The business card game for 2 or more players

by Steve Ocepek (spam filtered)

biznatch is a color matching game played with business cards. It is made to be simple, and includes elements from other card games you're probably familiar with. If you're in sales or go to a lot of conferences, you probably already have a pretty good deck.

Card Identification: The most important aspect of biznatch is how the game identifies each card's color(s). During the printing process, business cards are produced using four printing plates. The four plates are Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y), and Black (K), and any combination can be used. In most cases, professional print shops charge depending on how many plates are used. Thus a 4-color card is more valuable, both in real life and, as you'll soon see, in biznatch.

Each business card is identified by its printing process. If a card has blue and red on it, biznatch says it is a Cyan (C) and Magenta (M) card. The exception is Black (K) cards, which must either have only black ink, or have black in non-character form (e.g. a line or portion of the logo's graphic). What about green, purple, and orange? biznatch assigns a color range to each of the card types:

Cyan (C)

cyan color range

Magenta (M)

magenta color range

Yellow (Y)

yellow color range

Black (K)

black color range

Any ink applied to the card after the printing process does not count (a written phone number for example). Also, the color of the card's stock does not count. This means that if black ink is applied to blue business card paper, it counts as a Black (K) card. The card's stock is not the same, however, as the card's background. Some of the fancier cards have ink applied to the entire card, thus covering up the stock completely. If in doubt, looking at the side of the card sometimes helps to determine the difference between the stock color and the ink. If the background has any type of pattern, it is most definitely inked on.

There will no doubt be disputes about card identification - with the enormous variety of cards out there, it's unavoidable. biznatch isn't meant to be a high-stakes game, so it should be fairly easy to work things out. Besides, it gives the loser something to blame.

Click here for identification examples

The Deck: At least 30 unique business cards for 2 players, then at least 10 additional for each player (e.g. 5 players would need 60 cards minimum). Any number of cards over the minimum can be used. Since one's hand should be kept secret, you may want to remove any oversided cards or cards with graphics on the back. Unfortunately, these "fancy" cards are becoming more popular.

The Deal: Shuffle and cut the deck and handout 10 cards to each player. Each player should keep his/her hand confidential. After cards are dealt, dealer places remaining cards face down, then turns first one over to form a discard pile.

Play: The player on the dealer's left starts the game by playing a card that has at least one color in common with the top discard pile card. The player then decides what color will be the "running" color and the next player takes his/her turn. For example, if the discard pile card is (Y) and (K), the player could play a (Y) and (C) card, then call Cyan as the running color. If the player cannot play (no cards match any colors of the discard pile card), the player must take a card from the face-down pile. This card can then be played immediately if there is a match. If not, the card goes into the player's hand, and the next player takes his/her turn.

Play continues in this manner until one player runs out of cards. When this happens, each losing player receives points for each card still in his/her possession:

1-color card10 points
2-color card50 points
3-color card100 points
4-color card200 points

4-colors make great last cards since they play against anything - just don't get stuck with one!

After 5 rounds, the player with the lowest score is the winner and supreme biznatch. Of course, depending on how much time you have to kill, any number of rounds can be played after agreed upon.

Those are the basic rules - enough to get started. If you want to spice things up a bit, try one of the variations below, or make up your own and send it in!


Silicon Valley biznatch: Playing a card from a company with ".com" in the actual company name (not just in the e-mail or website) causes a time warp to 1999 and forces the next player to buy a company (pick up a card) because the economy is so good.

"You've got spam!" biznatch: Playing a business card with an "" address in the e-mail section, or heaven forbid, the website, allows the player to choose a spam victim that must lose a turn while cleaning out their Inbox.

Spook biznatch: Playing a card from a government agency allows the player to inspect the cards of another player of his/her choice.

Venture Cap 2003 biznatch: Playing a card from a venture capital company forces that same player to take a "wait and see" approach to the game and miss his/her next turn.

Day Trader biznatch: Playing a card with the company's stock exchange symbol listed on it allows the player to trade a card with another player. Since the player is clicking "Buy" and "Sell" so fast, the trade happens without either seeing the other's deck.

Amish biznatch: Playing a card with no FAX, e-mail address, or website address allows the player to play another card due to waking up at 5:00 in the morning.