Forlorn is a card game where players must either work with or against each other to survive being lost in the harsh wilderness. 

Forlorn - image 1 - student project


FORLORN – Rules draft 1.0

Overview (describe the broad perspective of what happens in the game, often relying heavily on theme and narrative. 2-4 sentences.)

On your way to seek new lives out West, you and your party have found yourselves lost in the snow-covered wilderness. Desperately awaiting rescue, you must manage your resources and your party as best you can to survive. As days go by and supplies get more scarce, will you stick together or turn on one another? All that matters is that you survive.

Main Objective (describe what players are trying to do in 1 concise sentence)

You are trying to survive until you, and as many of our travel companions as possible, can be rescued by a search party.

Setup (describe how to set up the play area, components and anything else that needs to be done before play begins)


- Character Cards

- Resource Cards

- Event Cards

- Reprieve Cards

- Travel Companion Cards

- Party Leader Token

Character Set Up

- Each player chooses a Character Card and familiarises themselves with that character’s special ability.

- They then search through the Resource Cards and take whatever resources are listed on their Character Card under ‘Starting Resources’. These are placed face up next to their Character Card.

- They then collect the number of Travel Companion Cards as listed on their Character Card and play them face up (“perished” side down) next to their Character Card.

Playing Space

- Once each player has setup their character. Take all remaining Resource Cards and shuffle them into a deck and place it within reach of all players, leaving space for a discard pile for the Resource Cards. Shuffle and place the Event Cards and the Reprieve Cards in their own decks.

- All unused Character Cards and Travel Companion Cards can be returned to the box.

Determining the first Party Leader

- The first Party Leader is determined via group vote. You may want to take the time to introduce your characters to the group if you are interested in roleplaying, before you vote on who should be the starting Party Leader. In the event of a stalemate, the person who travelled the greatest distance to play becomes the first Party Leader.

- Once determined place the Party Leader token in front of the first Party Leader.

Gameplay (describe what players can or must do on their turn and how play passes from one player to the next. Also include gameplay phases if there are any.):

Each round of gameplay is broken down into 3 phases [Day, Night, Dawn].


Starting with the Party Leader and moving clockwise, players can perform actions in order to prepare for the night ahead. Players can choose from 2 of the following actions per day (a player may perform the same action twice unless specified otherwise).

EXPLORE: Draw a resource card and play it face up along with any other resources currently in your possession. Draw two if you currently have a working weapon in your possession.

TRADE: Players can trade with another player as long as both players are willing and happy with the trade. The player who instigates the trade must declare whom they are trading with. Offers and counteroffers may be made either openly, with all the other players aware of what is being offered and traded, or in secret. Trades can include but are not limited to Resource Cards, they could also include assistance or alliances (such as lending of a weapon in case of an Attack, etc). Players are not obligated to hold up any agreement reached in a prior trade. If a player refuses a trade, or an agreement cannot be reached, the instigator of the trade loses that action. Resource Cards acquired through Trading must be played face up along with any other resources currently in your possession.

STEAL: A player may choose to steal up to three (3) Resource Cards from another player. To do so, the attacking player must have a working weapon in their possession, and the target player cannot have a working weapon. If successful the target player must give over up to three (3) Resource Cards of the attacking players choice. If both players have working weapons, or if another player with a working weapon comes to the aid of the target player, the attacking player loses their action and immediately becomes a Suspect.

REPAIR: A player can choose to either repair a broken weapon, or shelter.

REST: A player can choose to forgo both actions on a day in order to rest. Resting for the day will mean that you and your travel companions will only need half the necessary food resources to survive the next night phase.

Once each player has performed two actions and play returns to the Party Leader the Day Phase ends.


During the Night Phase the party will experience a series of events that can greatly help or hinder their ability to survive the night. Starting with the Party Leader and moving to the left, each player draws three (3) Event Cards from the Event Card deck. Each player selects one (1) of their Event Cards and plays it face down. Their remaining cards are returned to the bottom of the Event Card deck. The Party Leader then collects all the face down cards, shuffles them and deals one (1) card to each player starting with the person to their left and moving clockwise. Each card is to be actioned immediately by following the instructions printed on the card.


After actioning all the Event Cards from the Night Phase, each player determines whether any of their Travel Companions have perished. Travel Companions will perish if a player was unsuccessfully able to meet 2 of the 3 following conditions at the beginning of the Dawn Phase. If a player only met one or none of these conditions, one of their Travel Companion cards must be flipped over to reveal the ‘Perished’ side. If they have no ‘Travel Companions’ left alive their character perishes and is out of the game.


To supply enough food, players must have 1 Food Resource Card in their possession at the start of the Dawn Phase. They must discard 1 Food Resource Card during the Dawn Phase in order to meet this condition.


To supply enough water, players must have 1 Water Resource Card in their possession at the start of the Dawn Phase. They do not need to discard this card during the Dawn Phase.


To supply enough water, players must have 1 Water Resource Card in their possession at the start of the Dawn Phase. They do not need to discard this card during the Dawn Phase.

Once each player has completed actioning the Dawn Phase, players can take a moment to discuss the Events of the previous night, to attempt to determine whether particular events occurred due to malicious intent or if they were unavoidable. Remember: no party member is under the obligation to tell the truth as to which Event Card they played, or why they played it.

During the Dawn Phase a party member may choose to suspect another player of betrayal or sabotage. The accusing player must state who they wish to suspect and lay out a reason as to why. They accused player may have a chance to defend themselves before the party votes as to whether that player becomes a Suspect. A player becomes a Suspect if the majority of the players vote with the accuser (in Suspect votes, the Party Leaders vote counts as two). In the event of a tie, the accused does not become a Suspect.

Once all deliberations are completed, the Party Leader Token moves clockwise to the player on the left and a new Day Phase begins.

End of Game Conditions (How to players know when the game is done?):

After each player has had a round where they are the Party Leader, and the Party Leader card returns to player who began the game as Party Leader, a reprieve card is draw. This is to happen after between the Dawn and Day phases after the Party Leader has been moved.

Each Reprieve Card contains specific events that must be actioned immediately. If a Reprieve Card states that Party members are to be rescued, players must save their travel companions before they save the character they are playing.

Any characters or travel companions still in play once the Reprieve Card has been actioned continue onto the next Day Phase and must survive until the Party Leader Card returns to the Starting Party Leader before they can draw another Reprieve Card.

The game ends when all characters and travel companions are either Rescued or Perished.

Scoring & Declaring a Winner (If points are tallied at the end of the game, how is that done? Are there any special win conditions or bonuses to be assessed?):

Any player whose character is rescued is a winner. If a party wishes to declare an ultimate winner, the player who rescued the most Travel Companions is deemed the winner. 

Terms & Definitions (Give a thorough description of all the terms and thematic game elements that would help clarify rules for a beginner):

Suspect When a player becomes Suspected they must play all Event Cards face up during the Night Phase, they cannot use their characters special ability, they may not negotiate the terms of a trade in secret, they can only attack when no other player has a working weapon, they cannot accuse another player of being Suspect, or vote in to suspect. The enforcement of these conditions is up to the other party members, if they fail to uphold these conditions and the Suspect Player is able to perform any other the above actions in its entirety, the action is upheld. A player remains a suspect until the following Day Phase, where the party can vote to suspect them again if they wish. More than one player can be a suspect.


Perished When a travel companion perishes; the Travel Companion Card is flipped over to reveal the ‘Perished’ side. A Perished Card, may be discarded in exchange for the specified amount of food cards listed on the Perished Card. If a player does so, they gain a permanent Suspect condition, and so does any player who trades or steals food cards from that player for the rest of the game.