Jogūchya - Snap the Tail

One of my longer projects is developing a Fedran-inspired set of cards and related games for the desert culture. I haven't really gotten far on this project, mainly because I want to draw them but I burned out with the overwhelming details, but it does make a good World-Building Wednesday post.


Jogūchya is a deck of sixty-four cards arranged into eight ranks of eight suits. It is a deck designed to be tolerant of the vagaries of a mobile culture in that many games can be played with a half or quarter deck (to account for lost or destroyed cards) and many of the rules can be flipped so suits are ranks and the reverse.

The suits are: Stones, Waters, Birds, Horses, Reptiles, Packs, Insects, and Flowers. When written in English, the first letter is unique so “1R” means “one of reptiles”.

This was first introduced in the world in the second chapter of Sand and Ash:

“Three of snakes in the north, one point.” Rutejìmo tapped his card against one of the four piles before picking up the top card from the other three piles on the table.

“Damn, that was my three of scorpions.” Gemènyo sat with one leg in a crook and his pipe balanced on his knee. He groaned and pulled out a six of snakes and set it on the east pile. “Your turn.”

Rutejìmo glanced down at his cards. He only had two left, but neither would help him get another trick out of the cards on the table. Hissing through his teeth, he plucked out the card with an illustration of two rocks sticking out of a sand dune.

Gemènyo grinned.

Rutejìmo placed it on the south pile. He shuffled through the stack looking for another snake. He got through the pile before he realized he picked the wrong one. “Damn.” He grabbed a random card, the five of birds, and set it down on top of the rocks. “Your turn.”

Snap the Tail

Snap the Tail is a rather simple game that is well-suited toward children. It doesn't require much strategy (more so with the Inescapable variant).

The inspiration for this game is “Go Fish” and "Uno."

Like most games, playing with a smaller deck allows for longer tails and therefore it is common that children play with half or quarter decks. Smaller decks also result in shorter games.


  1. Shuffle the deck face-down.
  2. Hands: Deal four cards to each player.
  3. Well: Place the remaining cards face-down to the side where everyone can draw from them.
  4. Tail: Flip the first card from the well and place it face-up in the play area.
  5. The last winning player starts or dealer's choice for the first round.


On a player's turn, they place a card from their hand that matches either the number or the suit of the tail. This will become the next tail card.

If a player cannot play a card, they announce “snap” (akīma) and the previous player gets a point. They then place down a card which becomes the new tail.

If the setup card results in a snap, then no one gets the point (a “drop” or gōryo) but otherwise it plays as normal including changing the new tail card.

The player then draws a new card to replaced their card and play continues to the next player (usually to the left).


Play continues until all the cards have been played out of the hands and well.


At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.

It is not uncommon to play multiple rounds of the game. In this case, keep a running total of points until the end of play.

In the case of a tie, play a game of High Up among the winning players to determine the final winner.



If a player has a card that can be played, they must play it.

Drunken Dog

Whenever a player gets a snap, they must take a gulp of an alcoholic drink.

Helpful Hands

This variant is used when the players are trading chores or duties. Instead of points, the player who gets a snap must take one of the previous player's chores or duties.

Usually in this variant, any player ever gets more than ten tasks ahead of anyone else is automatically kicked out of the game and their hand is shuffled into the well.