Welcome to Duel! the Card Game

I’ve been listening to and reading the words of game designers recently. How they make their games, what in the process comes first, where ideas for game mechanics come from, etc. All those words must have been sinking in to my grey matter with out me noticing it because earlier this month ideas for game mechanics started surfacing into my conscious from no where. Most of them seemed far-fetched and unworkable but a few held my interest and I spent a couple hours on the train to and from work thinking over them before pulling out a standard deck of 52 playing cards and seeing if any of them worked.

What I came up was Duel! a simple card game for two people that can be played with a standard deck of cards in under thirty minutes. I haven’t had a lot of time to playtest the rules or do any tweaking so I don’t know how balanced or playable the game is beyond the few hands I’ve played with myself. Playtesting will continue on my end but any comments or criticism would be appreciated!



In Duel!, each player starts with a starting hand of five cards (a flurry) that they keep hidden, and a set of three more hands each with five cards face down in front of them.

The game takes place in four rounds or until a player has won three flurries. A round consists of each player playing a card from their hand onto the table and the other player playing a card in response, comparing the cards, scoring (drawing blood), and then repeating this process each player alternating who plays the first card until both hands are empty. Then the next hand is drawn and the process is repeated.

The goal of the game is to win three flurries.


In Duel! you’ll be trying to get to through your flurries as quickly as possible while dealing the most injuries to your opponent while avoiding being marked. In Duel! Each suit represents a strike: Spades HighClubs MediumDiamonds Low, and Hearts ParryHigh beats MediumMedium beats LowLow beats Parry, and Parry beats High. In the case of both players playing the same suit the card with the highest number wins (Aces beat Kings.)

Duel! is played with a standard 52 card deck. Shuffle the deck. Deal each player half of the deck. Each player now organizes their cards into five stacks of five without letting their opponent see what is in each stack. Players discard their remaining card. After each player finishes selecting their stacks they each select one of their opponents stacks those stacks are removed from the game. Players now place take one of their stacks to be their hand and arrange the remaining stacks, face down, in front of them..


The player who introduced the game goes first (I challenge you to a duel!) if both players have played assign going first randomly. The game consists of four flurries each played using the deck in hand and on the table.


The round begins when the first player picks on of the cards in their hand and places it on the table. The other player then plays one of their cards down on the table in response. Following the rules above see who scores. The person who scores takes the two cards off the table and places them in front of them. Now the order alternates with the player who responded to the first card on the table playing a card from their hand and the other player playing a card in response. Score the cards, continue the flurry until one of the players has scored three times. If there are any more cards left in the players’ hands they are discarded. Each player now picks up one of the flurries in front of them and continues play as described above.


The game ends when one of the players has won three flurries.

Optional Play

For quicker play follow the setup and play of the game but instead of alternating the play of cards each player plays their cards simultaneously.

Author: Jonathon

Would rather be out swimming, running, or camping. Works in state government. Spent a youth reading genre-fiction; today, he is making up for it by reading large quantities of non-fiction literature. The fact that truth, in every way, is more fascinating than fiction still tickles him.

3 thoughts on “Welcome to Duel! the Card Game”

    1. Right now it’s just a simple hierarchy. High beats everything but Parry, Medium beats everything but High, Low beats only Parry, and Parry beats only High. I’ve thought about putting rules in for every interaction between High, Med, Low, and Parry but haven’t yet.

      I hope that answers your question!

  1. One advantage of this game is that adults can play it with kids too young to hold many cards in their hands or read numbers. I get tired of Uno, Fish, War, and Crazy Eights, so this looks like a good option.

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