Three Card Monte
Three Card Monte is a modular combat system invented by Anna and Alex Bradley, and adapted for use in several games. This version of the rules was written by Nat Budin, based on Anna and Alex's original rules.
Combat in this game is resolved through the use of playing cards. Each player has 3 playing cards. When a fight occurs, the players select at random each other’s cards.
- The higher card wins.
- Aces are low.
- If a defender loses a fight, he/she takes the effects.
- If an attacker loses his/her attack fails.
- You cannot attack and defend in the same round of combat. Within one round, you may be an attacker for one fight and a defender for another fight. The people who declare combat are the attackers and the people they are attacking are the defenders.
- In a tie, all attackers and defenders are injured and must take the effects.
- You cannot join a combat in progress.
Josh vs. Anna – josh declared combat, so he is the attacker. He draws one of Anna’s cards, a 10. Anna draws one of Josh’s cards, a 7. Josh’s attack fails, and Anna can walk away. She can also attack Josh back. In that case she is the attacker and Josh is the defender. Anna draws one of Josh’s cards, a 9. Josh draws one of Anna’s cards, a 10 again. Anna wins, and Josh is injured.
Anna and Alex are attacking Josh – Anna and Alex initiate combat so they are the attackers and Josh is the defender. Josh draws a card from Alex, a 9 and a card from Anna, a 4. Anna draws a card from Josh, a 7. The higher of the two attacking cards (9 and 4) is used, so it is a 9 vs. a 7. Anna and Alex win.
Anna declares attach on Josh, who at the same time declares an attack on Alex, who at the same time declares combat on Anna. In this case, everyone is both an attacker and a defender. All the combats are to be resolved one at a time, with all the results happening AFTER all the combats are resolved. So in this case, Anna’s attack 4 is defeated by Josh’s defense Queen, and Josh’s attack 10 is victorious over Alex’s defense 9, and Anna’s defense 2 is beaten by Alex’s attack 8. After all the combats happen, then, Anna and Alex are injured and Josh walks away.
- Attackers choose a fighting stance at the beginning of combat.
- If the attacker is attempting to grapple, the effects are that both attacker and defender may not move for 15 seconds. The defender is helpless and may be freely searched for items. Other players (not the attacker) may freely attack the victim using any means other than grapple.
- If the attacker is attempting to punch, the effects are a bloody nose, which is apparent to all players. Victim may not attack anyone for 5 minutes, at which point the nose heals.
- Attackers may choose to use a weapon at the beginning of combat.
- If the attacker is attempting to use a weapon, the effects are written on the weapon card.
(If you are using the rules for fighting stances as well, choosing a weapon is an alternative to choosing a fighting stance. In other words, attackers choose either a fighting stance or a weapon.)
Weapons do damage as stated on the weapon card. Refer to the following table for damage types and their effects.
- Light - you are incapacitated for 5 minutes, and you are bruised
- Medium - you are incapacitated for 10 minutes, and you are heavily bruised .
- Heavy - you are incapacitated for 20 minutes. If you do not get serious medical attention, you will have internal bleeding and serious problems.
- Light - you are incapacitated for 5 minutes, and you have minor cuts. You should seek medical attention
- Medium - you are incapacitated for 10 minutes, and you are bleeding. If you do not get bandaged in these 10 minutes your would will go to Heavy.
- Heavy - you are incapacitated for 20 minutes. If you do not get serious medical attention, you will bleed out and die.
Fists do light blunt damage
Players may be given special ability cards that, at their option, modify their scores in combat.
- Modifiers do not stack, but you can use both an attack and a defense modifier at once.
Players may be given jokers as one or more of their three cards. Jokers correspond to special combat moves for which they have ability cards. If the joker is drawn, the player uses this combat ability instead of doing combat normally this round.
Example: "But You See, I Am Not Left Handed" - If the joker is drawn, your combat value is 11 this round. This is usable only once per opponent during the game - if the same opponent draws your joker card twice, they draw again from your hand.