Wake Up, Monster!


Since AEG released the ultra-minimal game Love Letter, folks have been discussing the potential of other tiny games. Love Letter packs a lot of replay value in just 16 cards. Here's an idea for a sort of trick-taking game that I've discussed before, but now using a much small deck of cards. It's called...


Monsters are trying to lure another monster out of a cave. The only problem is that you don't know which monster is in the cave! Whoever is in the cave will reward or punish whoever woke it up.

13 cards. Each number 1-6 appears twice in the deck. There is only one 0. Each card depicts creatures of increasing loudness, ranging from Ghosts (0) to Banshees (6).  Each card also has a reward.

One player will be the dealer each round. The dealer chooses one card to put face down on the table. That is the sleeping monster. Only the dealer knows its identity. The dealer then shuffles the remaining cards and deals them evenly to all players' hands.

Starting from the dealer's left, each player takes turns. On your turn, choose one card from your hand and play it face-up in front of you. (Not in the middle of the play area.) The player to your left takes the next turn, and so on. Keep all the cards you have in play visible. As cards come out you can start deducing which monster is asleep.

When the sum of all card numbers in play is over a certain amount or higher, the monster wakes up. This number varies based on the number of players.

2 Players: 15
3 Players: 20
4 Players: 25

When the sum of all cards in play meets or exceeds that number. All players say "Wake Up!" as the dealer reveals the monster. The monster awards based on unique conditions. For example:

Player with the highest card in hand wins 1 point.

In other words, the Ghost appreciates anyone who showed restraint.

Any player with the highest sum of cards in play gains 1 point.

In other words, the Werewolf likes being woken to loud howls.

End of Round
After scoring, all cards are reshuffled. The next player to the left gets to be the dealer and a new rounds begins.

End of Game
The game is over when each player has had a chance to be the dealer. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

With only one card of each number, you'll hit 10 pretty fast. At most it will take four turns (1, 2, 3, 4) and often take less. Not much time for deduction. I think I'll make 1s more common, 2s less common and so on up to 3. Loudness would be another suit or trait on the card for purposes of reward/punishment perhaps. Alternately or additionally, I could just make 13 the number at which the monster wakes up.


  1. Does the dealer also play, or does he sit out that round?

  2. The dealer also plays, which does create an imbalance of information. That's also why I want to give every player a chance to be the dealer in a complete game. You could easily remove that aspect by just randomly drawing one card out of the deck at the beginning of the game, then everyone is in the dark.

  3. The dealer's hiding part should be in the gameplay section and not in the set up in my opinion.
    I love this game, scalability could be an issue, why don't you try a wake up threshold depending on the number of players


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