The Singularity Deck

The Singularity Deck

UPDATE (4/16/2018): The Singularity Deck 2.0 is out. You can find more info at

Design Notes for the 1st edition of the singularity deck:
I decided to design my own deck of cards for a couple reasons: 1. I’m in the process of designing a card game that required additional suits and a few custom ranks, 2. It seems like at some point every designer tries their hand at making their own deck of cards and I've wanted to make one for awhile now.

The card game I’m working on is about causing and mitigating various global catastrophes (nothing says fun like global catastrophe). Even with such a specific theme in mind for the game, I wanted the cards themselves to be generic enough to be still work for a variety of games and be a useful tool for designing and play testing new games. This meant that I made the standard playing cards look…well, fairly standard. Surrounding those cards though, I had a bit more fun.

Within each suit there are between 17 and 42 cards depending on the suit. The first is called the singularity card which is ranked both 0 and infinity.

Next is the alpha (ace) card depicting the earth. This is followed by standard 2-10 ranks, plus an extra rank 1 card. Then the standard face cards J, Q, and K. The highest ranking “face” card is the civilization card.

The last card is the omega card which represents some catastrophe associated with each suit. The idea is that each suit begins with alpha and ends with omega (excluding the singularity itself).

There are 8 suit (for now). They are split up into earth derived catastrophes and cosmic derived catastrophes.

 Earth Set (standard suits):

Spades (global war), Hearts (disease), Diamonds (technological destruction, A.I), Clubs (pollution and famine)

Space Set:

Stars (Solar Expansion),  Asteroids (Asteroid Impact), Planets (Gravity, Black Hole), Hourglasses (Heat Death)

Optionally, each suit has additional ranks that go up to 20.

The hourglass suit is special in that it has ranks up to 35. The art for this suit is also different in that it is an hourglass counting down to the theoretical heat death of the universe.

Other unique or expanded decks:
While working on this deck design, I started learning about the long and fascinating history of the "standard" deck of cards. I also found a long history of people tweaking and expanding on that deck of cards. Here are some of the more interesting ones I’ve stumbled on:

The Eagle ( In the 1930s the United States Playing card company added a 5th suit called the eagle. While I don’t think it really fits with the standard suits, I do think it looks pretty cool.
James Watson’s Deck ( I think this is one of the better attempts at adding new suits to a standard deck. His deck introduces shields and cups as new suits. I like how he took care to match up a lot of design elements between the new and old suits. He also details another attempt at adding extra suits called the nu-dek produced in the 1960s.
Rage Deck ( It’s not really a modified standard deck of cards, but rather a custom deck for the game rage. Still, that didn’t stop enterprising gamers from discovering the utility in the deck’s design for playing a variety of games.
The Decktet ( Less of a modification of standard playing cards, and more of a redesign from the ground up.
The Rainbow Deck ( This is perhaps the most interesting and ambitious deck of cards I’ve seen. In addition to having many suits, the cards also have dice roll indicators, letters, multiple suit ranks, and a handful of other features.
The Badger Deck ( ): In my opinion this is by far the coolest take on the standard deck of cards I’ve seen. The artwork is amazing and each suit is unique. If you haven’t seen this one, you should really check it out.
And many more:,,, pyramid arcade will also be shipping with a 5 suit deck of cards.

Matthew T. Ross - Last Updated July 14th 2017


  1. Design looks great, and the Alpha-Omega rationale is really cool as well. Is this a lightweight civ-building game?

    aaj94 from bgg

    1. Hi aaj94

      Yeah, it's a lighter, somewhat abstract civ-builder. I hope to post some more stuff about the game itself soon.

      Thanks for checking the deck out!

  2. If I'd seen this before ordering the Badger Deck that I just acquired, I would've had a tough decision on my hands -- I really love the theme of this.

    By the way, if by chance you've not yet come across the Heckadeck, you might find it interesting:

    1. Hi Jamie,

      Well I appreciate you checking out the Singularity Deck either way. The Badger deck has absolutely wonderful artwork and design so I think you'll love it.
      I actually stumbled on the Heckadeck a few days ago. It also has some amazing artwork. I particularly like the beast cards.

      The main reason I decided to design my own deck was so that I had the ability to make new cards that could integrate with a more standard deck of cards. As cool as the badger deck is, I'd always be limited to the cards the designer published. This is the reason I made the back design for my cards freely available. That way anyone could design whatever cards they wanted to incorporate into their own deck or to even sell their cards to others.

  3. The link you have for James Watson's 6-suited deck is no longer valid. Here's the updated/correct link:

    C. Scott Davis