Byzantium – learn to play with

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Welcome to Byzantium!

I’m Toby Ord, the creator of this exciting hand shedding card game. In Byzantium, your goal is to strategically play as many cards from your hand onto the tableau as you can. Think of it as a game of dominoes, where you must carefully follow a set of rules to guide your card placement.

Let’s Talk Cards and Deals

In Byzantium, we use a deck of 26 cards. Start by separating a red and a black suit from the deck. We won’t be using the other two suits. Now, arrange the red and black Aces at the center of the playing area in the shape of a cross. Place the first Ace vertically and the second Ace horizontally on top of it.

Next, evenly deal the remaining cards to each player. If you’re playing with just two players, set aside a 4 card kitty to be used in each round.

In a game with two players, each player will be given ten cards. If there are three players, they will receive an eight card hand, and if there are four players, they will receive a six card hand.


Alright, here’s how the game goes. The first person to go is the player on the left of the dealer. They take a card and attach it to one of the Aces. But wait, there are some rules you gotta follow:

First, you can’t put a new card on top of another card. It can only touch the card it’s being attached to. And you gotta make sure the short side of the new card is connected to the branch card. Oh, and connected cards have to be the same color.

Now, here’s the tricky part. You can’t put a card more than three cards away from the center. And when you’re building a branch, it has to be in either ascending or descending order. You can’t mix it up, got it?

When it’s your turn, you pick a card from your hand and play it on the tableau, following all those rules I just mentioned. And if you can’t add a card, then you gotta pass your turn.

When you play this game, you keep going until everyone has passed one after the other. When that happens, the round is done. Then, add up all the scores and give the deal to the player on your left. Keep playing rounds until each player has had a turn.

Byzantium - learn to play with

How Scoring Works

When we’re playing this game, we get a point for every card we have left in our hand. So, if I have 5 cards left at the end, I’d earn 5 points. It’s a pretty straightforward system – the more cards I have left, the more points I get.

Becoming the Winner

The goal of the game is to have the lowest score when we’re done playing. So, if I have 5 points and you have 7 points, I would win because my score is lower. It’s a simple yet important concept to remember – the lower the score, the better chance of winning!

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