Ludum Dare 35 — April 15th-18th, 2016 — Theme: Shapeshift

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by unpronounceable - Compo Entry

A single player game using a normal deck of playing cards including the joker.

While playing you work your way through a stronghold, replacing people and spying to open up new options available to you. The goal is to find and replace the joker hidden in with the rest cards.

There is also a two player variation included in the rules if you want to play with someone else.

This is partially an experiment to see how well a more traditional game will work in this contest, and to see if I could make a game using something most people would have just lying around. If time permits I may make an electronic version people can play.

Downloads and Links




rikoitza says ...
Apr 17, 2016 @ 6:00pm

Woah! Way to think outside the box, I would have never considered this.

Apr 17, 2016 @ 6:41pm

The fact one can play this solitaire makes it attractive, I've seen a few table-top entries on LD and this is a big plus. Also I enjoyed your post-mortem on this. I will be sure to try this one out :)

TechXSoftware says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 2:16am

I like it

chobrah says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 1:02am

Oh dang, I am at the office and have no deck of cards, devastated! I love the idea, will have to try it when I get home.

AlmightyTuna says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 3:35am

This was super fun and original. This stands up favorably to original solitaire

kariamoss says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 2:52pm

Waaah, what an innovative game! It's awesome. I discovered an all new technology!

SgtBursk says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 5:43pm

The game seemed super hard to play. I was out of options, thinking all hope was lost. Then I remembered I could Panic! And then I won in two turns. Easy!

Amazing work on the rules. Very clearly worded. Good use of capitalization to point out key words. Examples were succinct and displayed rule outliers well. My only suggestion would be to make a cheat sheet somewhere for quick reference.

Didn't try the variations, but it was cool to see you added those.

And nice job incorporating the theme!

ezombort says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 5:47pm

Looks like a very interesting game. I like that you provided intstructions on how to make the game easier or harder. Thumbs up!

Apr 20, 2016 @ 6:56pm

Yup this is a very good game, I played a couple of rounds, and the rules are clear and easy. I think this will be a game I will keep playing for a while!

One thing I came across: The joker popped up as one of the first cards you flip over after initial setup (#6 in the Rules). So what I did was I collected the bottom four cards from each column, shuffled, and re-dealt those.

A solid game, two thumbs up!

Also, I made a quick reference while I was learning the game, if it helps anyone else -

Apr 20, 2016 @ 10:44pm

@keyboardmonkey Quick rules clarification: The joker shouldn't be mixed into the deck until you're placing the top four rows in step 5. The extra cards placed during step 5 should be placed above the cards placed in step 3. So the joker should never be in the bottom four rows and shouldn't be able to be gotten in the initial reveal.

The split in the dealing is my least favorite part of the rules but I wasn't able to come up with a good way to avoid immediately turning over the joker without it. It creates the most confusion, have watched a few other people play that had issues with it.

Apr 21, 2016 @ 5:09am

(facepalm) I see my mistake, you highlighted it well in the diagram. Whoops. I thought the games played too easy.

To put it another way, you split the deck into three piles of 5, 24, 24 (including joker), and layout the stronghold starting with the joker pile?

Perhaps change the wording in the Setup phase, step 5 from "on top" to "above", for people like me who don't pay attention to diagrams :)

Apr 21, 2016 @ 12:29pm

@keyboardmonkey If you're building the Stronghold from farther away from to closer that would work. The idea is to have the closest 4 cards in the columns not be the joker, you should have to go through a minimum of 4 cards to get it. The wording for that was something I struggled with. Both "above" and "on top" can be interpreted as the card laying on top of another card or as further away in relation to another card (using OpenGL coordinates it would be the difference between moving along the y-axis and the z-axis). Since the columns should be laid out so it's easiest to flip over the bottom of the column, each card in the column is both above (on the y-axis) and below (on the z-axis) the next card that is closer than it to the top of column. This is a possible source of confusion.

Probably should have used the words "closer" and "further". So you start out close to you, and as you lay the second group in the Stronghold you place them farther away. The row then flipped over in the beginning is the row of cards closest to you.

Something could be done using piles like you mentioned. Could also have a different goal that would be more likely to distribute the cards around the entire board, like you have to get all the kings and aces, but to keep the same board size would then reduces the size of the Reserve by one.

Thanks for the feedback, it's quite helpful.

UltraRat says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 6:15pm

Fun and Interesting. I hope your experiment works out well, I'd love to see more variety of game types in Ludum Dare!

CodeNMore says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 4:35pm

I always loved solitaire PnP games and card games, and it is amazing that I found a good on here at Ludum Dare! Well done!

Ethan Allwood says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 5:08pm

Wow! Great idea! I tried this out and it was really fun. One way you could improve this would be to add a way to make sure Joker doesn't start in the bottom row. I would suggest before putting in the joker, set aside 6 cards (or however many columns you are playing with) which at the end of setup would be placed down face up as the bottom row.

LeReveur says ...
May 6, 2016 @ 1:49pm

I really like the idea to make a new gameplay with standard cards. And you made it. You made it well ! :)

May 7, 2016 @ 6:17am

@unpronounceable I have implemented your card game into a web-canvas game, the working prototype plays and is winnable. I will post a link after the LD voting ends :)

May 17, 2016 @ 7:02pm

fyi I implemented your game in my browser based engine -

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