game variants





backup chess (2 players)


This works like normal chess, except as follows:


Both players collect the pieces they capture. When both players have captured a piece of the same type, they trade them. Instead of moving a piece, players can place a captured piece of their color they have.


Pieces cannot be placed on a square where they can attack an enemy piece.


Pawns must be placed (any distance) behind a pawn of yours. Pawns on your 2nd rank can move 2 squares forwards.






magic stories (4 to 6 players)


Take some extra "Magic: the Gathering" cards, and build a deck with at least 100 cards, without duplicates. Paper and a pencil are also needed to keep track of the score.


Each player draws 6 cards. One player is the first storyteller.


The storyteller says a sentence or phrase based on a card they’re holding, and sets down (face down) the rest of their cards.


Each other player chooses a card they think matches what the storyteller said, and places it face down on the table. The storyteller takes the face down cards, shuffles them with their selected card, then places these cards face up on the table. Each player besides the storyteller chooses a card on the table.


If nobody or everybody chooses the storyteller's card, the storyteller scores 0, and each of the other players scores 2. Otherwise the storyteller and whoever chose the storyteller's card score 3. Other players also score 1 point for every vote gotten by their own card. The played cards are put in a discard pile.


Each player now picks up their hand and draws a card, and the position of storyteller moves to the right. If the deck is depleted, the discard pile is shuffled and becomes the deck.


When every player has been storyteller twice, the game ends and the player with the most points wins.






wild magic (2 players)


Take some extra "Magic: the Gathering" cards, and build a deck with 240 to 400 cards. It should have an equal number of lands and cards for each color, and the cards should be about equally strong.


Play using normal MtG rules, with the following changes:

  • Both players draw from the same deck.
  • Instead of drawing 7 cards at the start, draw 18 and remove all but 7 from the game.
  • When you would draw a card, instead look at the top 3 cards of the deck, take 1, and remove the other 2 from the game.





    vizzini poker (2 players)


    Bram Cohen (the inventor of BitTorrent) devised this interesting poker variant. (He also designs puzzles.)


    There are two players. A standard poker deck is shuffled, and sixteen cards are dealt out face up, eight to each player. Both players get to stare at the cards for a while.


    Each player then gathers up their eight cards and sets aside four of the eight cards for the other player. They then exchange the cards they've set aside for each other. Each player then forms the best poker hand they can with any five of the eight cards in their hand, and the one with the better hand wins.




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