Heartless GibbonA card game of merciless cheating for 3 - 6 players.
- 2010 - 2017
- Updated on
- 16 Feb 2017
- Black Hat
- Version history
- Heartless Gibbon(2016 - 2017)
- Passion of the Gibbon(2013 - 2014)
- Mel Gibbon(2010)
STARTUP & FLOW
3 - 6 players.
A normal deck of 52 playing cards + 2 jokers.
1 hat. (2 hats, if playing the Black Hat extension.)
Simple bookkeeping equipment.
The game is played one player at a time in clockwise order. On his/her turn, the player must either:
- PICK, PLAY & PROMISE: Pick up and play a new card face down on the table - presumably of the same or higher number.
- DOUBT: Doubt the previous card.
After a doubt, the loser takes the pile into his/her shame stack (in front of the player), while the winner gets rid of a hand card by starting a new pile.
- If a player gets rid of all the 3 hand cards, he/she is excused from the rest of the round - and thus safe from committing more shameful sins.
The round ends either when the deck runs out or there are only 2 players left. Each player’s 7 deadly sins are then counted.
DECK & STARTUP
SUITS: There are only two ‘suits’ in the game: hearts (♥) / non-hearts (♤, ♧, ♦).
NUMBERS: The face cards are their number equivalents (J = 11, Q = 12, K = 13) and the ace is always the highest number (A = 14).
JOKERS: Jokers are what they were promised it to be: any number and heart / non-heart.
HAND CARDS: The rest of the cards are shuffled and each player dealt 3 hand cards. The player on the dealer’s left starts the round.
PLAYING & DOUBTING
1. PICK, PLAY & PROMISE
The player picks up a new card from the deck and plays one hand card face down on top of the pile in the center of the table.
The player must also promise that the card is either:
- NUMBER PROMISE: The same or higher number than the previous card and not a heart - the number is said out loud.
- HEARTFUL PROMISE (♥): The heart of the same number as the previous card. (Not allowed when starting a new pile.)
HEARTFUL PROMISES (♥)
When making a heartful promise, the card is held over the pile and offered to everyone for acceptance / doubting in clockwise order.
If no one doubts the card, the player collects it as an approved heart: face down next to the shame stack (making others jealous after the round).
- The next player must then pick, play & promise - because there are no questionable cards to doubt (all have been approved - one way or another).
When someone makes a doubt, the doubted card is turned face up on the pile and the judgements follow:
- LOSER: The loser of the doubt takes the pile into his/her shame stack (in front of the player).
- + CHEATING: If the doubter was right - the accused cheated - the pile is put sideways into the shame stack as a reminder.
- + HEART-CHEATING: In addition, if the player cheated about hearts, he/she also gets the heartless gibbon hat.
- WINNER: The winner of the doubt then starts a new pile by playing a card and promising it to be any number the player wants - but not a heart.
- + Because the winner didn’t pick up a new card before playing one, he/she gets rid of one hand card at the same time.
HEARTLESS GIBBON HAT
The player who has the hat is not allowed to make heartful promises - thus he/she is not allowed to play hearts at all.
There are two ways to get the hat:
- By getting caught not promising a heart, when the card actually was a heart.
- By getting caught cheating while promising a heart - not having played the heart of that number.
The only way to get rid of the hat is if someone else does the same mistake, or after the round has ended and the sins counted.
END OF THE ROUND
When you get rid of your last hand card, you are excused from the rest of the round.
- SPECIAL CASE: If your last card gets doubted and you win the doubt, you cannot start a new pile because you have no more hand cards. Instead, the loser first picks up a new card from the deck and then starts the next pile.
LAST PROMISE - END OF THE ROUND
Before the round ends, there must a last promise:
- If the deck runs out, the player who picked the last card, makes it.
- If the players run out, the player about to be excused (leaving only 2 players in the game), makes the last promise.
The card of the last promise is offered for doubting to the remaining players - regardless of whether it’s a number or heart promise.
- If no one doubts the card, it’s left face down on the pile - or collected as an approved heart - and the round ends.
- If someone doubts the card, the normal judgements follow and the round ends right after the winner has started a new pile.
SCORING & THE END
THE 7 DEADLY SINS
After the round ends, each player gets penalty points from the sins committed during the round - collected into each player’s shame stack.
- The absolute sins are counted from the face up cards on top of each shameful pile on a card per card basis.
- The relative sins are given by comparison between the players. If many ‘share’ a relative sin, they all get a penalty (X) - with no sins, no penalties.
ABSOLUTE SINS (for each card)
- 1. Wrathfor each face up card (each pile)10 p.
- 2. Envyfor each high card (J, Q, K, A or joker)10 p.
- 3. Lustfor each heart (♥ or joker)10 p.
- 4. Jealousyfor each approved heart less than the player with the most
(face down cards next to shame stack)10 p.
RELATIVE SINS (in relation to others - max. 1 penalty / sin type / round)
- 5. Slothhaving the most cheats (= piles sideways)X
- 6. Gluttonyhaving the fattest pile (= face down cards in one pile)X
- 7. Pridewearing a hat (= heartless gibbon hat)X
When a player gets at least 500 penalty points or commits the same relative sins 3 times (X X X), the player goes to Hell.
- The rest of the players continue the game, until only 2 players are left, and the game ends.
- There are only losers in the game: Each player who ends up in Hell is a loser.
BETWEEN THE ROUNDS
After writing down the scores, the bookkeeper chooses a new bookkeeper and swaps places with him/her. The dealer’s job is passed clockwise.
COUNTING THE PENALTIES
There are two equally valid ways to count the first 3 absolute sins:
- EACH ONCE: Check each face up card once - whether it’s 10, 20 or 30 p. - and add them together.
- IN 3 LAYERS: Go through the cards in 3 layers - 1. face ups, 2. highs, 3. hearts - adding 10p. on each hit.
- Jealosy is counted by checking how many approved hearts you have less than the player who has the most. (Eg. you 1, someone 3 —> you 2 sins —> 20 p.)
COUNTING TABLE EXAMPLE
- SlothXX XX XX
- GluttonyX X X
X X X
- PrideXXXX X
- Player #1 Player #2 Player #3 Player #4
- 1st round805080120
- 2nd round220120140160
- 3rd round240190290170
- 4th round300290420190
- 5th round320350480280 —> to Hell
- 6th round 420 400
560—> to Hell- - -
SHORT VARIATION: Scared of Hell
The game ends already when the first player goes to Hell - because the other players are scared of Hell.
END OF THE GAME
When the first player goes to Hell, the players’ relative sins (X) are converted to absolute sins (50 p. each) - and the cumulative scores counted.
- If a player’s updated cumulative penalty score is now at least 500 p., the player goes to Hell, too.
The player with the least penalty points (under 500p.) is the winner. As normally, all the players in Hell are losers.
EXTENSION: Black Hat
IDEA & BASIC CHANGES
In addition to two the main options (1. pick, play & promise and 2. doubt), the players can now also (3.) pass the turn by taking a black hat promise.
The 2 black queens (♤Q and ♧Q) are removed from the deck and used as tokens for taking the promise. They are put face up next to the deck.
An extra hat - the Black Hat - is needed for carrying out the penalty.
BLACK HAT PROMISE
To make a black hat promise, the player moves one of the available black queens on the pile (face up) and points it towards him-/herself.
- The player thus promises not to fail the pile (= getting caught cheating or falsely accusing someone). Otherwise he/she gets the black hat.
- The turn is then passed to the next player, who can still doubt the previous card (if it was doubtable before passing the turn).
- When the pile finally fails, it’s taken to a shame stack, the black queens are removed from it and put next to the deck.
Making a black hat promise is only allowed on the following conditions:
- There are available black queens beside the deck.
- Only once per player per pile - that is, a black queen is not pointing towards the player already.
- The player is not wearing the black hat.
- There are cards to doubt - that is, not on an empty pile nor after a heartful promise (see below).
DURING A HEARTFUL PROMISE
The black hat promise can also be made during a heartful promise, but only by a player whose turn it would be after the promise (if no one doubts).
- So if the first player makes the promise, the second player is also allowed to make one.
If no one doubts the card, the turn is then passed to the next player after the promiser(s).
- Note that the next player cannot make a black hat promise (nor doubt) after a heartful promise, because there are no questionable cards anymore.
WEARING THE BLACK HAT
Having the black hat means that you are not allowed to make the black hat promise anymore - and that you’re currently guilty of Pride.
- The only way to get rid of the hat, is if someone else does the same mistake, or after the round has ended.
- If you wear both hats at the same time - the Heartless Gibbon Hat and the Black Hat - you still get only 1 sin from Pride.
SELF DOUBTING (3-player speciality)
When playing with 3 players, it’s possible for a player to get to doubt him-/herself - if the other 2 players make black hat promises:
- DOUBTING YOURSELF: If you doubt yourself, you are both the loser and the winner - so you get the shameful sins but also get to start a new pile.
- NOT DOUBTING YOURSELF: Otherwise you must continue by picking, playing & promising as normally. (After a heartful promise, you also get an approved heart).
FOR IDEAS, HELP WITH DEVELOPMENT & PLAYING
Tomi Laine, Johannes Aho, Piia Tamminen, Emmi Viitala, Ville Viitala, Mika Mathlin, Emil Virack, Matias Saresvuo, Rodrigo, Janne Sutinen, Antti Kallio, Ville Matveinen, Martti Paavilainen, Suski Salminen, Emmi Erkkilä, Lauri Taskinen, Ella Salminen and Nikolai Rautio among others.
Special thanks to Piia Tamminen, Emmi Viitala, Johannes Aho, Ville Viitala and Tomi Laine for an extensive amount of playing.