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.
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 immediately. Any player can say “RESET” if they don’t desire any of the cards and has a full hand, in which case the dealer refreshes one card of the player’s choice. Only once per turn. (It stays on top the other card, which can be used later if needed)
Each player builds a grid of 4 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. (Longer version: no looking at original two. The only way to know is by swapping from your hand over the course of two turns.)
Looking to re-check can be done as replacement of second action of the turn.
Going clockwise, each player gets 2 actions:
A. Take a card from the main line-up and add it to your hand.
B. Swap a card from your hand with one from the main line-up. (Starts to happen as people’s hand reach the maximum of 5 cards)
A) Place a card from your hand onto your deck.
B) Swap a card between your hand and your deck. (starts to happen once the player has all 4 cards in grid but wants to swap for correct pairs.)
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. Decide as a group ahead of time on which variation makes sense.) 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 may, 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, random 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.
(After mastering the game flow, try playing the high risk version and going for double-dingleberry. You confirm with your partner, then they wait and risk it all trying to get one of their own, you must then both simultaneously shout, “DOUBLE-DINGLEBERRY!”)
Points and Winning:
When a player succeeds in getting his partner to say “DINGLEBERRY” the round ends. The deck is then revealed. Hopefully memory served them. Partner A must correctly have 2 pairs.
Successful DINGLEBERRY + TWO correct pairs = Round won. Get a letter (Spelling B-E-A-R-S wins the game. A letter is a point.)
Successful DINGLEBERRY + ONE pair and woops, it turns out that I messed up the other pair = Round lost. Lose a letter (Spelling B-E-A-R-S wins the game. A letter is a point.)
*Any Acting Out card can be pair with any other Acting Out card. See explanation further below to find out how to Activate these cards.
***Acting Out cards get extra points. Tally them accordingly:
Must have 2 (a pair) minimum. Start by asking if there are 2 pairs total (example: Two 5’s and Two Acting out cards? or perhaps 4 Acting Out Cards?) Cannot be 3 Acting Out cards, for obvious reasons.
1 Winning Point for getting 2 pairs (like always), and then total up your Acting Out Cards and then subtract 1.
Two 5’s and Two Acting Outs:
1 Winning Point, (2 Acting Outs minus 1 = 1)
That team gets 2 points (Letters B + E, for instance)
Four Acting Out Cards:
1 Winning Point, (4 Acting Outs minus 1 = 3)
That team gets 3 points (Letters B + E + A, for instance)
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 (discard pile). No stacking. All dead cards remain visible and rot in the open.
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. In order to use it in your grid, you must act it out (this can happen during any player’s turn, so best not do it on your turn and draw attention.) and your partner must confirm it (can also happen at any time before its use). 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 (this can be done quietly and secretively, but must be done audibly). Acting Out cards are harder to use, but after the first one, each subsequent one is +1 winning point each.
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 too obvious, and then the card is confirmed. Partner one can now use the card at any time. Waiting until later makes its use less obvious. 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 The Love Card
“I love that about you.”
Partner 1 has the Love card and wants to activate it for use at any time. 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 at anytime.
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” (or “love that” or some short version) It can be whispered visibly across the table.
#2 The Sarcastic Card.
“Say sarcastic things to your partner in a sweet voice.”
Partner 1 has the Sarcastic card and wants to be able use it at some point. She says: “Aww, you’re just the worst at holding in your sneezes, aren’t you?” Partner 2 gets the message and responds with “Sarcastic(?)” Partner 1 nods her head and the card is confirmed and it can now be used.
#3 The Happy Card.
“Why are you so dang happy?”
Partner 1 has the Happy card and wishes to confirm it for use for later. 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. Just laughing awkwardly to try to activate it is a fun variation.) She says: “Why are you so dang giggly?” 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 you laugh so dang much?” “Hold on, dang, why are you smiling?”
#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.
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.
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