Wizard's Duel

Wizard's Duel is a card game played between two players that involves the use of tarot decks. It is not excessively complicated, but it's not as simple as War or Crazy Eights. Herein lies the rules:

SETUP: Each player must come equipped with a standard tarot deck, a twelve-sided die, and a sheet of paper on which to keep score. Other items, such as candles, staffs, wands, daggers and orbs are optional.

OPENING: Players roll their dice to see who "leads" the game, the player with the higher roll is the first to lay down a card in the first round. This then switches each round. Players shuffle and cut their decks according to their own preference in front of each other, to eliminate the possibility of "loaded decks." The players then draw four cards, which represents their "hand," and play begins.

PLAY: The "leading" player lays down a card. The opponent's goal is to play a card of higher value in order to earn points. The player with the most points at the end of game wins. Points awarded are the value of the higher card minus the value of the lower card. Players must use up all four cards in their hand before drawing more, at which time they draw another four cards from the top of the deck. After both cards are played and points are awarded, the cards are sent to their respective player's "discard pile," and can no longer be used for play.

When both players play a Major Arcana card, the player with the card of least value rolls their D12, the resulting amount is added to the value of their card. Similarly, when a Major Arcana card is played against a Minor Arcana card of higher value, the player who played the Major Arcana card rolls their D12 and the resulting amount is added to the value of that card.

When both players play the same card, they both roll their respective die and the winner of the roll is appointed points equal to the sum of both rolls (With one exception, explained later in this rule-set).

CALLS AND DRAWS: Each player begins the game with three "calls," which they can use at any time to force the leading player of the round to withdraw the card they played and place it into the discard pile. This is done simply by stating something along the lines of "I call" or "I call that card." No points are awarded and the round ends. Players can earn more calls by being awarded 9 or more points in a round; doing so gives them one call. Players may find it useful to keep track of their calls by representing them as circles or boxes on their scoresheet that they check off when used.

A player also has the option at any time (including the leader of the round) to draw a card from the top of their deck to play instead of one in their hand. This is called "drawing" and a player may simply state "I'm drawing" or "I draw" and then do so. It is important to remember that all four cards of their hand must be played before they can draw another hand, but can draw one card from the top of their deck for play at any time. It is a risky maneuver, but has the chance of paying off very well.

Major Arcana's values are equal to their number (usually located at the top of the card in the form of a roman numeral).
Minor Arcana cards are worth the following:
Ace - 11 points
Court Cards - 10 points
Numbers - Face value

SUITE BONUSES: Suite bonuses apply to Minor Arcana cards and are as follows:
Swords: +3 point bonus
Wands: +2 point bonus
Pentacles: +1 point bonus
Cups: No bonus awarded

These bonuses are added onto the standard value of the card, and can be quite useful in playing against different suites. Be sure to remember these bonuses in playing against a Major Arcana card, as a card's face value might be lower than the Major Arcana's, but the suite bonus may at times increase its value above the Major Arcana card, resulting in a roll for the player with the Major Arcana card.

END GAME: The game comes to an end when one player runs out of cards to play or when both players play the death card in a round. At this point, scores are tallied and the player with the highest score is proclaimed the winner.

NOTES AND OTHER CLAUSES: The Fool card, while having a face value of 0, may indeed the most valuable card in your deck. The worth of fool, the simpleton ignorant of his own power, is decided by a D12 roll by the player laid down The Fool. The resulting roll is multiplied by two and this is the value of the Fool.

Also, when The Sun card is played against The Moon card, it automatically beats the moon and the player who laid down The Moon is given a penalty, resulting in the subtraction of 24 points from their score (representative of the 24 hours of the day).

As one might imagine, a game involving a deck of 78 cards involves a rather long period of play. Alternative games can be played, such as half-deck play - in which both players cut their decks approximately in half (according to each other's satisfaction) at the start of the game and one half is set aside to not be used in play. Another variant is either the use of solely Major Arcana cards as the players' decks, or solely Minor Arcana. These may quicken game play, but also dampen the dynamics present in the game.

AS A DRINKING GAME: As this game can take several hours to finish and it is a well known fact that Wizards are aficionados of alcoholic beverages, this game may easily be played as a drinking game.

In this variant, the awarding of points is reversed, and the number of points a player is awarded in a round is "given" to the opponent, which must take an amount of drinks equal to the points. This is recommended for experienced drinkers only, as scores per round can reach into the 20's. Players may come up with stipulations for these cases, such as any points over the number 16 may simply mean the opponent "finishes their drink."

Scoring of this game is opposite to original play, whereas the player receiving the points from their opponent records these points on their scoresheet and the winner of the game is the one with the least amount of points. Of course, as we all know, everyone is a winner in a drinking game.

I hope these rules and instructions are clear enough for people to follow and play this game.

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