To Please the Court

24 Dec


You are an up-and-coming courtier trying to leverage gifts and favours to the royal court in order to gain influence and a better position of power for yourself. Who’s favour will you seek? Who’s displeasure will you earn? Who will play their cards just right and Please the Court?

Ages: 6+

Players: 1 or 2

Interesting Features: Trying to fulfill gift lists? Giving and receiving? Head-to-head battles for recognition and favours?  It almost screams of the holidays doesn’t it? How could I not offer this to everyone as a Christmas present?

Plus there is a version for those who prefer to be alone. Merry Christmas!

Extras Needed: A Deck of Playing Cards and maybe a pencil and paper for scoring (if you are really keen).

DOWNLOAD: To Please the Court Rules

DOWNLOAD: To Please the Court Boards

Printing Directions: Print the Rules on both sides of an 8.5 x 11″sheet of paper (landscape) and fold in half to make a booklet. Print the Court Boards on some heavy paper/cardstock and cut in half.

Designer’s Notes: (or “How to reinvent Rummy with No Dice”) Roll and Write games are very popular now for good reason – because they are a lot of fun! One day I was wondering if you could do a Roll and Write with Cards instead of dice. Call it a Draw and Write if you like. And then as flipped through a deck of cards and thought more I realized that I’m lazy so why write when there are already numbers on the cards. So what I present to you is my version of a Roll and Write game with absolutely no rolling or writing and which became instead, basically Rummy tweaked to have no dice in it whatsoever.


Don’t Even!

29 Oct

dont even

“Don’t Even!” it is a not-so-gentle reminder to watch your scoring, and the last ditch cry for those daughters whose best laid plans are about to be ruined by their big meany of a dad who won’t take that card from their sister instead!

Ages: 6+

Players: 2 – 6

Interesting Features: Finally a game that relies on Math and a gleeful “Take That” attitude! This is a sure-fire hit for everyone who wants their children to dislike them even more. (I said I was sorry, Cora, but I really needed that blue 3 and you were the only one I could take it from. I promise to pick on your sister next game.)

Players can play cards to (and then take cards from) any player in the game. Need a card you don’t have in your hand? Take it from someone else. No one is safe. But You must give them a card of equal or greater value in return.

The kicker? Only sets of cards that add up to an odd number score for you. Groups of cards that are even score against you!

Extras Needed: A pencil and paper for scoring, or a calculator, or a math whiz you can trust.

DOWNLOAD: Don’t Even! (Rules)

DOWNLOAD: Don’t Even! (Cards)

Designer’s Notes: One of my all time favourite games is “No Thanks” it is a masterpiece of elegance and agonizing decisions. In No thanks you can decide not to take a card that will score against you, but you must offer a token that will make the card more palatable for your opponents to take instead. This game began with a similar idea … you can take cards you need from your opponents, but you must give them something just as good (or better) in return. And if you want to ask how this game stacks up to its muse … Don’t Even!

Written in the Cards

1 May


Some say life is a matter of playing the cards you were dealt. But is it all determined before you even begin? Do you have the power to change things, or is it all just written in the cards

Ages: 6+

Players: 2 – 6

Interesting Features: Written in the Cards is a story-telling game based around the words you choose and the cards you draw. It is completely open-ended and anything at all can happen … especially if you draw a face card!

Extras Needed: One deck of regular Playing Cards. You can make extra copies of the Story Outline and Tracker found on the back of the page. You will need one for each game you play. Or you can do it without the tracker if you like.

DOWNLOAD: Written In the Cards

Designer’s Notes: Written in the Cards began life as an entry into the 2017 Edition of the 200 Word RPG Challenge. With almost 700 entries you know it is an idea worth exploring. And you really should! There are a lot of really neat ideas worth trying out!

And while 200 words got most of my point across, I wanted to expand my game and its story-telling greatness to A FULL PAGE of awesome complexity! It may take you longer to read the rules now, but I think you will agree … it is more than 200 words … several more. I hope you enjoy a few of them in a story of your own creating.

Triton’s Garden

6 Jan


Ages: 8+

Players: 3 – 6

Interesting Features: King Triton is building a new underwater garden and he needs your help to stock it with all things beautiful. Collect the right kinds of fish to gain his praise, but watch out for those mischievous dolphins!

So many options for scoring! So many options for messing up your opponent’s scoring! And dolphins … because, why not?

Extras Needed: One deck of regular Playing Cards and a pencil & paper for scoring.

DOWNLOAD: Triton’s Garden

Making Your Own Deck: I have a nice aquatic themed deck of cards to go with this game. Send me an email and I can provide you with the link so you can make one for yourself if you like!

Designer’s Notes: The idea and core mechanics for this game, I am very proud to say, came from the very creative mind of my daughter. I’m not sure what she has against dolphins. You will have to ask her. What a pleasure to be able to share with you the work of our collective craziness.

One More Round

23 Dec


Ages: 8+

Players: 3 – 6

Interesting Features: The increased scoring of each round’s particular cards means that everyone is still “in the game” right to the very end … even if your first few rounds really stunk. Consider it valuable practice and buckle down when it really counts!

Extras Needed: One deck of Italian Playing Cards.

DOWNLOAD: One More Round

Making Your Own Deck: You can make your own deck of Italian playing cards by shortening a regular deck. Simply remove all the 8, 9, 10’s. This will leave you with a deck of 40 cards.

Designer’s Notes: The theme of trading tales and buying ales might be enhanced by doing just that. This is a lighthearted game made for socializing and the imbibing your favourite beverage.

Pip & Squeak

28 May

Pip&SqueakOne tiny little game that you can play two different ways!

Ages: 7+

Players: 2 – 4

Interesting Features: It’s dice … and some rules … how is that NOT interesting? Pip & Squeak is the little game you can play two different ways. In Pip you get to blame your lousy friends for losing. In Squeak you get to blame the lousy dice!

Extras Needed: four standard dice per player.

DOWNLOAD: Pip & Squeak

Printing Suggestions: The whole thing prints on one standard Letter size piece of heavy paper front and back. Use the cutting guides to get your individual cards. Don’t cut right off the edge, just up to the mark, and it works like a charm. Put the cards into card sleeves if you like.

Designer’s Notes: Pip is more tense and likely to make you yell at your opponents. Squeak is more chaotic and guaranteed to make you yell at your dice. You decide which one your friendships can handle. 


Classics Cubed!

7 Feb

Classics 3So many dice … so many games!

Ages: 6+          Players: 2

Interesting Features: Smaller boards, faster playing times, and the occasional luck of the roll. These are the classic board games you know, with a new and dicey twist. Actually, Dice-Tac-Toe became a whole lot more of a game than the original!

Extras Needed: two different (and identifiable) sets of standard six-sided dice … plus two. Use two different styles, or colours or sizes.


DOWNLOAD: Chess-Cubed Board

DOWNLOAD: Pits & Pips Board

DOWNLOAD: Dicegammon Board

Printing Suggestions: All of the files print onto one standard Letter size piece of paper. The rules are designed to be printed front and back. The Boards can be used as is, or “fancifed” by printing out each one twice, putting the top one on a sheet of foamboard, and cutting out spaces for the dice. (see the picture above for a sloppy version of this idea … I’m sure you can make your copy look much nicer!) This will keep the dice from moving around on you without your consent. This can all be done much easier if you print the whole page on a full sheet label.

Designer’s Notes: Because it’s been so long since I updated this site I decided to give you not just one game but FOUR full games to remind you of why you hadn’t missed me! You are welcome.

Rules Variants: Have any interesting ideas you would like to add? Leave a comment below!