There is a cunning breed of card game that services the needs of the soloist with…get this, it does it with just 9 cards. 9 cards I heare you ask. How the Charles Dickens do they do that?…

I recently stumbled across an annual game design contests purely by accident whilst wandering aimlesly around the vast behemoth that is Board Game Geek where apparently, amongst other things they run an annual 9 card nano print and play competition, so I thought I’d give it the once over.

These games range greatly in genre/design but all have a common theme…a game with only 9 cards (and a few components). It is well worth checking out the games, maybe even do as I have and print out one or two of them, and get involved in providing feedback to the designers.

…the following selection are entrants to the BGG 2018 nano card game competition.

A number of these snappy little titles have already found their way on to BSoMT 


300 Spartans: The 9 Card Thermopylae Game by Chris Hansen

Game Background (from BGG nano comp entry)
In August or September of 480 BC, King Xerxes of the Persian Empire began an invasion of Greece. This was the second attempt at such an invasion after Xerxes predecessor, King Darius, had failed 10 years earlier. The Persian land forces landed at Thermopylae where they were met by a small allied force led by King Leonidas of Sparta. This force blocked the only path leading inland, which was bordered on one side by the Malian Gulf and rough hilly terrain on the other. The path was said to be so narrow that only one chariot could go through at a time.

Xerxes initially thought the Greeks would disperse on their own after seeing the size of his army and held off beginning the attack for four days. Eventually, he grew tired of waiting and sent his troops to eliminate the few soldiers blocking his path. Thus began one of the most famous last stands in history.

Game Summary
300 Spartans: The 9 Card Thermopylae Game is a solitaire war-game. You will control the Persian army at the famous battle. At your disposal are regular infantry men, your elite infantry (the Immortals), and archers. The game uses a Command and Colors style mechanic to activate units and make your assault. Each turn you will have two cards and must decide which to use for activation and which to use for tactics. You have a limited amount of Tactics Points to use so you must carefully choose how to spend them. The Greeks will be controlled by special events – none of which are good for you. Will your troops survive against the vastly superior Spartans long enough for Ephialtes to betray the secret path that will allow you to outflank them? You win the game by meeting or exceeding the historic result.

BSoMT link…(coming soon) this is high on the list to hit the table and a review will be soon in the offing.


Carnival Games by Rachel Bruner

You and your companion (child, grandchild, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, younger sibling, significant other, etc) are going to the carnival and you have promised to win for them a JUMBO prize! To accomplish this lofty goal you will go on a few rides, eat yummy food, and play the carnival’s 12 mini-games. Overall, have fun!

1-3 Players Cooperative
Ages 10+
20-30 minutes


Count of Nine by Scott Allen

Count of Nine is a solo, 9 card, economic, city building Euro-style game.

You are the Count of the small territory of Nine. Search your land for resources to build basic structures that will provide more resources. Use these structures and resources to build up your small village into a powerful economic force.

BSoMT (link) …already printed and awaiting table time. A review is imminent.


Danger Dungeon by Jason Carter

Danger Dungeon! is a 1-3 player infinite (or nearly anyway) dungeon crawler. It’s meant to be reminiscent of the early grid-based PC games but with arena style PVP and a push your luck mechanic to make every card flip a challenge. Do you stay in the dungeon and hunt for more loot or make your escape to the pub? The choice is yours…
Exit the dungeon with as much loot as you can carry, but remember… it only counts if you make it out alive!
Number of players: 1-3
Time: 15-30 minutes

Doctor Smuglfreud’s Marvelous Machine by Onthewayover Anonymous

In this set collection programming card game, you and up to one other player act as the former apprentices of Doctor Fritz Smuglfreud, attempting to run your mentor’s demo booth for a modular perpetual motion machine after his unexpected disappearance. To prove the validity of his invention (and show up your old rival while you’re at it), create different arrangements of the machine’s parts that interact in as close to a perpetual cycle as you can manage. Wow the audience, earn Prestige, and discover the bizarre secrets of Doctor Smuglfreud’s Marvelous Machine!

Number of players: 1-2
Recommended age: 10+
Approximate play time: 15-20 mins


Epidemic by Marek Kolcun

A vicious disease started to spread across the world. For now, nobody knows its origin, not even if it’s bacteria or virus. Nothing helps. Mortality is 100 %. That’s why team of specialists – you – was formed. Your goal is to find the cure before it’s too late and disease mutates to its final form. Save the humankind!

This game is simple action-selection logic puzzle where players cooperatively choose and perform available actions in best order to find the cure. They’ll have to choose between good and bad actions and think ahead a bit.

Number of players: 1-5
playtime: 10-20 min.
min. age: 8+


Escape the Alps! by Joseph Propati

You are a WWII Airborne Ranger whose been captured by the German SS and held prisoner in a castle near the alps. You’ve escaped and your only shot at rescue is to climb up the mountain and head back over the front lines. If you can make it to the top of the mountain you are home free. The only problem is you don’t have any equipment and you must free climb with out a rope but its certain death anyways in the hands of the Germans so its your only way home.

“Escape the Alps” is a 1 player turn based card game using grid movement, cube placement and dice rolls/management. The game is made up of only 9 cards and 8d6, 10 wooden cubes and has a game time of 20 to 30 minutes.

The games starts at the bottom of the rock face and you must create a route up the rock face, through day and night conditions, along with rock and snow conditions, trying to avoid fatigue and falling.

BSoMT (link) …ooh this could be my chance to re-enact Where Eagles Dare…as I don my bestest Clint Eastwood army uniform?…whe shall see.


Folly by Preston Meyer

You are a jester troupe in the royal court, that means it’s your duty to entertain. As amateur acrobats in a poorly suited chamber, you ply your trade: tumbles. Can you please the court?

Folly is a meeple-rolling game, whereby you accumulate “interest” points, and press your luck. Points are accumulated for rolling your jester-meeples, and appealing to various members of the royal court; when the show is over, collect points from only one member of the court.

There are 2 modes of play: solo, and multi-player.


Franky’s 1st Christmas by Chris Hansen

Game Background
After years of labor, Dr. Frankenstein has successfully discovered how to reanimate the dead and has finally created life! All of the monsters in New Monsterton are very excited about their new friend, whom they have affectionately named Franky. But most of all, everyone is excited because Christmas is only a few weeks away and they’re very excited to celebrate with Franky! All of the monsters have decided to teach him their favorite thing about Christmas so that his first Christmas (as a reanimated corpse at least) can be extra special.

Unfortunately for them, famed monster-hunter Abraham Van Helsing has arrived and there’s nothing he wants more under his Christmas tree than the monsters’ mounted heads – especially of the new creature he’s heard rumors about! He’s following the clues to the monsters’ lairs and ultimately to Franky himself! The monsters have to hurry teach Franky about Christmas before Van Helsing can track them down! Some of the monsters may need more convincing than others (especially as Van Helsing draws near) but with the right amount of persuasion, misdirection, and attacking the mortal humans, all of the monsters can safely evade Van Helsing and teach young Franky all the joys of Christmas.

Game Summary
In Franky’s 1st Christmas, you will play the role of Victor Frankenstein. Your goal is to take Franky to the lairs of the six other monsters so they can each teach him their favorite thing about Christmas before fleeing Van Helsing. They are all eager to help, but when it comes time for their turn to meet with Franky, they will feel a bit nervous because Van Helsing will be hot on their trail. The other monsters will help you convince them to take the time with Franky (after all, it keeps the heat off of them for a while) and you’ll have family friend, Dr. Jekyll, with you to help convince everyone. However, be careful with him because if you use him to much, he’ll transform into Mr. Hyde and draw Van Helsing to you. You must balance teaching Franky his Christmas lessons, leaving false clues to throw Van Helsing off the trail, and attacking the irritating humans who live in your city to ensure that this is the best Christmas ever! You will choose which action each monster performs before fleeing the city. You win the game by teaching Frankie all six lessons of Christmas and ensuring that each monster can evacuate safely.


Hyperdrive Odyssey by Alex Cannon

You’re a freelancer in a wild quarter of the galaxy. There is a lot of opportunity out there for young pilots willing to haul freight or collect bounties in the far reaches of space. Fire up the Hyperdrive: adventure awaits!

You will complete a series of 7 missions, exploring new systems, trading, upgrading your ship and fighting pirates.

BSoMT (link)…this really looks intriguing and when time permits, it will definitely be seeing some table time.


LAUNCH THE DRAGONSLAYER! by Onthewayover Anonymous

A medium-weight dexterity RPG based on the mechanism of launching a paperclip from a stack of dice to hit one or more targets. It features character customization and growth, tactical resource management, a dynamic world with thematic challenges, the ability to save your progress between plays, and a number of variants to try. But in the end, your heroic success or tragic failure will depend on whether you can Launch the Dragonslayer!

Number of players: 1
Recommended age: 12+
Approximate play time: 30-90 mins


Micro SRPG by Stefano Molinari

You are an adventurer, a Hero, in the land of Mjhrghor wandering from the majestic Red Mountain toward the King`s castle . Scope of the game is to reach the Castle alive, bringing with yourself the highest amount of Victory Points (VPs). On the path you will explore caves, searching for Magic Items and VPs hopefully avoiding Orcs and Trolls which, if met, you will have to defeat in combat.

Playing Time: 30-40 Minutes
Number of Players:1


Nuclear Solitaire by Iffix Y Santaph

This game is called Nuclear Solitaire because The designer wanted to create his own fusion power plant. And since it’s a tiny game, the whole objective is to light a lightbulb. (And if using a whole fusion power plant to light a single lightbulb sounds crazy to you, welcome to the designers world.)


Orchard by Mark Tuck

A quick solitaire tile laying game. Try to collect as much fruit as you can from the three types of tree in your growing orchard.


Age: 8+
No. of Players: Solitaire
Game Time: 5 to 10 min


Race for the Solar System by Christopher Melenberg

Race for the Solar System is inspired by a long time favorite of mine: Race for the Galaxy. My wife and I played hundreds of games, while dating and in the first year of our marriage. We still come back to it occasionally. This is quasi-express version (smaller, but not necessarily quicker). It is a no luck euro that encourages optimization of actions using a cube management system. Players are racing to colonize planets, develop them, and expand their resources and abilities. Whomever manages their actions and resources the best, while taking advantage of the actions their opponents take will claim victory by having the most points at the end of the game.

Race for the Solar System
Age: 10+
# of Players: 1-3
Game Time: 20 min


Sunstarter by Caroline Berg

You are a member of an eldritch race of starfarers whose task is to give proto-stars infusions of hydrogen to spark their internal fusion, turning them into stars. You have been given a section of the galaxy to tend with a selection of proto-stars to cultivate. Can you make it to all the proto-stars before your power runs out?

• Number of Players: 1
• Playtime: less than 15 minutes.


The Braves by Thor Jw

The appearance of a Giant Monster up north have made the usually peaceful smaller Monsters in the forest aggressive. Some of these Monsters have started appearing dangerously close to the small populated towns situated at the edge of the Monsteria Forest. The Braves are a group of adventurers tasked with defending these towns against this looming Monster threat. You and your teammates are part of that group. Work together to defend the towns and defeat the giant monster responsible for the aggressive behaviours of the smaller monsters.

The Braves
Age: 10+
Number of Players: 1 to 3 (Cooperative)
Play Time: 30mins


The Coin Tribes’ Revolt: Boudica’s Rebellion against Rome by Iyidin Kyeimo

It is 60 AD. Romans have occupied the wild lands of Britannia, and exist in an uneasy peace with the tribes of the land… When the Iceni king dies, Roman greed triggers a rebellion led by the Iceni queen Boudica that tears across the south-west of Britain. With the Romans weakened due to being engaged elsewhere in Britain, the revolt could change the course of history.

Link to BSoMT review (SPOILER ALERT…this is a seriously good game)

…of Boudica’s Tribal Rebellions and Counter Insurgent Romans (COIN Tribes’ Revolt)


Tricolor flags by Gregg Jewell

Game Summary:
A solitaire game about matching cards to tricolor country flags. Randomly flip and shuffle the cards. Place the cards horizontally on the table in a 3×3 grid layout. On each turn, flip over one card and then swap it with another card. The game ends once you’ve matched the cards to every flag on the list. Track your turns and try to beat your fastest score!

Players: 1
Playing Time: ~10 Minutes
Ages: 7+


UP by Christopher Melenberg

“UP” is a puzzly solitaire card game that uses a simple action system that uses cubes to represent a climber’s strength’s and abilities to overcome aspects of the rock climb. The cubes are continually recycled, but slowly deplete making the choice of when to chalk-up or make a desperate move important if they are going to make it to the top! There are 2 main game modes right now: Multipitch and A Day At The Crag, both of which will challenge players to climb to the best of their ability.

Age: 8+
Number of Players: Solitaire OR 2-4 Players, depending on Game Mode
Game Time: 5 to 30 min


Wokou by Joe Schmidt

Wokou is a Solitaire Game of Revenge. You must sneak into the Wokou camp, take back your Father’s stolen sword, and avenge the deaths of your fellow soldiers. Variable setups and a tense sense of action management make for a fun, light take on the classic story of revenge.


Zombies all around us!! by Joseph Propati

Synopsis: You’ve found yourself and your partner stuck in the middle of the apocalypse and all hell has broken out around you. After getting stuck in a massive traffic jam trying to get out of town, you realize your car will become a death trap since off in the distance you can see the dead walking towards you. You decide to make a break for the closest house to find safety and shelter for the night. The first house you find looks as if the occupants left in a big hurry and didn’t clean the house out. Your goal is to secure all the entrances and survive the night

Zombies all around us!!
Age: 12+
Number of Players: 1 or 2 players
Game Time: 20 to 30 min


More offerings in that microscopic game genre of Nanocardgames

Pocket Landships by Scott A


Pocket Landship is a solo 9 card wargame set in a World War I-ish world. Command a landship (the original British term for tanks) to clear a sector of enemy infantry, artillery, and landships. (Entrant into the 2017 Nanocardgame comp)

BSoMT (link)…this little number will shortly be reviewed in the War For One And One For War section


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