The Green Man is a masculine representation of nature, seen throughout Europe, often in sacred and secular architecture. As a symbol, the Green Man exemplifies rebirth and growth, all while looking friendly and, truth be told, quite strange. With the leaves growing out of his face, he can also be used as an allegory for seasonal changes.

Set Up:
When using a standard deck of cards, the seasons are replaced with normal suits as follows:

  • Winter: Spades
  • Spring: Diamonds
  • Summer: Clubs
  • Autumn: Hearts

The aces are separated and shuffled, and then laid down in random order (but placed in correct seasonal order), with the last suit put down as the initial Active Season. Be sure to use a marker to indicate this season. Each player is dealt 7 cards. Play goes clockwise from dealer.

Game Play:
A player must put down a number card of the active season. If they cannot, they must take a card from the draw deck, and the player to their right takes their turn for that round. A face card may be played at anytime during the game.

They may play more than one card if the cards are in sequence to each other; for example: 2,3,4 or 8,9, but not 4,7. A sequence can go as far as a player can play it to.

When a season has all 9 number cards (2 through 10) laid on top of it, then the next season is the focal point, and any Green Man, Goddess, or Farmer associated with that season are removed from the game (if already in a hand, they are immediately replaced with random draw).

Face cards are discarded after they’re used. However, players may re-shuffle them back into the draw pile.

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It is my goal to eventually design and illustrate a deck of playing cards that will use the appropriate iconography for the face cards, and associated imagery of the seasons in place of the suits. Until then, this game is presented with conventional playing card terms.

Trump Cards and Their Effects

Green Man (King) cards immediately change the Active Season to suit that Green Man personifies.

Goddess (Queen) cards change the Active Season after one full round has happened, to the suit that that Goddess personifies

Farmer (Jack) cards force other players to draw one card from whichever Season pile that Farmer personifies. If none in that pile, players take from the draw pile. Does NOT change the Active Season

10’s are disruptive. When played on their Active Season, the season changes immediately to the next season in sequence (i.e. Spring -> Summer).

5’s are also disruptive; When played on their own Active Season, the season changes immediately to the previous season in sequence (i.e. Spring -> Winter).

2’s remove a single card of their season, and put it back into the draw pile.

Solitaire Rules:
The player lays out the Ace cards and draws 7 cards as usual, with the normal goal. The player moves as usual, but after their “turn,” turns over a single card from the draw pile in place of three invisible players. If it’s relevant to the active season, it’s played. If it’s not, then it is removed from the game permanently. King and Queen cards are played as usual, however Jacks remove cards from the game, except those that affect the lone player. 2s are not disruptive.