The Trumplust Card Game


Trumplust is a trick-taking card game I created especially for my Mythos Deck of Cards project.

The rules are inspired by the French Belote, a game I used to play a lot as a kid, and the Finnish Marjapussi, which I discovered just few days ago.

It can be played by 2 to 4 people and requires a 32 card deck. The cards are dealt counter-clockwise in 3 rounds. Each player receives a packet of 3 cards, then 2, and in the last round another 3. If there are less than 4 players, the remaining cards are left aside face down for the duration of the play.

General Rules

Contrary to Belote, there is no bidding part and the trump suit is declared during the play by announcing a pairing of face cards from a common suit. Such announcement can only be made by the initiator of the trick (the one who plays the first card or the one who has won the preceding trick).

The players must follow suit. If following is impossible, a trump card must be played. If the dominant suit is a trump suit, each card must be followed by a higher-ranking one. When more than one player cannot follow suit, over-trumping is obligatory and the trick is awarded to the player with the highest-ranking trump card. The winner of a trick starts the next one.

Once a trump suit has been declared, it remains in force until the end of the play unless the pairing which initiated it is dissolved by an Ace from the opposite suit. This triggers a switch of the trump suit from that of the dissolved pair to that of the opposite Ace. Only one pairing can take place during a play.


Each suit is associated with a cardinal direction. Spades (♠) represent North, Clubs (♣) – East, Hearts () – South and Diamonds () – West. Thus, Spades are opposite to Hearts, Clubs to Diamonds.


Plain Suit

The order of cards in a plain suit is A (11 points), 10 (10 points), K (4 points), Q (3 points), J (2 points), 9 (no points), 8 (no points), and 7 (no points).

Trump Suit

When a trump suit is declared, the order of cards for this specific suit is changed to J (20 points), 9 (14 points), A (11 points), 10 (10 points), K (4 points), Q (3 points), 8 (no points), and 7 (no points).


Several types of pairings can be used to declare a trump suit and win extra points.

Fling Pairing


A fling takes place between a King and a Queen from the same suit. It is announced at the beginning of a turn by playing the Queen and showing the King. It’s worth 20 points, except in the following cases:

If the opponent has an opposite Ace, he may dissolve the pair by playing it. The just declared trump suit switches to the opposite one and the Queen is taken by the Ace.

for K♠+Q♠ the opposite is A♥,
for K♥+Q♥ the opposite is A♠,
for K♦+Q♦ the opposite is A♣,
for K♣+Q♣ the opposite is A♦.

If the opponent has a Jack from the same suit as the announced pair, he may steal the points by playing it. The declared trump suit remains unchanged. The move is called Possession.

Affair Pairing


An affair takes place between a Jack and a Queen from the same suit. It is announced at the beginning of a turn by playing the Jack and showing the Queen. It’s worth 20 points, except in the following cases:

If the opponent has an opposite Ace, he may dissolve the pair by playing it. In this case the just declared trump suit switches to the opposite one, thus the Jack is taken by the Ace.

for J♠+Q♠ the opposite is A♥,
for J♥+Q♥ the opposite is A♠,
for J♦+Q♦ the opposite is A♣,
for J♣+Q♣ the opposite is A♦.

If the opponent has a King from the same suit as the announced pair, he may steal the points by playing it. The declared trump suit remains unchanged, therefore the King is taken by the Jack. The move is called Sacrifice.

Bond Pairing


A bond takes place between a King and a Jack from the same suit. It is announced at the beginning of a turn by playing the Jack and showing the King. It’s worth 20 points, except in the following cases:

If the opponent has an opposite Ace, he may dissolve the pair by playing it. In this case the just declared trump suit switches to the opposite one, thus the Jack is taken by the Ace.

for K♠+J♠ the opposite is A♥,
for K♥+J♥ the opposite is A♠,
for K♦+J♦ the opposite is A♣,
for K♣+J♣ the opposite is A♦.

If the opponent has a Queen from the same suit as the announced pair, he may steal the points by playing it. The declared trump suit remains unchanged, therefore the Queen is taken by the Jack. The move is called Meddle.


A meld consists of 3 or more cards with successive ranks, following the sequence A K Q J 10 9 8 7. Melds can be announced only at the beginning of the play, during the first trick.


A tierce is a sequence of three cards. It’s worth 20 points.


A quarte is a sequence of four cards and is worth 50 points.


A quint is a sequence of five cards and is worth 100 points.


A flush is a sequence of six or more cards and is worth 120 points. However, when a flush is announced, its opposite suit automatically becomes the trump suit and remains in force until the end.


A carré consists of four cards with the same rank owned by the same player. It is announced during the first trick and is worth 50 points, regardless of the ranking of the cards. The announcement automatically triggers an All Trumps rule which remains in force until the end.


10 points are always awarded to the winner of the final trick.

Apart from the various possible melds and carré bonuses, a play with no trumps has 130 points. A play with a declared trump suit has 162 points if the pairing is dissolved by an opposite Ace. If the pairing isn’t dissolved or is stolen by a matching face card, the minimal amount of points is 182 (162 plus the value of the pairing). An All Trumps play has 258 points. The player who manages to score more points wins. If the play is a tie, all the points are awarded to the winner of the next one.

Last updated on 04/07/2013, adding redesigned cards.

The Trumplust Mythological World Map

alphadesigner trumplust the game play

In the introduction to my Trumplust Card Deck I hinted it was more than a design and illustration project. The concept goes far beyond and includes a fully developed mythology and a custom card game. After the completion of all the illustrations from the card deck, here comes the Trumplust World Map, which depicts the world featured in the mythology of the game.

The Trumplust world is divided in 4 continents, 3 oceans and 1 sea. Each continent has 2 islands, 1 mountain, 1 river and 1 city. In the center of the world is a mysterious city built on a landmass that doesn’t belong to any of the continents.

Hyperborea (North)


Hyperborea, the Northern continent, is the realm of the Spades ruled by the gods Osiris, Kali and Belus. It’s named after a mysterious country from Ancient Greek mythology. Pindar described it as a land of plenty where disease, war and labor are unknown. In Trumplust however, it’s a cold and barren continent, inhabited by a warrior race.

Its city Valhalla is named after the legendary Hall of Heroes in Norse mythology. Through it flows the river Vaitarna. The name comes from a Hindu myth about a river that separates the Earth from the realm of the dead, similar the the Ancient Greek Styx. In Trumplust, it’s a cold icy river which poisons every living creature that touches its waters. Only Kali, the Queen of Spades can resist its spell and come out of it alive.

Osiris, the King of Spades, lives on Mount Killaraus, named after a mythical Irish mountain, which is the source of the stones used in the construction of the famous Stonehenge according to the legend of King Arthur. In Trumplust, it’s a mountain of pure transparent ice, which makes it invisible to any mortal. Although all deities can see it, only Osiris can climb its slopes.

Off the Eastern shore of the continent lies the Isle of War, inhabited by giant warrior birds. Their bodies are said to be covered with blades instead of feathers and are the primary source of weapons for all the Spades. The island of Thule lies to the Southwest. It’s the only place in the realm of the Spades which is not covered by ice. In its cool misty forests live the spirits of all heroic warriors. Spades visit the island to seek advice from the spirits, who are said to possess the power to see into the future. Thule is an actual name of a northern land in medieval European literature, sometimes described as an island.

Antillia (West)


Antillia, the Western continent, is the realm of the Diamonds ruled by the gods Jörmungandr, Lakshmi and Mammon. It’s named after a legendary island in the Western Atlantic, frequently depicted on pre 16th Century maps, even though its existence was only hypothetical, originating from an old Christian legend about Visigothic bishops fleeing the Muslim conquest of the Iberian peninsula. The Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean was named after it. In Trumplust, it’s a desert continent inhabited by a merchant race.

Its city Hesperidia is named after the legendary Garden of the Hesperides which according to the Ancient Greek myth was a blissful place, situated in the far western corner of the world. Through it flows the river Sillas. It’s the Hellenistic name of a non-existent Indian river hypothesized by the Ancient Greek ethnographer Megasthenes. He mentioned that nothing cast into its waters can float and sinks to its bottom. In Trumplust, this quality is preserved, whatever falls into its deep turquoise waters sinks immediately and can never be recovered. Because of that Sillas is also referred to as the “river of greed”.
Lakshmi, the Queen of Diamonds is said to be able to walk on the surface of its waters. Because the river cannot be directly crossed, it literary splits the continent in two and anyone who wishes to move from the northern to the southern part has to go around its spring, which lies to the far east.

Jörmungandr, the King of Diamonds, lives on Mount Judi, named after the mythical place, where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the flood. His palace is a giant sea shell situated at the top.

To the North of Antillia lies the Isle of Demons, the birth place of the god Mammon. It is named after a legendary land that can be found on some medieval maps. The island is surrounded from all sides by high razor sharp cliffs and according to Antillean legends beyond them stretches a flat valley full of treasures and gold. Off the Southern coast of the continent is the Isle of Jealousy, a place entirely covered by giant tropical forest. Its soil contains a lot of diamonds. Unfortunately those diamonds turn to water if they leave the shores of the island.

Primordia (East)


Primordia, the Eastern continent, is the realm of the Clubs ruled by the gods Chronos, Rhea and Min. Primordia is a rich fertile land inhabited by the peasants, who are a race of hermaphrodites.

Its city Eden is named after the Biblical Garden of Eden. Through it flows the Lethe river, named after one of the five rivers of Hades from Ancient Greek mythology. According to the legend, everybody who drinks from it experiences complete forgetfulness. In Trumplust, it’s the river of ignorance. Everybody who drinks from its waters forgets everything he has learned in life and enters a state of blissful happiness. Because it’s the only source of fresh water on the continent, all of its inhabitants are under its influence. Rhea, the Queen of Clubs, lays her eggs in the river, from which all peasants are born.

Chronos, the King of Clubs, lives on Mount Penglai, named after a mythical mountain in Chinese mythology inhabited by immortals. His palace is a giant tree that grows on the top of the mountain.

Close to the Southern shore of Primordia lies the Snake Isle, inhabited by dragon snakes. Their poison is an antidote for the magical effects of the river Lethe. To the North lies the Isle of the Sexes. According to a legend, every peasant who reaches its golden sands turns into a man or a woman.

Ourania (South)


Ourania, the Southern continent, is the realm of the Hearts ruled by the gods Anteros, Astarte and Kamadeva. It is named after the Ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite which was known as Ourania in some ancient writings, as a reference to her father, the castrated Uranus. In Trumplust, it’s an enchanted world occupied by the race of the poets.

Its city Utopia is named after the philosophical concept of the ideal society. Trough it flows the river Malva, named after the mythical Malvam river in Northern Africa. In its waterfalls live the nymphs, the daughters of the Astarte, the Queen of Hearts. The songs of the nymphs are stronger than opium. Many poets come to the waterfalls to find inspiration in their singing. Some of them are so taken by the songs that cannot find the strength to walk away and die from starvation. Astarte takes their souls and carries them to Elysium, the island of the Eternal bliss, which lies to North of the continent.

Anteros, the King of Hearts, lives on Mount Meru, the sacred mountain in Hindu and Buddhist mythology, considered the Center of the Universe. His palace floats on a cloud around the top of the mountain.

Apart from Elysium to the North, there is the Fortunate Isle to the East, named after the legendary islands in Ancient Greek mythology, which welcomed the souls of famous heroes. In Trumplust, the island is known as the place of requited love. It is believed that any poet who is able to swim to it will find his muse in flesh and blood waiting for him at the shore.

Oceans and Seas

There are 4 of them. The Ocean of Doom lies between Hyperborea and Antillia. The Ocean of Obsession is between Antillia and Ourania. The Sea of Innocence connects Ourania to Primordia and the icy Bitter Ocean separates Primordia from Hyperborea.


In the exact center of the map lies the city of Agartha. It’s named after the legendary city that is exists in the Earth’s core according to some hollow Earth theories. In Trumplust it’s a mysterious place which is still unexplored. Anybody who tried to reach it never came back. The seas around it are notoriously stormy and hard to navigate.

The Four Winds

There are 4 primary winds in the Trumplust world. All of them are named after their modern geographical equivalents – the Northeastern Greco, the Southeastern Scirocco, the Southwestern Libeccio and the Northwestern Maestro.

Trumplust, Reinventing the Playing Card Deck

alphadesigner trumplust the extra cards

I’ve been dreaming of designing my own set of playing cards for a lot of time. The idea first came in 2007 when I was working on my Theogony project. For a brief time I was even considering turning the whole project into a tarot deck. Last year I finally started making drafts for the more widely used French deck and that’s how my Trumplust Deck of Cards began to take shape.

Although it was no longer a part of Theogony, I decided to follow a similar concept which can be described as re-interpreted depictions of ancient mythological figures and deities. The main difference is these interpretations now follow the organization of the standard playing card deck and to achieve that, I had to assemble groups of deities under common “houses” that correspond to the four suits of Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.

The end result is a divine pastiche of gods and goddesses from Norse to Hindu mythology. The symbolism of the suits was also re-imagined and so were some of the cartomancy concepts as you will see in the explanations below. Like the rest of my projects, the Trumplust Deck of Cards is far from finished, so I will gradually expand it further. For example, the association of each suit with a cardinal geographic direction is not accidental and it’s going to be one of the ideas I will definitely spend some time on.

The House of Spades

Symbolism: War, violence, challenge, sacrifice, death, afterlife
Direction: North
Caste: Warrior

alphadesigner trumplust the house of spades

King of Spades: Osiris

The card symbolizes the cycle of life and death through pain and sacrifice. Osiris was one of the most revered Egyptian gods, ruler of the underworld and a symbol of life at the same time. He embodies almost every archetype of an ancient supreme deity. According to the myth, he was twice killed by his own brother Set and twice resurrected with the help of his wife Isis. Their son, Horus, was conceived by Isis from the dead body of Osiris.

Queen of Spades: Kali

The card symbolizes the brute force of nature and evolution, devoid of human categories like justice, compassion and mercy. Kali is the Hindu goddess of rage, annihilation and destruction and symbolizes the moment of death and letting go of one’s ego. She is often associated with darkness and the force that transcends time, one of the fundamental aspects of the Universe to which every creation inevitably returns.

Jack of Spades: Belus

The card symbolizes civilization and conquest through war and technology. Belus is a Babylonian god of war. The name is a latinized equivalent of Madruk, the ancient patron deity of Babylon.

The House of Hearts

Symbolism: Love, romance, emotion, spirituality, magic
Direction: South
Caste: Poet

alphadesigner trumplust the house of hearts

King of Hearts: Anteros

The card symbolizes the union of hearts and the triumph of love over individualism. Anteros is the lesser known brother of the Ancient Greek god Eros. He’s the god of fulfilled, requited love.

Queen of Hearts: Astarte

The card symbolizes the yearning for love. Astarte is an ancient Eastern Mediterranean goddess of sex, love and fertility. She’s the “prototype” for the Ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Roman Venus. All of them are associated with the “evening star” – the planet Venus.

Jack of Hearts: Kamadeva

The card symbolizes sexual desire and passion. Kamadeva is a Hindu god of physical love. According to some myths, he was born from the mind of Brahma, the god of creation.

The House of Diamonds

Symbolism: Luck, wealth, greed, rationality, materialism
Direction: West
Caste: Merchant

alphadesigner trumplust the house of diamonds

King of Diamonds: Jörmungandr

The card symbolizes possession and obsession with power. Jörmungandr, also known as Midgard, is a mythical ancient sea serpent in Norse mythology, one that holds all the waters of the world in his embrace. According to the myth, the end of the world will come when Jörmungandr loosens his grip.

Queen of Diamonds: Lakshmi

The card symbolizes wealth and material prosperity. Lakshmi is a Hindu goddess of wealth and fortune, closely associate with money, which are considered one of her many manifestations.

Jack of Diamonds: Mammon

The card symbolizes greed and the speculative accumulation of wealth. Mammon wasn’t originally a deity but a Biblical term used to refer to unjust material gain and gluttony. Later, it was personified as a false god and as one of the seven princes of Hell in Christian demonology.

The House of Clubs

Symbolism: Birth, fertility, desire, sex
Direction: East
Caste: Peasant

alphadesigner trumplust the house of clubs

King of Clubs: Chronos

The card symbolizes the passage of time. In Ancient Greek mythology, Chronos is the personification of time. He is sometimes depicted as a serpent, who circled the primordial egg which contained the world, ultimately splitting into three different parts – earth, sky and ocean.

Queen of Clubs: Rhea

The card symbolizes birth and the instinct for procreation. In Ancient Greek mythology, Rhea is the mother of many Olympian gods, among which Zeus, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon and Hera.

Jack of Clubs: Min

The card symbolizes fertility and the primal sexual desire. Min is an Egyptian god of nature, reproduction and male sexual potency. He’s often portrayed black-skinned and with an erect penis. The Ancient Greeks associated Min with their god of nature, Pan.