Heckadeck image with playing cards from the Heckadeck
Apr 23, 2017

Last year, I jumped on the Kickstarter for the Heckadeck by Travis Nichols. I was sold by the ridiculous of it all and the simple yet wonderful illustrations. I’ve broken them out a few times but never really got to play a full game with them until yesterday. Of course with all the weird cards — like Beasts, Zeros, The Crone, and Octogons — the first question is what the heck do you play with the Heckadeck? My answer to this is Heckapoker!

How to Play Heckapoker

Heckapoker is plays like normal straight poker with each player dealt a hand of five cards. All of the relatively normal cards (even of the extra suits) are act like normal poker hand cards. If you have a hand with a weird card, like Beasts, or Zeros, or the Crone, and you are the first to play such a card you get to come up with the rule for how that card works. That rule then persists throughout the rest of that game — of course these new game rules vanish as soon as the cards are put away so that each time Heckapoker is plays it is a different game.

Possible examples:

  • Beasts can fit in-between Jacks and Queens but don’t have to
  • Travelers are useless straights as they work alone but they have a special power where they can be traded with any other card from another person’s hand
  • Arrow cards automatically can fit between any split cards to create a straight (2,3,arrow,8,9 is a straight), if the arrow color matches as well as the other cards suits match then it can work as a straight flush.
  • The Crone automatically invalidates everyone’s hand; all bets in the pool are kept until next hand sweetening the next hand’s pot.
  • Octagons can transform the numbers and letters on cards by reducing them to their individual lines and reforming them. For instance, an A can become a 4 or vice versa.
  • Darkness forces one other player to discard a card of your choice

As you can see, sometimes rules may interfere with people’s poker hands and thus require knowing who plays their hand first, play order is by whomever placed the last highest bid and then goes clockwise around the table.

Wagering for Words

Of course while you could play for money the traditional wager when playing Heckapoker — a tradition I started as of yesterday — is to wager for words. For instance, the first player may bid “Shoe” and the next player may agree to wager the word “Shoe” and then call or see that bid and raise it with the word “Burrito”, the third player may then call or raise or fold before adding words to the pot to avoid loosing the words.

  • The person who wins gets to keep using the words that were bid!
  • The loser has to lost the words and must avoid using any words they lost for the remainder of the day!
  • A devilish player may choose to raise with the word “Cards” or “Raise” forcing players to restrict their vocabulary or use alternate words when talking.
  • Any words that were already bid in a game cannot be bid again in order to avoid overlap with players who already lost said word.
  • Compound words are treated like different words as long as they have conceptually different meanings: for instance, a player who lost the word “Card” can still use the word “cardboard”

Of course, a player could fold right out of the gate every time before putting their words in the pot, never risking loosing any words, thus in a sense “winning” but where is the fun in that?!

Where to get the Heckadeck

I highly recommend picking up a Heckadeck. You can buy Heckadeck online and other great comics and stuff from Travis Nichols site More Lie Publishing. And when you do buy it you will get a special card that you must DESTROY! Here is my video I created of me destroying the #destroythiscard

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