m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

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.


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.

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. (In case of remaining ties, which are possible with the double Decktet, determine first player by the highest rank held by the players to the left—that is, rank the potential second players—or redeal if necessary.)


Number card
a card of rank 2–9
the set of number cards laid out on the board, traditionally in a t-bone fashion
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.)
unless explicitly mentioned otherwise, adjacent refers to orthogonal adjacency of cards (sharing a side)
you occupy a card if you have at least one pyramid on it
you control a card if you occupy it and no one else does
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
Suit order
the natural suit order of the Dectet is according to their order of appearance from top to bottom on the cards: Moons, Suns, Waves, Leaves, Wyrms, Knots.
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.


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, listed below. At the end of their turn, a player must discard down to the hand limit of five cards.

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


If you have no pyramids on the board, build and then place a one-pip pyramid on your built card.
Draw three more cards.
Replace one of your pyramids with one of the next larger pip count.
Add a one-pip pyramid from your supply to a card you occupy.
Add a number card from your hand to the board, orthogonally adjacent to a card you already control.
Move one of your pyramids one card orthogonally.
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.)
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.

Game End

The game ends when one player controls a poker block. (A straight flush 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.


Take your chances with a single or double extended deck, rather than a Myrmex deck. (This throws off the balance of attack cards and things can 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. (You would need an action for pointing the pyramids.)

End the game when one player controls a turtle butt (or alternately, a bharg set) block. (A turtle butt is a set of cards containing all six suits. A bharg set is a turtle butt without duplicate suits.)

Fly Variants

Attack Variants


Version 1.1, M.C.DeMarco, March 13, 2024 (minor edits and turtle butt variants)
Version 1.0, M.C.DeMarco, November 10, 2018

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

Looney Pyramids (a.k.a. Icehouse pieces) are the creations of Andrew Looney and John Cooper. Zark City was devised by Andrew Looney, Zarcana and Gnostica by John Cooper, and Dectana by Ryan Hackel.