Four Card Ante

Playing cards… with dice!!

Have your players ever wanted to play a game of cards during their down time in game? How about a way for characters to role-play and get to know one another? We figured out a mini dice game that gives you players just that!

In our Four Card Ante, player select 4d6, 3 of one color and an off color or a set of four non-matching d6s with one specified as the off color. All participating players roll the dice they have chosen and the resulting numbers are their “hand”. The way you determine the winner is to add the three like dice and subtract the off color die from the result. Whichever hand scores highest wins!

For example, PC1 has rolled their hand resulting in 3, 4, 3, with the off color being a 1. PC2 has rolled 6, 4, 6 with the off color being a 6. Between the two players the math would be PC1 = 3+4+3-1 and PC2 = 6+4+6-6. PC1 would then have a resulting score of 9 and PC2 would be 10 making them the winner of the hand.

But D20, what if my players want to use real cards? Easy enough! you would still lay out the same cards with 3 side by side and one set as the off card (4 cards total). Number cards are the number value on the card, face cards are worth 10, aces are worth 12, and Jokers are wild (can be either added or subtracted in place of the off card). 

So PC1 and PC2 are at it again. PC1 is dealt a Queen of Hearts, a 2 of Clubs, and 5 of Clubs, their off card is an Ace of Spades. PC2 has and Ace of Hearts, a 2 of Spades, Jack of Spades, and the off card is a 5 of Diamonds. So PC1 = 10+2+5-12 and PC2 = 12+2+10-5. PC2 wins 19 to 5!

You can also up the difficulty by making red cards a negative value and black cards a positive value. This changes the above hand to PC1 = -10+2+5-12 and PC2 = -12+2+10-(-5). However, PC1 is still unfortunate with this hand though with a -15. We usually stick with the simpler math though to make it quicker, but this is especially good to use if you have school age children learning simple algebra to help them practice!

Also, try incorporate their Dexterity (Slight of Hand) as a check with a DC using the party’s passive perception as the DC as a way for those of a more devious nature to cheat! If they are successful, allow them to add the “off card” rather than subtract it. 

But what if there’s a tie? We’re glad you asked! Simply have the tied opponents “draw” an additional card and victory goes to the highest card value drawn!

Have fun Chroniclers!