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Fictional Card Games

Fictional Card Games


There are plenty of popular card games and game variations available in land-based and online casinos. However, next to this gaming universe, there is a whole galaxy of fictional games invented by various authors for their books, movies, and tv shows. This article describes 5 fictional cards games from the most popular fictional worlds.

1.   Dragon Poker

Dragon Poker was created by an American fantasy and sci-fi author, Robert Asprin, for his MythAdventures series. The game is an extremely complicated version of poker. The basic set of rules as the same as for the actual stud poker, with a deck of 52 cards and the four traditional suits, namely, hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds. There are four types of face cards: Elves, Unicorns, Dragons, and Ogres. From here things become very complicated very fast. What really makes the game stand out (and the player’s brain boil) is the conditional modifiers. The rules of Dragon Poker are thus modified on the basis of various shifting conditions, such as the number of players, the individual player's chair position, the day of the week, etc. Unfortunately for the fans, Asprin never described the rules in full. Some of the conditional modifiers that we are aware of are as follows:

  • The sequence of cards gets reversed every 5 hands. Thus, the high cards become low, and vice versa.
  • On even-numbered hands, the red dragons are wild.
  • If Ogre is the first face-up card in a round, this round is played with four cards face up, five cards face down, and one extra hole card.
  • A player is allowed to change the suit of his or her cards once a night.

There are several versions of Dragon Poker rules that have been created by the fans.,format?w=1200&auto=compress,enhance,format

2.   Cripple Mr. Onion

Cripple Mr. Onion is a card game that comes from the Discworld novels written by the famous English author, Terry Pratchett. This game is described in the “Wyrd Sisters”, “Reaper Man”, and “Witches Abroad” books. The game is played with a card deck of 8 suits which are the Discworld Tarot Minor Arcana suits. Four of these suits, coins, staves, cups, and swords, come from the real Tarot cards, and the added suits are crowns, elephants, octograms, and terrapins. The players’ hands consist of 10 cards each. First, 5 face-down cards are dealt. The players can then discard up to four cards and receive new ones. After that, another 5 cards are dealt face up. The winning combinations are called “Onions”, for example, the “Double Onion” (two picture cards plus two aces), the “Lesser Onion” (four picture cards plus four aces), and the “Great Onion” (five picture cards plus five aces). A nine-card running flush will Cripple the Great Onion, hence the name of the game.

3.   Fizzbin

Frizzbin is a card game invented by James T. Kirk, a character from “Star Trek” created in “Star Trek: The Original Series”. Kirk came up with this game when he, Spock, and McCoy were imprisoned on Sigma Iota II. He intentionally made the rules complex and confusing so that the guards would get distracted. Six cards are dealt to each player except for the player positioned on the dealer’s right. This player is dealt seven. The first and the second cards need to be turned up, but on Tuesdays, you turn up only the first card. The terminology used in the game sounds odd, which is understandable, given the fact that Kirk was inventing the game just as he was teaching it to the henchmen, and the round ended abruptly with a fight and the prisoners’ escape. For example, a pair of jacks is called “half-fizzbin”, and then, if you have half-fizzbin on your hands, the third jack will be called “shralk”. The top hand is called “royal fizzbin”, and the last card that is dealt is the "kronk”.

Star Trek fans have come up with numerous versions of Fizzbin, and the game is played at the Star Trek conventions.

4.   Exploding Snap

Exploding Snap is a card game that the Wizards play in J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" universe. The game was especially popular among the students of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There are three versions of the game: "Classical", "Patience", and "Bavarian".

In the Classical Exploding Snap, the player who sees two identical images must tap the card with the wand and thus score a point. The only difficulty here is that the wizards' cards shuffle with increasing speed. In the Patience version, there are 20 cards which are revealed in pairs, and the players must find to similar images, the cards burst soon after they are revealed for the first time. In the Bavarian Snap, the dealer first deals the cards in a circle and then puts the cards identical to those that have already been dealt in the center of the circle. The players need to tap the cards pairs with their wand and have very little time to do so before the cards explode.

Some of the cards that are used in this extraordinary game are Mountain Trolls, Cyclops, Giant Squids, and Bowtruckles.

5.   Sabacc

Sabacc is a card game that is very popular in the world of Star Wars. The aim in Sabacc is to collect which has an absolute value closest to, but not higher than 23, and thus win the “sabacc pot”. The deck contains 76 cards. 60 of these are grouped in 4 suits, and 16 special cards remain. The payers place their cards into an octagonal energy column called “interference field”. Once the player has tossed the card into the interference field, the player’s next card is displayed. The value and suit of the cards that are not inside the interference field are altered randomly when the Sabacc Shift happened.

It was in the game of Sabacc that Han Solo won his Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian.

Words: Jelena Schmidt

Images: Shutterstock

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