Generals and Majors

Created by C. Scott Davis


Generals and Majors is a combat card game for two players, using a five-suited deck. It was originally designed for Stardeck (which is now out-of-print), but can also be played with Wild Suit Playing Cards or any five-suited deck (jokers removed).

There is also an alternate version adapted for Kalosi cards.

The object of the game is to deploy at least 20 'armies' in excess of your opponent's.


NOTE: "Stars" always refers to the 5th suit. For example, if you're playing with Wild Suit Playing Cards, "Stars" refers to the Wild suit. For any other five-suited deck, Stars refers to that deck's 5th suit.

There are two types of cards in Generals and Majors. The numbered cards (2-10) of each colour are 'armies' and the court cards (J,Q,K,A) are 'commanders'. The commander cards provide 'command points' for armies of the same colour. Aces provide two command points, and the other commanders (J,Q,K) provide one point.

At the start of play, each player is dealt seven cards, and the remaining cards are placed to one side as a 'draw' stack. If either player receives no commanders (J,Q,K,A), they may discard their hand and draw seven new cards.

The player who didn't deal, plays first.

Each player's turn proceeds, as follows:

  1. Draw one card.
  2. Optionally deploy one commander.
  3. Optionally deploy any number of armies, up to the total number of command points available of the colour of the armies being deployed.
  4. If player has more than seven cards, discard down to exactly seven cards.

A player may only deploy one commander per turn, but they are not required to do so.

Players may play any number of armies, of either or both colours, so long as the total numeric value of the armies of each colour are no higher than the number of command points available in that colour.

Star commanders can provide command points of either colour and star armies can be deployed using command points of either colour.

The maximum possible command points in each colour is 10: two points for each Ace (total four), one point for each J,Q, and K (total six) plus 5 points that can be used for either colour (J,Q,K and Ace of Stars).

If an army is deployed so that values of one or more cards 'cancel out' (ie. have the same total value), those cards are turned face down. Thus, if a player deploys a 6, and the opponent has a 4 and a 2 deployed, all three cards are turned face down.

If at the end of their turn, one player's total deployed armies exceed their opponent's by 20 or more, the opponent has one turn to avoid defeat. If they are able to reduce the amount to under 20, play continues as normal. If not, the other player wins.

If the draw stack is depleted, the discard stack is shuffled and used as the draw stack, and play continues. If there are no more cards available, and no valid plays are possible, the player with the highest number of deployed armies wins. If both players have the same number of armies deployed, the game ends in a draw.

Optional Rules

Quicker/Easier Games

For potentially quicker/easier games, groups of commanders (ie. cards in sequence) should provide the following bonuses:

  1. Command 'groups' of 3 or more of the same colour provide one extra command point (+1).
  2. Command 'groups' of 3 or more of the same suit provide another extra command point (+2 total, including the above colour bonus).

More Difficult Games

For potentially more difficult games, the following changes should be applied to the rules:

  1. Star commanders may still be used as either colour, but the colour must be specified when the commanders are deployed, and can't be changed later.
  2. Star armies may still be deployed using command points of either colour, but all of the points must be of the same colour (for example, a 3 of Stars can be deployed with either 3 red command points or 3 black command points, but not with 2 red and 1 black).

Longer Games

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Copyright ©2023 C. Scott Davis.