Throw Down

My idea of a Judo inspired card game

So I have an idea of creating a tabletop card game based on Judo a sport I have participated in since 2005 (this is me). So please come on this journey with me as I try to explain the idea I have in my head.

I wanted to choose something simple enough that I could practically make a useable set of cards and potentially actually fully complete as a functional properly done game. This meant given my skill I had to choose a game mechanic I was relatively familiar with so I chose to go with an exploding kittens mechanic style game. If your unfamiliar here is an explanation.

Exploding Kittens Game : Target

So why do I think this is a good idea?

Firstly the style of game here is a party-style game to be played with a few friends, while also existing in the niche market of that you probably won’t buy a game based on judo unless you have done Judo or another similar combat sport (martial arts, boxing, etc.).

Why this style?

The choice of style is something most young adults are now familiar with, due to the success of games such as exploding kittens and unstable unicorns. This will make the game understandable and playable even if you don’t understand why some of the cards are called what they are. they will have explanations on each card which players can read to work out their gameplay functionality intuitively throughout their playthrough. which Gamification in Education (Taspinar et al, 2016) talks about as one of the ways players acquire knowledge from games.

Other benefits of this theme & style?

A game like this could also potentially be picked up by the International Judo Federation. They are always trying to increase the general knowledge of Judo and the spectator friendliness of the sport. They do this by rule and referring changes, which is stated in and shown through their constant adjustment of the rules not just for competitive or safety reasons.

What about game mechanics? 

I plan the replace what would have been an exploding kitten card to be a ‘Time to throwdown’ indicating that you are up next unless you have an ‘Opponent withdraws due to injury’ (defuse) card -or something to that effect I am still working on card games. You will be up next with the next person to draw a throwdown card without an opponent withdraws card.

The two players will then duel using the cards in their hand they have been collecting as the game progresses (or from the top of another deck) to see who wins the throwdown and who is knocked out of the game. These dueling cards will be different throws, submissions, Hold-downs and their counters/escapes.

What about a feedback loop?

Within two weeks I plan on having a functional copy of this game printed with cards just being the card name and a description of what they do. This will be done in a  spreadsheet then printed and cut out. 

To achieve this I plan on creating gripping/movement cards that affect the turn order of play and fighting cards based on attacking techniques to be used in your duels to eliminate other players and keep yourself in the game. 

once this rough copy is done I will initially play this game with my family at home to see if my parents can understand the rules without ever having played exploding kittens as a starting point to determine the level of intuitiveness the game has after that is completed I play to play with friends either digitally if required or physically if possible. This will help with determining the viability of this game as a party game for friends of those with combat sports backgrounds.

Academic References:

Moon, C. and Bartholomew, S. R. (2018) ‘teaching manufacturing through board game creation’, Children’s Technology & Engineering, 22(3), pp. 18–21. Available at: (Accessed: 17 April 2020).

Taspinar, B., Schmidt, W. and Schuhbauer, H. (2016) ‘Gamification in Education: A Board Game Approach to Knowledge Acquisition’, Procedia Computer Science, 99, pp. 101–116. doi: 10.1016/j.procs.2016.09.104.

Minchin, P. (ed.) (2018) ‘In praise of tabletop games : Part 1’, Access, 32(1). Available at: (Accessed: 17 April 2020).