Circle of 5


players.png ~3-7
time.png 20 min

This game is a draft/beta version. You can help develop it by editing or discussing in the comments

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

Gamemaster's Note: New version coming soon!


Print a colour board. The board shows the circle which defines the order of neighbouring colours which 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 paper, 10 cards) for every Player.

Cards and their meaning

In every colour there are two cards with two different cues. Every cue is shared between two neighbouring colours. Here is a list of cue-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


Playing area


Put the circle board at the center of your playing area. Players sit ("also") in a circle and each will need some table space in front for one's individual deck and for the collection of cards.

Starting the game

Choose the first Player at random. Shuffle your 10-cards deck and put one random card in your collection. Single cards in the collection are visible.

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

You play your card to the circle at the proper colour spot (if there is a card of this colour, hide it with your new card). If in the circle there are cards of opposing colour to the one you played, take them to your collection. You might take 0 cards, but you can also take a lot at once e.g. if there are many cards on two piles.


If you have two cards with the same cue in your collection flip them. It's cues don't apply anymore. Collecting pairs is the goal of the game.

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 what 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 unpaired card you get -1 point. If you have 6 or more points total, 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).


Adam Izaak Wasążnik

Gamemaster's notes

The piece is in beta, any suggestions welcome.


For 2 players, it's fine to have one extra deck and play out consequences of a random card every three moves.

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