Tadmur is a card game for two players. Its creator describes it as “about 40% chance and 60% bluffing”. In Tadmur, players try to create a chain of cards leading between two other cards, while keeping their eventual target a secret.

Tadmur was submitted to Reddit by user BarryAndAGrande in September 2016. The user described the game of having been devised during an evening in Tadmur (Palmyra), Syria. Due to a lack of TV or any other entertainment other than a deck of cards, they devised the game of Tadmur to pass the time.

Object of Tadmur

The object of Tadmur is to either be the first player to complete a chain of consecutive cards, or to guess the ending card of your opponent’s chain before they complete their chain or guess your ending card.


Tadmur uses one standard 52-card deck of playing cards. If you’ve got a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards handy, go ahead and use those. (If you don’t, why not?)

Shuffle and deal two cards face up in a vertical column to one end of the table. These two cards are the starters (one for each player). Deal two cards, face down, to another vertical column, approximately seven card widths from the starters. (It may be helpful to use face-down cards from another deck to delineate these empty columns.) These two cards are the players’ target cards. Each player may look at their target card, but must keep them concealed from their opponent. Deal the rest of the pack out as the two players’ hands (24 cards each).

Game play

The non-dealer goes first. They play a card of one rank higher or one rank lower than the starter to the next empty space after it. Cards rank in their usual order, with aces being consecutive to both 2s and kings (so Q-K-A-2 is a valid sequence). After playing a card, the dealer may do the same. On the non-dealer’s next turn, they play a card consecutive with the card they played on the last turn, placing it next to that card, and so on, building a chain of cards toward their target card.

As the game goes on, a player may start to get an idea of their opponent’s target card, based on the cards on the board and in their hand. Prior to playing a card, a player may guess the rank of their opponent’s target card. If they are correct, the opponent reveals the card and the game is over, with the guesser winning. If they are wrong, the guesser moves their target card one space further away from their starter. They then play a card as per usual, and the game continues. A player may only make one guess per turn. A player may not make a guess when a player is only one turn away from completing their chain.

Players do not necessarily have to make a chain with the lowest possible number of cards. For one thing, a successful chain will be at least nine cards long (i.e. seven cards must be played to link the starter and the target). Players may find it in their best interest to obfuscate the path from point A to point B by playing cards in a meandering sequence, going up and down, to try to prevent their opponent from guessing. Players may even make random guesses to rule out one of the thirteen possibilities, or to intentionally increase the length of the chain to provide more space to mislead their opponent.

The game ends when:

  • A player successfully guesses their opponent’s target card. The guesser wins the game.
  • A player forms a successful chain of sequential cards from their starter to their target card, filling all of the blank spaces between the two. That player wins the game.
  • A player runs out of cards without fulfilling either of the above two conditions. Their opponent wins the game.

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