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The Patriarch

Designer: K T Tolman
Players: 2+
Equipment: 1 Standard deck of cards for each player

Equipment: 1 normal deck of cards for each player. Use cards Ace through five of each suit and group by suit. (Cards six through King are not used.)

Two player game rules: One player is the family owner. He picks a suit, and arranges the five first cards in this suit into a simple family tree randomly as follows:

The very top card is the Patriarch of this family. A sample family might be:

The family owner keeps this hidden from the other player, and can hold it in his hand if (s)he likes or keep it on the table face down. The other player takes a guess at the family tree by arranging their cards Ace through five in a suit on the board. Let us suppose the second player guesses:

Now the guess is graded by the owner of the family. The family owner puts down cards next to the family (from all the spare cards) to indicate how accurate the guess is. Each card is graded for its accuracy of the original family, for a maximum of 5 red cards which indicate a win.

A red card If the card is in the correct generation, and has the correct parent. The Patriarch card, if correct, gets a red card even though it has no parents.
A black card If the card is in the correct generation, but has an incorrect parent.
A face down card If the card is in the wrong generation, but has the correct parent.

Let's examine the grade for this player's guess on the family tree:

Original Guess

This yields one face down card (the 4 is beneath the 3, a correct parent in the wrong generation), one red card (the 5 is beneath the Ace correctly in the right generation) and one black card (the Ace is in the correct generation, but has the wrong parent).

After the guess, the guessing player takes another guess by laying out another family tree, using the information just provided. This, again is scored.

If the player can guess the original family tree within 4 guesses, they are a winner. (They will be out of guessing cards at this point as well). A win counts even if the family tree is a mirror image of the original, for it is only the intergenerational relationships that are important.

Advanced Patriarch

This game has the same rules as above, but uses 7 cards in the family tree instead of 5 for added difficulty. They are in two new generations, as follows:

The Matriarch

This game also uses the same rules, but the family owner can use the 5 cards in any sort of family tree that is at most 3 generations deep and with a single top generation (the Matriarch). Thus, the family owner could make a tree like:


- OR -

Advanced Matriarch is like Matriarch with 7 cards, with a maximum of 4 generations total.

Multiplayer Play

To incorporate multiple players, make sure each player has a unique card deck back, or a unique card to represent them (like Kings or Queens). Start with one player as the family owner, and rotate after each game to the left who is the family owner. During each game, every player who is not a family owner player makes guesses as above, arranging their cards into a specific family tree. All of the players are trying to guess the same family tree.

When a player finishes a particular arrangement, they place their unique card into the scoring queue, an ordered set of cards in front of the family owner. Each card added gets put onto the back of the queue, and any particular player can only have 2 cards in the queue at any time. A card is considered to still be in the queue until the family owner places down the grade for the associated tree and announces they are completed grading. Once a player has added a card to the queue, they cannot adjust the guess at a family tree which that card represents, even if they know it is incorrect. Therefore, a player should finish adjusting their guess at the family tree, and then add a card to the back of the queue.

The family owner takes the front card at the front of the queue, and grades the family tree associated with it. They place the grade next to the family tree just graded. The owning player can not touch or adjust this family tree because all players may look at it to make their own guesses. If a player has multiple family trees, they must arrange them from left to right in front of themselves so the family owner can grade them in the correct order.

The first player to have their family tree graded correctly wins. Note, this may not be the first player to create the correct family tree. For example, if player A has two guesses in the queue, one of which is being graded at the moment, they can not add another card to the back of the queue until the grading is complete. If player A constructs the correct answer, and another player B also does so at a later time before the grading is complete and B gets their card in the queue first then B wins.

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