Melee - The Card Game


Game Preparation:

Obtain a regular deck of fifty-two (52) conventional playing cards and remove the jokers. The deck is shuffled. Each player draws seven initial cards; each representing a future 'attack'.

There will be three discard piles used during the game. One pile next to the play deck will contain cards used in a winning attack. Each player will also have their own discard pile that contains the cards played from a losing attack; this pile represents the damage they've taken during game play. As this discard pile grows, the number of cards the player will be allowed to hold in their hand will shrink.

The first player to have NO cards in his play hand loses the battle.

Game Play:

  • Each player chooses an 'attack' card from their hand of seven cards. The chosen card is laid down, face up, on a surface between the players.

  • The two cards are examined to determine which attack strikes and wins the round (see 'Attack Results' below)

  • The card representing a LOSING attack is withdrawn from play and placed in a discard pile next to the player: this represents DAMAGE from the attack and REDUCES the total number of cards that player can hold in his hand at any one time.

  • The Winning player's card is placed face down into a discard pile next to the deck; when the deck is exhausted, this pile will be reshuffled and become the new play deck.

  • After a round, each player draws a new card from the deck until they have SEVEN MINUS THE NBR OF DAMAGE CARDS in their hand. If there are insufficient cards in the draw deck to complete this selection, then the draw deck discard pile (previously winning round cards) are shuffled into a new draw deck and selection continues.

  • Play repeats until one player is damaged to the point that their DAMAGE pile now has SEVEN CARDS in it. When that happens, the sword fight is over and the player who still contains cards in their hand is declared the WINNER.

  • Attack Types:

    Spade 	- an overhead CHOP ("hit over the head with a spade")
    Diamond	- a sideways SLICE ("cut a diamond")
    Heart	- a forward THRUST ("stab thru the heart")
    Club	- a horizontal PARRY defensive move ("club the attack")

    Attack Results:

    If chosen cards are different, adjudicate result with a simple 'rock - paper - scissor' method, using the move names in alphabetical order to determine a superior attack style:

    	(C)HOP -> (S)LICE   -> (T)HRUST	[-> (C)HOP]
    	Spade   -> Diamond ->  Heart		[-> Spade]

    If either chosen card is a PARRY (clubs), then neither attack strikes and both cards are discarded into the draw deck discard pile.

    If chosen cards are the same suit other than clubs, then the highest face value, Ace High, determines which attack strikes successfully and wins the round.

    Special Cards:

    A winning attack that uses the ACE is considered a CRITICAL HIT. The losing player discards the losing card, the winning player can play ANY additional card as a special 'second attack' and randomly selects an unseen card from the losing player's hand to discard as a SECOND HIT.

    A losing player who is male and plays a KING of any suit is considered to have DODGED the attack; both cards are discarded to the play deck discard pile and play continues.

    A losing player who is female and plays a QUEEN of any suit is considered to have DODGED the attack; both cards are discarded to the play deck discard pile and play continues.

    A winning player who plays a TWO temporarily disarms his opponent and, while that player is "retrieving his weapon", may examine and select one card from his discard pile and move it back into his hand.

    Possible Game Variations:

    Skill Variation:

    If this battle system is used as part of a larger fantasy roleplaying game, then battle SKILL can be introduced into the system simply by varying the number of starting cards (the usual is SEVEN cards) by skill. A rookie swordsman would start with only one (1) card while a fully trained and experienced swordsman would start with ten (10) cards. Use a skill adjustment to ensure that the number of starting cards does not exceed ten (10) cards. This system heavily weighs the potential chances of winning a battle to the skilled player, but without completely eliminating the chances of an inferior trained player from scoring a hit.

    No Parry:

    The PARRY (clubs) attack can be transformed into an offensive attack and removed from play as a blocking mechanism at the choice of both players. Assume that the club suit then represents a DROP attack against an opponent's legs. If this is done, then a CHOP (spades) would defeat a DROP (club) attack, but a DROP (club) attack would best a SLICE (diamond) attack. Ignore all regular PARRY rules.