# Game Design of Dragon & Warriors

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Game Design of Dragon & Warriors

Author: Li Wenbo
Email: li.wenbo@whu.edu.cn
Modification: 2014/3/20

1. Introduction
Dragon & Warriors is a poker card game ported from the popular Chinese poker game Dou Dizhu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dou_Dizhu). I made some minor modifications. The game is easy to learn but hard to master requiring mathematical and strategic thinking as well as intended execution.
Dragon & Warriors is played among three people with one pack of cards, including the two jokers (54 cards total). The game starts with players bidding for the Dragon position. Those who lose the bid enter the game as the Warrior team competing against the Dragon. The objective of the game is to be the first player to have no cards left.

2.  How to play

2.1.    Deal the Card
A shuffled pack of 54 cards is dealt to three players. Each player is dealt 17 cards each, with the last three leftover "magic" cards detained on the playing desk, face down. The player who gets these three “magic” cards will become the Dragon!

Figure 1: deal the cards

2.2.  Decide the Dragon position
After the cards have been dealt, the next step is to decide who will get the three leftover "magic" cards and become the "Dragon".
All players first review and appraise their own cards without showing their cards to the other players. Then, players take turns to bid for the Dragon position.
The first player to bid is decided randomly. If there is no player bids for the Dragon position, the game will be restarted;

Figure 2: no player bids, the game will be restarted.

Otherwise, the first player bid will become the candidate of Dragon position.

Figure 3: player 1 now is the candidate of dragon

After a player bid, there is one chance for each player to grab the dragon position (excluding player who has decided not to bid. For example, player 2 don't have chance to grab in Figure 3 because he decide not to bid at first).
From the player next to the candidate of dragon position, players take turn to grab the dragon position if he can and he wants.
We continue with the scene in Figure 3 in the following figure, it’s turn for player 3 to make his decision, he decided to grab; player 2 has no chance because he gave up to bid at first; Player 1 decided not to grab. In that case, player 3 succeed in grabbing the dragon position.

Figure 4: player 3 grabs, player 2 don't have chance, player 1 gives up.

The player who finally succeeded in grabbing the Dragon position becomes the Dragon and the remaining players enter the Warrior team competing against the Dragon. The three leftover “magic” cards are then revealed to all players before dealt to the Dragon.

Figure 5: player 3 succeed, he get the three "magic" cards and become the dragon

FAQ:  Who should bid and grab for the dragon position and why?
The dragon will get three extra cards which means he may make better hands using these cards, but he has to compete against two warriors on his own. Moreover, the dragon shoulders the risk of loss while the 2 warriors share it. The dragon wins double score while 2 warriors share the same number of points.
As we can see from above, a player who holds a hand of good cards and has confidence to win should bid and grab for the dragon position.

2.3.  Game Play
The Dragon plays first following the rules in next section. The Dragon wins if he or she has no cards left. The Warrior team wins if either of the Warriors has no cards left.

3.  Game Rules
The game uses the concept of hands, similar to the hands in card game Poker, except there are more variations and not necessarily consisted of only five cards.
There are mainly 9 hand patterns:

NOTES:
[1] Suits have no effect to the game. Individual cards are ranked:
Colored Joker > Black & White Joker > 2 > Ace (A) > King (K) > Queen (Q) > Jack (J) > 10 > 9 > 8 > 7 > 6 > 5 > 4 > 3
[2] Jokers and 2 are in-consecutive cards. Colored Joker, black-and-white Joker, and 2 cannot be used in any of the Primal cards of the Chains since they are not traditionally considered as the consecutive cards sequentially next to the Ace. Examples of illegal Chain: 2-3-4-5-6, 2-2-2-3-3-3+A-A-7-7
[3] Compare only the Chains with the same length. Beat the prior hand using the same number of cards is a basic doctrine which only the Nuke and the Bomb may violate. For example, although both 9-10-J-Q-K and 3-4-5-6-7-8-9 are solo Chains, 9-10-J-Q-K cannot beat 3-4-5-6-7-8-9, nor vice versa.
[4] The bomb and super bomb are the only hands which can break rule 3. The bomb can beat any other category and individual card except super bomb or another Bomb with a higher or equal rank. The super bomb can beat everything in the game.

4.  Scoring
At the beginning of the game, we can set a base score (100 e.g.). The following 4 elements will affect the score in a round:
Grab:  Every time a player grab the dragon position doubles the score in a round.
Bomb:  Each Bomb and Super Bomb dealt by each player doubles the score in a round.
Role (Dragon or Warrior):  The Dragon shoulders the risk of loss while the 2 Farmers share it. The Dragon wins double score while 2 Warriors share the same number of points.
No deals played: If the player doesn’t deal any card in a round, the final score will be double.
Since there are so many elements affecting score of the game in a round, it is hard to predict how big one will win or lose.

5.  Prototype
Here is a prototype I designed for the game playing:

Figure 6: A prototype of the game

http://www.mediafire.com/view/zjf3rsrnrrksraa/Game_Design_of_Dragon.docx

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Sounds interesting - I never heard of this card game before, but it seems like one I'd enjoy.

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I'm a bit confused as to how play progresses. The dragon goes first and presumably just lays down any hand that he can? And then the warriors go, I presume individually. and do they have to lay down something that beats what the dragon laid down? Or can they just lay down anything? If there are rules as to what they can lay down, what if they can't meet them? What if no one can meet the requirements. Maybe I'm missing something, but I cannot figure out how to play this game from this description.

Also, this is definitely not a "poker card game" as you state in the beginning. It has no relation to poker at all.

Edited by HighTreason

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He linked to the Wikipedia article, which describes the game in a little more detail.

The game involves some betting, and you use poker hands, but isn't poker. Maybe it descended-from/was-influenced-by poker?

@winbomb: What changes have you made to game, that don't already exist in 'Dou Dizhu'?

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He linked to the Wikipedia article, which describes the game in a little more detail.

The game involves some betting, and you use poker hands, but isn't poker. Maybe it descended-from/was-influenced-by poker?

Yes, I read that article, but still can't seem to figure out how to play the game. I guess I'm a little dense. :-)

Yes, it involves betting. Lots of games involve betting that have nothing to do with poker. No, it does not use poker hands. The hands it uses are not anything like poker hands*. There is absolutely no way this game was descended from or was in any way influenced by poker. If you were going to call this game a poker game, you'd might as well call any game played with cards a poker game for all the similarity this game has to poker. Yes, I realize nobody probably cares, but as an avid poker player, I just feel the need to correct this error. :-) Plus, it can be confusing if you call this a poker game. I know when I started reading it, I was expecting a poker game, and was then very confused initially because I was trying to interpret it as a game of poker which made no sense.

*And yes, I realize there are some poker games like Razz and Badugi that do not use poker hands, but, unlike this game, the rest of the way those games are played clearly identify them as poker games despite not using poker hands.

Edited by HighTreason

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I'm a bit confused as to how play progresses. The dragon goes first and presumably just lays down any hand that he can? And then the warriors go, I presume individually. and do they have to lay down something that beats what the dragon laid down? Or can they just lay down anything? If there are rules as to what they can lay down, what if they can't meet them? What if no one can meet the requirements. Maybe I'm missing something, but I cannot figure out how to play this game from this description.

Also, this is definitely not a "poker card game" as you state in the beginning. It has no relation to poker at all.

I added some content to describe the game process more detail:

After the cards are dealt and the dragon position is determined, the dragon has 20 cards in hand, and each warrior has 17 cards. The dragon plays first.

Suppose the cards dealt to players are shown as above (Player can't show his cards to other player, I show the card above for demonstration. I do not draw the suit of the card because suits have not effect to the game. And: R - Red Joker, B - Black Joker).

Let's see the cards in dragon's (player 3) hands, he can play any cards he want according to game rules in section 3:

solo: any single card

pair: 3-3 or 4-4 or 7-7 or 8-8 or k-k or A-A or 2-2

solo chain: 7-8-9-10-J

Trio + x: 3-3-3 + (single or pair), for example: 3-3-3 + 4-4

The dragon should decide what to play from so many choices above. Suppose the dragon decided to play a solo chain (7-8-9-10-J). After he played, it's then player 2's turn to play, he can choose to pass or play a bigger hand.

Suppose player 2 played a bigger solo chain (9-10-J-Q-K). Then, it's turn for player 1 to play, player 1 can choose to pass or play a bigger hand. In this case, player 1 will tend to pass, because he and player 2 are in the same team. If player 1 passed, it's player 3's turn again. But he has no cards that can beat player 2's solo chain (9-10-J-Q-K), so he has to pass.

Player 2 just played a hand that no one can beat, so when it's turn for him to play, he can play any card he want according to the game rule.

The Dragon wins if he has no cards left. The Warrior team wins if either of the Warriors has no cards left.

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He linked to the Wikipedia article, which describes the game in a little more detail.

The game involves some betting, and you use poker hands, but isn't poker. Maybe it descended-from/was-influenced-by poker?

@winbomb: What changes have you made to game, that don't already exist in 'Dou Dizhu'?

The game rule is almost the same, the main change I made is game character.

The original game characters are Landlord (DiZhu in Chinese) and Farmer, I change them to Dragon and Warrior because I don't know if people outside china knows what a DiZhu is.

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Thanks for the clarification. I understand how to play now.

but... this is just exactly the same game as DiZhu with just what the sides are called changed which doesn't matter one bit to game play? I mean we can call one side Floozle and the other Dweebop, and it's still the same game. I guess I don't understand the point.

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Thanks for the clarification. I understand how to play now.

but... this is just exactly the same game as DiZhu with just what the sides are called changed which doesn't matter one bit to game play? I mean we can call one side Floozle and the other Dweebop, and it's still the same game. I guess I don't understand the point.

Yes, the game rule is almost the same.

What I meant to do is to introduce this fantastic Chinese game to people outside China. I don't know whether westerners know about DiZhu or not. So I change the sides to Dragon and Warrior to make it clear to understand.

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... Umm so your contribution to the "game design" is you changed the name? That's not designing a game. That's marketing.

I don't see the point in changing the name as people are familiar with the idea of landlords and farmers. They just simply haven't heard of it.

As far as the game design, I would guess that this game isn't balanced well as it's a game played in rounds and it seems to me on the surface that the odds are on the side of the pair, rather than the solo player.... the 3 extra cards seems like it was just put there a an excuse for what to do with the 3 extra cards.

Why not try to modify it? Like for example what would happen if instead of just trying to go out you made it so all 3 sides have an equal number of cards and the objective is to try to acquire as many cards as possible. The 3 cards representing the original "resources" of the land that has to be obtained to upset balance...

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