Fire GibbonAnother card game of merciless cheating (Gibbon family) for 2 - 6 players.
- 2016 - 2023
- Updated on
- 17 Oct 2023
- Version history
- Naked Gibbon(2016 - 2017)
- Naked Gibbon(2023)
- 2 - 6 players.
- A normal deck of 52 playing cards + 1 or 2 jokers (optional, but recommended).
- And with Heartless Monkey Hat extension an obtrusive / demeaning hat.
BASIC IDEA (and story)
In an ancient bamboo forest, a campfire burns in the evening dark and a few gibbons are gathered around it to play a fire game.
- Each gibbon starts with 4 bamboo spots which are all kept further back in the dark (as hand cards).
- On their turn, each gibbon pole vaults over the fire leaving the bamboo pole onto the fire feeding the flames. The number of the card represents bamboo length: The longer the bamboo, the higher the jump, and the more it fuels the fire.
- Roughly speaking, their jumps fall into two main categories (face up and face down):
- When a card is played face up (= jump with hands), the bamboo ends up in the center of the fire and burns up fully (flames rise according to the pole length).
- Hand cards can also be played face down - these foot jumps leave the pole further from the fire pointing towards the origin (fire grows +1 in height).
- However, these sticking out bamboos can be doubted by others: If they are too short, the gibbon must have jumped from a tree (in the dark).
- Whenever a gibbon wins a doubt, or raises the flames so high that another gibbon tumbles, the reward is a new fire spot (= table card slot).
- The first gibbon to get a fire spot for all 4 bamboos wins and becomes the Braveheart. (Traditionally, he's allowed to wear a mask on the next time around.)
LAYOUT & START UP
All the cards (52 + jokers) are shuffled and each player dealt 4 hand cards (or optionally only 3 cards with 6 players).
- The player on the dealer's left starts the first fire by playing any card into the center face up. The turn moves clockwise from there on.
- The face up cards in the fire are kept in one clean pile (= rising flame), while the face down cards stick out towards their owner.
- When the deck (= bamboos) runs out, the gibbons move to a new spot: It's reshuffled from the discarded cards by the player who next needs a card.
- In case there's very few discarded cards to shuffle from (= all/most are in the fire), each player's topmost card is kept while the fire below is reshuffled.
ON YOUR TURN
You must play a card onto the fire before your turn ends. The turn always moves clockwise.
- Before playing a card, the player may also doubt another card (see further below). If correct, he gets to start a new fire (otherwise plays on the current one).
- A new fire is always started by a face up card - any card is fine (hand / table / random). Otherwise the player must play to the existing fire (see below).
- After playing a card, the player must draw a new hand card from the deck (unless played random) so that he always has 4 hand + table cards in total.
PLAYING HAND CARDS (chest ups, side flips & front flips)
Hand cards can always be played face down (except when starting a fire), but can also be played face up with certain conditions.
- FACE UP: All fires are started face up. Otherwise allowed only 1) with the same number (= side flip), or 2) a higher number heart (= chest up).
- FACE DOWN: Playing face down (= front flip) promises the card to be a higher number and non-heart (
♥) - be it true or not. (Usually mumbled with: "higher".)
- The card can then be doubted by anyone on their turn, until it's your turn again (or a new fire is started).
PLAYING TABLE CARDS (face ups)
Table cards can only be played face up, and playing them is only allowed if they are the same or higher number than the fire (or there's no fire).
- After playing a table card, it's immediately replaced by a new card from the deck or a hand card (and drawing a new one). The flames rise to the number.
PLAYING A RANDOM CARD (panic jumps)
Each gibbon can always resort to a panic jump: play the topmost card of the deck face up against the fire.
- If the card is of the same number or higher (or there is no fire), the jump succeeds and the flames rise accordingly.
- Otherwise (= lower number) the gibbon tumbles onto the fire, and the one who last raised the height of the flames is rewarded with a fire spot.
- In either case, the turn moves to the next player (who either continues on the fire, or starts a new one after a crash).
ACES & JOKERS (special bamboos)
The numbers are in their normal order (representing bamboo length) face cards being their number equivalent (J = 11, Q = 12, K = 13).
- However, aces (A) are number 14 when played, but number 1 afterwards. (These wet bamboo poles nearly exinguish the fire.)
- Jokers are flexible bamboos that are always the lowest number that fits the usage (number 1 if used to start a new fire).
- So as hand cards, jokers can be played face up or face down. When played face up, they are typically placed overlappingly (to also show the previous number).
If there are doubtable face down cards in the fire, you can choose to doubt one of them.
- Only the latest card of each player (except your own) can be doubted, and only if it's face down. The face down cards should always point towards their source, so it's clear which belongs to whom.
- A doubt is made by turning the doubted card face up (= the bamboo pole is brought near the fire and measured).
- If the bamboo was long enough, the doubted gibbon is rewarded (with a fire spot), while the doubter must play a card to the existing fire (max. 1 doubt per turn).
- Otherwise, the doubter gets the fire spot reward, and gets to start a new fire (by playing any card face up).
- Note. If needed, you can count the required number from the fire: from the last (non-joker) face up card + 1 for each face down card above.
FIRE SPOTS AND BRAVEHEART
Whenever a gibbon is rewarded, the reward is to receive a fire spot (= table card slot).
- The happy gibbon simply decides which hand card to put face up as a table card. From there on, he will have 1 hand card fewer (and 1 table card more).
- Note. While the first fire spot is advantageous, many spots will eventually make using front flips (= playing face down) more difficult.
- The game ends when one of the gibbons gets his 4th fire spot (= no hand cards) and becomes the Braveheart.
- If playing for multiple rounds, the Braveheart gets to choose which player to swap places with, who then becomes the first dealer of the next round.
- If you want more complex scoring (than win = 1 point), you can reward each player by how many table cards they have, and play until, say, 10 points.
extension: HEARTLESS MONKEY HAT
Following the Gibbon tradition, whenever a player gets caught cheating with a heart, he gets the Heartless Monkey Hat as an extra punishment.
- Cheating with a heart means playing a heart face down getting caught. (The gibbons have vowed to always fully fire up the heart bamboos for their joyful flames.)
- The gibbon with the hat is not allowed to play hearts from hand - the only way to play them is through table cards. (So get one before you mess with hearts.)
- You're relieved of the burden of the hat only if another player gets the hat, or when the round ends.
The types of bamboos.
- The number of the card represents bamboo length. The longer the bamboo, the higher the jumps, and the more the flames are raised.
- Aces are the longest bamboos but they are wet and nearly extinguish the fire. Jokers are special flexible bamboos (telescope-like).
- Hearts are bamboos with lovely flames when played face up. The gibbons have vowed to not play them face down (punishable by Heartless Monkey Hat).
Jumping and doubting.
- When a card is played face up, the bamboo ends up in the center of the fire and burns up fully (flames rise depending on the bamboo length).
- Hand cards can be used to do front flips (face down) - leaving the pole further from the fire pointing towards the origin (fire grows +1).
- Table cards are special fire spots. Their next bamboo is visible and jumping always burns the pole fully - it's impossible to use them for front flips.
- Random cards represent panicky jumps, where the gibbon picks up a random bamboo while running towards the fire - likewise the pole burns up fully with this style. If the jump fails, the gibbon who last raised the flames is rewarded with a fire spot.
- Doubting represents checking out a sticking out bamboo (from a front flip) for validity: If not long enough, the gibbon must have jumped from a tree. The winner of the doubt gets a fire spot.
... more coming soon ...
- Simplified the basic gameplay mechanics. Main changes are: 1. no more moulting, 2. hand cards are harder to play face up, 3. there's a Braveheart.
- Changed the game to end when the first gibbon drops out (= Losing Touch), and added Survival of the Fittest extension (and Never My Tail for a short play).
- Burnmarks now mean safe spots (not losing a card) useful for spot moulting, whereas other table spots are vulnerable.
- Table cards must be higher number (same is not enough), and can spot moult same or lower number. A face up joker (= random / table) is lowest that fits.
- Getting a burnmark lifts the burden of the Heartless Monkey Hat. (Also added Losing Touch and the Veterans extensions.)
- Refined the layout, and changed the story to be about jumping over the fire and losing your tail (from sorcerer gibbons).
- Added another way to moult hand cards: now you can also put one unplayable hand card face up and refresh the remaining hand cards (if any).
- Refined who starts after the punishment (so that the turn always moves clockwise, no jumps - again)
and added a related Let Me Start extension.
- Refined a few details for smoother gameplay and enhancing the Gibbon spirit (1. the winner of the doubt starts a new fire, 2. joker can also be a higher heart, 3. hearts cannot be blessed as the same number,
4. when losing a card can keep some hand cards).
- Added Heartless Monkey Hat extension in the spirit of the Gibbon series.
- Revised and reorganized the original Naked Gibbon concept. Now the game is much simpler, requires no bookkeeping nor 2-player specialities.
FOR IDEAS, HELP WITH DEVELOPMENT & PLAYING
Johannes Aho, Ville Viitala, Rosanna Viitala, Antti Mannila, Tomi Laine and Johan Rautio.