Zark City

From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Zark City
Andrew Looney
A just-completed two-handed game of Zark City
A 3HOUSE reduction of Zarcana, using playing cards
:Players Players: 2 - 5
:Time Length: Long
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 3
Number of colors: 1 per player
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 1 per player
Five-color sets: 3
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
playing cards or Zark City cards
Setup time: 2 min
Playing time: 15 - 45 min
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: Low
Game mechanics: modular board, hand & stash management
Theme: Abstract
BGG Link: Zark City
Status: Complete (v2.0), Year released: 2008

Zark City is a game for 2 to 5 players where the board is made up of standard playing cards.

Materials[edit | edit source]

  • Three trios in a distinct color for each player
Player 1
Player 2
Player 3
Player 4
Player 5
  • One deck of playing cards with Jokers

Goal[edit | edit source]

The object of the game is to be the sole occupant of three orthogonally adjacent playing cards that consist of a suited run or a three-of-a-kind.

Setup[edit | edit source]

Deal each player three cards face-down. Players must look at their cards to make sure they have at least one number card as opposed to only face-cards and aces. (If not, see Note below.) Now players each select a card from their hand numbered 2-10 and place it face-down in front of them. Once all cards have been placed face-down, cards are revealed and the owner of the highest revealed card places that card in the center of the table and puts a ::S from his collection on top of it. Then, in clockwise order, each other player does the same, so that the board now consists of as many cards as players.
Note: If a player has only face-cards and aces, they reveal this fact to the other players and all players draw an extra card until everyone has at least one numbered card.

Example starting board for 5 players

Play[edit | edit source]

Board Arrangement[edit | edit source]

The board will always consist exclusively of numbered cards. Each new card that is placed on the table needs to be perpendicular to the cards next to it, so that the board expands in a grid like so.

Turn[edit | edit source]

Each turn begins with the active player drawing a card. The player may then take one action from the following list.

  • Draw Draw three cards face-down and add them to your hand.
  • Grow Choose one of your pyramids on the board and replace it with a pyramid one size larger.
  • Spawn Add a ::S to a card you already have pyramids on.
  • Build Choose an empty place on the board orthogonally adjacent to a card you occupy and fill that space with a card in from your hand. (The new card must be numbered 2-10.)
  • Hatch Only if you have no pyramids on the board, place a new card on the board from your hand and add a ::S to it.
  • Move Move one of your pyramids to an orthogonally adjacent card.
  • Fly Spend an ace to pick up a card, along with all the pyramids currently on it, and teleport it anywhere on the board that you would be able to legally place a new card from your hand. You must have at least one pyramid of your own color on this card, though other players may also be occupying it. The only thing you cannot do is split the board into two disconnected halves with your move. The halves may be joined by as little as one diagonal connection and still qualify as being connected.
  • Attack Select an opponent's pyramid that is on the same card as you or that is orthogonally adjacent to a card you occupy. Spend face-cards from your hand to attack this pyramid, using attack power according to the victim's size (see the chart below).
Card Attack Points Pips
King 3 ::L
Queen 2 ::M
Jack 1 ::S
Joker 1 ::S

So to attack a ::L you could spend a single King or two Jacks and a Joker. You may receive "change" if you overpay (such as spending a King to attack a ::M). Draw cards in the amount of the difference. However, you are not allowed to arbitrarily spend extra face-cards just to trade them in for draws—each face-card you spend must have contributed at least one point of damage toward the attack. What happens to the attacked pyramid? You, as the attacker, choose: It's either replaced by your pyramid of the same-or-smaller size, or it's simply removed from the board. In either case, return the attacked pyramid to its owner's supply.

Hand Limit[edit | edit source]

Players have a hand-limit of 6 cards whenever it is not their turn.

Winning[edit | edit source]

The game ends when one player is the sole occupant of three adjacent cards that are matching in value (e.g. 8-8-8) or make up a suited run (e.g. 4-5-6). If even one pyramid of an opposing player's color also occupies any of those three cards, it is not a win yet.

Win for blue via three-of-a-kind Win for purple via suited run

External Links[edit | edit source]

It is a reduction design, distilling a more complicated game into something lighter, quicker, and easier to learn. It does for Zarcana/Gnostica what IceTowers did for Icehouse.

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