There are four basic card states: Cards in hand. Cards in play. A draw pile. A discard pile.
Cards in hand: These are the cards a player has in their hand. Each player starts with 3 cards in hand. Players may end up with more or less cards in hand throughout the game. When a player is out of cards in their hand, they are eliminated from the game.
Cards in play: This is the card the current player is playing. The action on the card should be performed, and then the card should be placed on the discard pile (unless otherwise instructed by the card action). The played card itself is not actually considered in any of the situations where it is played, you take the action as if the played card is not in hand, not in the discard pile, and not in the draw pile while it's being played.
Draw pile: These are the un-dealt cards players will draw from at the start of each turn (or as actions require). When the title belt is revealed, this and the discard pile are shuffled back together and after that, once the draw pile is gone, each player gets one last turn to try and earn the title belt before the game ends.
Discard pile: Lost, discarded, and played cards are placed in this pile. When the title belt is revleaed, the discard pile is shuffled back into the draw pile.
A player's turn consists of:
Played cards are moved to the discard pile once fully played.
If all other players are out of cards, the remaining player is the winner.
-- OR --
Once all cards in the deck have been drawn, each player will have one final turn to try and earn the title belt.
The player with the belt at the end of the last round is the winner.
-- OR --
If the end state is a double knock-out, the player with the belt at that time is the winner (if no one has the belt, there is no winner).
There are two primary ways players may lose cards from their hand:
When a player is out of cards in their hand, they are considered eliminated and out of the game.
A few key things to know about the title belt:
When a player plays a Foreign Object card a Roshambo Challenge is initiated (the game of rock, paper, scissors):
A few key things to know about Roshambo challenges:
Tag Team cards are placed face up in front of the player who plays the card. They remain in front of the player for one full round, and are discarded to the discard pile at the start of the players next turn (this helps all other players know they can not attack the player until the next round).
Referee cards can be played at any time (it does not have to be your turn) to prevent any action (including the loss of a Roshambo battle, which would flip the winner of the Roshambo battle!).
Once a referee card is played, the player should draw a new card for their hand (if the draw pile is empty, no new card can be drawn and the card is sacrificed via play).
Referee cards can also be played as part of a regular turn (which will not prevent an action on the table but should result in the player adding a card to their hand).
CEO cards can be played at any time (it does not have to be your turn) to claim the belt for your own.
Once a CEO card is played, the player should draw a new card for their hand (if the draw pile is empty, no new card can be drawn and the card is sacraficed via play).
All Foreign Object cards, when played, result in a Roshambo battle. The winner of a Roshambo battle can choose which of the two cards played in the battle they keep for their own hand (they discard the other one to the discard pile).
If you play a ROSHAMBO card with no other cards left in your hand, you can not challenge another player (because you have no cards left) and are simply eliminated from the game (because you have no cards left).
Can you have more than 3 cards in your hand?
Yes. There is no limit to the number of cards a player can have in their hand. Heel cards, Face cards, and Referee cards can all result in adding cards to a player's hand.
Can you have less than 3 cards in your hand?
Yes. It is very common to have less than 3 cards in your hand as other players are actively trying to knock cards of your hand throughout the game.
What happens if I am protected by a Tag Team card when the Loose Cannon card is played?
The shifting of hands skips over you (as if you were not in the game at that moment).
What happens if a Rival card is played against me and there is no more cards in the draw pile?
You must discard the card the player picked and you do not get to replace the card in your hand (if you were the title belt holder, because of the damage to your hand, the player takes the belt from you).
What happens if I play a Technician card when there are no more cards in the draw pile?
You should not discard a card from your hand, as you can not replace it with a new one. It's essentially a 'pass' of your turn.
What happens if I play a Jobber card, and it results in a double knockout to end the game?
If you had the belt at that time, you win. If the other player your knocked out had the belt at that time, they win. If neither of you had the belt, the game ends without a winner.
What happens if the last card in my hand is a Roshambo card?
When you play the card, because you have no cards in your hand, you can not play Roshambo against any other player and are simply eliminated from the game.
Can I play a Referee card as my regular turn?
Yes. When played as part of a regular turn it won't prevent any action, but you will add a card to your hand (as long as there is a draw pile left).
Can I play a CEO card as my regular turn?
Yes. When played as part of a regular turn you'll claim the belt and you will add a card to your hand (as long as there is a draw pile left).
Does the title belt move when a Loose Cannon card is played?
No. Only cards in hand shift when a player plays the Loose Cannon card (Tag Team and Title belt cards on the table do not move). If the title belt holder is eliminated because of a hand shift, the belt is considered vacated (the next Roshambo winner will claim the belt).
What if I only have one card left in my hand to play, and it's a Foreign Object?
You do not challenge anyone (because you do not have any cards to challenge with). You are eliminated from the game (if you have the belt, it is vacated).
What if I only have one card left in my hand to play, and it's a Diva?
The player you chose must give you a card, and you do not give them a card in return (in the end game state, this is a potential way to eliminate another player with just one card left).
What if I only have one card left in my hand to play, and it's the Loose Cannon?
All players shift their hands to the active player to their left. The active player to your left is eliminated (since you have no more cards to provide them).
What if I play a Face card and there are less than 3 cards left in the draw pile?
You draw the remaining cards from the draw pile, and you discard 1 less than you drew (if you drew 2, you discard 1. If you drew 1, you discard 0. If you draw 0, you discard 0 and it's essentially a pass of your turn).
What if I play a Face card and there is no draw pile?
You do not get to add any cards to your hand.
Why does the title belt have a Roshambo symbol and number?
So that the card can be included and played in game two (The Roshambo Protocol).
No worries - email Kevin directly any time. He's always happy to chat about the game and answer any rare edge case rules or settle game debates that may come up (or to just hear about crazy strategy or situations that you encountered while playing).
And no matter what, please don't forget the most important rule, which is to -- HAVE FUN!