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"Escape from Haydes"

An Original Card Game of Desperate Escape by Matthew Hartley

escape from haydes advent

After an unclear series of unfortunate events you find yourself deep within Haydes, beneath both Londinium and the buried ruins of the old Human city of Dresda. It doesn't matter how you got here, you just have to get out before it's too late in this card game for 1-4 players.


"You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave..." - The Eagles, Hotel California


You can’t remember how you got here. There were people in bright clothing. A party perhaps… You dimly recall chocolate but that might be a fleeting memory from another time. Something about being spoiled… Who knows how things came to be. All that matter is that bnow you’re here and you have to find a way out before it’s too late…


This is a game for 1 to 4 players

Each player takes control of a character that is trying to escape from the eerie realm of Haydes deep underneath the Orcs of Albion’s capital city, Londinium.


Located in the depths of the underbelly of Londinium is the buried ruins of the old Human city of Dresda, taken and then burned by the armies of the newly civilised Orcs of Albion.

Deeper still lays the crack in Valon’s fabric that gives a home to the realm of Haydes.

While portals and places on the surface of the worlde that lead to the Deep Dark of Dresda under Londinium are well known, guarded by patrols armed and ready for any things that try to come blinking into the lyght of a new Valon where Magicke is diffused; the portals that lead down from the Deep Dark to Haydes are unknown to the those above.

A smell of sulphur permeates the air, coming from the Seam which the city of Haydes, with all buildings appearing to be carved from ruby red marble and precious stones a plenty.

Set Up

Each character has two characteristics, Charisma and Endurance.

Each player begins the game with 16 points to split between these two characteristics. No characteristic can have a starting value higher than 9. 

The game requires four decks of playing cards. The Jokers should be removed from all the decks. One Black Joker will be play in the game and one red Joker will be shuffled into a pack. All the other Jokers should be set aside.

Two decks of cards should be shuffled together to form the Replacement Deck.

The remaining two decks of cards are used to “build” the caverns and tunnels of Haydes as you search for a way to escape. The red Joker you set aside should be added and shuffled into this deck. The cards are placed face down, with the exception of the one Black Joker card which is placed face up near the centre of the table.

Cards placed short end to short end represent corridors. Cards placed side by side represent rooms off the corridors.

The face up Black Joker card is the starting location for all the players. This card, and the Red Joker when drawn, has a value of 0. A suitable Flintloque figure should be used to represent each player.

Turn Sequence

The game is played in a series of turns with players randomly determining who goes first.

Each turn a player may move.

Figures are moved from one card to an adjacent card (but not diagonally).

Prior to moving the figure, the player must announce if the value of the face down card he is about to move his figures onto is greater than or less than the shown value of the card his figures are currently on.

Ace count as having a value of 1. The Jokers have a value of 0.

Once the value of the card is revealed, if the player has guessed correctly he places the figure on the new card and may have another move to another adjacent card using the value of the newly revealed card.

If the revealed card is same value as the card the player is moving from, or the player has guessed the higher/lower value incorrectly, then the player moves his figure onto that card and his turn ends.

There are no limits to the number of moves a player may make in a turn, as long as he keeps guessing the value of the card to be moved onto correctly.

Example of Movement

A player is on a card with a face value of 5. The player wants to move to an adjacent card and guesses that the value of the card will be higher than 5. The card is revealed and has a value of 7. The player moves his figure onto that card. The player decides to move again and guesses higher for the value of the next card. The card is turned over and is also a 7. The player moves his figure onto that card and the turn ends.

Once a player’s turn is over all face up cards, except those containing at least one figure, or the black Joker, are replaced by new face down cards from the Replacement Deck.

If the Replacement Deck runs out of cards, shuffle the discarded cards and use them as a new Replacement Deck

Encounters with the Denizens of Haydes

If the card revealed during movement is a court card, then the player has encountered one of the many varied creatures that can be found.

The player must either attempt to talk his way out fo the encounter using his Charisma value, or survive a bout of fisticuffs using his endurance.

The player must decide which characteristic he is going to use before rolling.

The player then rolls 2D6.

If the total scored is equal to or less than his current value in the chosen characteristic the player has overcome the encounter. Reduce the characteristic by 1 point due to the effort expended and the player may move on again (even if he failed to guess correctly for his move action). The creature is removed from the game.

If the player fails, he must end his turn their and reduce the characteristic by 1 point due to the effort expended. Unless another player moves into the area and overcomes the creature, the player must encounter it again on his next turn. The player can only move on if the creature has been overcome.

Almost There…

If the player fails to move onto the red Joker (by saying lower) then it is not discarded. All the other cards flipped this turn are replaced as normal but the red Joker is shuffled into these replacements. This letting all players know that the escape is near.


A player escapes Haydes (and wins the game) when he successfully moves onto the Red Joker card. All the remaining players are trapped in the House forever, in bondage to its inhabitants.

Expanding the Game (by Craig Andrews)

There are many ways to expand the mechanics found in this game.

Solo Play – The game can be enjoyed solitaire as is, merely trying to escape before your Charisma or Endurance reaches 0. Alternatively you can introduce a timer, either a real world one – such as playing for 45 minutes or an in game one based on a set number of turns.

Flintloque – Instead of Charisma and Endurance you can actually fight a round of combat with the creature using the Flintloque skirmish ruleset.
Different Creatures – It would be easy to come up with a series of different events based on the denizen you meet. Haydes is full of bone masked footmen, horned Lucifers, the Infernals captaining the guard and of course, Vakhraca himself, Prince of Haydes.

The Tuybe – The semi-mystical transport network found throughout Haydes can be introduced into the game. As a action a character can choose a card two away from their current one and attempt to guess it’s value (higher or lower) as normal. If successful the character moves there, managing to sequester himself on the Tubye concealing themselves from Chaaron, the master of the Tuybe.


Webmaster's Notes

This game was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on the 10th December 2015 as part of its 2015 Advent Calendar.

The Haydes text is taken from the Cryptmas & Haydes supplement by Alternative Armies. All references to Flintloque and Haydes were added by myself as flavour during the editing process. Any errors or inconsistencies should be considered mine and not Matthew’s.

To see the other games Orcs in the Webbe has published in the past click on the maroon  Stand Alone Games  tag just below and to the left.