Who Beats Who Official Rules

Kirk or Picard? Freddy or Jason? Andrew Jackson or Andrew Dice Clay? For years, debates like this have raged in the American consciousness. Admit it, for every time you’ve discussed politics or sports or Paleolithic art, you’ve had at least one conversation about who would kick whose ass in a fight. Well, now we’re going to settle some of these burning questions once and for all. More or less. Sort of. Really, it’s up for debate.

In Who Beats Who, players take turns judging hypothetical bouts. The players who aren’t judging are selecting the participants, betting on the outcome, and playing cards to try to sway the fight one way or the other.

To win the game you’ll need to score the most points. Players score points whenever their fighter wins the fight, or they correctly predict the winner of the fight (see Scoring Points below). The game lasts until all players have been judge twice.

Separate the Fighter Cards from the Battle Cards. Everyone should also take a pad and a pencil. Then, everyone draws three fighter cards and three battle cards. Don’t let the other players see them.

How To Play
Randomly select one player to be the first judge.

To start a round, the player to the judge’s left plays any one fighter card from his hand face up to the table. Then the player to his left does the same, and so forth, until everyone except the judge has played a fighter.

At this point all players except the judge take a moment to write down on their pad who they think will win the fight. They should keep this “bet” secret from all the other players.

Now, starting with the last player to play a fighter (i.e. the person to the judge’s right), and going in reverse order, each player plays one battle card from his hand. He can play that card on any fighter he wants. Again, this is done in reverse order, so the player who played the first fighter card should play the last battle card. The judge does not play a battle card.

Once all the players have played a battle card, the judge makes a decision based on the battle as it currently looks. The judge will usually want to wait for people to argue their cases, but doesn’t have to. Everyone notes how many points they score (see below), and the cards played in the fight are discarded or put on the bottom of the decks.

All players (except the judge) now draw a new fighter card and a new battle card, refilling their hands to three each. Players should have three of each kind of card at the start of each new fight.

The player to the judge’s left then becomes the judge and a new fight begins.

Scoring Points
Whoever played the fighter the judge picked scores two points. Anyone who bet on that fighter scores one point. If you bet on your own fighter, it is possible to score three points.

It is recommended you keep score like this: Whenever the fighter you played wins a fight, keep it off to the side, face down. Whenever the fighter you bet on wins a fight, take the battle card you played that round and place it off to the side in the same way. At the end of the game, you can simply count up the cards set aside this way, with the fighter cards worth 2 points, and battle cards worth 1.

More About Battle Cards
There are a couple different kinds of battle cards.

Cards with red titles are Items. You can give an item to any fighter you want. When you give a fighter an item, you get some reasonable say over how the item is used or interpreted. But, while you can assume that a fighter might use an illogical item, you can’t assume that he’d deliberately hurt himself with it. For example, if you give Charles Manson a Prom Dress, you can definitely say that he’s wearing the prom dress. But you can’t give him a gun and say he shoots himself with it.

Cards with purple titles are Status cards. These are pretty simple; you play them on a fighter, and they take on that condition. Drop Fightin’ Mad on the Incredible Hulk and, well, you won’t like him when he’s angry.

Cards with blue titles are Actions. These are even simpler. They say what they do right on ‘em.

Cards with green titles are Battlegrounds. These move the battle to a different location. Sometimes multiple Battlegrounds are played. When this happens, the judge has a choice. He can either decide that the second battleground overrules the first, or he can decide that the two are combined in some bizarre manner. For example, if the first player plays The Moon, and the second player plays Inside a Telephone Booth, you might say that the battle is taking place inside a Telephone Booth on the Moon.

A Quick Word About Fighters
Some of the fighters in the game are, at the present time, dead, old, fictional, mythical or imaginary. Since it wouldn’t be much fun to watch a bunch of corpses fight, you can assume that a fighter is in his prime, or whatever portion of his or her career we most associate them with. You can also assume that each fighter has their most basic gear with them. Basically, you can assume Lancelot has a sword. You just can’t assume he has Excalibur.

The Uncertainty Clause
If you draw a fighter or battle card and you’re not sure who or what it is, you may show the card to all players, discard it, and draw a new one. If you use this to cheat by discarding fighters you don’t think are very good, then you are taking this game way too seriously.

Ending the Game
The game ends when all players have been the judge twice.

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