Ginger Bear, Death Stare: A Snarky Cardgame
Where fake friendships come to die.
The game and the rules are PG-13
A very verbal and nonsensically nonverbal cardgame about authentically relating to the weirdness you didn’t know lay dormant within your closest friends and one-time tinder dates. Replete with snarky run-on sentences.
4-10 Players, teams of 2
Teammates sit across from each other.
Object of the Game:
Partners work in tandem, sitting across from each other, to get one of them to obtain 2 pairs (or more).
Fewer pairs meaning faster wins and lower risk, while more pairs takes more time and risks losing the round to your opponents.
In each round, the winning team gets a letter. The first team to spell B-E-A-R-S wins the game. A penalty means the loss of a letter.
Players take turns being the dealer, or a non-player may deal. The dealer deals each player two cards face down in front of them for their “deck,” and 3 cards into each player’s hand. She then deals four cards face up in the middle of the table. Players either swap cards or take them, and the dealer replaces any taken ones. Any player can say “RESET” if they don’t desire any of the cards and has a full hand, in which case the dealer swipes all 4 cards and refreshes them, and that same player gets to take the turn as normal.
House Rules Variations:
Dealer can reset any single card at any time based on lack of use, or just plain sassiness. This works well for nonplayer dealers. For player-dealers, this reveals that the card is undesired, thereby giving away some info about that team’s motives (or covering them up?). It could give that team the upperhand, but just wait until the other team gets to be dealer. So, yeah, don’t be a maniac.
Each player builds a grid or line-up of face down cards. This is called the “deck.” The dealer deals each player two to start their deck, but more are added as players accrue desired cards to make pairs. Each player gets dealt 3 cards into her hand, and the maximum number of cards in hand is 5. Players can look at the original 2 cards, but can never check which cards she has or rearrange the grid. Ever. Flex yo memory.
Okay, there is an exception to re-checking which deck cards you have. See Death Stare section.
Going clockwise, each player gets 2 actions:
1) Take a card from the main line-up and add it to your hand.
Swap a card from your hand with one from the main line-up.
2) Place a card from your hand onto your deck.
Swap a card between your hand and your deck.
Pass a card to the person to their left.
If (and only if) that person has the max of 5 cards, this forces that person to take the card and pass a different one (the passing can continue in this way back around to the original person, who can end it by discarding the received card, or continue the passing, like a total smart-axe). If any receiving person has 4 cards or less, he or she can take it, which can (but doesn’t have to) end the passing.
The Death Stare:
Our favorite part. At the beginning of any turn, a player (the “dueler” or “she”) can choose to engage in a Death Stare with an opposing player (the “duelee” or “he”). The Death Stare is the dueler player’s whole turn (It replaces both actions of a normal turn, but she can place the card. If she gets a winning card and places it, the round could end there. High Stakes.) A Death Stare does not affect the duelee’s turn.
The dueler may want a card from the opposition, or want to steal a card so that they don’t have it. The dueler chooses a person to have a staring contest with. The first person to blink one or both eyes or say anything loses (Or first to breathe. Just kidding. Or wait, yes–house rules? Breath-holding addition?) . Non-staring players can get verbal in an attempt to pysche up or psyche out the participants. If the dueler loses, she loses her turn. If the dueler wins, she can announce the card she wants, or choose silently (think of tactics. Or house rules of Whispering Go-Fish, meaning she whispers what she wants into the duelee’s ear. If they have it, she gets it. If they don’t, she loses the opportunity) The duelee hands over a card without revealing it. If he has the announced card, he must give it (without announcing it himself. Again, think tactically here.) The duelee cannot shuffle or stack his hand throughout all these shenanigans, in case the dueler knows which card she wants. The Death Stare cannot take place between teammates. It can, however, involve simultaneous nose-picking, ear-picking, butt-picking, and/or any other nonverbal attempts at psyching each other out.
Before each round, each set of partners convenes in secret to develop signals of communication. These can be hand gestures, sounds, or facial expressions. Players cannot use **words or use the cards in their hand as signals.
The Win-Claiming Signal:
While playing, you either make pairs or help your partner make pairs. When you have gotten your pairs, you must nonverbally signal to your partner that he/she confirm your team’s win by saying/shouting “DINGLEBERRY!” Alternatively, if you sense that your teammate has his pairs, you can say/shout “DINGLEBERRY!” When you are successful and show your pairs, you get a letter (a point). If it turns out that you don’t have pairs, your false alarm gets you a penalty (you lose a letter. If you don’t have a letter, you lose the game.) Only the nonverbal-clue giver teammate counts his pairs.
Accusing the Winners:
If an opposing team (“accusers”) catches your nonverbal cue, they can cut you off by saying “CUT IT OUT!” This must be said before or during the winning shout of “DINGLEBERRY.” If the accusers say “CUT IT OUT” and the win-claiming team did have pairs, the win-claimers get a penalty and lose a letter (lose a point). If the accusers find out that the win-claimers did not have pairs (and we don’t care whose fault that is) then the accusing team’s false alarm gets them a penalty (lose a point.) This penalty keeps accusations to a minimum. Hopefully.
Whoever says “DINGLEBERRY” must at least believe they have pairs (or you’re wasting everyone’s time.) You cannot accuse if you don’t have letters to lose, and if you do, you lose the game.
**The Lies and Deceit Variation:
People lie. We get it. In this variation, try to get away with using a codeword, but use only nouns and only use it as a the final cue to inform your teammate to say “DINGLEBERRY.” For instance, “Man, I could really use a salad right now” could be your cue to your teammate to say “DINGLEBERRY.” The opposing team can, as normal, accuse by cutting off the win-claiming team’s words by saying “CUT IT OUT!” Ultimately, though it might be easier to use a codeword, as it’s more obvious.
Points and Winning:
When a player A succeeds in getting his partner (B) to say “DINGLEBERRY” the round ends. The deck is then revealed. Hopefully memory served them. Partner A must correctly have at least 2 pairs.
Successful DINGLEBERRY + 2 pairs = Round won. Get a letter (Spelling B-E-A-R-S wins the game. A letter is a point.)
Successful DINGLEBERRY + 1 pair and woops, it turns out that I messed up the other = Round lost. Get a letter (Spelling B-E-A-R-S wins the game. A letter is a point.)
Successful DINGLEBERRY + more than 2 pairs = Round won. Count additional pairs as one point each and get that many letters.
Also, beyond 2 pairs, each additional Acting Out Card acts as an extra point.
So: 2 pairs = One letter. An extra pair = Another letter. An extra Acting Out Card = Another letter.
So what if I have 1 pair of 4’s, 1 pair of 5’s, and only 1 Acting Out Card? 2 Letters (2 points)
So what if I have 5 Acting Out Cards? Well, that’s still 2 pairs for the win + 1 point, so 2 Letters (2 points.) What about 6 Acting Out Cards? 2 pairs (1 point) + 1 + 1 = 3 Letters (3 points.)
More than 2 pairs with no Acting Out Cards, count additional pairs as one point each.
You get the idea.
2 cards in deck
Each player gets one Kill Card for each round. It can be used as a 3rd action at any time in the player’s turn. The card is used to take any card out of rotation for the entire round. The player gives up the Kill Card with the card to be killed, and places them both face up in the middle of the table. No stacking. All dead cards remain visible and rot in the open.
This card can be used to make room in your hand if you know your other cards are good and more good cards are coming.
Acting Out Cards:
12 cards in deck, 4 sets of 3.
Sometimes we need to act out. Possibly maul someone’s face. Misbehaving can be helpful, especially when it wins you the game. When you come upon an Acting Out card, you have the choice to save it for later, act it out, or kill it. In order to use it in your grid, you must act it out and your partner must confirm it. If you suspect your opposition needs the card, you can kill it mid-acting-out. (But not once it is being confirmed aloud.) There are 3 of each Acting Out card, so if you decide to use them, act them out subtly enough that the opposition doesn’t know which card, but clearly enough that your teammate can confirm it for its use. Beyond 2 pairs, Acting Out Cards count for double points. That means that if you have 2 pairs, and only then do you confirm your first Acting Out Card, you can try to stop at 5 cards and it counts as three pairs.
Acting Out Cards, the 4 Types
Must be acted out to be used in grid, partner must confirm by repeating back the theme. Partner with the card (Partner 1) says the required thing, Partner 2 ideally realizes that immediately and responds appropriately without being obvious, and then the card is confirmed. Partner one can now use the card. Neither partner has to say “we’re using this card.” That gives it all away.
After reading the rules below, players can decide as a group how strict to be about wording and about policing proper wording.
#1 “I love that about you.” The Love Card
Partner 1 has the Love card and wants to use it. She comments on a personal quality her partner has. She says: “I really appreciate your curly hair.” Partner 2 realizes she has the Love card and says “I Love that about you” in order to confirm its use. Partner 1 can now use it.
Others examples for Partner 1, who has the card. “I love your laugh,” “I dig your jacket, man,” “Cool necklace, bro.”
For this card, Partner 2 must respond with “I love that about you.” An opposition’s kill card can only oppose this process in between the exchange. It cannot oppose this once Partner 2 has begun responding.
#2 “Say sarcastic things to your partner in a sweet voice.” The Sarcastic Card.
Partner 1 has the Sarcastic card and wants to use it. She says: “Aww, you’re just the worst at holding in your sneezes, aren’t you?” Partner 2 gets the message and responds with “You’re being sarcastic, aren’t you.” Partner 1’s card is confirmed and it can now be used.
#3 “Why are you so dang happy?” The Happy Card.
Partner 1 has the Happy card and wishes to confirm it for use. She must ask a question similar to the above, with a “why” and a “dang” in it, and some positive word like happy, funny, laughing, giggling, fun, smiling etc. (House rules can modify this.) She says: “Why are you so dang giggly?” This might give away the card, since it’s only a slight variation of what’s written on the card, so the opposing team might catch it first, and use a Kill Card to block the confirmation of the card. Try to be obvious enough for your partner but sly enough to go undetected by the opposition.
Other examples for Partner 1, who holds the card and wishes to confirm it for use:
“Why do laugh so dang much?” “Hold on, dang, why are you smiling?” (And if they’re a grumpy person: “Dang it! Why aren’t you having fun?” “Why so dang glum, champ?”)
#4 Phrase everything as a question to your partner. The Question Card.
Partner 1 has the Question card and needs to confirm with his partner in order to put it in his own grid. He asks his partner, seemingly randomly: “Are you a bird?”
(The Question Card is different from the other Acting Out Cards, because the partner can confirm it by not realizing it. Lucky, eh? Here are multiple scenarios, as examples:)
Partner 2 responds, “Wait, what?” This is a confirmation, whether or not he realizes.
Partner 2 responds, “Are you crazy?” Again, this counts.
Partner 2 responds. “No, I am a human.” This is not a confirmation.
Partner 2 doesn’t respond, or looks confused. Not a confirmation.
Partner 2 doesn’t respond, Partner 1 tries again, Partner 2 then asks, with a wink in his eye, “I don’t know, are you a bird?” That is a super classic confirmation and a great example of how this card is meant to be played.
The most important point for the Acting Out cards is that the two partners confirm each other’s cards without the other team catching on. If the other team finds out about the specific Acting Out card, they will be on alert for the next time, when you try to activate the pair. If they find out, but don’t “kill” the process, they might “kill” the process next time. If you get caught asking each other questions for the Question Card, the other team will know that you want the other Question Card for the pair. That opposition team will either kill the Question Card they might be holding, or they will be prepared to kill your next attempt at using the other one. Get it?
Brutal Truth or Dirty Lie:
8 cards in deck
How well do you know your teammate? How well do you want to know them? When played successfully, these cards allow you to give a specific card away. The player with the Truth/Lie card prompts his teammate with this question and a statement: “Brutal Truth or Dirty Lie? I wet the bed until I was 25.” (Or something equally embarrassing or inappropriate.) Your teammate then needs to answer correctly, either Truth or Lie.
The opposing team can veto the sentence and ask for something more challenging. Alternatively, as a rule, everyone can decide that you must offer two or three sentences of different truths/lies, and the opposing team(s) choose what they deem is the hardest for your teammate to answer.
This card is the opposite of the Death Stare – so instead of stealing a card, the Truth/Lie card provides the opportunity to give a specific card away. If you know your teammate needs a certain card, and you have one of these cards, play it. If your teammate guesses right, discard the Truth/Lie card and hand your teammate your card. If they have room in their hand, they take it. If not, they can discard any card to make room, or trade a card back.
There is no table talk, unless you consider just talking at the table to be table talk. If it’s normal conversation, talk away. If you must talk strategy, develop a nonverbal way to communicate strategy before the round and then embarrass each other trying to get it right.
Loosely based on the game called Kemps. https://www.pagat.com/commerce/kemps.html
The dealer places two cards in front of each player face down in