Pepper. Corn!
Designed by Justus Pang
Players 2
Length 20 minutes
Extra Material None

A feeding frenzy for two bunnies.


This is a light fishing game of capturing cards off the tableau. After the tableau is cleared, the players add up the values of their captured cards to determine the winner.

The game was inspired by my pet rabbit who is by far the most enthusiastic and fastest eating bunny I've seen. She has no problems yanking food right out of her partner's mouth, but is readily aggrieved if she does not get her fair share of the produce.


Start with a standard deck and deal 24 cards face up to the table in 3 rows and 8 columns.

To ensure a fair start, the starting hands are determined using a “split the pie” mechanism. Each player is dealt 6 cards which they will divide into two piles to offer the the opponent. The division of cards does not need to be equal in either points or in the number of cards. After deciding the split, the players simultaneously reveal the cards face up to analyze. After the players have decided which pile they will take from their opponent's offerings, they simultaneously reveal their selection.

Each player then combines the pile they have taken from their opponent and with the pile that the opponent did not take from their own offering. They then add up the ranks of the cards in their starting hands (aces are worth 1, crowns worth 10). The player with the fewest points will be the start player. If they are tied for fewest points, the player with the fewest cards will start. If they are still tied, then determine the start player randomly (start position is really not that important).


Each turn a player will play one or more cards to capture a single card on the tableau. A capturing card must share a suit with the card being captured. If several cards are played to capture a card, the played cards do not need to share a suit with each other, but each capturing card must share a suit with the captured card. The rank of the card (or the sum of the ranks of multiple cards) being played must be equal or higher than the captured card. The captured card is then placed in the player’s hand and the capturing card(s) discarded into the player’s own discard piles for scoring at the end of the game.

Aces are worth 1 point but they are wild cards to be used in capturing cards of any suit. However, when they are on the tableau they are still of their own suit and may only be captured by cards showing the suit of the Ace (or by another Ace).

At the beginning of the game, each player will only have access to the cards on their side of the table – the eight closest cards of the eight columns of the tableau. As the players capture cards, they will be able to capture any cards they can access orthogonally starting from their side of the table. After enough cards have been captured, there will be an open path from one side of the table to the opponent’s side of the table. At that point the players will have the same access to the cards on the tableau.

Turns alternate between players. If a player is unwilling or unable to capture a card they may chose to pass, however the game will only end when both players are unable or unwilling to make any further captures The remaining cards on the tableau are removed from the game.


The players then add up the ranks of the cards in their discard piles and in their hands. The player with the most points is the victor.

If they are tied for points then the game is a draw. We’re looking for calories consumed, the number of bites it took is irrelevant.


There are different ways to arrange the tableau. I started with a 5x5 grid and also tried a 4x5 grid but I like getting to the point where each player has the same access to the tableau more quickly. A 2x grid was considered but it is too wide for most tales and it merged the playing field too quickly. And yes, the 3x grid was the most “corn looking” of the arrangements.

A variant rule of determining access to cards is to assume that players may not go through the opponent’s side to get to a card. Thus when the path is cut through the tableau, it is not immediately opened up for both players – a player must still be able to chart a path originating from their side through the grid to a card to be captured. However, this approach limits the interaction (limited as it is) and dampens the urgency of the game.

P.D. Magnus has proposed a variant which starts with the center row (of the 3X8 grid) face down. This would certainly help keep the game lighter and avoid analysis paralysis as the original rules are essentially a perfect information game!

The extended deck

Unplaytested. One could add cards in and play with a 7X5 grid (5 cards to each player for the initial split). Then the Pawns and Courts could be used either as initial gaps (taken away immediately after setup).

Unplaytested. Using a 8X4 grid (7 and 6 cards to the players for the initial split) you can keep them in the tableau but they are to be played as "converters" with other cards. They would have a value of 0 and would still need to be captured off the board. However, they convert all the cards of a given play into one of the suits on the pawn or court card. If you wanted it to be more complicated you could add the additional restriction that the cards being converted need to share a suit with the pawn or court card.


A very serious thanks to my girlfriend who helped me in working out this game. From the beginning I wanted to design a game that included the “split the pie” mechanism (ala San Marcos and Biblios) and I wanted to simulate my rabbit’s frantic eating frenzy. However it took several very different iterations to the two to work together and I certainly would have never gotten there without her critique and pointed questions.

And thanks to P.D. Magnus cause I think that makes him the first to try out one of my decktet games apart from my involvement!


BGG database entry
Initial announcement of Pepper. Corn! on BGG


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