Scrip is a deck-building card game for 2-4 players played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Red cards score points, and black cards help you build your deck. The goal of the game is to have the most points in your deck once all the cards have been collected.

(This game is very much a work-in-progress, and has not been playtested much. Feel free to alter the rules as it suits you. If you have feedback, my DMs are open at @AveryPierceApps!)


Deal each player 6 cards. The players shuffle these cards and place them face-down in front of them. This is their deck. Each player draws three cards from their own deck to form their hand (at the start of the game, each player should have 3 cards in their hand, and 3 cards in their deck)

Place 3 cards face up in the middle of the table. This is called the “Market”.

Place the remaining cards in a deck (face-down) next to the face-up cards. This is called the “Stockpile”.

Choose a player to go first by whatever means you want.


You will try to acquire cards from the middle of the table by a few different means. Any time a card is taken from the center of the table, a new one is revealed from the stockpile.

Turn order goes like this:

  1. (optional) Spend spades and/or exchange cards
  2. (optional) Steal from the market
  3. Discard
  4. Draw a new hand

Spend Spades

On your turn, you may spend spades to buy something from the market. The rank of the spade card you play must be greater than or equal to the rank of the card you are buying (Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13, Ace=15). The card that was acquired from the market is put into the players discard pile, along with the spade that was spent to acquire it (a spade card cannot be spent more than once on a turn)

Example: On her turn, Alice has the 8♠ in her hand. The market shows 5♠, 8♥, and 10♣. She may spend the 8♠ from her hand to buy either the 5♠ or the 8♥ because her 8♠ is greater than or equal to both of these cards. She cannot spend the 8♠ to buy the 10♣ because 10 is higher than 8.

If you have more than one spade in your hand, you may either spend each card separately to make multiple buys, or you may add 2 or more cads together and treat the sum of those cards as your buy power. Remember, Ace is worth 15. Unless you have the A♠, you’ll have to play more than one spade card to buy an Ace.

Example: On her turn, Alice has the 8♠ and the 2♠ in her hand. The market shows 5♠, 8♥, and 10♣. In addition to the options in the example above, she also has the option to spend both the 8♠ and the 2♠ to acquire the 10♣ (because 8+2 ≥ 10)

This action cannot be blocked or countered by other players.

Exchange cards

On your turn, you may exchange a card in your hand with a card from the market, as long as the rank of the card from your hand is greater than or equal to the card in the market you are exchanging it with. The card that is taken from the market goes into the player’s discard pile – not their hand.

Example: On her turn, Alice has the K♣ in her hand. The market shows the Q♥. Alice chooses to exchange the K♣ in her hand with the Q♥ in the market. The Q♥ gets placed into Alice’s discard pile (not her hand).

Tip: High-ranking clubs are good to exchange. Since clubs aren’t worth any points, and high-ranking clubs are not very effective at countering (see below), it’s a good idea to exchange them for another high-ranking card in the market when you can. The A♣ is not very useful on its own, but it can be exchanged for any other card in the market!

Tip: Diamonds are only valuable if you have the most of any player (see scoring below). If you’re pretty sure someone else has more diamonds than you, swap them out!

Steal from the market (and countering with clubs)

After you are done spending spades, you have the option to try to steal from the market, but watch out: your opponents may be able to stop you and keep the card for themselves.

If you would like to steal a card, indicate which one you would like to steal. Then, going around the table to the player’s left, each opponent has the option to play a club to keep the card for themselves (or pass).

To counter a player stealing from the market, an opponent must have a club card in their hand that is less than or equal to the card the player is trying to steal. This ensures that higher-ranked cards are more difficult to steal. A player stealing the 2♥ can only be blocked by a player with the 2♣ in their hand. However, a player stealing the A♥ can be countered by any club card.

A player who successfully counters a steal gets to keep the card for themselves, and places it in their discard pile along with the club card they used to counter.

Example: On her turn, Alice attempts to steal the 10♣. Bob, who is sitting to her left, has the J♣, but cannot play it because Jack is not less than or equal to the 10 being stolen, so he passes to Charlie (who is sitting to Bob’s left). Charlie has the 5♣, and plays it to counter Alice’s steal. Charlie takes the 10♣ and places it in his discard pile with the 5♣ he used to counter the steal.

Tip: If the 2♣ shows up in the market, steal it! Nobody will be able to counter you, and the 2♣ is the most powerful counter card in the game!

Discard and Draw

At the end of your turn, you must discard any cards leftover in your hand, then draw three new cards from your draw pile. If your draw pile doesn’t have at least 3 cards in it, then you shuffle your discard pile to replenish it.

End of Game and Scoring

Once the stockpile is totally depleted and all the red cards have been acquired from the market, the game ends.

Players tally up their scores in their deck like so:

  1. All heart cards are worth their rank (remember: Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13, Ace=15)
  2. Find the sum of the ranks of diamonds. Diamonds are worthless on their own, but the player with the highest sum rank of diamonds earns 25 bonus points. The other players do not score points for their diamonds.

The player with the highest score wins!

Quick reference

Starting deck size: 6

Hand size: 3

On your turn:

  1. (optional) Spend spades and/or exchange cards
  2. (optional) Steal from the market (opponents can counter with clubs)
  3. Discard and draw

Game ends when the stockpile is empty and the market does not have any red cards.

  • Hearts: Score points for the rank of the card (5♥ is worth 5 points).
  • Diamonds: The player with the highest score in diamonds earns 25 points. Otherwise, they’re worthless.
  • Spades: Can be spent to acquire cards from the market (spade must be greater than or equal to the card being bought)
  • Clubs: Can be played to counter a player stealing from the market (club must be less than or equal to the card being stolen)


Rule variations to try

When setting up the game, instead of dealing cards blind, try a draft: First, deal 6 cards to each player. Players choose which one of these 6 cards they want to keep for their deck, and pass the remaining 5 to their left. Repeat this 5 more times so all of the cards have been picked. You may find this results in a more balanced game!

When it comes to scoring diamonds, instead of awarding points for the highest total rank of diamonds, try awarding points to the player who has the most diamond cards in their deck (so 2♦ is weighted the same as A♦)

When exchanging cards, try playing a game where the exchanged card immediately goes into the players hand instead of the discard pile. If you exchanged your Q♥ with a Q♠, you could then spend your newly acquired Q♠ to buy back the Q♥ you just exchanged!