How to play Surviving the G.A.M.E.

Setup Video
How to play playthrough


  1. Preparation

Draw 5 cards from the top of your “Starter Deck”.

 II. Training[1] 

Play begins with 5 turns of “Training”. During Training, you will be visiting The Barracks section of The Armory to Upgrade your Character. Only this section of The Armory is available at this time. There is no combat during Training.

       On Your Turn:[2] 

  1.  Play any cards in your hand that you wish by placing them face-up in front of you. You may play as many cards as you like in this way. At this point in the game, Unarmed Combat cards will do nothing, because there is no combat.
  2. Make up to 2 purchases from the Barracks using your Creds. Along with the standard cards you can purchase in the Barracks, you can also purchase your Character ID. During Training is the only time you may purchase a Character ID and you may only purchase 1 Character ID.
  3. If you purchased a Character ID, it stays in play in front of you at all times.
  4. Any other cards you purchase go into your discard pile.
  5. Put all the cards remaining in your hand and in your play area into your discard pile. Draw 5 cards. If you run out of cards in your draw pile, shuffle your discard pile and make a new draw pile.
  6. It is now the player on your left’s turn. Continue play in a clockwise manner with all players taking steps 1-5 until everyone has had a turn.
  7. When everyone had had a turn, that is the end of 1 Round. Remove the top Countdown Token to show that a Round is over.
  8. Continue steps 6 and 7 until 5 Rounds have been completed. The Countdown Token with “Enter” on it should be showing at this time.

 III. Entering the G.A.M.E.

  1. After you have completed 5 turns of Training, it is time to enter The G.A.M.E.
  2. Each player should place their character standee beside the entrance to the G.A.M.E., Level 1. This is called the Area of Level 1.
  3. Put away all cards remaining in the Barracks section of The Armory, including non-purchased Character IDs, Upgrades, and Items.
  4. Anyone who did not purchase a Character ID during Training remains a Raw Recruit. A Raw Recruit has 60 Health and no special abilities.
  5. All players should set their die to their total Health, stated on their Character ID. (6 represents 60, 7 represents 70, etc.) For more help in locating your Health on your ID, go to “The Cards” section of this rulebook.

 IV. Turn Sequence

There are two phases in each turn sequence. These are the phases and the order in which they are completed.

Phase 1: Encounter

  1. Move or Stay: Move your standee to an adjacent Area (either up one Level or down one Level) or stay at your current Level. (If an obstacle is already revealed where you are you must encounter it instead of moving.) This will spend one of your move actions. ..
  2. Reveal Obstacle: Reveal the Obstacle at your current Level by flipping the top card on the Level stack face-up. If there is already an Obstacle face-up in that Area, you must encounter the Obstacle showing instead. (Note: Any time you move or are moved, you must encounter the top obstacle of the Area you move to.)
  3. Resolve Assault: If an Obstacle you have just revealed has an Assault, resolve it or choose to Guard against it. To resolve an assault, follow the description for the assault in The Cards section of the rulebook under Obstacles. To Guard, look for a card in your hand that has the “Guard” ability. A card with a “Guard” ability may be discarded from your hand to avoid the effects of any one Assault. If you use Guard, immediately resolve any effects listed after “Guard”.
  4. Play Cards: Play any cards you choose from your hand that are not Creds. Play these cards one at a time, while applying any Character ID effects. (See The Cards section of the rulebook for more details.) You do not have to play all of your cards at this time. When you play a card, it is considered Equipped.
  5. Attack: Subtract all damage generated by cards you play from the Obstacle’s Health. If the Health is 0 or less, gain the obstacle as a Reward. Place any Obstacles labeled as Creds at the bottom of the text box into your Spent/discard pile. Note: If you have revealed a Trap, it has no Health, so you will skip this step and not gain a Reward.
  6. Combat: If the Obstacle’s health is not reduced to 0 or less, resolve all non-Assault effects on the Obstacle. (Look at the Glossary of this rulebook for more information on specific effects.) Then, subtract the Damage done by the Obstacle from your Health and adjust your die to show this. (If your Health reaches 0, you did not survive and are eliminated from The G.A.M.E. Sorry, you lose.) If you did not defeat the Obstacle, it remains face-up on the stack until it is defeated. It must also be encountered by anyone currently in or entering the area it’s in on their turn during their “Reveal Obstacle” step. Additionally, you may not move from your current Area, until it is defeated. Note: Traps are simply discarded after the Combat step.
  7. Additional Move Actions: Determine if you have a anymore Move Actions this turn. The Characters of Bio-Gene and Soldier have 2 Moves each turn. However, there are also multiple cards that can increase or decrease your movement. If you have a anymore Moves available this turn, you may choose to use them or not use them. You may choose to play any remaining cards in your hand before or after choosing to use your additional movement, or to generate more movement. Any damage you generate at this point may be applied to the next obstacle revealed this turn. If you choose to use one, repeat steps 1-6. (Yes, you can choose to use your additional Move Actions, but still choose to “Stay” in Step 1 and Reveal an Obstacle there- or Move in Step 1- your choice!) If you choose not to use it, proceed to Phase 2: Upgrade.

Phase 2: Upgrade

  1. Play any Creds from your hand.
  2. Use Creds just played as well as any Creds generated this turn to make up to 2 purchases from the Armory. (See the Armory section of the rulebook to see which cards are available to purchase for you, based on the Level of The G.A.M.E. you are on. Check your Character ID to see what discount you get on Upgrades of the appropriate type or with the same color border as your ID)
  3. Place any purchased Upgrades into your discard pile.
  4. Reload: Put all cards in your hand and play area into your discard pile. Draw 5 cards. (If ever your draw pile runs out and you cannot draw 5 cards, shuffle your discard pile to make a new draw pile. Then, finish drawing 5 cards.)
  5. Prepare the Armory: If you purchased any top card of one of the 3 random Upgrade stacks in Level 2 of The Armory, flip over the next top card to prepare for the next player’s turn.
  6. Pass Turn: it is the player on your left’s turn.

This “Turn Sequence” continues until one of the conditions of the “End Game” are met.

V. End Game

There are 3 different conditions that can be met in order for the game to end.

  1. Sole Survivor
  2.  A player has just been eliminated from the game and there is only 1 remaining player in the game.
  3. If all other players have been eliminated from having no Health, the remaining player wins!
  4.  If other players have exited and/or been eliminated, the remaining player takes one more turn and then the game ends.
  5. Exited
  6.  The last remaining player in The G.A.M.E. exits The G.A.M.E. via Level 5.
  7. Level 4 Closes
  8.  When Level 4 Closes (or runs out of cards) the game immediately ends.

Surviving & Winning The G.A.M.E

  1. End the game by meeting one of the 3 criteria shown in the “End Game” section.
  2. Check for Survivors: Survivors are players who are either still in the G.A.M.E when the game ends or have safely exited The G.A.M.E.- not players who died and were eliminated.
  3. If there is only 1 player who survived The G.A.M.E., they are the winner!
  4. If multiple players survived The G.A.M.E., the surviving players take these steps to determine a winner:
  5.  Each player counts all their VP on Creds.
  6. Subtract any VP from Injuries.
  7. Players compare VP Totals. The player with the most VP is the winner!

The Armory

The Armory has 3 sections and is where you buy Upgrades and Items for your character. It is visited throughout the entire game. Each section of The Armory has special rules for when it can be accessed. These are explained below:

  1. The Barracks
  2. Only accessed during Training. Then, this section is put away.
  3. Level 1
  4. You gain access to this section when you enter The G.A.M.E. on Level 1 (The Entrance), which is during Round 6.
  5. Anyone in Level 1 through Level 5 of The G.A.M.E. (e.g. The whole G.A.M.E.) may purchase from this section.
  6. Level 2
  7. You gain access to this section when you Enter Level 2 of The G.A.M.E.
  8. Anyone on Level 2 through Level 5 of The G.A.M.E. may purchase from this section.
  9. Anyone on Level 1 of The G.A.M.E. may NOT purchase from this section.
  10. When the top card is purchased on one of the 3 random Upgrade stacks, the next top card will not be flipped until the “Prepare the Armory” step of that player’s turn.
  1. Reaching Level 3 & 4 of The G.A.M.E.
  2. The first time a player reaches Level 3 of The G.A.M.E., move the top card of each random stack of Upgrades (in Level 2 of The Armory) down to create a new pile and reveal the next card.
  3.  If the newly revealed card matches the card you moved, stack them and repeat the process until the cards do not match.
  4. Do the same thing the first time a player reaches Level 4 of The G.A.M.E.
  5. These newly available cards are also considered to be Level 2 of The Armory.
  6. During the turn step “Prepare the Armory”, replace any of these newly available card stacks if one becomes empty.

The G.A.M.E.

The G.A.M.E. is made up of 5 Areas. Level 1 (The Entrance), Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, and Level 5 (The Exit). Here are some details about each Area.

  1. Level 1 (The Entrance)
  2.  This area is made up of Level 1 Obstacles.
  3. Levels 2,3, and 4
  4. These areas are made up of Obstacles that match their level.
  5. These are the only areas that provide Creds with VP as Rewards.
  6. Every time you successfully defeat an Obstacle in these areas, you gain a Reward.
  7. Closing Levels 1-4
  8. If an area runs out of Obstacle cards, it becomes Closed.
  9. If you are on or below a closed area at the beginning of your turn, you must move up to the first available Area that is not closed.
  10. If Level 4 closes, the game ends immediately.
  11. Level 5 (The Exit)
  12. This area is composed of at least as many Obstacles as there are players. All of these Obstacles will be level 5 or higher.
  13. When you defeat an Obstacle at The Exit, you are moved out of The G.A.M.E. and take the Obstacle for VP. You may count your VP while you wait for an “End Game” condition to be met.