• Getting Started

    Dungeons and Deuces is a free roleplaying game that uses regular playing cards to resolve encounters. The core game mechanics are similar to a game of Poker, and drawing encounters is based on Blackjack. The result is an easy-to-learn game that balances luck and strategy. Intended for 3-4 Players, but may be played with 2 or 5.

    • The Game Master (GM) and each Player need their own Deck of standard playing cards.
      • Remove Jokers from all decks and shuffle them.


      • Print and cut an Enemy Set page twice to create a deck.
    • Optional: The GM also may use an additional Deck of playing cards as the “Loot Deck.” See the Loot section below for more details.
      • This Deck is optional but recommended; otherwise you will need pencil and paper.
    • Optional: Class Cards (printed from our site), important resource for new Players.
      • Players pick a Class and start at Level 1.
      • See the Leveling Up section for more information.
      • There are many Classes to choose from, some conventional and others unique, such as the Broker (pictured: right).
  • Target Difficulty

    Enemy difficulty is displayed on each enemy card.

    Total difficulty is the sum of enemy difficulties.

    Target difficulty varies based on player count.

    • 1 Player = 5
    • 2 Players = 10
    • 3 Players = 15
    • 4 Players = 20*
      • 4 Players may require the GM to use 2 Decks of cards
    • Encounter Difficulty = The Difficulty of all Enemies Drawn added up

    Enemy difficulty is displayed by a large number near the top right of the card. The Werewolf has a difficulty of 5.


    This example uses a two-player party, with a Target Difficulty of 10.

    • If Encounter Difficulty is LESS than Target Difficulty
      • Players go first (no Initiative Draw required)
    • If Encounter Difficulty is EQUAL to Target Difficulty
      • Players go first (no Initiative Draw required)
      • Treasure: The cost of Loot is reduced by one card at the end of the Encounter (explained in Loot section)
    • If Encounter Difficulty is GREATER than Target Difficulty

    The Encounter Difficulty is exactly 10. For a 2-Player game, this would mean Players go first and the cost of Loot is reduced by one card.

      • Treasure: The cost of Loot is reduced by one card at the end of the Encounter
      • Initiative Draw: GM and a Player Draw the top card from their Decks. The side with the higher value card goes 1st. Return cards to the bottom of the Decks. Players Win on Ties
  • Encounter Setup


    • Each player draws a set number of regular playing cards from their personal deck. Initially, Players draw a 6 card Hand. At Level 3 and above, Players draw a 7 card Hand.
    • Players must Discard if their Hand-size exceeds 10 cards at any time
    • If a Player has no Discard Pile, they must Draw and Discard the top card from their Deck

    This Level 1 player begins with a strong 5 card Hand, featuring trip 10s and a Queen high card.


    • GM Draws Enemy Cards 1 at a time
      • Keep Drawing until the Encounter Difficulty is within 3 of the Target Difficulty
      • Like Blackjack, Players choose to have the GM Draw an additional Enemy Card or Stay
      • Draw Hands for each of the Enemies as indicated by their Enemy Cards
        • Enemies begin with Basic Abilities and gain their Elite ability when marked ELITE
          • They remain Elite at Levels higher than when they become Elite
        • The Level of the Enemies is equal to the current Player Level
      • Each of these Enemies is treated as its own separate Hand

    Each Enemy has their own Hand, drawn by the GM and spread face down in front of their card. The number of cards in the Enemy's initial Hand changes based on their Level. Here, the Level 1 Manticore has a Hand of 4 cards.

  • Targeting and Turn Order


    • There are two sides to every conflict: Players and GM
    • Every Entity or Player on a side gets to Attack and/or use Abilities before it becomes the other side’s turn.
    • Turn order is decided by the Players or GM (in the case of Enemies) and may change each turn.
    • Any Player, or any Enemy controlled by the GM, may choose not to take action during their side's turn.


    • Each Player can choose which Enemy to target for Attack.
    • The GM must target the Player with the highest card on top of their Discard Pile for Attack.
      • This card is referred to as the Player’s Threat Card
        • If cards of the same value, targeting is at GM’s discretion
      • GM may target a Player’s controlled Entities (pets) rather than the Player
    • Enemy Abilities may be used on any Player of the GM’s choice.

    Players Draw cards from their Deck, which is kept face down, and Discard into their Discard pile, which is kept face up. Here, the Player's Threat Card is 10.

  • Combat


    • Can play a Single, Pair, Triple, Four of a Kind, or 5-card Poker Hand
    • Can Attack with a valid hand of ANY size, regardless of how many cards the target has remaining. If the target cannot Defend (due to lack of cards), then the target is Defeated.
    • Players may use an Ability and/or Attack once on their turn unless the Ability reads "Instead of Attacking," in which case the Ability can only be used in place of 1 Attack.
      • If the Player can Attack 2 or more times thanks to the effect of another Ability, only 1 Attack is consumed when using the “Instead of Attacking” Ability.
    • Can skip turn if desired


    • Must match the Hand Played in number of cards. (Unless otherwise stated)
      • A Single may only be successfully countered with a Single of equal or greater value, a Pair with a Pair, a Triple with a Triple, a Four of a Kind with a Four of a Kind, or a 5 card hand with a 5 card Hand.

    Abilities marked as "Disrupt" can be used at any time, even when it is not your turn.

      • If you can’t Defend the amount of cards Played with a valid Hand, you must still Play an equal amount of cards, but you can’t Tie or Win regardless of the value of cards Played.
    • All cards Played are Discarded (unless otherwise stated).


    • For Singles, Pairs, Triples, and Four of a Kinds, only the value of the cards matters.
      • Cards may exceed the value of an Ace with Abilities or Loot.
      • Examples: a 7 beats a 6; a Queen beats a Jack; an Ace beats a King
      • Suits don’t matter
    • 5 Card hands are decided by Poker rules.
      • 4 of a kinds CANNOT be Defended by 5 card Hands
      • Suits don't matter
    • Wild Cards or value adjustments take effect BEFORE combat is resolved and may be chained.
    • Abilities can raise a card’s value higher than Ace.

    If Attacked with a Single Ace, Player cannot beat it despite having Trip 10s. Defending must always be done with the same number of cards used by the Attacker.


    • The winner of a Combat hand Draws cards equal to the amount of cards that he/she Played.
    • If Combat is a Tie, BOTH the Attacker and Defender Draw as if they'd Won unless otherwise stated by an Ability
      • Both Wins and Ties are considered success in Combat for Drawing purposes

    The Player has a 5 of Hearts Epic Tier Loot card, so the 5 of Hearts in his Hand is Wild. Player can turn it into an Ace to complete a Full House with Aces over 10s.


    • A Player or Enemy is Defeated when they have no cards left.
      • Player/Enemy controlled-entities are NOT Defeated when their master is Defeated
    • If all Players are Defeated, they must shuffle their Discard Piles back into their Decks.
    • Upon Victory all remaining cards left in players’ hands are Discarded.
      • Remember to finish battles and draw to the end – this is XP after all!
    • If the last remaining Player is Defeated at the same time as the last enemy, Players Win
    • If any Player goes through their entire Deck, the entire party Levels Up! See the section titled "Leveling Up" for more details.
  • Enemy Types


    • Can only use the Basic (top) Ability
    • Cannot Attack with 4 or 5 Card hands.


    • May use both Basic and Elite (bottom) Abilities
    • Cannot Attack with 4 or 5 Card hands.


    • May use both Basic and Elite Abilities
    • CAN Attack with 4 or 5 Card hands.


    • The Werewolf (right) becomes Elite at Level 3 and a Boss at Level 5
    • The Werewolf can use Friend Bite (top) as Basic and Carnivore (bottom) as Elite and Boss
  • Loot


    • The Loot Deck is a normal deck of playing cards used in addition to other decks
    • Whenever a Player receives Loot, they draw a card from the Loot Deck
    • The card that was drawn now has new properties according to its Tier for this Player
    • If you don't have an extra Loot Deck, shuffle the GM deck, Draw a card, and make note of which card is Drawn on a piece of paper.
    • Loot cards are placed next to the Player’s Deck face-up as a reminder
    • Using Loot Whenever you draw a card from your Deck through the normal flow of the game that corresponds to a Loot card that you own, that card gains special properties.
      • These special properties vary dependent on the Tier of the Loot...


    1. Common – The card may be played as itself or 1 value higher.
    2. Rare – The card counts for two its kind (may be played as a Pair by itself or with other cards).
    3. Epic – WILD! The card can count as any card.
      1. Keep track of Tiers however you’d like – location, orientation, etc…

    One possible method to keep track of Loot. Players can also use a pencil and paper if they so desire.


    • At the End of an encounter Loot is given to Players according to the number of 2s in their Hands.
      • Pair of 2s = Common
      • Three 2s = Rare
      • Four 2s = Epic
    • Players can only have up to 5 pieces of loot at once, but they can trade up for improvements
      • Trade 2 Commons for 1 Rare
      • Trade 2 Rares for 1 Epic
  • Leveling Up

    When any Player goes through their entire Deck, all Players Level Up!

    • Every Player places all remaining cards in their Decks, if any, into their Discard Piles and then reshuffles; this is their new Deck
    • At Level 3, Players' Initial Draw Size increases to 7.
    • Each Level also grants access to new Abilities as described on each Class Card.
    • IMPORTANT - Players do not Level Up until Combat is resolved. The Player that runs through their Deck, if in the middle of Combat, should:
      • Shuffle their Discard Pile
      • Draw a new Threat Card
      • Continue to use their Deck as normal
    • OPTIONAL - For a faster-paced game, level up after every Encounter.
  • Additional Rules


    • Abilities, Attacks, and Defenses all occur in the order that they were presented.
      • Abilities marked (Disrupt) have the capacity to change or prevent the last action taken.
    • You may not blurt out an action while another Player or the GM is in the middle of performing an action. So once the intent has been declared, nothing can occur before that action is presented except a Disrupt Ability.


    • Players may GUARD instead of Attacking or using an Ability during their turn
      • Guard allows the Player to Discard a card of their choosing and then draw a new card from the top of their Deck
    • Add/subtract from Target Difficulty to adjust Difficulty
    • Players may trade Loot with each other
    • Feel free to allow a single Player to play 2 or 3 Classes – the game works best with 2-3 characters playing, although certain characters can do well alone.


    Being a punching bag is not a whole lot of fun, and an experienced GM will know when he or she is beaten, so feel free to concede an Encounter to the Players by Folding.

    • A GM can Fold at any time
    • Players may Draw cards equal to the number of cards that the Enemies had left when the GM Folds. This is to ensure they receive an appropriate amount of experience and chance for Loot


    • Each Player chooses a Custom Ability at the beginning of the game
    • Place the Custom Ability card beneath your Class card so that only the chosen ability is visible.
    • Now your character can use that ability as instructed for the remainder of the game.
    • See the Classes section to view Custom Abilities.

    Custom Abilities add an extra layer of complexity, and fun!, to the game.

  • Patch Notes

    Check here for changes, updates and additions to Rules, Classes, Enemies, and Abilities! All changes listed will reflect on the site and assets available for download.

  • Patch Notes - Version 0.9.2 - Updated 1/8/2015


    • Revised Quest for Loot mode.
    • Changed Initial Draw Size to 6, with an increase to 7 at level 3
  • Patch Notes - Version 0.9.0 - Updated 12/1/2014


    • Added two additional Competitive game types
      • Masters and Monsters
      • Duel of the Duos
    • Revisions made to Quest for Loot and Quest for Power games


    • Modified Skelly Belly for balance on Undead Enemy Set
    • Clarified "Bone Shield" ability of the Lich on the Undead Enemy Set
    • Modified Goblin for balance on Beastmen Enemy Set
    • Modified Goblin for balance on Beastmen Enemy Set
    • Swapped the Difficulty Rating for Wreckasaurus and Werewolf on Wild Enemy Set
    • Tweaked Mimic and Pony Princess classes to improve balance
  • Patch Notes - Version 0.8.3 - Updated 11/13/2014


    • Clarified "Sacrifice" in the Glossary
    • Added entry to Glossary: "Pets"


    • Edited Necromancer class ability  "Summon Skelly"
    • Rebalanced Witch Doctor class ability "Totem"
    • Clarified "Bone Shield" ability of the Lich on the Undead Enemy Set
    • Major rebalance of Custom Abilities
  • Patch Notes - Version 0.8.2


    • Improved the Glossary section in downloadable version


    • Corrected a typo on the Necromancer class card
  • Patch Notes - Version 0.8.1


    • Added a clarification about using Abilities and Attacking, particularly Abilities listed as "Instead of Attacking." See the Combat section of the Rules for more details.
  • Patch Notes - Version 0.8.0


    • Clarified: How "Loot" is used
    • Fixed "Ties" in Combat Description (Attacker and Defender Draw)
    • Clarified: Attacking targets with insufficient cards to Defend is allowed
    • Clarified: Valid 5 Card hands must use all 5 cards
      • ex) Flushes, Straights, Full-Houses


    • On the Quick Reference card and printable sheet, replaced "Who Can Draw?" with "Ties" to reflect the above Rules change. See Reference section below.









  Class Select


  • For Beginners - Quest for Power

    This is the simplest of all game types and good for first time players. The objective is to reach “Level 6” – in other words, go through your entire Deck as a Level 5. If one of the Players manages to do this, the game is complete. You can tune the difficulty by determining what happens to Players when the party is Defeated.

    • For beginners, players reshuffle their Discard Piles into back into their Decks when the whole Party is Defeated.
    • For Hardcore players, the game is lost if the whole party is Defeated.
  • For Competitive Play - Three Game Types

    Quest for Loot

    A great fit for fans of Poker, Quest for Loot introduces simple gambling mechanics. What you use as chips is entirely up to you, jelly beans, quarters, or human souls, the stakes are yours to decide.

    • Players begin with an equal number of chips.
    • The GM’s initial chip count is equal to all of the players’ chips added together.
      • Example: If there are 3 players against the GM with 7 chips a piece, the GM starts with 21 chips.

    If playing for higher stakes, these chips should be disbursed from a communal pot.

    • The game may begin at whichever Level is decided upon; we recommend Level 3.
    • Before every Encounter, Players draw their hand and place Wagers.
      • Every Player must Wager at least 1 chip at beginning of each Encounter (the 'Blind'). At 1 chip, their Target Difficulty is set to the standard 5.
      • Each Player may Wager additional chips to increase their individual Target Difficulty by 1 per chip.
      • All other Players must match the highest bid to participate in Encounter.
        • GM still takes their Blind even if they don't participate.
    • Once all Wagers are set, add up the Target Difficulties of remaining Players.
      • Example: If of 3 Players, two bid 3 and the third Player folds, the Target Difficulty for the Encounter would be 14 ((5 + 2) + (5+2))
    • The GM begins Drawing Enemy cards and continues Drawing until the Target Difficulty is met or exceeded. Players can’t choose to “stay” beneath the Target Difficulty.
      • At this point, Players may choose to raise, but do not have to match each other's bet amount.
      • As long as the combined raises don't bring the new Target Difficulty over the current Difficulty of the Encounter, no additional Enemies are drawn.
    • Regular Initiative Rules apply
    • If a Player survives the Encounter, the GM must pay them an amount equal to their bet.
      • If a Player does not survive the Encounter, the GM collects that Player's bet.

    Masters & Monsters

    This mode requires no GM; instead, control over the Enemies is divided amongst the Players. It’s a great party game for experienced Dungeons and Deuces players. Players can win by defeating other players and keeping their monsters alive, but having the whole party wiped out isn’t good for anyone.

    • Begin at Level 1. Players Draw hands and flip over their Threat Cards as usual.
    • Then each Player Draws Enemy Cards until they equal or exceed a difficulty value of 5.
      • All Enemies’ hands are drawn from the same communal Enemy Deck.
      • Their cards are Discarded into the same communal Enemy Discard Pile.
    • Players ALWAYS have Initiative in this mode.
      • The Player that drew the lowest difficulty of Enemies goes first.
        • In case of a tie, the Player with more Enemies goes first.
        • If two or more Players drew the same difficulty and same number of Enemies, they must Draw the top cards from their Decks; higher cards go first.
    • A Player takes his or her Hero Character’s Turn first, then it’s their Enemies’ Turn before the next Player gets to go
      • Once every Players’ Hero and Enemies have gone, the Round is over.
      • Once per Turn abilities can be used once during an Enemy’s Turn and once during a Hero’s Turn every Round.
    • Players cannot Attack their own Enemies, nor can their own Enemies Attack them.
      • Other than that, Enemies must follow the same targeting rules as when played by a GM.

    The Player with the highest Threat Card must be targeted for Attack, though Abilities may be used on any valid target.

    • The first Player to get “X” Epic Loot cards wins. (3 is good for a medium duration game)
      • As usual, Loot is gained by the amount of Deuces in a Player’s hand at the end of an Encounter; 2 = Common Loot / 3 = Rare Loot / 4 or more = Epic
      • There are additional ways to acquire Deuces for loot at the end of an encounter:
        • Defeating a Player with your Enemies adds 2 Deuces
        • Surviving an Encounter adds 1 Deuce per Survivor
          • So if 3 Players Survived, each of them receive 3 Deuces
      • As usual, Players can trade up 2 Commons for a Rare or 2 Rares for an Epic.

    Duel of the Duos

    This is a great mode for a quick competitive game between 2 Players. It requires no GM or Enemy Deck. Players Draw a hand for each of their chosen Classes. No Threat Cards are required.

    • Each Player Draws 3 Hero Classes and 3 Custom Ability cards at random.
      • They choose 2 out of the 3 Hero Classes and which 2 Custom Abilities to use.
    • Draw for Initiative or concede Initiative.
      • The Player without Initiative may Draw an extra card for 1 of their Heroes.
    • Both of a Player’s Heroes have their turn before it becomes the other Player’s turn.
    • Win an Encounter by Defeating both of your opponent’s Heroes.
    • Begin at Level 1. Both Players gain a Level after each Encounter. The best out of 5 wins!
  • For Cooperative Play - Traditional Quest

    Traditional Quests are custom story-driven games that take place within a structured environment, similar to a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. They allow for plenty of flexibility and creativity on the Game Master’s part and can be short or long duration games depending on the quest.


    Special Encounters cards are comprised of 3 sections

    1. Setup: The top portion of the card tells the GM how many cards and hands to Draw as well as other preparations needed to be made at the beginning of an Encounter.
    2. Abilities: The middle portion of the card displays the Abilities and Effects contained by the Special Encounter. Since some Encounters may contain multiple entities, abilities may be attributed by first naming the entity to which it belongs.
    3. Secret: The bottom portion is hidden from Players’ view by placing a card over it. This section can contain optional weaknesses or hidden Abilities that the Special Encounter might have. It is revealed once the Players discover it.

    The GM has set up the Prismatic Dragon special encounter. Notice that the GM has concealed the secret ability on the card to keep it a surprise to players.


    A  Traditional Quest gives the GM more control over the type of Encounters that Players face.

    • Fixed: Predetermined Level of Enemies and modified difficulty. The GM may choose which enemies to use so long as the enemies equal the Modified Target Difficulty.
      • These encounters form barriers of passage for players and work well for boss or special encounters; they can even be used for things like traps or trick walls.
      • Fixed Encounters may contain a Special Encounter Name, Level, and Modifier.
        • Modifiers are added to or subtracted from the 5-per-Player standard Target Difficulty. (So -2 would make the Target Difficulty 3-per-Player or +1 would make the Target Difficulty 6-per-Player)

    The GM should map out dungeons, including the locations of encounters and loot.

      • Example 1: Boss Name, LVL 5, -2
        • Players must face the Special Encounter listed and Level 5 Enemies drawn to modified Target Difficulty
      • Example 2: LVL 4, +1
        • Players must face Level 4 Enemies drawn to modified Target Difficulty
      • Example 3: Boss Name, -1
        • Players must face the Special Encounter listed and Enemies of their current level drawn to modified Target Difficulty
      • Example 4: -1
        • Player face an Encounter of their Level drawn to Modified Target Difficulty
    • Fixed Encounters abide by Initiative Draw & Loot Bonus rules (regardless of LVL)
    • Random: Standard “Black Jack Rules” drawing for an encounter
      • Good for when Players are traveling or to set up an impromptu battle


    • As the GM, you’re encouraged to reward Player creativity and good roleplaying.
    • If a Player is attempting to overcome an Encounter in a creative way, you can grant them a bonus to their initial hand size.
    • You can give Loot or bonus Deuces to Loot checks at the end of an Encounter at your discretion.

    Build an interesting world and players will want to explore it.


    • Create your own unique pieces of Loot for a campaign containing custom abilities
    • Players who receive unique Loot put the Jokers back into their Deck and Sacrifice a Joker to activate a piece of Quest or Special Loot (unless otherwise stated)
      • Players with multiple Quest Loot may choose which to use when Sacrificing a Joker
    • Items are purchased in shops with cards from Discard Piles.
      • Shuffle Discard Pile before paying, draw desired amount with cards face down.
    • Jokers count as Ace +1s when used as Threat Cards.

    Quest Loot can be as conventional or creative as you desire.



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