The Nine

A simple one-on-one strategy game designed by Yusuf and Yaqub .

This game, for two players only, requires a full 52-card deck with two jokers.

Split the deck into two piles: red cards and black cards. These will represent the two "armies". Choose who will play as the Reds and who will be the Blacks. Then, for each "army", separate the "commander" cards (Kings, Queens, Jacks, Aces and one Joker per player) from the regular number cards (2-10). Each player's number cards are shuffled and stacked face down to form a "troop" deck. The commander cards are kept in hand by each player, representing the player's "castle". So, the Red Army player should have 2 Kings, 2 Queens, 2 Jacks, 2 Aces and 1 Joker in hand, and a face-down deck of "troop" cards (containing all diamonds and hearts 2-10) in front of him. And likewise for the Black Army player. The players may shuffle each others' troop decks.

In each round, each player selects one commander card from his hand (castle) and places it face down. Then both commander cards are exposed, and what happens depends on the choice of commanders. Usually at least one commander will be "killed": each player has a face up "graveyard" pile and killed commander cards are placed in the owner's graveyard. The objective is to kill all the enemy commanders. If at the start of a round you have no commanders in your castle (all are in your graveyard), and therefore have no card to play, you have lost. The powers of the various commanders are as follows:

Joker (Kamikaze Soldier / Suicide Bomber)
If either player plays a Joker, the commander cards played by both players are killed and placed in the owners' graveyards. (if both players play Jokers, both Jokers are killed.)
Ace (Assassin)
An Assassin picks a card unseen from the other player's hand and kills it, unless it is another Assassin. The opponent offers his castle cards (other than the one just played) face down, and the player of the Assassin picks one card. The selected commander card is killed unless it is an Ace. If the Assassin picks an Assassin (Ace) from the opponent's hand, it is the first player's Assassin that is killed.
If both players play Assassins, each assassinates one of the other player's cards.
If an Assassin is played against a Joker, there is no assassination and both cards are killed.
If the opponent of the player of the Assassin played their only remaining card, and so has no cards in hand to assassinate, the Ace functions like a Jack (knight) instead - see below.
Battle
If both players play a King, a Queen, a Jack or an Ace acting as a Jack (see above), there is a battle. Each player turns the top card of their troop deck face up and the higher value card wins. The losing commander is killed. If the troop cards are equal in value, both commanders survive. Used troop cards are discarded and not used again until the next deal.
Jack (Knight)
No special power. The troop card is worth face value.
Queen
If the player of a Queen does not like the result of a battle, he may draw up to two more troop cards. The last card drawn determines the result. Example: Player A plays a Jack, Player B a Queen. A flips a 3, B a 6. A flips a second card - a 6. A could now accept a tie - both commanders survive. If A chooses instead to flip a third card and gets, for example, a 4, then A's Queen is killed.
King
The player's troop card has twice its face value. Example: Player A plays a Jack, Player B a King. A flips a 7, B a 4. B's 4 is worth 8, which beats 7, so A's Jack is killed.
Nine
Whenever a player draws a 9 from his troop pile, he immediately revives the top card in his graveyard (his most recently killed commander) and returns it to his hand.