OBJECTIVE OF BYZANTIUM:  Be the player with the lowest score at the end of the game

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 4 players


RANK OF CARDS: Ace is low or high, (low) 2 – K (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Hand shedding 

AUDIENCE: Kids, Adults


Byzantium is a hand shedding card game created by Toby Ord.  Players are trying to play as many cards from their hand to the tableau as possible.  This game plays similarly to dominoesin that players must follow a strict set of rules which guide card placement.  


 Byzantium uses a 26 card deck.  Separate one red suit and one black suit from the deck.  The other two suits will not be used.  Place the red and black Ace in the center of the playing area in the form of a cross.  Do this by placing the first Ace vertically and the second Ace on top of it horizontally.  Deal the rest of the cards evenly to each player. A two player game requires a 4 card kitty to be placed aside each round.

In a two player game, each player will receive ten cards.  Players will receive an eight card hand in a three player game and a six card hand in a four player game.


The player left of the dealer goes first by attaching a card to one of the Aces.  The following rules must be adhered to when playing a card to the tableau:

An added card cannot overlap any other card.  It cannot touch any other card except for the one it is being attached to.  The short side of the new card must be connected to the branch card.  Connected cards must be the same color.  A card may never be more than three cards away from the center.  A branch must be built in ascending or descending order.  It cannot do both.

On a player’s turn, they choose a card from their hand and play it to the tableau according to the above stated rules.  If a player is unable to add a card to the tableau, they pass their turn.

Play continues until every player passes consecutively.  Once this occurs, the round ends.  After tallying up the score, continue by passing the deal to the left.  Play one round for each player in the game.


Players earn 1 point for each card left in their hand.


The player who has lowest score when the game ends is the winner.

Mark Ball
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