The creator of Gunpoint and Heat Signature has made a strategy game using a regular deck of cards


Gridcannon or how I killed some royals

For as long as I can remember, one of my oldest friends, a game designer, has been trying to come up with a game using nothing more than a normal deck of playing cards. It’s harder than you’d think as we’ve been throwing ideas back and forth with each other for close to a decade. Leave it to one of the best game designers in the business to make a game concept that works with only a deck of cards and even allows you to behead some royalty.

I speak of Tom Francis, the designer behind Gunpoint and my pick for game of the year for 2017, Heat Signature. The game is called Gridcannon and the object of the game is to kill royals from a deck of playing cards. Like the name states, to kill the royals you must use a grid to shoot cannons. You arm the cannons by placing the non-face cards in a 3×3 grid and that gives the cannon value, and you shoot the cannon using non-face cards as well. There’s also a bunch of technical rules in place and I don’t know why I’m explaining it when I can simply let the man himself do it for me.

Simple right? The best part is that I’m sure everyone reading this has a deck of cards lying around from the last time gam-gam came over and schooled your ass in Rummy 500. But for those of you who do not have a deck of playing cards, herebemike over at has made an in-browser playable version for free. The implementation does not have the armor mechanic working yet but it’s a great start. I played a quick game of it and, considering it was made overnight, it’s really impressive.

Tom Francis is currently developing Tactical Breach Wizards for PC, an XCOM-like with wizards which will be “done when it’s done.” He also owns a badass set of playing cards.