You May Be Eaten By a Grue

This is a last-second entry into the Squishy Challenge which ends today and I discovered, ah, last night. It’s a card game with only ten cards, and is not even slightly playtested. It’s about not getting eaten.

You May Be Eaten By a Grue is a game for five players (with options for four or six players at the end of these rules) and requires ten cards with identical backs.

On the front, five cards read “Darkness,” one reads “Grue,” one reads “Traitor,” one reads “Shield,” one reads “Sword,” and one reads “Lantern.”

Setup: Make a pile of “Darkness” cards, and add the “Grue” card to the pile. Shuffle it and deal it out to each player. The Grue player immediately turns his card face up and reveals it: he is the Grue, and he is likely to eat someone. The remaining players are human adventurers, wandering around in the Grue’s caverns in search of treasure. He takes the remaining cards (one “Sword,” one “Shield”, one “Lantern,” and one “Traitor”) and deals them out to the remaining players, one to each. Whomever is dealt the Traitor card is the secret traitor among the adventurers… he’s working with the Grue to a nefarious end. The cards which the Grue deals are kept secret from the other players, with the exception of the Lanterns; at any time a player may (but does not need to) reveal her Lantern card.

At this point, each player except the Grue has a hand of two cards. The Grue has one card in front of him, which should be flipped face down to indicate that he is Frightened.

Play: There are two teams: the Grue and the Traitor, and the Adventurers. The Adventurers’ goal is to slay the Grue (at which point the cowardly Traitor will give up), and the Grue and the Traitor’s goal is to slay all two Adventurers (at which point the remaining, outnumbered hero will give up).

Play starts with the player to the left of the Grue, and moves clockwise.

On the Grue’s turn, he may do one of two things: if his card is face down, he may flip it face up to the Ready position. If it is face up, he may either take no action or attack one player.
To attack, select any one player. If that player reveals a Lantern, the Grue is frightened of the light; the attack fails and the Grue card is flipped face down. If the player reveals a Shield, the Grue is fended off, the attack simply fails. If the player reveals a Shield AND a Sword, then the Grue is slain. If the player reveals the Traitor card, then the Grue stops the attack at the last second… this reveals who the Traitor is to everyone, but does save her life. If the player doesn’t reveal one of these cards, then the attack is successful and the player is dead; she should set her cards on the table face down.

On a players’ turn, she may trade cards with any other player, according to the following rules:

1) The Traitor cannot trade that card under any circumstances.
2) Whomever wants to trade may proffer a card, face down, to any other player. If that player accepts, she must give the active player a card from her hand BEFORE she picks up offered card. The active player cannot change her mind midway through.

2a) If a player is offered a card for trade, but doesn’t want it, she should gently slide it back to the offering player WITHOUT looking at it.

2b) On each turn a player may only attempt one trade, whether it is accepted or not.

3) Players can only ever have two cards in hand.
4) The Grue will attack whomever it hears, so players may not talk, NOT EVEN to declare what they’re offering or willing to trade for. The only exception is the player with the Lantern; if she reveals that she has the Lantern, she may speak freely (but other characters cannot respond).
4a) Extensive non-verbal communication is also disallowed. No nodding or shaking of heads, folks.

The player may, alternately pass her turn.

The player with the Lantern has two extra options: She may investigate a corpse or force a trade. To investigate a corpse, she draws one card from any player who was slain by the Grue, then returns one card to the corpse. It may be the same card or her other card–it cannot be the Lantern.

To force a trade, the player with the Lantern hands it, face up, to another player. That player returns a card, also face up, for all to see. The player cannot refuse this trade… not even the Traitor would refuse the Lantern in these dark caves.

Play continues until one side has won.

(Optional four-player rules: Before dealing out items, the Grue player takes the Darkness cards form the others. He then deals two cards to each player, one item and one Darkness OR Traitor card.)

(Optional six-player rules: use five Darkness cards. The Grue deals the other cards normally; one player will only have a single card. This player will be the Wizard, and he only ever holds one card. He counts as an Adventurer, but when attacked he must reveal his card; if it’s Darkness, he can cast a fireball, which acts as a Lantern, frightening the Grue. If he has anything else, EVEN THE LANTERN, he fumbles in panic, dropping it and getting killed.)

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