- Dec 1, 2015
- Reaction score
“Kandoshii Deck”, also called Kandoshii Geroya Kaj’gam (Game of table skin) though often abbreviated to ger’kaj to simply mean ‘cards’, was the name of a card deck created and popularized by Mandalorians. The deck itself could be used to play a number of games and dates back to the ancient days where Mandalorians hunted the mysterious Mythosaur.
Beskar was bountiful and plentiful, the world had yet to be plundered and had an excess to provide to its people. Beskar was honed into plates the size of cards and would sometimes be sewn into armor fittings to provide a sign of standing and pragmatic protection to the wearer.
Two players are allowed to inspect the other’s decks though only one deck needs to be used in play. This is because originally the opponents back in the day bet their cards which were often made of beskar or some other valuable, though resilient substance.
Sometimes the value of the lives of their foes were actually in the hands of the armorer. It was their skill at craftsmanship and quality of beskar that was responsible for making perfect ger’kaj and while two armorers may have completely different decks, they did not want to be accused of cheating, marking cards, or hinting that their craft was anything but superb and allowing a fair game to be played. Sometimes the entire future of a clan could be decided by a single round of ger’kaj depending on the stakes.
However as time went on the wonders of technology came to the hands of Mandalorians. They stopped using primitive scale mail armor and had mostly treated ger’kaj as a game for old timers and Armorers. Cards were occasionally still worn in kamas but were rarely worn by Mandalorians beyond ceremonial purposes. Other games like sabacc and pazaak were more popular easy to play games with existing decks different from ger’kaj making it struggle to win popularity. But that did not stop some Mandalorians from manufacturing paper ger’kaj and experimenting with other more viable materials than the beloved beskar. This did have some effect, allowing the game to spread beyond the Mandalorian community since it was no longer beskar being used to create the cards.
Over the course of its use, the ger'kaj has been used for more than playing or making wagers. The deck has also served as a method of communication, sometimes hiding codes or notes on covert whereabouts and enemy movements. The face cards (Alor, Al'Verde, & Verde) along with the Manda card often showed high ranking enemy targets during wartime or during violent conflicts. This, along with the cards circulating more easily through ranks of Mandalorian troops during downtime, would help them identify high value targets.
Creation Originally the cards were created using beskar alloy to make a deck of cards but the creators of ger’kaj now use paper, plastic and other recyclable synthetic materials. These cards were small enough to be fitted onto a set of armor though this was mostly ceremonial or a display of wealth and power. An armorer would spend days and even weeks if not months to craft a perfect deck of cards and often only for a person of status and worthy of respect like an Alor or recognized warrior. Often cards of ger’kaj are 86 mm tall and 56 mm wide though they can range in size.
Composition Each deck contains 52 cards. 13 cards in one of four suites: coin, heart, spear or sword. Sometimes these slightly differ like spears being rings in the place of coins sticks instead of spears, or hearts being cups but the entire deck shares the same suites. Each suite holds a single card of each and they are ranked from highest to lowest starting with Alor, Al’Verde, and Verde being the “face” cards though any of the cards may have artwork on them showing a face, design or image of some kind.
The numerical cards start with the highest number being of the greatest card 10, 9, then 8 and continue until 2. 2 is the lowest value card aside from the Manda. The Manda acts as both a card higher than Alor and lower than the number 2 and can be played with special rules depending on the game being played.
Occasionally a deck may have two additional added to their decks. These are called “jate’kajara” or luck(y) cards, and serve as wildcards if the players agree to their use. These are often only found now in modern ger’kaj decks since ancient decks are almost unheard of except for the "wealthiest" of collectors or armorers.
- A player can issue a challenge only if they possess a deck themselves.
- Something of equal value must be wagered by both sides.
- Both players must inspect the other’s deck before play.
- The challenged may decide which game and which deck to use.
The rest of the rules depend entirely on the game. Otherwise, the above rules are the common “unsaid terms” that any good Mandalorian adheres too. However dar’manda and outsiders are sometimes not treated with respect if they have not earned it.
IntentI wanted to create an in universe version of the classic 52 / french-suited playing cards. There’s some lore I’ll tie to this card deck and maybe other games and such with be inspired by it as well. A bingo-book, a lead on a covert, gaining some beskar'gam, the possibilities are numerous.