LimboA card game about four swordsmen in a repeating Limbo for 2 - 4 players.
- 2013 - 2016
- Trick / Combat / Role
- Updated on
- May 2016
- Version history
- Limbo(2015 - 2016)
- Limbo(2013 - 2014)
2 - 4 players. (See the end for 2- and 3-player-games.)
A normal deck of 52 playing cards with 1 joker.
Simple bookkeeping equipment.
The game is played by 4 Kings (players) in the presence of the Temple of Limbo (♤A).
Each King has its own mission (or obsession) and basically wants to kill certan roles and protect others. As a protection, each role has lifelines (face down above the role card).
The game proceeds by playing sword fights between the Kings. After each fight, either the loser loses one lifeline or, if he's under protection, the Temple loses a lifeline instead.
The round ends either when the Temple is destroyed or 2 Kings have died - each player then gets, or doesn't get, a fulfilled obsession. The player(s) who first gets 3 fulfilled obsessions wins the game.
DECK & STARTUP
The deck is divided into 2 main parts (usually handled by 2 different dealers):
- SWORDS: Cards from 3 to 10 (32 cards).
- LIFE CARDS: Face cards & aces (J, Q, K, A), 2's and the joker (21 cards).
Each player is dealt 6 sword cards and the rest of the deck (8 cards) is left aside - to be used as random swords.
Life cards are dealt into 5 life piles positioned into a ring:
- ROLES (5 cards): The Temple (♤A) is put face up on the table. The Kings are shuffled and each player dealt one King face up.
- LAST LIFELINES (5 cards): The 2's and the joker are shuffled and dealt face down above each role card (starting at the Temple.).
- BASIC LIFELINES (11 cards): The jacks, queens and aces (J, Q, A) are dealt face down above each card. The temple gets always 3 basic lifelines, while the Kings only 2 (dealing is usually started and ended at the Temple).
- After dealing the lifelines, the topmost lifelines are turned face up - except for the King of Limbo (♤K), who starts the game under protection (by the Temple).
Each player plays one hand card face up in clockwise order.
- The player who played the lowest number loses the sword fight - unless the lowest number was blocked.
- Swords can be blocked by playing the same number: The new card blocks the previous card of the number and both are ignored from the fight.
- So 2 or 4 cards of the same number amount to nothing. With 3 cards, only the last 2 are blocked and the first one still applies.
The King of Limbo starts the first fight of the round, and after that the loser of the previous fight.
- However, if the fight ended in a draw (2 + 2 or 4 cards of the same number), the player who played the last sword starts the next fight instead.
As long as there are cards in the random deck, the players are allowed to use random swords:
- One of the hand cards is thrown away face down (without showing it), and the topmost card of the random deck is played instead.
The last hand cards are always played for the next player clockwise (to the left). (So, one of your hand cards actually belongs to your neighour.)
After the last fight, the deck is shuffled and each player dealt 6 new swords. The remaining cards are put on the bottom of the random deck (so it has 8 cards again).
LIVING & DYING
LOSING A LIFELINE & BEING PROTECTED
One of the 5 roles is always protected, while the others are vulnerable.
- Protection is indicated by having the topmost lifeline face down - vulnerability by a face up card.
- If the loser of the fight had protection - the topmost card face down - the Temple loses its topmost lifeline instead.
When a role loses a lifeline, the topmost lifeline (face up) is removed and put aside into the line of history (face up).
- After losing the lifeline, the next lifeline is left face down, thus indicating that the player is now protected.
- The previously protected role then becomes vulnerable: The face down card on the top is turned face up.
Number 2 as the last lifeline indicates that the role will die after losing 2 more sword fights (without being protected).
- Upon losing the last lifeline, the role card beneath is turned face down - to indicate that the role is now protected (for the last time).
However, if the last lifeline is the joker, the King will die instantly with the joker: both cards are moved to the line of history.
If a King dies, it becomes a ghost. (If another King dies, the round ends.)
- The player's remaining hand cards are shuffled and put into one (clean) pile and turned face up.
- In sword fights, the ghost always plays the topmost card of the pile - thus, instantly revealing the next card to be played.
Because the ghost has no lifelines, it cannot lose any lifelines nor can they be turned face up. Whether the ghost is protected or not is implied by the topmost lifelines of other life piles:
- If one of the other piles has a face down card on the top, the ghost is vulnerable. Otherwise (all are topped by a face up card), the ghost is protected.
END OF THE ROUND
The round ends either when 2 Kings have died or the Temple is destroyed.
- The remaining hand cards are put aside, and depending on how the things went, each player then either gets a fulfilled obsession or not.
ROLES & OBSESSIONS
Each King has its own obsessive view of what is 'wrong with the world' and how to fix it. To see their obsessions through, each has to also stay alive (or die at the right time).
- ♧K - HERO KING:
- OBSESSION: Destroy the Temple of Limbo (♤A) - the source of all evil.
- LIFE: Stay alive (= be alive to see the Temple getting destroyed).
- ♤K - KING OF LIMBO:
- OBSESSION: Kill the outrageous Hero King (♧K).
- LIFE: Stay alive.
- ♢K - KING OF BLAME:
- OBSESSION: Destroy the 3 Tiny Temples (♥A, ♦A, ♧A) and kill the Devil (joker) who created them.
- LIFE - path #1: Stay alive, if joker is elsewhere (4/5 probability).
- LIFE - path #2: Or die with joker (1/5 probability) exactly when the round ends (= 2nd King to die).
- ♡K - KING OF MISERY:
- OBSESSION: Kill the whole Heart Family (♥A, ♥Q, ♥J, ♥2) - yourself last (♥K).
- LIFE: Must die.
- Destroying, killing and dying all simply mean that the card is removed from the player’s stack of life cards and put into the line of history.
After the round ends, the players who got their role's obsession fulfilled get 1 fulfilled obsession. The others get nothing.
- However, if no one gets their obsessions fulfilled, all the players get 1 fulfilled obsession.
The player(s) who first gets 3 fulfilled obsessions wins the game.
- ♧K - HERO KING:
There are 2 dealers in the game: The master dealer handles the life cards, while the apprentice dealer handles the swords.
The dealers are always positioned opposite to each other, and the jobs move one player clockwise after each round.
LIVING GHOSTS: Playing with 2 or 3 players
In 2- and 3-player-games, the missing players are replaced by living ghosts: ghosts with lifelines.
- The ghost players are always positioned next to the dealers (or master dealer), and move a player clockwise after each round.
- One of the ghosts has the King of Limbo (♤K) as its role card. With 2 players, the other ghost gets the Hero King (♧K).
- The role cards of the living ghosts are kept face down and their obsessions (& fulfilments) ignored completely.
In the 2-player-game, the round can also end early: if one of the human players' roles is the first one to die.
- If the role dies early and without succeeding, the other player gets a fulfilled obsession (regardless of his own obsession).
FOR IDEAS, HELP WITH DEVELOPMENT & PLAYING
Emmi Viitala, Piia Tamminen, Ville Viitala, Johannes Aho, Akseli Leinonen, Tuuli Vahtero, Tomi Laine, Matti Lehtinen and Ella Salminen.