Wolf-Man’s Curse

The rules below use a standard poker deck.

For the illustrated print edition visit Lester Smith Games on DriveThruCards.com.

Wolf-Man’s Curse is a card game for 3 to 8 players using a standard poker deck. Each player takes the role of someone bitten by a werewolf, and who transforms into a bloodthirsty beast at each full moon. The goal of the game is to

  1. Avoid being killed by the angry mob of villagers (club cards),
  2. Avoid being hanged by Scotland Yard (spade cards),
  3. Avoid killing innocents (heart cards), and
  4. Get rich in the meantime (diamond cards).

The winner is the wealthiest surviving wolf-man at game’s end.

Preparing to Play

  • Separate the number cards from the face cards and jokers.
  • Shuffle the number cards together.
  • Shuffle the face cards and jokers together.
  • Create a score sheet by writing “clubs,” “spades,” “hearts,” and “diamonds” (in that order) across the top of a piece of paper and listing the players’ names down the left side.

Turn Sequence
Game play is divided into “months” (each a hand of 5 number cards) with 3 full-moon “nights” (each the play of 1 card).

  • Start each month by dealing 5 number cards face down to each player.
  • On the first full-moon night, turn up the top card of the face-card pile. The value of cards in this suit is doubled this night. (Jokers double nothing.) Players each choose one card from their hand and lay it face down, then reveal them simultaneously. High card captures them all, including the face card.
  • On the second and third full-moon nights, turn up a new card from the face-card pile. Players each play a card face up in clockwise order around the table. The first person to play is the person to the left of the player who captured the previous night’s cards. Again, high card captures all other cards on each night.
  • In case of ties, a club beats a spade beats a heart beats a diamond. (Hence the order on the score sheet.)
  • At the end of each month, score the cards each player captured in each suit. Each number card counts as 1 point, a jack as 2, a queen as 3, and a king as 4. Then discard face cards (players keep their jokers), collect and shuffle the number cards, and start a new month of play.

Ending the Game
The game continues until the heart queen is turned up. (Note: If this happens on any night during the first month, turn up a new face card and shuffle the heart queen back into the face-card deck.) Once the heart queen night is finished, determine a winner by the following sequence:

  1. Angry Mob: The player with the highest clubs score is lynched by an angry mob of villagers and loses the game.
  2. Scotland Yard: Among the remaining players, the one with the highest spades score is hanged and loses the game if he or she also scored at least 1 heart.
  3. Innocent Survivor: If a remaining player has managed to avoid killing anyone (scored no hearts), that player wins. If two or more players are innocent, the richest of them (the one scoring the most diamonds) wins.
  4. Guilty Survivor: If all surviving players have blood on their hands (scored at least 1 heart), the wealthiest of them (highest diamond score) wins.

Exception—Lover’s Release: If a player possesses both the heart queen (the lover) and at least one joker (a silver bullet), that player is released from the wolf-man’s curse by dying at the hand of his or her true love. For Scotland Yard’s prisoner or the intended victim of the angry mob, this is a merciful death. For an innocent survivor or guilty survivor, it means being prevented from winning. Still, in either case it can be viewed as a moral victory.

Design: Lester Smith
Playtesters: Jennifer Smith, Karalyn Smith, Katheryn Smith

Copyright © Lester Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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