Pyramid (TOS)

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A high-stakes game of Pyramid (TOS: "The Lost Warrior").

Pyramid is a high-risk chancery game played with hexagonal cards. It is depicted as either being a Colonial version of poker often played by Starbuck (TOS: "Saga of a Star World", "The Lost Warrior", "The Magnificent Warriors") or a variation of blackjack (TOS: "The Man with Nine Lives").

Comparing Card Style

Original Series

The predominant pyramid playing style is a comparing card game, with the highest winning hand is a "full pyramid," which is reputedly rare. While playing with at least one Gemonese Warrior, Starbuck is about to win a large pot when an alert interrupts the game (TOS: "Saga of a Star World").

Starbuck, Boomer, Giles and Jolly play pyramid with Boxey in the barracks, with jellybeans as the stakes instead of cubits, to help keep him occupied when Apollo fails to report back from a patrol. Boxey wins a large pot by having a "full pyramid" before Cassiopeia takes him away (TOS: "The Lost Warrior").

Starbuck later plays a few hands of pyramid with Dipper and Duggy, who are flush with quantums after the theft of Siress Belloby's energizer, in the agro settlement Serenity on Sectar in order to buy seed from Sire Bogan. Bogan later challenges Starbuck to a hand, not realizing Bogan's plan to entrap him as Serenity's new constable, and so Starbuck is maneuvered into "winning" the badge of the constabulary during the game (TOS: "The Magnificent Warriors").

Cyrus leaves after uncovering the fact that Starbuck has been cheating at pyramid (1980: "The Return of Starbuck").

Galactica 1980

Starbuck has a card deck with him after crash-landing on the planet that he christens with his name, and whiles away the time playing Pyramid with Cyrus after instructing the Centurion on how to play (1980: "The Return of Starbuck").

Card Banking Style

Chameleon, Starbuck, and Apollo playing a game of pyramid aboard Rising Star (TOS: "The Man with Nine Lives").

An alternative version of pyramid plays in the form of a banking game similar to blackjack, utilizing at least three different card decks. Players are able to direct the dealer to either "build me" (hit) to receive another card or refrain by stating their desire to "hover" (stand).

After re-devising a gaming system, Starbuck plays at a table on Rising Star where he meets Chameleon. After losing to the house who has a "capstone" card, Chameleon informs Starbuck that he devised a system similar yahrens prior with much the same result.

Rising Star's chancery allows players to use calculators during the game session (TOS: "The Man with Nine Lives").


  • Starbuck has two brown full pyramid cards, while the unnamed dealer has a third brown card, suggesting that at least three decks of pyramid cards are in play.
  • As the name suggests, multiple deck blackjack is a variant that uses multiple card decks to increase difficulty to reduce card counting. This appears to be practiced at Rising Star chancery tables playing this variation of pyramid.


The Rising Star dealer's hand with "capstone" card at center (TOS: "The Man with Nine Lives").

In order of superiority for card comparing style pyramid:

It is unknown if these hands are included in the card banking style pyramid, as the winning hand in that style is noted as having a "capstone" (TOS: "The Man with Nine Lives").

Card Decks

Sire Bogan maneuvers Starbuck into accepting Serenity's constable badge by throwing a game of pyramid with a deliberately substandard hand (TOS: "The Magnificent Warriors").

Card decks have four color coded suites: red, black, green, and brown. Card values are aligned beginning at the vertex of the card's edge, and repeat at all vertices inside the hexagon-shaped playing card. The only exception is the "capstone" card, which features the triangle in the center in addition to a triangle at each vertex.


Card Value Equivalent Description of Icon
Capstone Ace / 1 Triangle in center, with smaller triangles at edge.
13 King Two stacked bars with three circles above, left aligned.
12 Queen Two stacked bars with two circles above, left aligned.
11 Jack Two stacked bars with one circle above, left aligned.
10 10 Two stacked bars.
9 9 One bar with four circles above, left aligned.
8 8 One bar with three circles above, left aligned.
7 7 One bar with two circles above, left aligned.
6 6 One bar with one circle above, left aligned.
5 5 One bar.
4 4 Four circles, left aligned.
3 3 Three circles, left aligned.
2 2 Two circles, left aligned.


Duggy, Dipper and Starbuck playing pyramid in Serenity with a card deck featuring a two-tone whirligig star (TOS: "The Magnificent Warriors").

Two backings of card decks have been seen in the series: the ones in the rag-tag, fugitive fleet feature a multi-triangular pattern, while a card deck seen in use in Serenity on Sectar features a two-tone whirligig star (TOS: "The Magnificent Warriors").


Re-Imagined Series


  • While fandom has made rules and cards related to the Pyramid card game, these are non-canonical to the Original Series.
  • It should be noted that the preponderance of capstone cards outnumbers those found in a standard deck, suggesting their screen-use to be a preference by the directors. This is common with all scenes depicting the game.

See Also

  • Triad (TOS), a ball game in the Original Series
  • Pyramid (RDM), a ball game with the same name in the Re-imagined Series
  • Triad (RDM), the corresponding card game in the Re-imagined Series

External Links