions

Hatch
If you have no pyramids on the board, build and then place a one-pip pyramid on your built card.
Draw
Draw three more cards.
Grow
Replace one of your pyramids with one of the next larger pip count.
Spawn
Add a one-pip pyramid from your supply to a card you occupy.
Build
Add a number card from your hand to the board, orthogonally adjacent to a card you already control.
Move
Move one of your pyramids one card orthogonally.
Fly
Discard an Ace to move a card you occupy (along with all occupants) to any other position adjacent to the board. (Do not disconnect the board in the process.)
Attack
You may only attack pyramids on the same card or on a card adjacent to one of your own pyramids. Discard a Crown (3 pips), Courts (2 pips each), or Pawns (1 pip each) totalling or exceeding the pip count of the attacked piece. Return the the attacked piece to the owner’s supply.
If each spent card matches the card being attacked in at least one suit, you may, in addition, replace the defeated pyramid with a matching pyramid from your supply.
If you overspent to defeat the pyramid, you may draw a card for each unused pip.

Attacked pieces are returned to the player’s supply, not removed from the game.

At the end of your turn, you must discard down to the hand limit of five cards.

Shuffle the discards whenever you run out of cards to draw.

Game End

The game ends when one player controls a suit run block or a three of a kind block. (The run need not be laid out in order on the board.)

In case of a tie (due to the last action being a move), the player controlling the highest-ranked card in a winning block wins (using the natural Decktet suit order on ties). If there is still a tie (due to using a double decktet), it’s a tie.

Variants

You can take your chances with a single or double extended deck. (This throws off the balance of attack cards and things get very stabby, very quickly.)

Draw a card at the beginning of every turn, as in Zark City.

Incorporate some Dectana rules, e.g., those involving the pointing direction of pyramids.

Fly

Attack

Credits

The Decktet is an alternative deck of cards created by P.D. Magnus and released under a CC license.

Zark City and Looney Pyramids are the creations of Andrew Looney.