And it will mail you checks!
Jason Rohrer, developer of games like Passage, Sleep is Death, and The Castle Doctrine, has just released his newest title, Cordial Minuet.
Here’s the pitch I received: “Cordial Minuet is a two-player occult strategy game that is played online ONLY for real money.” How could I not be hooked?
Cordial Minuet is free-to-download, but requires a minimum investment of $2.00 to play. Each round requires a minimum bet of a penny, with the winner taking the pot. The game is entirely skill based, meaning there is no luck or randomness involved. If any of it were up to chance, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 would then apply, making this a nightmare for Rohrer. Luckily, he’s “a bit of an amateur lawyer” and did his research.
A lot of research.
The mechanics might not make sense at first, but once you have actually played a round or two, it all makes perfect sense. I was incredibly lost in my first match, but even by the second one I felt like I had a pretty firm grasp as to what was going on. Now, I feel like I’m the bee’s knees (I’m not). Jason does a way better job explaining the game mechanics than I ever could:
First of all, for my fellow colorblindies out there, there’s a “colorblind.ini” in the settings folder of the game that can be enabled to change the hues of the red and the green. It works brilliantly, and I was so happy when Jason told me of its existence. You can even edit some of the other files to change the hues completely!
As for the game itself: yes, it uses your real money. The initial deposit must be at least $2, but players can add in as much as $999,999.99. Just, you know, in case you wanted to put in all of your money. When creating a game, a wager is chosen, and any opponent may join by matching the wager. The minimum wager is a penny, so even with the fees taken out and a minimum deposit, players can partake in over 150 matches, even if they never win.
Since this is real money players are winning, they have every right to collect it. Players can withdraw money and request a check to receive their earnings. In the US, UK, and Canada, this check is $3. Anywhere else and it jumps up to $7. With that in mind, any amount above that will be on the check, and ready to cash at any point. As for currency issues, Jason told me that “in many cases, they convert the check to local currency and it is drawn against a local bank.”
As for the “occult” side of things, Jason has always been interested in the occult, and this felt like the perfect opportunity for him to blend that interest into an actual game. The square on the board is a “magic square,” meaning each row has the same sum and each number appears only once. I can’t say exactly how occult rituals are held, but I’ll take his word that “all the occult elements in the game are deeply researched and as real as they can be.”
He also brought up the history of gambling, where he found out that gambling and religion have a long-connected history together. Apparently, many of the gambling devices we use today doubled as fortune-telling machines in the past. The opposite happened to tarot cards, which were originally used for European gambling games and then taken overseas and used for fortune telling. Jason has clearly done his homework here, and I would expect no less.
The game of poker came up in our discussion, something that’s banned online in many areas. The main reason I bring this up is so I can share Jason’s description of poker, which I think is simply the best:
“Unpacking poker a bit, we can see that it’s really just a random number generator that picks one person at the table as the winner in a slow, strip-tease-like reveal. We bet along the way about whether or not we are the chosen winner, but the outcome is predetermined by the shuffle order waiting in the deck.”
Cordial Minuet does not fall into the category of luck. If one player outsmarts another, they will win every time. “It is as legal as a chess tournament, a prize fight, or even the Independent Games Festival.” It also keeps everyone completely anonymous, so there’s no chance of collusion.
Now, the biggest question of them all: is the game enjoyable to play?
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time with Cordial Minuet, even if it hasn’t made me a billionaire yet. Knowing that the game doesn’t depend on any sort of luck is a huge draw for me, especially since my hard-earned money is actually on the line. It also adds a sense of intensity that only real-world stakes can hold. I’ve been in matches before where I’ve forgotten how much we had wagered, since the only thing that mattered now was that the wager became mine. It was three cents, by the way. We wagered three cents.
You can download Cordial Minuet for free here, but remember that it requires a credit card and a $2.00 minimum starting deposit. There’s a secret contest going on as well, and the prizes are real amulets made out of real gold. Crazy!