How to Create a Regular Deck Card Game

There exists a lot of advice on how to make trading card games, but rarely do you see advice on making an actual standard deck game. Games like Poker, Rummy or Jack have had some sort of creator. Following the advice in this article, you can start thinking about and realizing your own game.


  1. Image titled Create a Regular Deck Card Game Step 1
    Decide what deck is going to be used. It can be a standard 52-card deck, a 54-card including 2 jokers, a 32-card Belote deck, a 24-card Euchre deck etc. You can decide this later on, but keeping in mind how many cards will be required will be helpful with later sections such as scoring.
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    Decide the power order of the cards. Normally, the power goes from 2 to Ace, although there are numerous variations, such as Ace to Ace, 7 to King then 10, Ace, 9 and Jack (for Belote), or Joker is highest power. Make sure to keep at least a portion of the order in face value (for example 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 are in the usual order). If you rearrange all of the cards in power then it may be difficult for prospective players to remember the order.
  3. Image titled Create a Regular Deck Card Game Step 3
    Adopt a gameplay style. It is not unusual to mix styles to create new games. Tichu, for example, combines Trick-Taking, Matching, Shedding and Showdown. Usual types of games are the following:
    • Trick-Taking, like Euchre or Jack, where one tries to win rounds by taking all the cards.
    • Matching, like Rummy or Biriba, where one tries to form combinations, usually runs (eg. 5 6 7 8 9) or equals (eg. 4 4 4).
    • Shedding, like Uno, where one tries to get rid of all of his cards as fast as possible.
    • Showdown or Comparison, like Poker or Blackjack, where one tries to overpower opponents with his cards.
    • For fun, like Ring of Fire. These games are mostly played in parties, with prizes or penalties like drinking or taking dares.
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    Think if the game can be played with teams. If it is a trick-taking game, it could be beneficial to have teams in it. On the other hand, most showdown games are each for his own.
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    If it is a matching game, this is the phase to devise any new combinations. The most usual combos are high card, pair, 2 or more pairs, trio, quarto (or four of a kind), runs (or straights) and fulls. You may want to add your own combinations, or eliminate existing, but make sure not to make the combinations overly complex or they may be too difficult to remember.
  6. Image titled Create a Regular Deck Card Game Step 6
    Decide if suits matter. Some games, such as Gin Rummy, require matching suits, some others, like Jack do not. There are also games that give some bonuses to players choosing to match suit instead of playing a mixed suit hand, like Poker, where a same-suit run is more powerful than a mixed run.
    • This is also the phase to decide if there are trumps (also known as atout, which in French means, "over everything") in your game. Trumps are a suit that is decided either randomly (like in Biriba) or "bet upon" (like Belote) and is more powerful than the other 3.
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    Add opportunities for waging. Maybe a player is very confident of his hand and wages his winning. Give him the opportunity to bet points in this, which he of course loses if he does not win. Avoid irrational bets which may frustrate the players. Also, you may choose to allow players to wage based on luck or skill. Poker betting, for example, is mainly based on luck, since normally you cannot see other people's hands. Euchre on the other hand, requires that you bet thinking about your hand and the visible trump in order to bet, thus you are betting based on skill.
  8. Image titled Create a Regular Deck Card Game Step 8
    Add a winning and/or a losing condition. This is largely based on your gameplay style. One may win if he has gotten rid of all his cards, or lose if he has accumulated a lot of points. If the game is played with more than 2 players, you can also add a bonus for the first winner(s) and a penalty for the last one(s).
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    Devise a point system. Also decide if you have to get points, or lose points to win. For example in Jack, accumulating points is the goal, whereas in Rummy, points count as damages. Also, decide if the points are acquired by specific cards or "tricks". This is also the phase to decide the points required to win (if any). There are four ways of counting points:
    • Set points, which means in the game there is a grand total of points, so if one player or team has X points, then the opponent(s) points equal Total-X.
    • Set points with bets, which is exactly the same as the previous, but also counting any wages from the players.
    • Divided Set, which means that each player can have any amount of points from the total, but also that there are burnt or trashed points. Trashed points are points that can't be counted because of a condition, thus every player must count their points and the total could be less than the grand total.
    • Upwards Counting, which consists of counting the points of a player without a limit, like for example in Rummy. Theoretically, a player of such a game could lose from the first round.
  10. Image titled Create a Regular Deck Card Game Step 10
    Find a name for your game. Many of the classic games' names originate from the "Wild West" bars and saloons where people spent their time playing games, or from the French royalty which did the same in their parties. Some are also way more recent than that, but the creators have given them like-sounding names for flavor.


  • Do not fear to let your imagination free. In some of the more creative games, there are weird winning conditions or scoring systems, yet that does not mean they are not fun.
  • Beta test your game with your friends. Make sure it is not overly complex or too easy. Also make sure that it does not take too much time to finish a round if it is too repetitive or requires too much thinking and memorizing.
  • Write everything down. When designing a card game, always keep a notebook at hand. It can be used to keep notes about the gameplay, the points, special cards, conditions, title etc. This will help you remember important things about the game, or help you come up with ideas.
  • Have fun! Unless you work in the "boring factory of card games", you are doing this for fun and to create. Not having fun in the process or during testing the final product usually means other will not either.
  • Be very specific when describing the game. It's better to have thought about everything that may happen during the game and avoid game locks, than having to deal with them during the game which will spoil the fun.


  • Avoid using copyrighted decks for creating your game. An example would be to use a Tichu deck, which is made and marketed by Fata Morgana.

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Categories: Card Games