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Puzzle Master
Things From Another World
by (Web published) (2012)
Player Count
2 to 8

Player Ages

Playing Time
30 minutes
  • Card Game
  • Negotiation
  • Party Game
  • Print & Play
  • Designers
  • Dr. Mike Reddy FRSA
  • Mechanisms
  • Set Collection
  • Trading
  • Trick-taking
  • Hand Management
  • Card Drafting
  • Rating: 0/10 from 0 users


    This is definitely one of those games where the name directed the mechanic. The concept of karma – good and bad, owing or being owed a debt, and both being a responsibility – and a meta game element of card destruction (making every deck unique) and Real World ™ consequences (in the form of a verbal contract to play) sort of came after the pun of Karma and Armageddon.

    The most important part of this game concept is that players may “help” you, even when you don’t want it, and that this will exact a real consequence to clear the debt. Of course, like a gambling debt, this isn’t enforceable. However, entering into the spirit of the thing is the whole point. Why cheat? You’re only robbing yourself…

    Set up
    There are two elements to this game:

    1) A card game played with (what starts out at least as) a standard deck of cards. If there are Jokers, bridge rules or instruction cards, include them.

    2) Redemption of Debt where cards used to help other players are IOUs for an hour of a player’s time on any reasonable, legal and responsible task.

    To play (the first time) a Sharpie or permanent marker and a standard deck of cards (with jokers) is necessary for 2-4 players. For more than 4 players an extra deck of cards is added for each additional player up to 8 maximum; ideally this should have a different back design or be different size to allow separation for future 2-4 player games. These cards will be torn, ripped and marked, so will likely not be useful for other games afterwards.

    NOTE: a deck where cards are missing (otherwise useless!) is fine as a starting deck. Subsequent play will likely not have all the cards anyway, so one or two missing now won’t matter. Reuse/Recycling!!! I feel better already!

    Set up for the Meta-Game (the redemption of favours) is merely the agreement of all players that they will commit to an hour of time helping one another for each “Debt Card” they end up with. Where this occurs in game, the card will be ripped in two and both parts signed by helper and helpee; its recommended that a phone number or email address for each is also written down, unless players are well acquainted. The helpee then uses their half in play (for that game only) and later as a reminder that they owe a favour. The helper keeps their half to call in the debt.

    NOTE: The hour of time and the task are to be mutually agreed between helper and helpee. It could be anything crom mowing a lawn, babysitting, fixing a computer, whatever is acceptable and doable.

    NOTE 2: Debts do NOT cancel out. If Mike owes Paco a debt and vice versa, they don’t call it quits. They both do an hour for the other. This is a matter of honour!

    Once a debt is paid, “Done” is written on the helpers half and “Paid” is written on the helpees half. Cards can be kept as a memento, burned ceremoniously or binned.

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