Hole of Mana

Contributed by Joseph D. Smith

In this quick two-player game, players fight to deplete the opponent of cards in their hand, called Mana, while being the player with the most Mana at the end of the game.

This game is played only between two people. A standard 52-card pack is used, or any other pack with four suits. It is only the suits of the cards that matter: the numbers are irrelevant.

The players are dealt ten cards each, and look at their cards.

The non-dealer plays first, and the players take alternate turns.

At your turn you may play any of the cards in your hand. You opponent must discard all the cards of that suit that they have in their hand. If your opponent has no cards of that suit, you must discard all your cards of the suit you played.

Each suit can only be played once. When it comes to your turn, if all the suits you have in your hand have already been played, the game is over. The game also ends if one player has no cards at all.

The player who has the most cards (Mana) at the end of the game is the winner. A player with no cards at all automatically loses.

If the game ends in a tie, the last person to play has to discard their last Mana, and loses.

Note that a game lasts for a maximum of four turns and might be shorter if one or both players have a missing suit from the start.

There really is no best way to play. If you want to have the most cards in your hand, you might risk playing a card of the suit that you have the most of, hoping that your opponent actually has a card of that suit; but if they don't have any of that suit, then you lose all those cards. If you try to get rid of your only card of a suit, your opponent might catch you later on by playing the suit in which you have the most Mana! Who will win?