King's Gambit Tradition / Ritual in Tiyu Amara | World Anvil

King's Gambit

When you think of Dravulean the First, what first comes to mind? His father's sacrifice? His long and prosperous reign? The petulance of his child?
Wrong. It's the card game he made.
— Sinofisian Gambler
King's Gambit is a popular card game played in the Kingdom of Telziad, though it has steadily gained players in other countries. Folk history attributes the invention of the game to King Dravulean I, though evidence suggests it had existed in some form in the north prior to the King popularising it.


King's Gambit is played with the standard 52 card deck. After placing a blind bet determined by the table, each player is given 2 cards. 5 cards are then placed faced up in the centre of the table. Each round, the players are able to exchange one of the cards in their hand with a card from the central 5, with the aim of improving the value of their hand. Furthermore, each round after the first the dealer will gave each player another card, usually up to a total of 4.
The goal of the game is to have the highest hand value of the table, which is calculated in two parts. The first is the so-called 'raw value', where each cards number is added together, similar to games like blackjack. The second part is the 'colour multiplier', which will multiply the raw value based on the number of cards in a hand which share a common colour. For example, a four card hand with a card from each suit will receive a total multiplier of 4x - 1 2x modifier from the two red cards, + 1 2x modifier from the two black cards. These modifiers are exponential the more cards which share a colour, so a four card hand with four black cards will receive a multiplier of 8x. Modifiers are added together before multiplication, though this makes little difference in the standard version.
You can repay me with company, if you like. Are you Skarhans familiar with King's Gambit?


One of the most common variants of King's Gambit is tor alter the modifiers from 2x to 3x. This increases the value of having a hand of all one colour, as it has far more exponential modifier value than a mixed hand. Despite being common, there are few die-hard fans of this variant, with some Gambit fans decrying the loss of strategies involving mixed hands.
There is also the variants where the player hands are made larger, with 5 and 7 cards being the most popular. Seven Star Gambit, as the latter is known, finds most of its fans amongst the upper class, due to the inevitably large numbers which will need to be crunched to determine a victor.
Telziado coin reflection
Telziado Coin by Isaac Thompson
example kings gambit hand
Example of King's Gambit Hand Calculations, Standard 4 Hand 2x Modifiers by Isaac Thompson

Cover image: Telziado Coin by Isaac Thompson


Author's Notes

This article was written for the "Write about a popular card, dice or board game in your world and how it is played" prompt of Summer Camp 2019!

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