Dead Man's Draw

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Article code 080162885622
Dead Man's Draw is a simple and strategic card game of risk and reward for 2 to 4 players.
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Year 2015
Number of Players 2-4 Players
Time 10-15 mins
Ages 13+
Mechanics Push Your Luck, Set Collection, Take That, Variable Player Powers
Theme Pirates
Game Video

Dead Man's Draw is a simple and strategic card game of risk and reward for 2 to 4 players. Players take turns drawing cards and combining their special abilities to plunder the most loot without busting their entire hands.

The core of your turn in Dead Mans Draw is all in the flip: pulling the top card off the deck and using its special ability. Your turn isnt over until you say it is, though. You can keep pulling cards as long as you like until you play a card of a suit already seen, at which point you lose everything. Knowing when to stop and "bank" your cards is the biggest decision you make in Dead Mans Draw, but being too timid lets braver opponents pass you up with bigger, more profitable turns. The cards special abilities are key to success in Dead Mans Draw, and they build off of each other. Each suit in DMD has an effect that the player can target when they flip a card of that suit.

  • Anchor Keep everything you drew before the Anchor even if you bust.
  • Cannon Destroy one card an opponent has previously banked.
  • Chest Double your haul by banking as many cards directly from the discard pile as are in the river when you bank the Chest but only if you also bank a Key.
  • Hook Play one of your previously banked cards.
  • Key Enables the Chest special.
  • Kraken Oh no! Youre forced to draw at least two more cards.
  • Map Draw three cards from the discard pile and play one.
  • Mermaid No ability, but worth more points (Mermaids are numbered 4-9 instead of 2-7).
  • Oracle Look at the next card before deciding if you want to play it.
  • Sword Steal an opponents previously banked card and play it.

Many of these work well together, like using a Hook to re-play a Sword from your hand to steal an opponents Chest to go with your Key racking up huge points by playing abilities well and not solely through the luck of the draw. As soon as the deck is depleted, players total up the value of the highest card they've banked from each suit. High score wins. 


  • rulebook
  • 60 loot cards
  • 17 trait cards