How to play Nockwood - yes, it's also a game.
We've been playing a card game with the Nockwood Deck. It's really fun and similar to other card games, so relatively easy for anyone to learn.
For 2 or 4 players.
(I haven't tried it with more than four players, either you will have to use two decks or deal 4 cards and the first to get all 4 cards of the same suit....I haven't tested these options fully so it may not work as well).
This game is similar to Gin Rummy in that each player takes a turn putting down one card from their hand and picking up a new card from a 'face-down' stack.
The winner is the first person to collect a complete set of all 6 Nockwood cards of the same primary suit (Heart, Coins, Diamonds, Shields, Spades or Flags).
1. The Nockwood deck is shuffled
2. Each player is dealt 6 cards
3. The remainder of the deck is placed 'face-down'
4. The top card of the 'face-down' stack is turned 'face-up' and placed next to to the 'face-down' stack.
5. Each player takes a turn placing down one card on the 'face-up' stack and taking the top card from the 'face-down' deck.
Unlike traditional playing cards, there are no numbers. Each Nockwood Card has a big 'primary' suit symbol and a smaller, 'secondary' symbol. The card a player puts down, before picking up a new card, must 'connect' symbolically with the previous 'face-up' card, either in the 'primary' suit or the 'secondary' symbol. It does not matter which - there just has to be a symbolic connection. (In the example here, the next player can put down any card with a Diamond symbol (big or small upward facing triangle) or a coin symbol (big or small circle).
6. If the player wants to pick up the card that has been placed 'face-up' by the player before them (i.e. is at the top of the 'face up' stack), they may make this play only if they are able to place another card down that maintains the 'connection' with the card below it. If they can, this is their play, taking the 'face-up' card and replacing it with another card that 'connects' with the card below it. If they cannot make that 'connection' they must make the play as normal, connecting with the card that is face-up (the one they wanted to pick up) and taking a new card from the 'face-down' stack.
(If the first player wants the first card played and there is nothing to connect to below it, then they can put down any card).
7. If a player has a card in their hand that they can play (i.e. that has a connection to the 'face-up' card) they must play that card. If they do not have a card that has a 'connection', they are OUT and the game continues without them.
8. When a player is out, their hand is added to the bottom of the 'face-down' stack. (Still trying to decide if it's necessary to shuffle if this happens...So far it hasn't been necessary, but please do if you feel it will help the game.
9. When the 'face-down' stack runs out of cards, the top card of the 'face-up' stack is maintained in play and the remaining cards are turned over to be the new 'face-down' stack. (If the next player wishes to pick up that card they may do so and replace it with any card of their choice - no connection necessary).
10. A few of the limited edition decks come with a "Sigil' card. This card can either be removed from the deck before play, or be left in and used as a 'wild' card which can be played at any time. If you want a faster game you can also allow this card to be part of a winning hand (i.e any 5 cards of the same suit and the 'sigil' is a winning hand).
What I've learned about this game so far is that you can't predict where it's going to go. Suits you think you are collecting have to be given up because they are the only cards you have with connecting symbols. Every time you thing you are collecting one thing, something comes along that makes you rethink your whole hand. The skill of the game is being open-minded to where the cards will take you and even if you think you are doing one thing, then stay open to other options if the cards fall in your favor. Don't get too hung up or emotionally vested in what you think the plan is. Re-evaluate your whole hand at every opportunity.