Yukatan Jack and the Crypt of Ra


Yukatan Jack, famed archeologist, is exploring the fabled Crypt of Ra with only his trusty whip and even-trustier wit to protect him.  Avoid traps and pitfalls, seek out safe zones, and uncover valuable diamonds to win the game.

# of players: 2

What You Need:  A deck of cards, Yukatan Jack Game Piece (this can be anything as long as it fits on a card and can be knocked over; a pawn, meeple, or army man works well).

Object:  Be the player with the most diamonds at the end of three crypt runs.

Setup:  Take your deck of cards and separate out the following:


  • Yukatan Jack Movement Cards:  One Ace, two 2s, one 3, one four (five cards total).  These can be of any suit.
  • Crypt Cards:  Any three Spades, three Clubs, four Diamonds, two Hearts (12 cards total). These can be of any value.


How to Play:  Determine randomly which player is Yukatan Jack and which is the Crypt of Ra.  It doesn’t really matter, since you will be alternating after each run.  The Crypt player will be laying out a path that Yukatan Jack must brave. Shuffle the Crypt cards and deal one out face-down to be the last card in this path. The Crypt player may look at this card. Then, the Crypt player chooses an order for the other 11 cards, and lays them out face-down in a path leading to that last card.

After the path has been set, Yukatan Jack begins to make his way across.  To move Yukey, you will be playing movement cards.  The Ace moves Yukey one space, the 2 moves him two spaces etc.  Whenever he lands on a card, that card is turned face up.


  • When Yukatan Jack lands on a Spade:  TRAP!  Reveal the top card of the deck.  If it is a black card, Yukey dies and the run ends.  If it is a red card, Yukey lives and the run continues.
  • When Yukatan Jack lands on a Club:  TRAP!  The Crypt Player gets to throw a card at Yukey, much like a certain Cajun mutant.  If the card knocks Yukey over, he dies and the run ends.  Otherwise, we can assume that Yukatan Jack’s wit and agility overcame the obstacle.
  • When Yukatan Jack lands on a Diamond:  TREASURE!  If Yukatan Jack survives and gets to the end of the Crypt of Ra safely, that player gets 1 point for every Diamond he landed on along the way.
  • When Yukatan Jack lands on a Heart:  SAFE!  The hearts are safe zones.  They are neither Trap nor Treasure.

If Yukatan Jack dies before he reaches the end of the path, he gets no points and the players swap sides.

But wait, if Yukatan Jack doesn’t know what’s coming, how does he decide how to play his movement cards?

Before Yukatan Jack plays a movement card, the Crypt player chooses and reveals two cards from the path.  Yukatan Jack must base his movements on this knowledge.  Will your opponent play two traps in a row?  Or would he reveal a safe heart to get you to skip over some hidden diamonds?  Or would he just lay all the traps at the front, hoping to lure a cautious Jack to a grisly demise?  Only the Crypt player knows for certain.  The question is, how well do you know your opponent?

The Crypt player reveals two safe spots. Should Yukatan Jack play his one and only 4 to reach one, or take his chances on one of the face-down cards?

Jack plays one of his 2s. Sure enough, there's a diamond there: His opponent was trying to trick him into jumping right past the good stuff.

After each player gets 3 runs as Yukatan Jack, tally up scores.  Whoever scored the most diamonds wins the game.

Optional Rules:  If you happen to have a 20-sided dice lying around and you want that Authentic Boulder TrapTM feel, you may play the game with the following changes:

Spade:  Instead of revealing a card, roll the d20.  Odd kills Yukey.  Even lets him live.

Club:  Instead of throwing a card, flick the “boulder” at Yukatan Jack from a distance of 2 cardlengths away.  If Yukey stays up, he lives.  If he falls down, he’s dead, Jim.


Interested in learning how we designed YJ? Check out the designer diary.

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