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{	"date"		:	201108141750,
	"updated"	:	201108141750,
	"licence"	:	"cc-by",
	"tags"		:	["gaming"]


# Court Wars #


*Court Wars is a playing card game invented by myself (Kroc Camen) and Prenuntius* over a couple of days whilst <on holiday (/holiday_2011)>. It has a surprising level of consistency and balance with plenty of strategy, and plays somewhat like a trading card game.

The goal of the game is to defeat the _Court_ (_King_, _Queen_, _Jack_) of the opponent, whilst protecting your own. It can be played by 2 to 4 players.
((If you’ve played this game and would like to give feedback, _
please contact <>))

Set Up (#setup)
•	Start with one pack of standard playing cards (54 cards) _Jokers_ included (optional but recommended)

•	Go through the pack and extract a _Jack_, _Queen_ and _King_ of a suit for each player _
	({i.e.|that is,} one suit per player)

•	Lay out the _Courts_ like this: _
	(((The remaing deck has a space next to it for the discard pile)))
	<aside> _
		Card images used from <>
	fig.	<"" /&__HREF__;/2players.png>
		: 2 Player Set Up
	fig.	<"" /&__HREF__;/4players.png>
		: 4 Player Set Up
	Each of your _Court_ cards have a defence of 10, but an attack of 0.
	They cannot fight themselves so you must employ _Guards_ to add attack as well as extra defence; more on this later
•	Shuffle the remaining deck well

* * *

*Take turns to draw a card and then either play the card or discard it*, doing this three times each. That is:—

•	Discard any _Ace_, _Jack_, _Queen_, _King_ or _Joker_ and draw again. These cannot be played yet and don’t count
	towards your allotted 3 cards

•	A _Guard_ (_2_, _3_, _4_, _5_, _6_, _7_, _8_, _9_ and _10_) can be placed on one of your _Court_ cards, or any existing _Guard_ as long as the value is lower than the exisiting _Guard_ (though not strictly sequential).

	fig.	<"" /&__HREF__;/guards.png>
		: _Guards_ are stacked on your _Court_ cards to add attack and defence.
		  _Guards_ can only be stacked in decreasing value

	_Guards_ act as both attack and defence. In the example of _King_+_9_, this stack has a total of 19 defence and
	9 attack (remember that _Court_ cards have no attack, but a defence of 10).
	It is easiest to remember that if you count up the total value of the _Guards_ on a _Court_ card,
	the defence will always be 10 more.

	You may choose to discard the drawn _Guard_ for strategic reasons; you may not wish to severely cap the maximum
	attack you can build up (for example, a _Guard_ of _4_ on a _Court_ card can only gain a maximum of 9 
	attack--stacking cards _4_, _3_ & _2_--less than even the basic defence of a _Court_ card with no _Guards_!)

Playing Instructions (#play)
Decide who goes first using any favourite method such as tossing a coin, rolling a dice, paper-scissors-stone or whoever's birthday is nearest. If playing multiple rounds, for two players the player who lost should go first, but with 3 or 4 players who goes first should go clockwise each game.
On a player's turn they can choose to do one of two things:

:: (#defend) 1. Defend
	Take a card from the pile. (_Note:_ Any time the pile runs out of cards, just flip the discard pile.
	You should therefore discard cards *face up*)
	*	A _Court_ card (_J_, _Q_, _K_) causes you to miss your turn,
		put the card on the discard pile and play moves to the next player
	*	If it is a _Guard_ (_2_, _3_, _4_, _5_, _6_, _7_, _8_, _9_ or _10_) then you can choose to either:
		*	Play the _Guard_ by placing it on top of one of your _Court_ cards or an existing _Guard_,
			as long as the value is lower than the exisiting _Guard_ (though not strictly sequential)
		*	Discard the card for strategic reasons
		Once either of these actions are taken play moves to the next player
	*	A _Joker_ can impersonate a _Court_ card. Therefore if one or more of your _Court_ cards has been defeated,
		a _Joker_ can be placed on the back of the _Court_ card and acts the same as a regular _Court_ card.
		If you have no defeated _Court_ cards the _Joker_ must be discarded.
		In either instance, play moves to the next player
		fig.	<"" /&__HREF__;/joker.png>
			: A _Joker_ is played on the back of a defeated _Court_ card. Once defeated, the Joker is discarded
	*	An _Ace_ allows you to both attack and defend (draw a card). Discard the _Ace_ card first and then decide
		if you want to <attack (#attack)> (if possible). Once you have done your attack (or skipped it),
		<draw a card (#defend)>.

:: (#attack) 2. Attack
	To attack, you must discard some, or all (your choice), of the _Guards_ attached to one of your _Court_ cards that
	add up to a total value equal to or greater than the total value of one or more of your opponent’s _Guards_
	(if any) stacked on a _Court_ card, up to and including the _Court_ card—thus defeating it.
	_Note:_ With 3 or 4 players, there is no order to who may attack who.
	You may choose to attack any opponent you please.
	Whenever a _Court_ card is defeated, flip it over rather than discarding it. This avoids having to pull them back
	out of the deck when playing multiple rounds.
	Take this scenario as an example of attacking:
	fig.	<"" /&__HREF__;/scenario.png>
		: An example play scenario with two players protected with multiple guards
	Player 1 (top) has:
	•	_King_: 12 attack + 22 defence
	•	_Queen_: 0 attack + 10 defence
	•	_Jack_: 7 attack + 17 defence
	Player 2 (bottom) has:
	•	_King_: 9 attack + 19 defence
	•	_Queen_: 12 attack + 22 defence
	•	_Jack_: 9 attack + 19 defence
	Let us imagine that it is player 2’s turn. They have a few options open to them:
	1.	Their _Queen_ is their only _Court_ card with a total attack over 10 (_7_ + _5_ = 12), thus player 2 could
		choose to defeat player 1’s _Queen_ which has no additional defence and thus a basic defence of just 10.
		fig.	<"" /&__HREF__;/attack1.png>
			: Player 2 has spent their _7_ & _5_ _Guards_ (12 attack) to defeat player 1’s _Queen_
			  (flipped over)
		By doing this however it would leave their _Queen_ with no more _Guards_ and Player 1 could choose to
		defeat it with their _King_ (12 attack)
	2.	To avoid mutual destruction, player 2 could opt to first remove some _Guards_ from the opponent, without
		actually defeating one of their _Court_ cards.
		fig.	<"" /&__HREF__;/scenario.png>
			: The example play scenario again
		Player 2 could spend their _Queen’s_ _5_ _Guard_, or the _Jack’s_ _3_ & _2_ _Guards_ (5) to remove the _4_
		on the opponent’s _King_—lowering player 1’s _King_ to just 8 attack, or spend their _Queen’s_ _7_ & _5_
		_Guards_ (12) to remove the opponent’s _8_ & _4_ _Guards_ (12), which would look like this:
		fig.	<"" /&__HREF__;/attack2.png>
			: Player 2 has spent their _7_ & _5_ _Guards_ to remove player 1’s _8_ & _4_ _Guards_ on
			  their _King_
		Now player 1 is left with very little offence.
	You may only spend Guards from one _Court_ card, and only in increasing value. That is, you cannot use the value
	of a _Guard_ in the middle or top of a stack, you must count upwards from the last one.
	When attacking, first discard your chosen _Guards_ (all at once rather than one by one), then discard the opponent’s _Guards_, and if the _Court_ card was defeated too, flip it over. If the opponent is using a _Joker_, discard it once defeated
After an attack is complete, play moves to the next player.

Variations (#variations)
Here are some suggested rule variations:

:: Allow same-value _Guards_ to be stacked
	Normally you can only stack _Guards_ that are lower in value than each other. One variation to play is to allow
	equal value _Guards_ to be stacked ({e.g.|for example} _8_+_8_+_4_). There will be less discards, but it will also
	allow players to amass massive attack / defence values, increasing the challenge.

History (#history)
I had the idea for this game in 1999, as a way to mimic trading card games like Pokémon {{TCG|Trading Card Game}} with a regular pack of cards. The original principle was that a card could be chosen to be either an attack card / monster, or as energy to power an existing attack card / monster. I hadn’t tested the idea fully to work out the mathematics of play, however the concept did stay in the back of my mind until the last couple of days on <a holiday (/holiday_2011)> with a friend where we were playing a lot of <British Blackjack (//> (my variation thereof that I’ve been refining for the last 20 years) and I explained that I had an idea for a new card game that I had been working on. Over the next couple of evenings, and some beer, we refined the concepts into a playable game.

The birthplace of Court Wars is <The Square and Compass (//> pub in Matlock, Derbyshire on Saturday the 6th August 2011, should you wish to pilgramage there `:P`

Initially we gave court cards a high value of 20, but found that it was becoming near impossible to defeat a court card and went around in circles just adding and removing guards. When we reduced this to 10, things played much better. We were also using a hand, where cards the player did not want to play could be kept, but it seemed arbitary and allowed a player to keep on to high value cards for a long time, making it a little fruitless to knocking out their guards. Once we had gotten rid of the hand things played much quicker, however we noticed at the beginning of the game that without any defence to start with we each lost a court card or two very quickly, so added in drawing three cards at the start.

Where as the Joker was decided to mimic a court card early on, before that we had a rule that any court card you picked up could replace a missing court card as long as it was the same type (King, Queen, Jack). Along with the other rule changes happening we found that we could never outright win a game as the pile cycled quickly and would keep drawing court cards.

The Ace rule came last (though we knew that the Ace card would have to be used as a special as it was mostly worthless otherwise) but it took some debate to decide exactly what it should do. It wasn’t as simple as "another turn" because of the attack / defend mechanic (early on you started every turn by taking a card and then attacking afterwards). By simplifying turns into attack _or_ defend, the Ace fitted better. We ended up shedding a great deal from the design to hone it down to something far simpler and more consistent, and as a result the balance sort of worked itself out. We were surprised by how well it played and we knew immediately when we had a working game, rather than just messing around with a set of cards.

Thanks goes to Prenuntius for developing the game and John Drinkwater for play testing and feedback on these instructions.