I Created My Own Minimalist Deck of 54 Playing Cards for All My Favorite Games (Coup, Love Letter, Schotten Totten, Ultimate Werewolf, 2p Arboretum, etc)
Most of my favorite games are card games — and most of them doesn’t need more than 54 cards. Therefore I decided to make a minimalist poker sized multideck that makes it possible to play all of my favorites with only 1 deck.
The cards consists of 4 main components:
- 4 suits x 13 ranks — clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades. Ace to King.
- 6 suits x 9 ranks — blue, green, purple, black, red and yellow. 1 to 9.
- Card number — the cards are numbered from 1 to 54.
- Roles — the roles from Love Letter, Coup and One Night Ultimate Werewolf.
The main reason I created this deck was for the games — so these are some of the games that influenced the design of this deck, and information about how the cards are used to play them.
4 suit card games
As the deck contains the standard 4 suit system, all of the “normal” (in lack of better words) card games are possible with this deck. The deck contains ace, 2 to 10, jack, queen and king of every suit, as well as two jokers.
6 suit card games
The 6 suits are displayed in the same way as the 4 suits. The numbers 1 to 9 are presented in colored circles at the corners of the card. There are 6 different colors.
My main idea was to use this suit for Schotten Totten as it is a game that I greatly enjoy. Unfortunately, the tactic cards aren’t included, but the main game is still highly playable with this deck.
Another game I had in mind was two player Arboretum. This variant only requires 6 suits (more players require 8 or 10 suits) with 8 ranks. By removing the 9th card in each suit you could easily play this fun game.
There are many more games that could be played with 6 suits — these two are just my particular favorites.
Card number games
Some games require numbered cards — which is why I choose to include it in this deck. The number is is clearly presented in the center of the card in a bold style. To be fair this wasn’t the most important part for me, but I included it to be able to play games like No Thanks.
This is probably the main reason why I created this deck. I love these kind of games, so I wanted them neatly packed in a simple card deck. The role is presented above the card number — unmirrored. The deck contains three of my favorite role games:
- Love Letter
- One Night Ulitmate Werewolf
There are two parts of the deck that are used for the game Coup. First of all, the actual role, which is presented in text. In the example above it is the Captain.
Another big part is the color of the 6 suit circle — it matches the card color of the original game. This makes it possible to only peek at the top of the card without having to lift it up while playing, at least if you are familiar with the colors. The colors are as follows:
- Captain — blue
- Duke — purple
- Assassin — black
- Ambassador — green
- Contessa — red
- Inquisitor — yellow (yes, the inquisitor is included)
Three cards of every role is presented in the deck.
Love letter is a great, small game. It’s super easy to learn, while still has just the right amount of deduction elements to make it fun. All 16 characters are available in the deck.
Besides having the role displayed in text, every card has their correct value presented in the colored circles. Meaning that, for example, the prince (which has the value 5 in the original game), has the value 5 in the deck. This applies to all characters in Love Letter.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Another great social game. All 16 original roles are available in the deck. The role is the only part of the card that is used in this game.
I am by no means a designer, but I tried to keep a clean and minimalist approach designing them. I have drawn inspiration from many great card decks, such as The Flexicat, The Skeleton Deck and The Deck of Many Games.
Besides the three mentioned other multidecks, there are many more of the kind. I’m not trying to create something new — everything has been done before. I am only trying to make my own version of it. A clean, minimalistic card deck that features some of the games I love playing. No other specific card deck fulfilled those exact requirements I had.
Regarding the actual design; the two different suits are mirrored so it’s possible to use the card “as normal” when playing games that require them. The card number and role is however only presented in one way. I choose this way because it didn’t require too much space — which made it possible to keep the clean design.
I haven’t even though about how the back of the card is going to look, nor how the actual box will look. Hell, I don’t even have a name for it. But at least I am getting close to finish the actual look of the cards. I guess I will work something out some time.
I’m still constantly trying to develop the design. I am looking for new ways to present the suits, roles and numbers which might be even more minimal and clean looking. I would also love to add other components which could improve the deck and add even more games that could be played, but it’s difficult without messing up the concise design.
If someone has feedback on how to improve the deck I would love to hear it. Anything that should be added? Removed? Improved? If you have any thoughts about it, feel free to contact me. I would love to hear what you think.