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Seven-Card Jack

Loosely based on Five-Card Nancy by Scott McCloud

You Need: Two copies of the Complete Tract Assortment from Chick Publications
Pennies, or "Souls"
Patient friends.

1) Building the cards: Take the two tract assortments. Mount the front cover, back "prayer" and inner material, roughly one panel to a "card" (it's not important that cards be the same size). All-text panels and really boring bits may be omitted. Recurring images (the lake of fire and glowing, faceless Christ-God) should not be omitted, otherwise the essential spirit of the Chick Experience is lost.

Play (if anybody can offer suggestions...)
Each player draws seven cards from the draw pile (or "Lake of Fire"), and gets three (?) Souls. The player who has most recently broken a commandment plays first (in the event of a tie, the player who has violated the larger portion of Leviticus goes first).

Play proceeds as follows: Put down a panel and pass to the left. The object is to play all of your panels. The panels MUST tell a coherant story, or at least be funny or amusingly bizaare. Panels are played on either the left or right of the tract-in-progress.

If a card that's really dull or a non-sequitor is played, another player can ask for a general vote. If most players agree that card was inappropriate, the player takes it back and passes to the left. However, the vote-calling player must give a Soul to the vetoed player, to compensate for emotional damages.

A player can play two panels together (a "page") by giving a Soul to the Lake of Fire. For veto purposes, these act as a single played panel.

Interrupting: If a player HAS to put a new panel in because it's really funny, he can interrupt the NEXT player, but must give him a Soul. After the interruption, the interrupted player goes as normal. No-one can play their last or second-to-the-last card as an Interruption.

Front cover, back-page prayer: Once these are played, the tract cannot be built in that direction. If you play one of these panels, throw a Soul into the Lake of Fire.

"Fang": The character "Fang," the evil-looking lap-dog, should only appear once per tract. Playing Fang twice in the same tract counts as an inappropriate card, if anyone wants to call a vote.

Faceless Christ: The appearance of the Faceless Christ card is a sign that the tract is nearly finished. Only up to seven panels can be played after the Faceless Christ ("after" refering to the progression of the tract, "to the right" of the Faceless Christ.)

If a player can't play an appropriate card on the existing tract, he can opt to start a new tract. He must give a Soul to the Lake of Fire, though. Once multiple tracts are in play, a player can place panels wherever they seem funny.

Players can draw new panels at any time, and GAIN a Soul by drawing three cards. They can also discard a panel and draw a new one, but must give a Soul to the Lake of Fire for this non-sporting behavior.

Winning: A player wins by playing the last panel in his hand. HOWEVER, the winning play is subject to a veto vote. If the majority of players believe it's dull or a non-sequitor, the vetoed player must draw two new panels, or three panels and discard the panel he attempted to play. But he gets a Soul.


One thing I'd like to do is include "rules" for building theme tracts--ways to reward people who play up the big themes of anti-catholicism, homosexuality, evolution, The Occult. Any ideas along these lines would be appreciated.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2004 09:37 am (UTC)
Does a player get bonus points for lying about when they last broke a commandment? ;?)
May. 4th, 2004 09:40 am (UTC)
No, but if they're entertaining, they go firster. Now, if someone accuses someone else of breaking a commandment more recently, that's bearing a false witness...
May. 5th, 2004 04:26 am (UTC)
Only if they're lying, otherwise they're witnessing ;?)
May. 4th, 2004 10:36 am (UTC)

Ow! My br@n3 hurts.

So, are you going to be running a game any time soon?
May. 4th, 2004 11:00 am (UTC)
I have to get a number of Complete Packages, snip them apart, laminate the cards, so it'll be at least a month before I have a "deck."
May. 4th, 2004 11:19 am (UTC)
Making Sets
I have access to a laminator here at work, if that helps. The game sounds great.
May. 4th, 2004 12:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Making Sets
Ooh. Laminator! That would help a LOT, but we would be looking at a few hundred little slips of paper, which might be more than you want to do (I'd lend a hand or six...)

(Deleted comment)
May. 4th, 2004 12:17 pm (UTC)
I thought about that, but each booklet runs about four pages if you're careful, and only costs $.14 (well, $.28 if you're ordering two). Technically a bit less with the Tract Assortment package, which is bargain-priced. The scanning effort's not quite worth it, IMO. Plus, I want the front covers!
May. 4th, 2004 12:29 pm (UTC)
Whee! Perhaps some sort of color-coding for different themes, and bonus points for setting up a 'flush' of related topics? And should there be a penalty or a reward for using panels that *actually* follow one another in the un-disassembled tracts?

The one element of Five-Card Nancy this version is missing is the crossword-puzzle up-and-down as well as sideways expansion -- which adds an extra degree of free association and, more practically, makes the game easier to play on a table that's not extremely long and thin. You also -- ahemhem -- omitted to mention who came up with the notion that Chick tracts might be a workable substitute for a complete Bushmiller collection... ^_~
May. 4th, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC)
Ach, I'm a bad person. Sorry, October thought up subbing Chick tracts for Arnie Bushmiller's "Nancy," back when I couldn't find vintage Nancy strips (they're hard to find!). Small yellow fairies are scowling at me!

I figured the ability to start new tracts would make up for the free-association element. Tracts, by their nature, are very linear stories.

Color coding...hmm...not bad. Or maybe icons in the corner of the cards ("IHS" for Catholics, Pentacle for the occult, et cetera). Maybe you can place multiple thematically-related cards without the Soul-Token penalty. My principal problem here would be that it takes away from the basic purity of cut-out panels. It may be that this isn't actually necessary, and is just me instilling a level of order that wouldn't help play much--I mean, if you get an anti-catholic card, you'll probably work it into an anti-catholic story.

Suits...meditating upon suits...
May. 4th, 2004 12:56 pm (UTC)
Suits! Excellent...suits, like those on playing cards, could be used for a variety of game variables without having *specific* rules of usage...

Using Tarot suits, just off the top of my head I've got chalices for the Catholics, pentacles for the occult, swords for excessive violence and wands for misogyny...in regular card suits the best I've got so far is (sacred) hearts for Catholicism and spades for blatant racism...
May. 4th, 2004 01:26 pm (UTC)
I think we're looking at two separate ideas--having recently tried to sort out all the Chick Tracts into discernable categories, the most common is the "Sinner Repents, Doesn't Go To Hell" story. Or, "doesn't repent, DOES go to hell." If you assume the basic tenent of "Don't know JC? Burn!" as a ground state, these tracts are 0 standard deviation from message. Most cards wouldn't have a suit proper.

I'd want to put together rules that are easy to duplicate and require minimum reference to charts and things. Maybe just a general rule that God cannot simultaniously hate Catholics, Gays and Pagans, so any tract that focuses on more than one of these wins an automatic "appropriate" vote, no soul-token--so a multiple focus is okay, as long as it's interesting or makes "sense," but is a risky gambit.
May. 4th, 2004 01:15 pm (UTC)
Oh My Gentle Jesus
Sounds like hours of fun for the whole family.

You're simply too much, Spotty. :)
May. 4th, 2004 01:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh My Gentle Jesus
Bah. Try living with October :) I can only manage one off-the-wall idea per week, I've clocked him at 17.
May. 4th, 2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh My Gentle Jesus
You clocked me?
May. 4th, 2004 03:44 pm (UTC)
You were probably dazed for a bit. It's a heavy frying pan.
May. 4th, 2004 06:06 pm (UTC)
Clocking chris
The most wierd ideas from October is a single 24 hour period (in this case roughly from noon to noon) is 31. But it requires alchohol and other mind altering substances. Strangely the same substances make me count October's Ideas and leads to philosophic conversations that are not at all child friendly.
May. 4th, 2004 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Clocking chris
Cool, that gives me enough material to make a Halloween advent calendar.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )