OBJECTIVE OF ELEUSIS: The objective of Eleusis is to legally discard all your hand onto a discard pile by determining the rules of play.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4-8 players
MATERIALS: Two packs of standard 52- card decks, paper, pencil, a flat surface, 5 god markers, 5 prophet markers, and a prophet token.
TYPE OF GAME: Abstract Induction Card Game
OVERVIEW OF ELEUSIS
Eleusis is a game of induction. This means you will hypothesis, test and observe the outcomes of your plays and other players’ plays to determine the correct rule of play.
In each game, there will be a “god” AKA the dealer who will secretly come up with a rule for playing your cards. This rule can be anything they want as long as all cards are legal to play at some point.
The remaining players will then try to play cards from their hands to determine the legal rule of play through experimentation and observation. A player who believes they know the rule may declare themselves a prophet and take over the duties of god but if they answer incorrectly, they are outcasted and become a normal player again.
The dealer will first determine the rule(s) for the round. They can be almost anything some easy examples are: Cards must alternate between red and black or cards must alternate between even and odd, but face values switch the order. The dealer wants to find a rule that’s the right balance between challenging without being impossible to figure out. The rules will then be written down on the paper and hidden from other players.
The dealer will then shuffle the cards and deal each player 14 cards. The remaining cards are for the dealer to use, though it is not counted as their hand. The dealer will pull from the top of the remaining deck till they find a card(s) that are legal to play and will start the game with those. Any illegal cards drawn this way will be placed at the bottom of the deck.
The first player should be chosen randomly.
The game is complex in concept but simple in play. On each player’s turn, they will attempt to discard a card(s) to play it. They will play this card to the side of the last legal card played. God will then say if it is a legal play or not. If it is it will remain in the legal main sequence of play and the next player may go, but if it is incorrect then the card is moved to a sideline of incorrect cards it should be played under the last legal card played and all cards must be kept in order of play. A god token will be placed on every tenth card that has been played regardless if it’s correct or not.
Strings and Penalties
Players may play strings of cards they believe to be correct. If you do this your cards will all be played slightly overlapping to indicate a string. If God determines if any of your cards are illegal the whole string is invalidated and removed to the sidelines. God will not tell you which card you got incorrect only that something is wrong. You will be able to tell how many incorrect cards you played though.
Each incorrectly played card results in a player getting two additional cards to their hand.
No Cards to Play
A player may also declare that they have no legal cards to play. If they do this their hand will be revealed to the table and god may determine if the declaration is true. If it is and the have 4 or fewer cards their cards are returned to the deck and the game has come to an end. If they are correct but have 5 or more cards in hand their cards are placed in the deck and they are given a replacement hand with 4 fewer cards in it.
If they were incorrect god will pick out a correct card to play and place it in the main sequence. The player then receives an additional 5 cards as a penalty.
After 30 Plays
If 30 cards have been played and there has been no prophet, players who play an incorrect card will be eliminated after receiving their two cards. The game will then end once all players have been eliminated or a player has reached zero cards in hand. Prophets may still be declared in these circumstances.
Prophets are players who believe that they have determined the rule of the game. To become a prophet, you must declare after you have played a card (whether legal or not) but before the next player plays their card. There cannot be a prophet already and there must be at least 2 other players beside you and god. You cannot be a prophet if you have already been prophet this round.
When you successfully become the prophet, you will set your hand down beside you and place a prophet token on the last played card. You will also place a token at every tenth card played after that. You will take over god’s duties of saying whether a play is legal or not. If the expulsion of player has begun it will be delayed for 20 more plays, but all previously expelled players stay expelled.
The game continues until either all players are expelled, one has emptied their hand, or the prophet calls a card incorrectly.
If a card is called incorrectly, the prophet is outcasted, all prophet markers are removed, and god places their markers accordingly from their last one. The prophet gets a plentily of 5 cards added to their hand and continues playing as a regular player.
If a player would be penalized because of a prophet’s incorrect call whether the player was correct or incorrect they are not penalized. If a prophet incorrectly calls a card in a “no legal play” situation, they receive no penalty but still are outcasted.
END OF GAME
The round can end in two ways. Either all players become eliminated or a player empties their hand and has no cards remaining. Players are then given a score and the next round will start the dealer becoming the player to the last dealer’s left.
The game ends whenever everyone agrees, or all players have been god at least once. The winner is the player with the highest score.
Once a game is over players will count the number of cards remaining in their hand. The highest number of cards in a hand is called the high count and will help determine other players’ scores. A player’s score is their hand subtracted from the high count. A player who has no cards in hand has a score of the high count plus 4 additional points.
If a prophet was successful until the end of the game, they also score one point for every correct card played after they took over and 2 points for every incorrect card played.
God’s score is equal to the highest score of all players unless there is a prophet. If there is a prophet god will count the cards up until and including the card with the first prophet marker. This number is doubled. If this score is lower than the highest score including the prophets, then this is god’s score.
If the game ends before a player gets to be god then they score an additional 10 points at the end of the game.