Julian Jimenez
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This is my second entry into the 2012 solitaire Print and Play Contest:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-pr...

Royal Haunts
A traditional solitaire card game by Legend.



Requires one deck of standard playing cards with two jokers (Optional but recommended).

Summary:
You are an ex-thief turned private investigator with a taste for the occult who enters an old ruined castle in search of ancient treasures.

The game has a simple theme based on ghosts of the royal families in a haunted castle. The gameplay mainly revolves around making poker hands on tableaus to capture two of the four aces and fight off an impending doomsday clock type of mechanic.

Playing time is less than 15 minutes usually. Sometimes much quicker.

Here are the rules: (recently revised 7/29/12)

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B0SZbVHCrTCJeG5JZDhvcTRCOGc

Please let me know what you think.

This is a game a came up with in between trying to make time to work on Dark Valhalla. I've always loved poker, but rarely get to play other than on computer since I don't have many friends who like to play poker and/or I don't usually have the money to invest in a poker game. I've always wanted to create a solitaire card game that revolved around poker hands other than the traditional poker squares game which is rather dull in my opinion.

I've dabbled with other solitaire poker games but could never come up with something that had a good definitive goal or didn't just feel like making poker hands with no real purpose. By adding a theme, I think I came up with a pretty good way of using poker mechanics in a solitaire game.

Some notes about the game and it's inception:

I really wanted to add a betting mechanic to the game but I couldn't come up with anything that I felt really added to the game and required meaningful decisions. The idea of betting betting fragments of the players soul would have fit nicely with the theme though.

Infirerra and Agen are references to the history of playing cards.

Le'Marchand and De L'Isle are references to the Hellraiser series.

The game was originally going to have a kind of Wizard vs demons in towers theme.

Originally, the game was only going to have four spells by using the suits of the cards in your hand and the arcana pool for sake of simplicity. But it seemed that it left little reasoning for forming one particular poker hand over another. So I added spell abilities to each different kind of poker hand so that way it gave the player more decisions and reasons to try and create certain poker hands in certain situations.

I was also going to make each face card in the game do different things as well, or at least for specific face cards like one-eyed jack, suicide king, Queen of scepters, Axe weilding King, etc. but since I added spells to the poker hands, it seemed best to cut face card specials for the sake of simplicity.

I actually came up with how to lose the game before I came up with anything else. First I came up with the Chamber mechanic using the face cards and the aces. Then came up with the tableau layout, then the poker hand spells, then finally, the last thing I came up with was the actual goal of the game and how to win.

I debated for quite a while on whether or not to use the jokers in the game.

I also wanted to include a use for the "Dead Man's Hand" (Aces over 8's of spades and clubs), but couldn't come up with anything that didn't just seem frivolous.

I found out that a flush isn't nearly as rare of an occasion in a solitaire situation as it is in a normal poker situation. This is why the abilities of the poker hands might seem like they are not quite as respective in value as they are in a standard poker hand ranking.

The game is somewhat inspired by Onirim.

Anyways, now that I got that out of my system, I will get back to Dark Valhalla.

Please let m,e know what you think. All feedback is very much appreciated.

***VERY IMPORTANT***
I currently lack access to a digital camera. I would greatly appreciate it if someone out there could take a picture of the game for me so I can add it to the original post as the contest rules state that I need at least one picture. Thanks.
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Julian Jimenez
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Updated the rules and added the story. Link to the pdf is in the original post which was also updated.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Rules are complex. Diagrams and example images might help.
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Julian Jimenez
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Omega2064 wrote:
Rules are complex. Diagrams and example images might help.


Any questions in particular you had about the rules
i can help clear up?

Any specific parts that seem particularly complex and hard to understand? Is it the main gameplay mechanics or the spell effects?

(just realized that I did not include the definitions for the poker hands. Like what a "flush" or "straight" is exactly. I guess if you aren't already familiar with the game of poker, you will have trouble. I will fix that this week. Until then, you can easily find definitions of poker hands online.

I will try to get a diagram and play example up this week.
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Brenden
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Hey there. I have a couple of questions that will hopefully help with rule clarity:

1. When creating the chamber with any initial face cards, are those face cards replaced with another card from the deck? If not, you could end up with a hand of no cards...

2. I'm really confused about rooms. Is a room considered to be a tableau of cards (5, 4, or 3 cards), or is it considered to be the face-up card?
Edit: I re-read the rules and it seems to suggest that each tableau is considered a room. Maybe change the last sentence under the second paragraph under Set-up to say, "These tableaus each represent...."

3. Typo: Third paragraph under gameplay: 'either' should not be in the first sentence.

4. What do you mean by a face-down card "on top of the room"? (Para 5 under gameplay)

5. Your second example under gameplay only has 2 cards making up the poker hand. Earlier on in the gameplay section you say that one needs to make a 5-card poker hand.

6. Second last paragraph under gameplay: I assume you are defining 'a turn' as 'playing until one cannot make any more legal moves'?

7. Paragraph four under "Ace": for clarity, maybe use the word 'reveal' instead of 'discard', and then say that number cards (ie not face or ace) are discarded.

8. Picky grammatical thing: The sentence should read, "If there are any cards left in the current draw deck when the fourth ace is revealed, they become the new grave"

9. Typo: Search 'Quean' and 'Examnple'.

10. Under Joker: What is a hand card action?
Edit: Maybe make a mention that this is explained int he next section.

11. Picky grammatical thing #2: Para 2 under Poker Hands = Whenever is one word.

12. Under "Using Cards in your Hand", the diamond symbol is used for clubs.

13. Under Hearts, what do you mean by 'using cards'? Does this mean they go into your hand, or that they then must immediately be used for a spell?

14. I probably missed something, but after skimming the rules again, I can't seem to find when you would flip over face-down cards in the rooms.

This looks like a really interesting game. Congrats on your hard work!
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Julian Jimenez
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Thanks for pointing out the grammar and spelling errors Brenden. I can blamee at least some of those on my broken finger.

Quote:
1. When creating the chamber with any initial face cards, are those face cards replaced with another card from the deck? If not, you could end up with a hand of no cards...


Yes they are. I thought I had explained it in the rules, but I guess I forgot to. Aces are re-shuffled into the deck when revealed during setup and face cards are placed into the chamber. When either of these things happen, then another card is turned over to replace the face or ace card that was just turned up.

Quote:
2. I'm really confused about rooms. Is a room considered to be a tableau of cards (5, 4, or 3 cards), or is it considered to be the face-up card?
Edit: I re-read the rules and it seems to suggest that each tableau is considered a room. Maybe change the last sentence under the second paragraph under Set-up to say, "These tableaus each represent...."


The Tableaus themselves are considered to be the rooms. I will change the last sentence the way you suggest to be clearer.

I was originally just going to keep everything named as tableaus, discard pile, etc., but thought it would add to the theme to give them names like "room" and "grave". Think it would be better to get rid of the thematic names?

Quote:
4. What do you mean by a face-down card "on top of the room"? (Para 5 under gameplay)


It means that if the top card of the room pile is moved or discarded and you are left with the face down card that was underneath it that is now on top of the pile. Like in regular Klondike solitaire. I said "on top of the room" because it originally said "on top of the tableau", but changing "on" to "in" didn't quite sound right. Do you have a suggestion on how to better phrase this?

Quote:
5. Your second example under gameplay only has 2 cards making up the poker hand. Earlier on in the gameplay section you say that one needs to make a 5-card poker hand.


You need 5 cards to make a poker hand. So if you only had a pair of cards, the other 3 cards would not be matching and would be discarded. You still need to use 5 cards to make a hand of a pair. The two matching cards and any other 3 cards. If you notice, in that example, it is mentioned that there are a total of 5 cards in that hand when it says that:
"A pair of cards only consists of two cards with the same value. So those two matching cards would go into the Arcane Pool, but the remaining three cards would go into the Grave."

Quote:
6. Second last paragraph under gameplay: I assume you are defining 'a turn' as 'playing until one cannot make any more legal moves'?


Correct.

Quote:
10. Under Joker: What is a hand card action?
Edit: Maybe make a mention that this is explained int he next section.


Thanks for pointing that out. I intended to change "hand action" into something more specific like "spell". Think I need to make a better distinction between the actions/spells that can be taken when making a poker hand and the ones that are taken by using the cards from your hand and Arcane Pool.

Quote:
12. Under "Using Cards in your Hand", the diamond symbol is used for clubs.


Thanks for catching that.

Quote:
13. Under Hearts, what do you mean by 'using cards'? Does this mean they go into your hand, or that they then must immediately be used for a spell?


I should clear that up. It is meant to mean that you can use them to make a poker hand/spell. But I suppose they could be used to play a spell from your hand too. This would be the only exception to having more than two cards in your hand at once and any left over at the end of the turn would still be discarded.

Quote:
14. I probably missed something, but after skimming the rules again, I can't seem to find when you would flip over face-down cards in the rooms.


You would turn them over when the preveous face up card on top of them is removed for any reason. It is explained in the 5th paragraph under the gameplay section.

Quote:
This looks like a really interesting game. Congrats on your hard work!


Thanks. I will try to get the updated rules up later tonight. I hope my answers helped to clarify things and let you play the game.

Please let me know when you give it a try and what you think. Also let me know if you play with any of the variant rules and which ones you like best.

If you have any more questions or need any other clarifications, please let me know.

Thanks again.
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Julian Jimenez
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I noticed that I forgot to add that playing with the Jokers in the deck are optional.
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Brenden
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I like the thematic names. I don't think there's any reason to get rid of them.

Quote:

It means that if the top card of the room pile is moved or discarded and you are left with the face down card that was underneath it that is now on top of the pile. Like in regular Klondike solitaire. I said "on top of the room" because it originally said "on top of the tableau", but changing "on" to "in" didn't quite sound right. Do you have a suggestion on how to better phrase this?


I thought the rooms were dealt left to right (ie 5 cards in a horizontal row with the one on the right face up, and then a space and then 4 cards in a row...) Maybe say 'stack' instead of 'tableau'?
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Nate K
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Brewtal_Legend wrote:
I noticed that I forgot to add that playing with the Jokers in the deck are optional.


Really? That's handy. I've misplaced my Jokers.

[edit]Which sounds like a euphemism, but I swear is meant literally.
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Julian Jimenez
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kuni2 wrote:
I like the thematic names. I don't think there's any reason to get rid of them.

Quote:

It means that if the top card of the room pile is moved or discarded and you are left with the face down card that was underneath it that is now on top of the pile. Like in regular Klondike solitaire. I said "on top of the room" because it originally said "on top of the tableau", but changing "on" to "in" didn't quite sound right. Do you have a suggestion on how to better phrase this?


I thought the rooms were dealt left to right (ie 5 cards in a horizontal row with the one on the right face up, and then a space and then 4 cards in a row...) Maybe say 'stack' instead of 'tableau'?


"Tableau" is a common solitaire term that refers to games like clondike where the cards are layed out face down in a vertical column with the bottom card face up. I will see about re-wording it though.

The setup should be like this:
From left to right:
a vertical column of 5 cards (first 4 are face down), with the bottom/top-most card face up. Next, in the middle, is a vertical column of 4 cards with the last/bottom/top-most card turned face up. And last, all the way to the right, is a vertical column of 3 cards all face down except for the last/bottom/top-most card which is turned face up.

Hope that helps.
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Brenden
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Yes it does! Thanks. I wasn't familiar with the klondike term. I just thought it was an interesting way of describing the set of cards .
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Julian Jimenez
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kuni2 wrote:
Yes it does! Thanks. I wasn't familiar with the klondike term. I just thought it was an interesting way of describing the set of cards .


Glad it helped.

Unfortunately I didn't get to update the rules last night, but
I should most likely be able to get it done tonight.

Are there any other questions/rules clarifications that anyone has so hopefully I can get them into tonights update?

Much appreciated.

Btw, is the background story ok? Admitedly, I kinda came up with it off the top of my head.
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Julian Jimenez
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The rules have been revised. Grammar and spelling has been fixed as well as adding some clarifications.

There is also a set-up diagram and a reference sheet which lists all of the spell uses and poker hand definitions at the end of the doc.

Please let me know what you think.

Link updated in the original post.

Thanks.
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During setup, could you specify that the three different tableaus are dealt face-up? It took me a minute to realize that they were not dealt face-down, which is my default assumption.
 
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kurthl33t wrote:
During setup, could you specify that the three different tableaus are dealt face-up? It took me a minute to realize that they were not dealt face-down, which is my default assumption.


They are not all dealt face up though. They are all dealt face down except for the very last card you lay down in each tableau. Just like in regular klondike solitaire.

I will see about figuring out a way to re-word it though. Any suggestions?
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Brewtal_Legend wrote:
kurthl33t wrote:
During setup, could you specify that the three different tableaus are dealt face-up? It took me a minute to realize that they were not dealt face-down, which is my default assumption.


They are not all dealt face up though. They are all dealt face down except for the very last card you lay down in each tableau. Just like in regular klondike solitaire.


Yes, I noticed this when I saw the example diagram. So now I'm confused about how this works:

Quote:
If any Aces appear when dealing the face up cards on the tableaus or in your hand, re-shuffle them into the deck and draw a new card.

If any face cards appear when dealing the face up cards in the rooms or in your hand, place them above the rooms in a row , from left to right, in the order they are revealed. Then draw a new card. This row of face cards above the rooms is the Chamber.


So I only have to watch out for this on the last card of each tableau?



 
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kurthl33t wrote:
Brewtal_Legend wrote:
kurthl33t wrote:
During setup, could you specify that the three different tableaus are dealt face-up? It took me a minute to realize that they were not dealt face-down, which is my default assumption.


They are not all dealt face up though. They are all dealt face down except for the very last card you lay down in each tableau. Just like in regular klondike solitaire.


Yes, I noticed this when I saw the example diagram. So now I'm confused about how this works:

Quote:
If any Aces appear when dealing the face up cards on the tableaus or in your hand, re-shuffle them into the deck and draw a new card.

If any face cards appear when dealing the face up cards in the rooms or in your hand, place them above the rooms in a row , from left to right, in the order they are revealed. Then draw a new card. This row of face cards above the rooms is the Chamber.


So I only have to watch out for this on the last card of each tableau?





Correct. During the setup, you only need to worry about that on the last card (which is the only face up card) you put on the tableau and for the two cards that make up your hand. After the setup, any aces or face cards that are hidden in the face down cards of the tableau are dealt with as they are revealed throughout the game.
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Julian Jimenez
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Would this be a better description of the set up to put in the rules?

"The tableau consists of three columns, with the first column containing five cards, the second column four cards, and the third column three cards. The top card of each column is face-up; the remainder of the cards that were layed down before it are face-down."

Is that any clearer? I could add it to another update.

Also, is the reference sheet in the back ok? Anything else that anyone thinks should be added to it? Not sure if I can really add more though and still keep it on one page.
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Brewtal_Legend wrote:
Would this be a better description of the set up to put in the rules?

"The tableau consists of three columns, with the first column containing five cards, the second column four cards, and the third column three cards. The top card of each column is face-up; the remainder of the cards that were layed down before it are face-down."

Is that any clearer? I could add it to another update.



That is better, yes. thumbsup
 
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Julian Jimenez
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kurthl33t wrote:
Brewtal_Legend wrote:
Would this be a better description of the set up to put in the rules?

"The tableau consists of three columns, with the first column containing five cards, the second column four cards, and the third column three cards. The top card of each column is face-up; the remainder of the cards that were layed down before it are face-down."

Is that any clearer? I could add it to another update.



That is better, yes. thumbsup


Cool. I'll update it tonight or tomorrow. ( I ripped it straight from an online set of rules for Klondike solitaire. Just replaced the number of Tableaus/cards. )

Anything else in particular that you think could be clearer?
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Agh. Could have sworn I updated the rules the other night. THey will be up tonight for sure.
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I was considering adding one more aspect to the game.

Currently, the Aces are nothing more than a goal/victory point when the player collects them besides being a hazard when they appear.

I was thinking of making the Aces grant the player an ability when they are collected.

I didn't really want to get bogged down with having each of the four suits give a totally different ability, especially since I can't really think of any more besides the ones that are already in the game. So I figured something simple.

I was thinking that when the player collects an Ace, then the cost of casting spell cards from the players hand that are the same suit as the Ace that has been collected would cost half of what it would normally be (probably rounded down for odd numbers).

Since the goal is only to capture 2 of the 4 aces, then the player would really only get the benefit of one ace per game. Which would also make them consider which one they really want to capture first.

I was also considering one other ability. That the captured Aces could be used as wild cards. But with some stipulations. Such as:

It cannot be used as the very last card in the hand.

Can only be used for every other hand.

Or instead of a totally wild card, it could be used in the following ways:

Can only be used for flushes of the same suit.

Can only be used for a 5-high straight.

Also, maybe the ace can be lost when being used in a hand and shuffled back into the deck? Or would that be too difficult?

I would really appreciate some feedback on these ideas.
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Slightly updated rules in original post.
Don't know why I put the setup example at the end of the rules in the first place. It has been moved to the Set-up section at the beginning.

The set-up description itself has also been updated.

I haven't added the idea about the Aces yet mentioned in the above post since I want to hear some feedback about it first. Any feedback on the idea would be greatly appreciated.
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I'm certainly not opposed to the idea of Aces providing abilities, but I haven't played the game, yet, so I don't know how much my opinion should count. That being said, it sounds like a good idea!
 
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kurthl33t wrote:
I'm certainly not opposed to the idea of Aces providing abilities, but I haven't played the game, yet, so I don't know how much my opinion should count. That being said, it sounds like a good idea!


The only reason I'm hesitant about including the Ace abilities is because the game already came out a little more complicated than I originally intended it to be.

Vut I suppose it would be good to add. At least about the Aces letting you cast spells from your hand for half the price as long as it's the same suit as the ace.

Do you think it's a good idea to be able to use it as a wild card too? If so, should there be a rule to have it not be used as the last card in the hand? And if a face card of the same suit as the ace comes out then you lose the ace?

Or just have it be a wild card without limitations? Maybe only that it cannot be used as a wild card in order to capture another ace?

Or just have it be possible to use the ace for a flush of the same suit or a 5 high straight?
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