Aces and Faces Quarto

A game for two players contributed by Eugene Fitzgerald

This game is an adaptation of the Gigamic board game Quarto, using a standard deck of cards instead of a board and pieces. It is very similar to Greg Morrison's Set Quarto, which is an adaptation of Quarto played with Set cards.

Cut a deck of cards to determine the first player who:

  • separates the face cards and aces from the deck;
  • hands them to other player;
  • places 16 of the remaining cards face down in a 4x4 grid with intervening spaces. This grid is used only to define the playing area - the cards mark the playing spots and play no actual part in the game.

card card card card
card card card card
card card card card
card card card card

Then the second player randomly spreads (face-up) the 16 aces and face cards around the grid of cards that forms the playing area.

In this adaptation of Quarto, each ace and face card has 4 characteristics, each one in common with seven other cards. Its suit symbol has a rounded (Clubs and Hearts) or a pointed top, it is red or black, it is male or female (Queens and Aces (aka angels)), it is a ruler (Kings and Queens) or a follower (Jacks and Aces).

The first player now selects one of the face up cards from around the grid and gives it to his opponent; she places it directly on top of any vacant face down card. Then she returns the favor by selecting and presenting a card from the aces and faces around the grid for him to play. Cards once played on the grid cannot be moved. When a player completes a line (including a diagonal line) of four cards with a common characteristic, he calls out "WIN". He must make the call before presenting the next card. If he fails to do so, opponent may steal it by calling "WIN" before placing the card she just received. A potential win, not claimed in time by either player, is lost, and the game continues. However, any of those same cards may become part of a subsequent new winning combination.

The player who made the last placement in the game leaves the grid of face down cards in place, but removes and randomly scatters the aces and face cards around the game area again. Then he or she selects and presents first card of new game. Keep score of wins.


  1. A "WIN" can also be called and game won when any small square of 4 cards with a common attribute is attained.
  2. The game may be played without marking the playing spots. However, the length and width of game area cannot exceed four cards and is quickly defined.
  3. Instead of scattering the playing cards, the last player of prior game shuffles them and deals out two cards each. The 12 cards left become a face down draw pile. Starting with the dealer's opponent, players take turns to draw the top card of the pile, and then selects any of the three cards from his or her hand for the opponent to play (on the spots defined by the face down grid of cards, if there is a grid).


Each card has an opposite card with which it has no characteristics in common. Therefore, these "uncommon partners" cannot "line" or "square" dance together. The forbidden Aces and Kings couples are: AS/KH, AH/KS, AD/KS, and AC/KD. The forbidden Queens and Jacks couples are: QS/JH, QH/JS, QD/JC, and QC/JD. If one "uncommon partner" appears in an incomplete line or small square, the placing of the other "uncommon partner" into the same line or small square would block any possible winning combination of four cards.

Here is a bonus. It is a "Common Sense" version of Aces and Faces Quarto that might make sense to persons of all ages. Once a child understands Tic-Tac-Toe, he or she may be ready to play this game which uses the 2, 3, 4, and 5 cards of each suit for the 16 playing cards. Switching the playing cards necessitates new common features and the substitution of new uncommon card-partners.  For example a club4 played in the same line as a diamond3 spoils any potential win with that line. Otherwise the Aces and Faces Quarto rules apply. When younger children play, delay using any of the variants and the 'small square' win until children comprehend the basics of the game.

When playing the Common Sense game you immediately announce "WIN" when the common feature of all four cards in the line you completed has either:
Red numbers< or >Black numbers
Even numbers (2's & 4's)< or >Odd numbers (3's & 5's)
Lower numbers (2's & 3's)< or >Larger numbers (4's & 5's)
Rounded symbol tops (heart & club)< or >Pointed symbol tops (spade & diamond)