Dealer’s Choice

Artist’s Statement:

Since beginning to learn about game design, a constant in all the games I have worked with has been to create a sense of fairness for the player. Create challenges and puzzles for a participant to overcome, but make sure the playing field is level for everyone involved. However, I felt that this wasn’t very reflective of the real world, where nothing is fair and victory goes to the people who can pay for it. My card game takes the simple premise of card dealing and poker, specifically black jack, but appropriates the goal of the game and the way the cards are dealt to provide an unfair advantage to those who were lucky enough to go first.

I wanted to convey with my game that the people on top in society have way more control over the lives of the people below them. The 1% get to influence where the country’s money goes, who is voted into office, and what legislation is allowed to be passed. However, I convey this message quite subtly through the lens of a simple card game, where the first player gets to directly impact what cards the people behind them get access to. Another point I wanted to convey to my players is a sense of loss of control, where you are directly subjected to the actions of the other players before you. When a player chooses a card from the limited pool of options, they are completely cutting you off from having that choice for yourself and are instead forced to create something from their scraps. I actually got this idea from a movie, a foreign film on Netflix entitled “The Platform”, where people are forced onto different levels of a building, and every day a platform of food travels down through the floors for the people to eat, but the further down your level is the less food there is for you. This movie is also an artistic critic against the system of the upper class, calling out the unfairness and hypocrisy of the system that rewards people for being rich.

Game Documentation:

The Rules:

Everyone rolls two dice to determine turn order – the person with the highest role goes first, then second, and so on

First player, draw as many cards as there are players PLUS ONE (ex. If there are 4 people playing, draw 5 cards)

Out of all the cards, pick one to keep and pass the remaining cards to the second player. Second player do the same, and so on until the last player

THE OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME: First player to get a hand that adds exactly to 21 wins the round (Poker rules apply to card values, ex Ace is 11 or 1)

If someone collects a collective card value over 21, they are sent to last place for the next round

Whoever wins the round becomes first player, second place becomes second player, and so on

Play as many rounds as you want!

Bonus Rule: if one person has been in first for too long, all the other players can invoke a Revolution. A Revolution means that for the next round, each player who is not first must pool their cards and collect a total of ((number of players – 1) * 15) = for example, if there are 4 people playing and the bottom 3 players invoke revolution, the bottom three players must collect a total of at least 45 points before the first player can collect exactly 21 points. If they succeed, the first player gets sent to last for the next round. Note: A revolution can only occur if EVERYONE wants to participate (excluding the first player). After the first player has been sent to the back, the group must decide who gets placed to player 1 (if they cannot make up their mind, roll a dice again to determine turn order)


Post-Playtest 1 Notes:
– It was too easy for players to get to 21 within the first 2 turns

– There was an interesting game tactic deployed by the first player, where they would hoard all of the lower value cards each turn and just wait for the other players to get a hand over 21 in order to secure their position in 1st

– Changes: adjust the point distribution on the face cards – Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King = 13, ace = 1

Post-Playtest 2 Notes:
– the changes made to the face cards were unnecessary, I’m going to change it back to regular blackjack rules

– The games were short but sweet, and I believe they captured the message I was trying to send about unfairness and privilege towards the wealthy in the real world.


Example of a round:

Intervention Project: Friendly Fire

For my intervention project, I chose to intervene in the gameplay of Overwatch 2, specifically creating a game within the boundaries of the original game to completely ignore the already established goal. In my game, instead of pushing the payload or claiming the objective, your goal as the player is to sneak into the enemy team’s backlines to befriend as many players on the enemy team as you can. This directly contradicts the objective the original game has set up for you, as the only feasible way you can win a game of overwatch is by killing the enemy team as often as possible. My game further intervenes with Overwatch because in all of Overwatch’s existence, the game has been infamous for hosting a primarily negative and mean player base. Players take the game too seriously, they are not here to make friends, they are here to win. MY game does the exact opposite of this – you don’t win by winning the game, you win by making friends.

My project takes some inspiration from Yoko Ono’s cut piece, to provide some sense of vulnerability to the player and leaving the fate of their game up to the reactions of the other players. I wanted to try and show that making friends was harder, yet more rewarding, than making enemies, and put that idea in the context of a game. By letting my game be decided by other players, it proved to be a lot of fun to see the varying reactions from these people I didn’t know.

My results:

I initially expected very minimal success in my attempts to make friends with the enemy team, but I was pleasantly surprised to find many people were willing to throw the game with me. In every game I played, I was able to find at least one person from the other team who was willing to say hello and never attack me when I approached. However, for every one person willing to spam voice lines with me in the backlines, there was always at least one person on either my team or the enemy’s who would tell me off or attack me. Still, it was a much more divisive split between friendly/non-friendly players that I encountered while playing my intervening game. A nice side note I encountered was that in every game, I got at least 2 endorsements from the random people I played with each game! So while I might have lost every single game I played with this new ruleset, I made plenty of friends.

Link to the presentation:

Artwork 2: Appropriate – The King’s Cards

The King’s Cards – by Tim Doyle

The Rules:

  • 2-4 Players allowed
  • Play a game of Uno, only the objective is to collect as many cards of the same color by the end of the deck
  • By the end of the game, whichever colored card you have the most of is your designated color, and you gain 1 point per card you have
  • All special cards maintain their properties (skip cards, reverse, wild cards, etc)
  • If by the end of the game two or more players have been collecting the same color, they all lose
  • If by the end of the game you have cards not belonging to your color, you must subtract points from your score


I originally centered the game around the rules of King’s Cup, where whichever card is drawn dictates some action the players have to complete, but those rules didn’t transfer over very well to the context of this class. I was suggested to try and use Uno cards to make the game more intuitive, by using the numbers and colors to dictate certain actions and make it easier to remember what it is the player should do, but that was still too complicated. After my first play test outside of class, I found that it was still difficult and confusing to use rules dictated by King’s Cup using cards that weren’t from a standard deck. Eventually, I decided to scrap the rules of King’s Cup entirely and chose to appropriate the rules of Uno instead. I wanted my rules to emphasize division and segregation, so I used the different colors as the centerpiece surrounding my appropriation. The original game of Uno already plays with this idea of using a card’s color to dictate the player’s options, where you can only play one color card per turn unless you meet some specific scenario, but I decided to turn up the use of the colors in my appropriation. Instead, you are forced to collect as many of the same color as you can.

The play tests were simple and easy, as the game of Uno is not very difficult to comprehend. What I noticed is that it was difficult to gather a large amount of cards because of the nature of Uno, but that was alright in the end because you technically didn’t need a lot of cards to win the game.

The game isn’t made to be super balanced, but it was crafted to be a more artistic take on the use of the cards themselves. I drew a lot of inspiration from some of the works in Dada, and more specifically the simple creativity that the artists used in their works. My favorite art pieces from the book were very derivative of the original piece, where they heavily used the source material in their appropriated work, focusing more on putting a simple and creative twist on the work instead of completely warping it. This is what my game has in common, where the game fundamentally feels the same as a regular game of Uno, but the simple change in win conditions completely changes how the game is actually played by the players. 

Score: Sketch and Stretch by T

Give each player 2 markers

Tell them to draw a picture

If they draw a circle, they do 5 jumping jacks

After 30 seconds, Vote

This score was designed with Yoko Ono’s work in mind, assigning seemingly random tasks to a straightforward idea. In this piece, the first goal of the game is simple – draw a random picture within a certain amount of time. However, much like a lot of Yoko Ono’s pieces in her book Grapefruit, there is a twist within the instructions that don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason for completing. This way of presenting a score is unique in the sense that it encourages outside-the-box thinking and exercises the creative part of one’s mind. However, where my score differs from any of the pieces in Grapefruit is that there is a more active engagement with the player, as opposed to having the reader ponder the meaning of the piece itself. In my score, this happens to be a disruption of the original idea through the use of physical exercise. This addition was inspired by the book about FLuxus, using the principle that the inclusion of multiple different people provides more room for creativity. By giving an open-ended task to the players to complete, it gives them all the power to create art in any way they want. Finally, the biggest inspiration for my Score would be the children’s games I used to play with my family, like pictionary or charades. These games have a simple premise with an emphasis on player engagement, and I wanted my score to reflect similar values. The game is designed to keep players on their toes, and force them to think about their approach to the game in a more abstract way, the same way a game of charades requires players to think creatively to win.