Fairy Meat

Rules for Tarot Decks


Due to the overall theme of Fairy Meat, the atmosphere could be enhanced by using a Tarot deck instead of a Poker deck for the card draws. The most obvious conversion would be to have the Major Arcana as Trumps and all other cards as number cards, with Aces 1, Pages 11, Knights 12, Queens 13 and Kings 14. My particular deck (Londa Tarot, obtained through Looney Labs strictly for gaming purposes), like many out there, has an additional two cards (one unnumbered one with a harlequin, and a title card with a smaller-size image and the publisher's and artist's names), which make great Jokers. I'd also let Death (Trump 13) play the role of the Ace of Spades, and, to make things nastier, have The Hanged Man (Trump 12) be a half-strength Ace of Spades (automatic nasty hit 2, 25% move reduction until healed). So, how does this affect the probabilities? The following tables sum it up nicely. (Average spread is the average difference between two randomly selected number cards, equal to (high-low)/3, if you assume replacement, which is not the case, though it's a good approximation for this large a pool of cards).

Poker Deck:
Number: .66666666667
Avg. Spread = 2.6666666667
Trump: .2962962963
Nasty (Ace of Spades): .01851851852
Joker: .03703703704
80-card Tarot Deck:
Number (Ace through King): .7
Avg. Spread = 4.3333333333
Trump (Major Arcana): .275
Nasty (Death): .0125
Half-Nasty (Hanged Man): .0125
Joker (Additional 2 Cards): .025

This tilts the balance slightly from Trumps to Number cards, but not enough that it should alter gameplay in any noticeable fashion. Jokers are only about 2/3 as common as before, which could be corrected by designating an additional card to be a Joker (in a 78-card deck, you could use the Ace of Swords as the Ace of Spades (and make it a Trump), then declare the other three to be Jokers, which solves things nicely). Making these corrections, we get something almost identical to our original probabilities:

78-card Tarot Deck:
Number (Two through King): .66666666667
Avg. Spread = 4.0
Trump (Major Arcana + AoS): .29487179487
Nasty (AoS): .01282051282
Joker (Other 3 Aces): .03846153846

The biggest change in either case is the large increase in average spread, leading to greatly increased chances of nasty hits. This might be corrected by raising the thresholds for nasty hits to 5 and really nasty hits to 9 or 10.

Lastly, for the purposes of Order cards, one can simply count all cards at their face value as at top, with Major Arcana having the value of the number on them (from 0 to 21), then just count down from 21 to 0 and back up. This means that the Fool (Trump 0) has only one point at which he may take his action, which is rather appropriate...


Note: If you have problems playing games with a Tarot Deck, then simply don't. I happen to have a problem with using one to attempt to divine the future. In case you didn't know, they were used for over a century to play trick-taking games similar to Bridge or Spades before they began being used for divination. Also, modern Poker decks have been used for divination in the past. Anyway, Fairy Meat author Scott Leaton has publically stated that he used Tarot decks in early playtest versions of the game.



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