Railog Cards Games
There are a wide variety of card games played throughout the Misty Sea and Partonen. Mirroring the social nature of omyr, most of the games are multiplayer though some are solitaire. Rules for a sampling of games are provided here ranging from the historic getha card game to the popular yamiro and the solitary dotak. The rules are also provided on PDF suitable for printing, trimming and folding for inclusion with a deck of cards.
|Getha||2 to 8||“Poker” Railog style|
|Yamiro||2||vimeo||The classic “Railog War”|
|Partner Yamiro||4||Team play for Yamiro|
|Solitaire Yamiro||1||Single player version of the popular Yamiro|
|Somachi||2 to 8||Widely played throughout the Misty Sea|
|Dotak||1||Simple yet requires strategy|
An information booklet for all card games is available here.
A variety of card styles can be purchased from DriveThruCards
Playing cards have been in use ever since the Arlin omyr learned the art of cartomancy using cards of tattooed and stiffened leather. When the nomads settled around Getha the rules for Ra-e-Gore-o-Getha solidified into their current form.
Gambling establishments use an ante bet to build the pot before any hand is dealt. This practice is less common in informal games. An ante bet is normally the smallest chip, traditionally a quarter hysten coin though some establishments use higher ante bets.
Play starts with the dealer dealing eight cards to each player (including the dealer). If there are only three players then an extra hand is dealt and if there are only two players then two extra hands are dealt so that there are a minimum of four hands.
The players pick up their hands, sort the cards by suit and evaluate the quality. The dealer sets a bring-in bet that each player (including the dealer) must put in the pot in order to remain in the game. The players who remain can discard up to six cards, drawing as many cards as are discarded. All of a player’s discards must happen at once: as soon as a replacement card is drawn no additional cards may be discarded.
The hands are evaluated again, selecting two suits to play and setting the other cards aside. Any player can open betting, declaring the amount of their bet and adding it to the pot. The other players then either fold, see the bet (adding the amount to the pot), or raise the bet (adding the amount to the pot). Once a player has bet they cannot do so again unless another player raises the bet, at which point the player can fold, see the raised bet (adding to the pot), or raise the bet again (adding to the pot). A player can go “all in” by adding their entire stake which allows them to stay in the hand no matter how high the bet goes.
A player wins the pot if all other players fold. Otherwise the winner is determined as follows:
Each player who is still in the game plays their cards face up on the table. If an arl is played then any cards of that suit that have been played, or are held in reserve, or in folded hands, or in extra hands (those dealt when there are fewer than four players) join the arl. However, discarded cards remain out of play. If a player loses a suit due to an arl then, if possible, he must play another suit from his reserve cards so that he has two suits in play. If this results in another arl being played then any cards of the same suit that have been played, held in reserve, are in folded hands, or are in extra hands join the arl. Any time a player has less than two suits played he must play another suit from his reserve cards if possible. This continues until all arl cards in play have been resolved.
If a player’s played cards include an arlas then any other player who does not have a deiskatun in their played hand must drop out. If only one player remains they are the winner, otherwise battles ensue. Only the alak and number cards figure in these battles. The hands are ranked by the number of alak in them, with ties in alaks broken by the number of number cards, and ties in number of cards by the total value of the number cards. Battles are then fought in order of the highest ranked to lowest with the loser of a battle dropping out and the winner proceeding to the next lower ranked hand.
For example, if hand A has two alak and two number cards, hand B has one alak and three number cards, hand C has one alak and five number cards and hand D has no alak and seven number cards then they are ranked A, C, B and D. A will battle C, with the winner battling B, and that battling fighting D.
In each battle an alak removes another alak from consideration. If the other hand does not have an alak then it removes the highest value number card from consideration. The remaining number cards are then totaled with the highest total winning. A hand with only alak and no number cards can only win if the alak remove all number cards from the opposing hand. In the event of a tie both players drop out.
For example, if hand A has two alak, a five and six, hand B has one alak, two sixes and a five, hand C has one alak, an eight, a seven, a four, a two and a one while hand D has two eights, two sevens, two sixes and a five then the match ups occur in order of A, C, B and D because A has the most alak and C has more number cards than B while D has no alak at all. When comparing hand A to hand C, the alak in hand A remove the alak and the eight in hand C from consideration. This leaves hand A with 5 + 6, or 11 points and hand C with 7 + 4 + 2 + 1, or 14 points — hand A drops out and hand C is matched up against hand B. In this case the alak remove each other from consideration leaving hand B with 6 + 6 + 5, or 17 and hand C with 8 + 7 + 4 + 2 + 1, or 22. Hand B drops out and hand C is matched up against hand D. The alak in hand C removes one eight in hand D from consideration. This leaves hand C with 8 + 7 + 4 + 2 + 1 = 22 and hand D with 8 + 7 + 7 + 6 + 6 + 5, or 39, making hand D the winner.
Of uncertain origin, this game developed a great popularity among mercenaries during the Warring States period who then spread it throughout the Misty Sea. The goal of yamiro is to defeat an opponent through a war fought through various engagements. It is difficult to win every battle and winning the war is as much about picking which battles to lose, and how to lose them, as it is about winning engagements.
Starting with a shuffled deck each player is dealt four cards. These form the resources available to the player and are constantly replenished: each time a card is played a new card is drawn from the pile to replace it. Hands are played with each player alternating going first. Traditionally the dealer is the defender in the first hand so the other player goes first. A hand consists of four cards played by each player. A player must play a card on their turn, they cannot skip over or yield their turn. So a hand ends when the defending player plays their fourth card.
At the end of the hand the cards are counted to see who won that hand. Number cards are worth their face value and added together to give a total for the rank-and-file troops. If at least one alak is played then the total is doubled, and if—in addition to the alak—at least one arl has been played then the total is doubled a second time. There is no benefit to playing two alak or two arl, or even playing an arl without an alak. The highest score is achieved by playing two eight cards, an alak and an arl giving a score of 64.
However, regardless of the score, the first player to play an arlas wins the hand. Unless the opposing player plays a deiskatun. In that case the second arlas played wins the hand (one deiskatun cancels one arlas), unless the opposing player played a deiskatun, and so on for each arlas-deiskatun pair. Thus if the attacking player plays two arlas then the defending player must either play two deiskatun, or play a deiskatun and an arlas, with the arlas played before the attacking player’s second arlas.
Two teams of two players with the players in a team sitting opposite one another. The dealer deals four cards to each player. The player to his left starts the first hand, the player to their left (the dealer’s partner) starts the second hand, the player to their left starts the third hand and the dealer starts the fourth hand. Only four hands are played.
The starting player plays a card then draws a card, followed by the player on their left, until all players have played four cards. The cards are counted by team to determine which team wins the hand. If a team plays at least one alak then their card total is doubled, and if they play at least one alak and at least one arl then their card total is doubled again.
However, regardless of the score, the first player to play an arlas wins the hand for their team. But one deiskatun cancels one arlas. So if the opposing team played a deiskatun the second arlas played wins the hand unless the opposing team played a deiskatun, and so on for each arlas-deiskatun pair.
The winning team captures the opposing team’s hand, adding it to their capture pile and discarding their own hand. In the event of a tie both hands are discarded.
Once all four hands have been played the capture piles are counted. When counting captures, number cards are worth their face value while face cards are always worth eight points.
Although the strategy of the game comes from playing against a second player, a single player game can be managed by dealing four cards for the player. Each hand starts by turning over the top card of the deck. The player then plays a card, turns over the top card of the deck and draws a card, a total of three times. For the fourth and last card in the hand the player turns over the top card of the deck and plays a card. Victory is determined normally with the winning hand discarded and the opposing hand captured.
This is repeated until eight hands have been played. The goal isn’t to just win (which is fairly easy as there is no opposing strategy), but to win by the greatest margin.
Another game of uncertain origin, this game is favored by sailors and is thus played throughout the Misty Sea. Unlike Yamiro or Getha the hands can vary greatly in length as players try to go out.
Deal four cards to each player. Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player takes a turn. If a player has an alak or arl then they can play a single card (either an alak or an arl) and draw a single card, otherwise they stand. Once each player has either played or stood regular play starts.
On their turn, each player draws one card and must either play or discard one card. They can either draw from the deck or the top card on the discard pile. However, if they draw from the discard pile they must either play or discard a different card — drawing from the discard pile and discarding that same card is not allowed. During their turn a player may add any cards to a played alak or arl, either their own or another player’s.
When an arl is played, any other played card of that suit goes to the player’s hand. This includes the top card on the discard pile, with the arl collecting from the discard until a different suit is encountered.
A player with an arl played can collect from the discard pile out of turn — for example when another player discards a card of that suit. However, this claim can only be done while the card is on the top of the pile. Once another card has been discarded on top of it the card can no longer be collected (unless it once again becomes the top card, either because of other players drawing from the discard pile or collecting cards from it).
An arlas can be played against another player to remove all cards of that suit that have been played — unless the other player has played a deiskatun in that suit or has one in his hand in which case it can be played out of turn to prevent the loss of his cards. Removed cards are returned to the bottom of the deck, including the arlas that was played.
Play ends when a player has no cards remaining in their hand. Each player then tallies their played number and alak cards (including any cards another player played on them). The player with the highest score wins the hand. Running tallies of all players’ score in all hands are kept with the highest tally winning the game.
Note that adding or collecting cards is never counted as playing a card. When another player has played an alak, a player may add a card of the same suit to that alak. When another player has played an arl, a player may either add a card of the same suit to that arl or discard the card. In the former case the player must still either play or discard a card (allowing him to remove cards from his hand) while in the latter case the other player may claim the discarded card.
After each hand the players’ cards are removed from play. When the deck runs out the discard pile (excepting the top card) and cards that have been removed from play are reshuffled so as to allow play to continue.
This is a bare-bones solitaire game that is simple to play and allegedly devised by the philosopher Mari-o-Mari for children to while away the time — though in practice it is more of an adult game. Although on the surface it is not particular to Railog playing cards without the eight suits it would not be the game that it is. It works by having four cards to choose from with the goal being to play them in as few piles as possible. A card is played onto another card of the same suit or rank, or is used to start a new pile. After a card is played a new card is drawn so that (until no more cards are left to be drawn) there are always four cards to choose from. Play ends when the last card is played. The game is scored by the number of piles that have been played. A game with more than seven piles always loses. A game with only six piles is fairly easy to accomplish while a game resulting in only four piles is difficult.
The strategy lies in minimizing the number of piles that are made based on the cards that have been played and the cards available to play. Because cards are played into piles so that the last card played covers the other cards in a pile the player must use their memory as to the cards already played. Selecting a card to play should be done so as to maximize the opportunities that are left to play the remaining cards.