A face up draft format for 2 to 4 people. Players choose between growing, face up piles of cards.

How to Play

Start with 80 shuffled cards. Deal 4 cards face up into 4 piles. A player chooses one of the piles to add to their draft pool. Deal one new card onto each of the four piles and the other player drafts a pile. Continue adding a card to each pile with each pick until all cards are drafted.

As the draft goes on, piles will become asymmetrically larger. Part of the challenge is evaluating choices between quality and quantity.

Each player builds a 40+ card deck from their draft pool.

Advantages of Winchester Draft

Winchester Draft is one of the earliest methods devised to capture the spirit and fun of drafting with just two players, and was originally played by opening and shuffling a set of booster packs.

Winchester still has a lot of the meaty face-up decisions of Rochester, but takes much less time. Combine that with the simplicity and mini-game of Winston, and you’ve got a killer combination.


Adjusting Number of Players

Winchester scales well for three or four players. Add another 40 or 45 cards for each player, make picks rotating through all players and deal out a new card to each stack after each player picks.

4 players can either play individual round-robin games, free-for-all multiplayer, or a two headed giant game, alternating draft picks between teams.

Pool Sizes and Stacks

As usual, there’s flexibility in the exact numbers. Winchester draft was originally created to play with sealed booster packs and was played with a pool of 90 cards (6 sealed packs). 80 is a nice size since it’s divisible by 4, but is a bit arbitrary. A larger pool will give players more flexible sideboards, allow players more space in the draft to make speculative picks, and create more focused decks.

While four is typical, the number of piles is flexible too. With a larger number of piles, the piles will also get bigger and give players a lot more to process.


Because picks can be from piles of different sizes, it’s possible for players to end up with different size pools, and extreme cases find themselves without enough cards they want to put in their decks. This isn’t a fatal flaw, but something to keep in mind for players to end up with a deck they’re happy with.

Winchester is ideal for two players. For three or four players, consider Quilt Draft or Grid Draft for a similar experience.

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Multiple Choice — Campbell White