Ximaxian Specerat (or "Spellcerat") is a simple card game that originates
from the magical
City of Ximax. It has its name derived from the fact that there are
basically three sorts of cards, spell cards, plants and creatures, so the
combination of representative cards of all these sorts, a spell card, a
cerubell card and a
rat card made a clever student to invent the
name "Spe-ce-rat". The card game of course is a favourite of the students or
children living in Ximaxi, where it was
initially created, however, Specerat is not only for
Ximaxians. Depending on the region, the name
of can be slightly adjusted different. Ximaxians
play "Ximaxian Speceret", "True Specerat" or
"Spellcerat", while in the southern parts of
Sarvonia one might come across "Bard's Specerat", because the people of the
city of Artists, Bardavos, like to have
their version of the game including artists, bards, actors and the like instead
of using spells as in the original Ximaxian
game. But regardless how this game may be called, it always will have the word
"Spellcerat" in its name, and by hearing this word everyone will recognize
exactly this game. The game as such is simple and involves two players, who are
taking the cards from the card deck and placing them on the table. The player,
who will place a card with a higher value, defears the opposing player’s weaker
card - the card that has the lesser value. This game is very good for spending
some free time and having fun.
It is interesting to note that the creators, Ximaxian students of the Fire School to be precise, of this game were from different tribes and races. One of them was from the orcen tribe of Volkek-Oshra, the other a Centoraurian. During the creation of this game they divided all cards in three different types, so called “branches”, as a result making plant, creature and spell type cards. For each type they made eleven cards, therefore having a card deck, that contains thirty-three cards.
History. Specerat was created by the students who were learning at the Ximaxian Academy of Magic, inspired by many high level mages that could be found in the City of Magic, but also by herbalists, who explored the native flora, and different kinds of adventurers, who told their tales about the dangerous monsters and creatures. Thus, to relive the deeds of the heroes of the Kingdom of Santharia the students figured out a way to have their own adventures in the Academy's dorms. They dreamed of casting powerful spells themselves, summon creatures and use plants, yet without risking their lives - by playing a very simple game. Then they began to explore the Magical City by sitting in the Library and reading the books about native flora, fauna, and spells, which they were unable to cast themselves.
After gathering enough information and settling for the three already mentioned branches, they came up with an idea that this game should be portable and comfortable enough to play it in any place and time. Therefore they invented the cards that were made out of a simple paper, on which they drew the pictures of different kinds of spell effects, of plants, and creatures. Then they decided on a certain value to go with each card, representing its power. After creating the cards, they made up rules for this game and began to play it, also learning a good deal about spellcasting in the process. After several months some of the mentors of the Magical City noticed the students (and their friends by now) playing this game and wanted to try it themselves. Soon the mentors saw that the game could also serve as a teaching tool, to help their students learn spells better, as well as the native flora and fauna.
Some months later various students played it almost every day in the local pub, called "The Wasted Wizard". Of course other citizens of the Magical City noticed that and became interested in the game as well. Everntually the game became very popular in Ximax, and in the course of several years the fame of the game expanded even outside of the city and reached parts of of Southern Santharia. One of these parts is the City of Artists, Bardavos, located in the Brendolan Province. Re-interpreting the game finest artists of Bardavos drew their own variations of images on these cards, replacing spell cards with people cards, though the rules of Specerat remained the same. Similar things happened in other regions of Santharia, where the locals replaced the standard cards with flora and fauna they were more familar with. So it came that card images found for Specerat began to vary greatly, and there definitely are a bunch of decks out there that are highly priced as they are very unique. Traders who travel from town to town throughout Santharia help a great deal to spread the popularity of the game: they introduce their friends and trading partners to it to pass the time at the local inns and pubs and sell card decks in the process, and everybody profits from the magic of the addictive game of Specerat.
Two players can play
Specerat at one time. They need one card deck, in which
are all thirty-three cards – each card type should consist of eleven cards. If
these cards come e.g. from Bardavos (in
the Bardavos version of the game), then
the spell type cards are usually substituted with people type cards. On such the
people type cards, the artists have drawn other well-known artists, famous bards, writers and the like.
And of course there's one more thing that players need for
- some kind of a playing
surface, whether this is a table or a floor. If you have it all together you're
set for the fun to begin.
A few words on the design of the cards: On each Specerat card there is a drawing of a plant, spell, creature or a famous person in the center. At the bottom of the card, placed on a little scroll, you find the name of the picture depicted above, and finally on the card's upper left and lower right corners the numeric value of this card (for example, "five") is displayed. On the card's upper right and lower left corners a small picture shows the type of the card. If the card is a spell type card you have a picture of a spellbook there, if the card is a creature type card, a horse head will signify this, and finally if the card is a plant type card there is a picture of a flower. However, if the card has a picture of a human head, then it is a people type card and most likely has a Bardavos origin. Of course these cards can also be recognized by the borders, which are in different colors: for the plant type cards the border is green, the creature type cards have dark red, spell cards feature xazure and people type cards are commonly yellow.
Before the game starts, one of the players has to take a coin, and both players
then have to decide which side of a coin will be theirs. After that the coin is
flipped in the air. The winner is the player
whose side of the coin lands on the playing surface. He has to take the card
deck, shuffle it, and place it on the table in the face down position. Then
both players sit down opposite of each other and take cards from the top of the
deck, the player who won the coin flipping takes six while his opponent takes
five. The winner of the coin flipping also has to play the first card and the
opponent has to respond. After each confrontation during the game the players
can take only one card from the card deck and only when it's their turn.
Rules. Rules for playing Spellcerat can be summarized as follows:
After taking the cards, the player who has to play first, has to select one card from his/her hand and place it on the table.
The opposing player should do the same, but his/her placed card must have bigger or equal value than the card, which was placed by the first player.
When a card is defeated it has to be removed from the game along with the card that defeated the weaker card. Both cards have to be placed in the other spot on the playing surface which is called a discard pile.
When the card's value is bigger or equal to the opposing card's value, then the player who placed the card with the bigger or equal value has to subtract the lower or equal card's value from his/her card's value and add the difference count to his/her score points. For example, the first player places a card with the value "four", after that the opposing player places a card with the value "seven". The opposing player has defeated the first player's card and subtracts "four" from "seven" (seven minus four equals three), and as a result gains three score points.
If the values of the opposing cards are equal, then both cards are defeated and none of the players gains any score points.
If the opposing player cannot defeat the other player's card, because he/she has no cards with bigger or equal value in his/her hand, then the opposing player has to reduce his/her score points by the same value that is written on the other player's card, but the other player has to add the same amount to his/her own score points. In this case the player who put the card on the playing surface should take it back - the card should not be placed in the discard pile. The lower valued card of any type cannot defeat the higher valued card of any type.
After all counting is done in a round the next turn is for the opposing player. He/she - before making the move - must take one card from the top of the card deck. Then the opposing player has to select one card from his/her hand and place it on the table.
After that the first player should do the same. Then both players should compare the values of the cards and see which card is stronger. Again, counting should be done.
Thus the game continues until both players use up all the cards in the card deck. The player who got more score points and who has used all of the cards in his/her hand, after the deck of cards is exhausted, is the winner.