About Pinned Down

Pinned Down is a cooperative card game that combines great trading card game mechanics like the ones of the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game by Decipher, Inc. with cooperative board game mechanics you find in games like Pandemic or Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. It is an attempt to capture the essence of the best of these games and create a new one that can be played together instead of against each other.

The players command a small fleet who’s been on an intel mission deep in enemy space. Outgunned by enemy ships, they need to work together in order to manage to survive and deliver the crucial information they’ve gathered.

Each of the players plays a different role while passing different locations on their journey, such as covert ops, military or support. One of the most important points is that the opposition the players have to face grows as the players get stronger, much like in the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game. Pinned Down is a game of collaboration and strategical planning.


Fans will note that Pinned Down is clearly inspired by the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game by Decipher Inc., definitely the greatest trading card game I’ve ever played. Respect must be paid.

The player fleets are led by a flagship of their choice and pass different locations on their journey. Their ships are enhanced by effects, and every time the players lose a fight, their ships get damaged and have to be repaired. They can overload their ships to gain special benefits, and there’s no way of recovering destroyed ships at all. The stronger the players get, the greater is the opposition they have to face as they advance.

The main difference between the two games is that Pinned Down is cooperative, whereas Lord of the Rings obviously is not. Furthermore, there is no One Ring in Pinned Down of course, and no similar mechanic to protect (or corrupt) the flagship. Finally, there’s no archery phase in Pinned Down, as all ships use long-range weapons, and there are no ally cards – the players support each other instead.

Other mechanics like cloaking ships, having them enhanced by their matching commander or reducing their attributes by damage cards are derived from similar mechanics in the Star Trek Customizable Card Game, another great trading card game by Decipher. The initial version of Pinned Down contained some kind of location spaceline and additional challenges to be solved using the teamwork values of characters, too, but these mechanics have been removed because they didn’t really seem to add fun to the game. The focus of Pinned Down clearly is on collaborating, on discussing decisions and planning the use of limited resources, as well as finding clever ship fight assignments.

The terms battle destiny and upkeep are borrowed from the Star Wars Customizable Card Game and Magic: The Gathering, respectively. Giving the players the chance to choose the location to jump to pretty much works like in Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, and the idea of assigning different roles to the players has been taken from Pandemic. Both are amazing (semi-)cooperative games that led to the idea of creating this game.


The philosophy of Pinned Down can be summarized in three words:

Transparency. I have nothing to hide – all content related to the game is available for everybody. You have full access to this blog, the public Git repository and thus to all tools I’m using for developing the game, the wiki, and to all cards – feel free to print them and play at home with your friends! This permission includes all forms of personal use – just don’t go out there and sell my cards for money.

Creativity. Build your own decks, create your own cards and share them with everybody! If I find that one of your cards fits the game well, I’m gonna ask your for your permission to make it part of a future release, crediting you in your online profile.

Continuity. I’ll keep you up-to-date on the regular updates via Twitter and Facebook, and I promise to update this site at least every two weeks. The size of the update depends on how much I’ve got to do working in the games industry, of course.

About The Author

Nick Pruehs is a Co-Founder of the small game development studio Slash Games in Hamburg, Germany. In 2009, he completed his bachelor’s degree as “Best Bachelor” in computer science at Kiel University, his bachelor thesis is about a very fast pathfinding algorithm. In 2011, Nick finished his master’s degree in “Sound, Vision, Games” at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, joining Daedalic Entertainment as Lead Programmer shortly after. He spends much time playing competitive online games like StarCraft 2 and League of Legends.

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