Circle of 5
players.png ~3-7
time.png 20 min
props.png cue-deck × 0 inspire-deck × 0 dice × 0 cards, board

Set collection game of cards to play music by. Your heavy strategizing results in changing musical cues for you and others.


Print (or draw) one colour board. The board shows the circle which defines the order of neighbouring colours. The goes: black - red - yellow - green - blue (blue is again the neighbour of black). If two colours are not neighbours they will be called opposing colours.

Prepare cards (pdf). Print one set (a4 card) for every Player. The cards will need to be shuffled and shouldn't be recognized from the back, so after cutting them out it's best to put them into opaque card sleeves.

Cards and their meaning

Cards have the aforementioned colours. At every colour there are two cards with two different cues. Every cue is shared between two neighbouring colours. Here is a list of symbols and their meaning:

dot short sounds red / yellow
repeat loop, ostinato yellow / green
low speaker play quietly green / blue
snail slowly, lento blue / black
hat high sounds black / red

Set up

Playing area


Put the circle board at the center of your playing area. Every Player will need some space in front for one's individual deck and for the collection of cards.

In the example you see the game after a few turns, when every Player has already some cards in the collection.

Starting the game

Choose the first Player at random. Every Player shuffles one's 10-card deck and puts it on a table at one's reach. At the start of the game (and whenever no card is displayed) no music should be played.

Starting with the first Player everyone puts a card from the top of one's deck to one's collection. Single cards in the collection are placed visible to all Players. When you have a card visible in your collection start playing music, by interpreting the cue of the card (see more below in: Musical Instructions).

Gameplay instructions

On the turn there are six phases:
1) Stop playing music
2) Draw three cards from your deck
3) Play one of the cards from your hand
4) Work out consequences of a played card
5) Put all two cards from your hand back at the top of your deck
6) Join back to the music

The turn is then passed clockwise to the next Player. If he or she seems pre-occupied with music-making consider giving clearer (visual/tacile?) signals of ending your turn.

Phase 3-4 — card consequences

If you play a card that is already in the circle put it right to your collection.
Otherwise put your card to the circle at the proper colour spot. If in the circle there are cards of opposing colour to the one you played, take them to your collection. You take 0-2 cards on your every turn.


When two cards in your collection have the same cue but different colours they form a pair. Collecting pairs will be the basic aim of players.

If you have a pair in your collection flip it. It's cues don't apply anymore.

Musical instructions

a. Play music when it's not your turn.
b. Follow the directions shown in the circle.
c. Follow the directions shown in your collection (but not on collected pairs).

Try to not play as an absent cue would call for. For example don't repeat too much if there is no "ostinato" card shown in the circle nor in your collection.

Consider swift transitions on the start of your turn, especially when there are many Players.

Game end

When only two cards are left in your deck your gameplay is ended. Don't stop the music yet. Count your points: you get 3 points for every pair in your collection, but for every other card you get -1 point. If you have 6 or more points, take over the music. Play a solo-like part as long as you feel like it.

If you have less than 6 points, pay attention. If some Player starts to play above of the rest, accompany them until they finish playing. If no-one takes the initiative, the piece should soon end calmly (in a form of a fade-out).

Gamemaster's notes

The piece is in beta, any suggestions welcome.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License