Rules for "Pancake" Card Game


A little while ago I designed a card game about food, inspired by Magic: The Gathering and conversations with my collaborator Matthew Bunday about how to make a game that would harness some of the fun elements of MTG while being more accessible and designed for on-chain play. 

The result was a game I originally called "Five Star Chef" but have now renamed to "Pancake" for no particular reason. I went as far as creating a set of physical playing cards (two decks) and playing prototype rounds of the game IRL.

It was fun but I didn't end up taking the next big step of building the programatized or let alone the on-chain game engine. Still, I feel like this game has potential and should exist, and I might continue to build it in the future, so I wanted to at least share a clear articulation of the rules and put it out there. So here they are:

The rules of "Pancake"

Pancake is a new card game inspired by Magic: the Gathering. It is designed to be played on a Zero-Knowledge system in which each dueling chef must cook the best meal they can with the cards at their disposal. 

In each round of Pancake, players strategically serve the best meal that they can using the recipe and ingredient cards available to them. Each player prepares their meal in secret. At the end of the round, both players meals are revealed simultaneously! 

Points are awarded to the chefs who serve the best meal for each of three courses:

- Appetizer (2 points)
- Entree (3 points)
- Dessert (1 point)

When a player reaches 30 points, they win the game. 

Players do not need to serve a dish for every course. The strategy of the game revolves around making choices about how to allocate your resources across the courses while not knowing how your opponent is structuring their meal.

Pancake is meant to be played with a turn time limit. Since both players must submit a turn for play to progress, this can prevent games from frequently ending in time-out draws. 

How do you serve a dish?

Each dish is served using a recipe card, plus the required ingredients to serve that dish. Each dish can only be served using a specific combination of ingredients. 

Ingredients fall into these 5 categories:

- Starch/Grains
- Vegetable/Fruits
- Oils
- Proteins
- Seasoning

An example of an ingredient card would be something like:


Provides: 1 Starch

An example of a recipe card might be something like:

"Tuna Sandwich"

Ingredient Cost:
1 starch
1 oil
1 protein

Fish, Bread, Mayo

As long as you have ingredients that provide 1 starch, 1 oil, and 1 protein, you can place them into the "stack" of the "Tuna Sandwich" recipe to serve the Tuna Sandwich. 

You can choose to serve the Tuna Sandwich for any of the 3 courses. 

The ingredients used to serve Tuna Sandwich on a given turn cannot be used to serve any other dishes that you may be serving that turn. 


While it might seem strange at first, in Pancake you can use any starch to fulfill the "1 starch" ingredient cost of the Tuna Sandwich. It doesn't need to be bread or wheat. It could be rice, potato, or any other starch. But you'll make a more delicious sandwich if you use the correct ingredients. 

So how does my Sandwich get scored?

Every dish served in "Pancake" is ultimately judged on the number of "yum points" that it delivers. By default, a dishes Yum score corresponds to the number of ingredients it took to serve it. So if you serve a basic Tuna Sandwich, 1 starch, 1 oil, 1 protein, it would be worth 3 yum points. 

What if I want to make my Sandwich more delicious?

In order to make a more delicious sandwich, you'll need to not just use any old starch, but match the starch you are using to that defined in Tuna Sandwich's recipe. So if the starch you use to make the sandwich happens to be bread, you get one extra point for an ingredient match. Then you have a 4 point sandwich. If you were able to use Fish, Bread and Mayo to make it, you have a sandwich worth 6 points. 

Finally, you also get a bonus for matching any words in the name of the recipe. So if you not only use fish but actually Tuna for your sandwich, it becomes worth 7 points.

What if I want an EVEN more delicious sandwich?

It might seem like 7 points is the most you could ever get from a Tuna Sandwich, but Pancake has plenty of special ingredient cards that make it possible to boost your Yum points even higher. These often take the form of one-time-use ingredients that you must discard after you've played them, and special ingredients that have ingredient costs themselves, but add to the overall Yum score of the final dish.

How do you win a round?

Let's say you served your Tuna Sandwich with Bread, Fish, and Butter as the ingredients. It's worth 5 points with two recipe matches. You chose to make this your Entree. Your opponent, meanwhile has served Ramen noodles which require Noodles and Salt, with both noodles and salt as ingredients. They have 2 recipe matches and hence their Ramen is worth 4 points. Your Sandwich is the winner and you are awarded the 3 points associated with the Entree course.

In the meantime, you opponent has served "bread and butter" for an appetizer, a category in which you didn't serve a meal this round. They automatically get the 2 points for that course since you didn't serve anything there. Nobody served a dessert and hence no points are awarded in that category.

The final result of the round is that you earn 3 points and your opponent earns 2. These points are toward your eventual goal of 30 to win the game.

How does building a deck work?

In order to build a Pancake deck, you assemble 40 cards, a combination of ingredients and recipes. The recommended ratio is 14 recipe cards and 26 ingredient cards. You may have no more than 3 copies of any one card in your deck.

There are cards called "Basic Ingredients" that you can mint for free and add to your deck at any time. Other cards must be collected as a part of a pack, bought from another player, or come included as a part of a starter deck. 

The strategy as you build your deck comes in trying to find recipes with synergistic sets of ingredients that allow you to have a better chance of consistently serving up recipe-match dishes. 

What are the steps of a game?

In the beginning of the game each player draws 6 cards. If they are unhappy with their cards they are allowed to draw again, but for each time they do this, they forfeit 1 point to their opponent.

After the first turn, at the beginning of each round, each player draws 2 more cards from their deck.

Pancake is designed to usually end in about 10 rounds. This is because there are 6 total points available each round, and it takes 30 to win, so even if the players split the points evenly, someone will usually have 30 after about 10 rounds. 

Rounds are meant to last for about 2 minutes and hence an average game should take about 20 minutes.

What happens if you tie?

If both players yum score on a particular course are the same, then no points are awarded for that course during that round. 

In case of a point tally tie where both players reach 30 on the same turn, the player with the higher total point count wins (if they go over 30). If both players have the same total, then one final round is played in which there is only one course, an entree, and the winner of that entree wins the game.

What is the point of Pancake?

The point of Pancake is to be fun, quick, easy to learn and play, and accessible for all different kinds of people. It's not meant to be as nerdy or deeply strategic as MTG. It's supposed to be a fun way to use your collectible cards to face off against someone.

The point of Pancake is also that it can be played on-chain using zero knowledge technology. The cards themselves lend themselves to being NFT's and on-chain reward mechanisms for players who win can also be applied. 

Pancake cards are meant to be fun and collectible. The game can also take advantage of AI generative technology to for example, show depictions of the sometimes strange, sometimes outstanding dishes that players are serving in every round.

messenger not adequate

the flower is already shedding petals
as I offer it to you from my sweaty palm.
hurricanes bombard the marina
and the lanterns lose their flicker.
if ten minutes isn't long enough to say "I love you"
then a lifetime probably won't do, either.

siren song

thinking one step ahead, two
machines were required to do 
all the thinking we 
had to do

all of us clinking
a pitcher or two

some of us stitching to sew

but look we invented'um
vited'um, took our delight in'um
pulled all the guts out the
side'a them
now we take pride in ignitin' a
flight to the highest of heights
but that's capital
a to gen z to jan 6 at the capitol
woke as modafinil
crying my face off like
daffy the acid bill
catch me outside
in a ride that's theatrical
alla my money aprocryphal
out a my
noggin taboggin
more guap than aladin's
been hiding inside of 
cavern most frightening
most of em run at the sightofem
I'd a been 
// sliding through these deepfeels 
like airlocks
si'ts esc //

LUX Core Config

Lux Core Conf set for maximum raunch,
Hyper-script entatted in the cleave of the haunch,
Couch 'clined to 80º with synchro morph wob-lon
Cruizer flush with jellies in the console rear.
Timebar clicks to 8:98, pre-feed on synth fruit
Clicks to :99 and the sound disc spins
Clicks nine and nilly and the one drops - bom-tom
Kick the 'zer to wheeling as the night begins. 

ideas at a party

I had a bunch of ideas
at the party.

one is just to be a poet
to write things
or really
say things

and maybe that's an important distinction

how you want to be said
you imbue it with your style
how you want to be read
that's where the work is

so what are you going to do


alop soem

e... fierce warm sola untraprotucted soem lines drip beetle blood underglow slamanders crawl log rot ants crawl pierce warm fire turn fall colors leaf rot red orange

Sword is the pencil

Be be
Be the man you
We’re meant to
You were sent to
Earth with verse
On a bright sunny day
Escape son
E might run e way
While the lead in the East
Fade away any day
Kabul falls
Cattle gnaw on the hay
If by shame Us were wrong from the start
Isn’t if ain’t
Us is shame
From day ein til today
Is the thing
We d care d we dare t b main?
Cue refrain!

Called walrus
Big pimple
Like pit bulls
We staff these
I’ll temples
Please hit threes
If you ever need cds 
He wheez

Like koffing 
Pig wrinkle
Cream sprinkles
Ooh it’s me
And it’s pace is the palace E sank 
between these trees

Atween these trees (trees trees)
It’s the ESC (ya ee ya ee)