AWS BuilderCards - AWS Game Tech edition is a fun and educational trading card deck building game designed to teach how different AWS services work together to build well-architected workloads.
How to play AWS BuilderCards
This game is intended to be educational and fun. The included AWS Services may have additional capabilities than illustrated in cards or game mechanics.
Thank you for your interest in the game and enjoy playing!
AWS BuilderCards rules (Click to expand)
There are 3 kinds of cards in the game: Starter cards, Well-Architected cards, and Builder cards
Preparing the cards for the game
Starter cards come in sets of 10 with a unique icon color for each player:
Each player chooses a color set. Place any remaining Starter cards aside, removed from the game.
Building the Marketplace
Well-Architected cards are worth either 1 or 3 points:
You can reduce the number of 1-point Well-Architected cards in the game, depending on the number of players. This will keep the game duration short:
- 2 Players: 3 cards
- 3 Payers: 4 cards
- 4 Players: all (6) cards
Place the 1-point Well-Architected cards in a pile face-up on top of the 3-point cards.
Well-Architected Cards are needed to win the game.
Builder cards are all cards that are now left. These include Services, Certifications, Tools, Frameworks, etc.
Each card also has a QR code that you can scan to learn more about the particular topic the card is about.
Builder cards are shuffled and placed face down in a draw-pile.
Create a Marketplace by drawing the first 5 cards from this pile and place them face up as the Marketplace. Place the Well-Architected cards next to the draw-pile.
Whenever a card is taken from the Marketplace, replace it immediately with a card drawn from the Marketplace deck.
The ready-to-use Marketplace in the middle of the table.
Before you start with the first round
Determine who will go first (we recommend the person with the least AWS certifications) and then play proceeds clockwise.
The first player takes one card from the Marketplace for free (and refills the marketplace immediately). It has to be a card that costs TCO credits (dark grey). Then the second player continues, and so on… Once the last player has taken a card from the Marketplace they then take a second Marketplace card and play proceeds counter clockwise until each player has taken two Marketplace cards.
All players then shuffle their 12 cards, place them face down as their Resources draw pile, and draws 5 Resource cards into their hand.
Play then proceeds from the first player moving clockwise.
Turns are organized in three phases:
Phase 1: Build!
If you have more AWS Service cards in your hand than On-Premises cards, you can retire one on-premises card from your hand. Place it aside, removed from the game. (this will likely start to happen when you played 4-5 turns)
Each turn you may build one or more architectures by deploying any number of Resource cards from your hand into your architectures face up in front of you visible to all players.
Builder cards have additional effects that apply to your current turn. Some are without conditions, with others you have to deploy an architecture to fulfil the combinations. These effects include:
Draw one card from your Resources draw pile and use it in your turn
Additional AWSome credits
One additional buy action
Conditions that apply and additional effects are explained on the cards, so read carefully.
- You are not required to use these additional effects.
- Combination effects apply only to cards in your deployed architectures.
- Some cards have effects without conditions, you can deploy them as one-card-architecture to the table.
- You may extend your architectures at any point during your turn (for example after an effect allowed you to draw an additional card).
- Not sure if an architecture is valid? Discuss! We are builders :)
Phase 2: Buy cards
You may now spend your TCO credits and/or AWSome credits provided by your architectures to use one buy action. A buy action lets you take one card from the marketplace. The amount of credits you can spend is the sum of all your deployed architectures including fulfilled bonus effects.
Given that you have enough credits, either buy one Builder Card card from the Marketplace (make sure to refill immediately) or buy the next Well-Architected card from the Marketplace.
- Combo effects in your architecture may grant you additional buy actions:
When you have more than one buy action, remember that you have both AWSome credits and TCO credits available, so spend those.
It is intentional that you will always have enough TCO Credits to buy new Builder Cards.
Every Builder Card that you buy goes directly to your Discard pile. Every Well-Architected card you buy goes to a dedicated pile in your player area.
The Discard pile contains all used On-Premises cards and Builder cards from previous turns as well as Builder cards that have been acquired from the marketplace. The Discard pile is always face-up and next to your Resources pile.
*If you have not made any purchases, have played all resources from your hand, and do not have enough credits to make a marketplace purchase, you may shuffle the current marketplace cards into the marketplace deck and recreate the marketplace.
*If at any time all players agree, you may re-shuffle and recreate the
The game is designed to last 20 minutes (lunch break). If you like the game to last longer, you can put acquired Well-Architected cards straight into your Discard Pile. This will slow down advanced/winning players because the Well-Architected cards do not bring any advantage in building architectures.
Phase 3: End your turn
- Place all cards from your architecture and remaining hand into your Discard Pile.
- Draw 5 new Resource cards from the top of your Resources draw pile.
- If you are required to draw a card and there are no cards available, shuffle your Discard pile and place them face down as your new Resources draw pile.
- Start planning your architecture for your next turn
Play then proceeds clockwise with the next player.
End of game
When the last Well-Architected card is purchased the game is over. Each player adds up the Well-Architected points they have and the player with the most Well-Architected points is the winner!
If two or more players have the same amount of Well-Architected points, the player with the most Builder cards wins.
This game is intended to be educational and fun. The included AWS Services may have additional features and capabilities than illustrated in cards or game mechanics.
The complete setup explained (2 Players)
Where can I get the game?
At this time, the game will be freely available for AWS customers at selected events. We are iterating and measuring the success of the game to make it available more broadly.
How is the game played?
AWS BuilderCards is a deckbuilding card game. The players start with a set of resources which they invest to gradually build up their AWS deck. A leaflet containing a manual is included in every game pack, the rules and more information can also be found here.
Why is there a QR code on every card?
The QR code points to the website of the AWS content represented on the card. If you hold a service card in your hand that you want to learn more about, simply scan the card and start reading. The QR code contains the same URL that is printed on the bottom of the cards.
What is the Game Tech Edition?
The Game Tech Edition is a spin-off from the base game and works for game developers specifically. Unlike the generic base game, it’s not planned to have extensions with this edition.
Why didn’t you include 200+ Services?
The game comes as a starter edition, which covers core services common in many workloads. However, AWS BuliderCards is designed to work with extension packs to cover more services and workloads. We are already working on extension packs.
Do I need AWS experience to play the game?
You can play without any existing AWS knowledge. It is recommended to be at least 12 years old in order to play. However, it’s really fun when AWS Architects play and discuss 😊
If you have comments. feedback, or suggestions for builder cards, please email us at: email@example.com.