Tournament of Queens

A card game for 2-6 players, best with 3-4 players.

Created by Pace and Pace. Here are more card games created by Pace and Pace! Thanks to Toby and Ira for their extensive playtesting and helping to make up all the Major Arcana Judge Effects. Also, thanks to Pace for coming up with the idea of hidden judges.

Uses a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck, or any variant thereof, such as the Morgan-Greer.

Currently there are 18 players of Tournament of Queens, and all of them like it. Only 1 person has learned it and not liked it. Please let us know if you play it, and whether you like it, so we can update our numbers!

Playing Time: 5 minutes to about an hour. Average is about 45 min.

The Premise of the game is that all the players are drag queens.

The Object of the game is to win a beauty contest by getting the most votes from the judges.

The Tarot deck is made up of the Minor Arcana and the Major Arcana.

Starting The Game

To start the game, dealer shuffles the deck and deals out the row of judges. While you are dealing these, be careful to check the special effects of the Major Arcana, especially Judgement. These effects are described later. Deal the judges in the following pattern. X represents a face down card, and O a face up card.


Next, deal a pile of 4 cards next to the judges - this is the judge reserve pile.

Finally, deal 6 cards to each player. The player on the dealer's left goes first.

The Judges

There are 6 face up judges and 3 face down. The face up judges are called open judges, and the face down are hidden judges. You will not know anything about the hidden judges until the end of the game.

The Play

On your turn, you always draw a card first, unless there are none left. If this is the case, you do not reshuffle - you're out of luck, and the game will probably end soon. After you draw, you have 5 options. You may only play 1 card on your turn. After your turn is over, play proceeds to the left.

1. Replacing Your Attributes

You may play a Minor Arcana card from your hand to a spot in front of you. This card is now called an Attribute Card, and it changes your base value for that attribute. For example, if you play the Page of Cups in front of you, you now have an 11 Physique, unless it is modified by special cards, which will be explained later. If you already had a card for Cups, the new card replaces it, and the old card is discarded, along with any modifiers attached to it. Your total for an attribute is your base value for that attribute modified by bitch cards and special cards, described later.

2. Being a Bitch

If you're enough of a bitch, you can screw over the other contestants. You can play a Minor Arcana card from your hand on top of one of anyone else's Attribute Cards of the same suit. Your opponent's card is called the Base Attribute Card, and the card you play is called either a positive modifier or a negative modifier, depending on which direction it faces. You may play your modifier card right side up to add to the value of their Attribute Card (yes, there are some cases where you might want to do this) or you may play it upside down to subtract from the value of their Attribute Card. For almost all purposes, the Base Attribute Card and the modifier card are treated as a single card with an altered value. Therefore, it is possible to play multiple modifier cards on top of one Base Attribute Card.


Also, you can positively modify someone else's zero if you want to.

3. Bribing Judges

You may play a card from your hand on top of an existing open judge. (You should play it so that the bottom card(s) are still identifiable, though). The judge is now bribed, and will vote according to the card you just played. The new judge must be ranked strictly higher than the old judge, but may be of any suit. Minor Arcana are ranked lowest, with 2 being at the very bottom and Queens at the top of the Minors. Ranked next highest are the Major Arcana in numerical order, with 0 being the lowest and XXI the highest. Aces are ranked higher than the Major Arcana for purposes of bribing judges, but are still ranked lowest for all other purposes.

4. Use a Special Effect

The Special Effect cards are the Major Arcana. There are two types of special effects: instant effects and continuing effects. Instant Effect cards do something and are then discarded. Continuing Effect cards are placed on the table and remain there unless canceled by another Special Effect card. Here is the table of special effects, which should fit perfectly on 4 pages with 0.5" margins on each side. Special Effects are Instant unless otherwise noted in the table.

5. Discard

Only do this if you have no better options. Discards are placed in a pile face up and are out of play. If, because of a special effect, you are discarding more than one card at a time, you may stack them so that only the top one is showing. If you discard Judgement, it takes effect as if you played it. If you are forced to discard Judgement because of a special effect, it takes effect as if played by the person who made you discard it.

Ending The Game

There are two ways the game can end. The first is when Judgement is played. Then, everyone else gets one more turn (the player who played Judgement does not get another turn) and then the game is over. The other way the game can end is if everyone runs out of cards.

When the game is over, the judges vote for the players they prefer. Cup judges only care about who has the highest total Physique. Pentacle judges only care about who has the highest total Talent. Wand judges find all the contestants quite nice, so they attempt to vote randomly. Strangely enough, they always vote for whoever has the highest total Luck. Sword judges only care about who is the sweetest, meaning who has the lowest total Bitchiness. Major Arcana judges vote according to the table below. Note that some of the Major Arcana judges won't vote at all, and some can cast more than one vote. Also, if there is a tie, votes are split equally. Many games have been decided by half a vote!

Whoever gets the most votes wins! In case of a tie, the players must have a cat fight to determine the winner.