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The PC's need to get some information from an information broker in a Horror game. (Think of it as an information demon.) The stakes are dire but not deadly. I want some way for them to compete/wager/gamble to get what they want, but asking the player to "roll versus your poker skill" seems vapid.

I need a mechanic with a clear winner and loser, that allows for a build-up of tension without being silly, and would fit a dark horror setting. It doesn't have to be a game, or cards.

Bonus points if there is a way for the demon or player to cheat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What are the consequences—if any—for losing the card game? Can the PCs beat the adventure without winning the card game? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 3 '18 at 20:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I want to suggest Uno, but that only really works when its multiplayer and everyone else just played those pickup cards on you \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jun 3 '18 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ The edit made it better, but it still seems more appropriate to a discussion forum than RPG.se. Though there are enough restrictions to make me wrong, possibly. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 6 '18 at 1:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m afraid this is a (off topic) game recommendation question. I’m not sure if board and card game SE takes shopping questions but if they do you might ask there. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Jun 6 '18 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ B&CG doesn't take questions about having a game recommended, alas. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 6 '18 at 16:22
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Well, if they don't have time for poker, how about Indian poker? The general structure is a little goofy what with the putting a card on your head, but the idea - bidding based only on what you know about your opponent's card - puts a lot of suspense on the line.

Maybe the card goes into your soul, and you can't look at your own soul. If you play with the Tarot deck (minus the Major Arcana) you can flavor the NPC's cards appropriately.

Not sure how you want to structure it. Gambling with chips and whoever goes bust or concedes first owes a big favor? Gambling with chips that themselves represent favors and you're trying to get them to bet the big important one?

There's an interesting twist to it you might want to borrow from the Korean reality TV bluffing/deduction game, The Genius. All Minor Arcana (kings, queens, knights, pages) have equal values and beat any number card, but if you ever fold when you have a Minor Arcana you've betrayed yourself and your opponent can demand an appropriate favor from you.

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