In the past we featured the Janken Deck & King’s Keys by Jeff Daymont. Timing means we can’t do a full CrowdFUNding PREVIEW on his new Dark Hand cards, but we were able to play around a little.
The Kickstarter video (above) has a fun little sci-fi “origin story” of the deck, but it’s just for fun. The appeal here is not that The Dark Hand is a new standalone game, but rather it gives a bunch of brand new ways to play all your “standard” card games.
This is basically two standard 52 card decks –so 104 cards– but with only 52 cards. Each card has a “light side” and a “dark side” with a different value and suit depending on which way you orient the card. The exceptions are the Aces, which are always an Ace (just of a different suit) and the single theme Jokers (one all-light and one all-dark).
You can make up your own rules on how to play any game you like, and are encouraged to do so, but there are a few recommendations.
“I play Light, you play Dark” and “We all play Light, then we all play Dark” are pretty obvious mechanics. “I call Dark” lets a single player “call” Dark and use that hand while everyone else uses Light (It stands to reason you could expand this to calling Light OR Dark and everyone else would play the opposite. “We all play Light AND Dark” is great for games like Cribbage, where you would score for both Light and Dark hands at the end of each hand.
Pledge levels are fairly straight forward. $16 (USD) gets you one deck, $30 for two decks, $45 gets you a Dark Hand deck, plus a Janken Deck and King’s Keys deck. $60 gets you 2 decks plus four 5″x7″ card-art prints and $100 includes 2 decks plus 4 11″x17″ card-art prints. I have one of the 5×7 prints and they are very nice, the only disappointment is that only the Light Jokers are available, not the Dark ones.
This is an affordable campaign that has a ton of flexibility to mess with the games you already love. I almost want to custom paint a Cribbage board, specifically to match this game deck.
You can back The Dark Hand on Kickstarter until November 4, 2021.