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

Set collection game of cards to play music by.


Print the colour board (1 copy, you can also draw it). The board shows a pattern that from now on will be called: the circle. It's main function is to show the order of neighbouring colours. The order is: black - red - yellow - green - blue (blue is again a neighbour of black). This order of colours will be of key importance for the game.

Prepare cards (pdf), you should print one set per player (10 cards for each). The cards will need to be shuffled at least twice so using card sleeves is advised.

Put a mark ("1") on one yellow card with an arrow.

Cards and their meaning

There are five colours, every colour is related to a mood of music. For every mood there are two possible cues. Compare the cards print-out and an explanation table.

Mood Chaos Happy Calm Discipline Sad
cue 1 short sounds short sounds quiet quiet slow
cue 2 high pitch fast low pitch ostinato ostinato

As you can see some cues repeat between colours/moods. When two cards have the same cues but different colours they form a pair. Apart from three pairs of this type, there are also two pairs of opposing cues: yellow arrow ("fast" cue) forms a pair with black snail ("slow" cue) whereas red hat ("high pitch" cue) forms a pair with green boot ("low pitch" cue). In total: 5 possible pairs (the pairing possibilities are marked with gray lines on the circle).

Set up

Playing area

Put the circle board at the center of your playing area and leave empty space for a card by every colour. Every Player apart from cards in hand will need some space in front for the collection of cards that score. Final spot is for cards that leave playing — a discard.


There are two possible setups. Do you know what drafting cards is? Do you want to learn it? If your answer to both questions is "no", proceed to the easier option, otherwise perform full draft.

Easier dealing: Shuffle all your cards (there should be 10 times more of them than Players) then deal 10 cards to every Player. Pick cards you got and look through them to know them before the game (is there a colour you don't have? do you have many cards in some?). During this time check also if you have the yellow card marked with "1".

Proper dealing (draft)

There will be two rounds of drafting: Shuffle all the cards and deal 5 cards to every Player (this should be half of the deck).

Then every Player does the same: Choose one card from your pile (1 card of 5) and pass the pile of the remaining 4 cards to the left. At around that moment you should simultaneously receive 4 cards from Player on your right. Then pick 1 card of 4 you just got, then pass 3 to the left …and so on until all the cards are taken.

Now draft the remaining cards similarly, but with passing the pile to the right. After all every Player should end up with 10 cards. It's good to get to know them well before the game.

Starting Player

Regardless of the setup option, the Player that has a card marked with "1" will start the game. Every Player shuffles one's 10-card deck and puts it on a table at one's reach. Before the first Player makes a move no music should be played.

Gameplay instructions

By default, on your turn:
1) Stop playing music (arrangement and exact timing are up to you)
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 remaining cards from the hand back at the top of your deck
6) Join back to the music

The turn is then passed clockwise to the next Player.

The circle and the consequences (nr 4)

Consequences of playing the card depend on it's colour and the situation in the circle.

A. Put your played card in your collection if there is already a card of that colour in the circle.
B. Put your played card on discard if there are already two cards in the circle of opposing colours.
C. Otherwise put your card in the circle on the colour matching the colour of the played card and if there is already a card of opposing colour in the circle, take that other card to your collection.

When you take a card to your collection (by rule A or C) discard from the circle a card that forms a pair with your collected card (if there is one, it may happen that you'll discard a card that you just played).

When you collect a pair, flip the two cards that form it.

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 if they don't contradict the circle.

a. Don't play sounds if the circle is empty.
b,c. Don't repeat too much if there is no "ostinato" card shown in any of the areas.
c. Don't follow cues on your collected pairs (put them upside down so they can't be seen).

Game end

When you play the last card from your deck, count pairs that you have collected. If you have 4-5 pairs, move to higher, louder more solo-like notes for the finale of the piece. When you have enough of that kind of music, end your playing.

If you have less than 4 pairs, pay attention. If someone starts to play more in front of the rest, accompany that Player as long as he or she plays (if there were more Players with 4 pairs, do your best to complement each with your music). If no-one takes the initiative, the piece should soon end calmly.

Gamemaster's notes

The piece is in beta, any suggestions welcome.

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