Card Games

There are several card games that are known (gofis and oldenmad being the most popular children’s games) among the world. Each is slightly different and what makes for even more interest is that they may be played with any of the decks that are used.

Size and Shape

All cards have rounded corners, usually made of a very thick paper or a very light wood or coated metal. Cards are 5 fingers tall and 3 fingers wide.


Back: Cards typically have complex designs on the back of each card, that are the same across all cards. Backs are printed first and meant to make them all the same.

Fields: Most cards designs have a standard, simple field on the face, with many using the field for some artistic effort that makes the cards worth something. Typical inexpensive decks have blank fields. Commissioned decks will have elaborate designs. Across the field will be the suit symbol, and there will always be at least one row of small dots, or pips. The pips denote the value of the card, always from zero to 9, that usually run down the left and right edges of each card, though some older decks actually spread them out across the field. The current fashion is to have them in an ornate border that runs around the card.


There are seven commonly used decks. One is familiar to anyone who came from elsewhere called an Ancient (52 cards, four suits, Ace to King). Another is the strange and peculiar TÆROE deck, which is used in divination and also as a set of trump cards in certain games played among the nobility. The other five are assorted decks created for a variety of reasons.

The Imperial Deck is the one mandated as the de facto deck. It has ties and links to many of the world’s aspects, with each suit being a representation of a particular realm. Each Suit has nine Court cards, ten pip cards, and one Rascal card, which is a wild card that can shift an entire game. It is an immense deck of 134 cards, as a result, and is used in professional gambling and sponsored events.

The Elemental Deck is somewhat different. Pip cards are 0 to 5, there are 6 court cards per suit (12 cards total), for 60 cards per deck. It is used in several small group cluster games, where the goal of play is to collect clusters with as many court cards as possible. This deck does not feature any representations of people. There is a “secret suit” to this deck called Song, which brings the total up to 72 cards and acts as a master trump suit.

The Field Deck is also lacking any representation of people, but are often some of the most beautiful of the cards, as they are intended to reflect the natural world. Five suits, four court cards each, pip cards are 0 to 5, so 10 cards per suit, 60 cards total. It is plant themed and considered a mark of honor to design one that is loved.

The Hearth Deck, also called a home deck or a workman’s deck, has four suits, five Court cards, full pip cards (15 cards per suit), with each Envoy card being a double suit card, and having a complement. This 60-card deck is the most commonly used one. Faces usually have a blank field. All games can and have been played with a hearth deck.

The Passage Deck is used in games of two to four players and is typically found among combat units or military teams. It is also a common gift among those who spent many cold nights on watch. The Passage deck has three suits, each with six court cards and full pips (16 cards per suit), for 48 cards total. Passage decks are used in a peculiar game that places emphasis on protecting your Kings.

Court Cards: All decks have a set of Court cards, that comprise the cards past 9. Each of the decks has a different set of Court, and it is said that some decks are extremely magical, fashioned to consist entirely of Court cards. Court Cards are variable according to the deck in use, and a list of them is below.

Passage Deck

Hearth Deck

Field Deck

Elemental Deck

Imperial Deck









































































While there are many games played with cards, some have risen to the point of such great popularity and enjoyment that they are the de facto standards.

For Children:

Gofis and Oldenmad are popular children’s games also played by adults. Chicory says that the actual names are Go Fish and Old Maiden, and while one makes some sense, the other is bizarre. How can a maiden be old?


Cards are cut for dealer. Each player gets 10 cards, remainder is set for Draw. Dealer plays first, dropping lowest card. Another player either drops lowest higher card or draws. Hand plays until one person runs out of cards.

Points awarded by either number of court cards taken or number of hands won. A game has no end. Gambling happens based on an agreed-on value to either points or hands. Often played to kill time.


The game in favor on the riverboats. The massive Imperial deck is used for this normally, but smaller groups of players can and have used smaller decks. On the riverboats, a common table will use two decks.

On riverboats, the House is dealer. Dealers cannot bet. The goal is to have the highest ranked or Point hand, and bets are made throughout the process. Points are equal to the card face, with court cards always counting for 11, the Rascal stealing 10 points from the hand. Ranking is based on rarity of the hand, and the highest ranks are for sequential cards of the same suit with a full straight of six Court cards all of the same suit the highest Ranked in Straight Games and six cards of the same rank across different suits being the highest in Court Games.

Rascals always steal 10 points, and do not count towards the Court, being Rascals.

Cards are dealt deftwise (to the right) face down, one at a time. Dealer card is dealt face up. Players then bet against each other and the showing card of the dealer. A second card is dealt like the first, and betting commences. A card is dealt to all players face up, called their hole card, and the dealer’s card is face down. Betting then goes around, and no one can pass or drop. A fourth and fifth card are dealt, betting after each, face down. The last round is two cards, one face up, one face down, for a total of seven cards for each, with five cards in each hand unseen and two cards seen, except the dealer who has two cards unseen and five seen. The dealer cannot look at those facedown cards.

At any point except the third card, a player can pass their bet to the next person (only going around once) but if they pass, they must match highest existing bet. If they drop, they are out of that hand (sometimes called folding) and forfeit any existing bets.

Once all bets are done, Show happens starting to the left of the dealer (daftwise) and going around, with dealer showing left. The highest hand wins the pool, including the dealer.

The tension, excitement, release cycle can be extremely attractive to many people, and folks have been known to make themselves broke.

There are variants to Pahka, but they are rarely played for money.


Chasen is played with the Passage deck. Dealer is determined by lowest card in the cut.

Each player bids for a King to set the pot. The remaining Kings are removed and set as the initial play onto which the draw card is lain, the deck is shuffled, and each player is dealt 9 cards, and the remainder are set for a Draw.

The top draw card is turned, and play passes daftwise (to the left), with dealer last. The goal is to go under the pip card that is shown. Not being able to go under means a draw. Court cards require going over the court card shown. Not being able to means a draw. Playing a King means a loss.

If the Draw is emptied, then all but the top card are collected, shuffled, and reset as the draw. Play continues until only one player remains with a king – but it does not need to be the king they started with. The winner collects the pot.

This game is very old, and many will speak to historical games, as the play goes quick, but has strategy built throughout. It is a military game at its core, with the goal of using up your troops while protecting your leadership, and calling up reserves, and is said to reflect the turn of battle on the field.

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