Doomlings Rules

Your Guide to the End of the World

2-6 Players

25-45 minutes

Ages 10+


Numbers in the game are presented in Nemeth code. If there is a dominant trait, that will have the letter d at the front. Next there will be the color of the card(b for blue, g for green, r for red, y for yellow, p for purple and c for colorless.) and then it's value. Variable value cards will have an X.

An abbreviated version of the cards text may appear on the card. Usually this will have the same effect as the cards as printed but there could be some edge cases where this is not true. When in doubt, scan the QR code on the card for the full, correct text of the card.

Catastrophe cards have a c at the beginning of them. Do not confuse them with the colorless cards(the age cards should have a braille sticker on the back)

The world's end effect on catastrophes is not printed on the cards for room consideration. A reference sheet is included or you may use the QR code on the card for the full text.

On the gene pool cards there are numbers(without # signs) and they can be rotated.

The top of the card from your perspective is the number showing. 


1. SEPARATE (1) Birth of Life and (15) catastrophe cards from the other (25) age cards

2. SHUFFLE the age cards. Deal 3 piles, with 3 ages each, face down. Set the rest of the ages aside.

3. Shuffle the catastrophes, then deal 1 random catastrophe into each of the 3 piles. Shuffle each pile separately. You should now have 3 piles, each with 4 cards.

4. a) Stack the 3 piles on top of each other.

b) place the Birth of Life on top of the stack

c) Place the age pile in the center of the table.

5. Each player selects 1 gene pool card. Just pick your favorite color! Or texture? Place your gene pool card in front of you with the 5 facing up. 

Your gene pool is unique to you, and represents how many cards you should hold at the end of your turn. Rotate/flip this card as it increases or decreases.

6. Finally, shuffle the traits like life depends on it, and deal 5 to each player. Place the remaining stack of traits in the center of the table, next to the age pile.


The object of the game is to score the most points by the end of the world.

(play traits to score points)

1st player is left of the dealer

To begin, 1st player flips the Birth of Life from the age pile, which simplely sets the game. Moving clockwise, each player takes a turn. 

Once all turns are taken, the 1st player flips the next age card, and a new round begins... 

.. and so on and so froth.


AGES: All players follow the age effect BEFORE turns are taken. Age effects last 1 round only.

When a catastrophe is flipped:

All players permanently apply the Gene pool effect

Then, all players follow the secondary effect.

Ignore the gold World's End effect(not printed in braille, you'll have to use the reference sheet or QR code to read it) until the 3rd catastrophe, at which point the world ends. Time to tally the scores!


Catastrophes mark the end of an "Era"

To keep track of the game, begin a new area after each catastrophe, by starting a new stack of ages leaving the old era out on the table as reminder.


Reminder: All players must follow the current age effect before turns are taken.

1. Play 1 trait from your hand, face up, in front of you. This is your trait pile, and it's how you earn points!

2. Some traits have text at the bottom, called "effects" These can be bonuses, or special instructions. If applicable, play the effect now.

3. STABLIZE to end your turn. To stabilize, the number of cards you hold must equal the number at the top of your gene pool card.


Your gene pool is 5 but you hold 4 cards, draw 1

Your gene pool is 4, but you hold 6 cards, discard 1

Your gene pool is 5, and you hold 5 cards. Do nothing. Congratulations, you are stable.

NOTE: If your gene pool changes, it doesn't mean you draw or discard. Only draw or discard when you stablize.

Once you're stable, your turn is over.

When all players have taken a turn, 1st player flips a new age card, and a new round begins.


When a catastrophe is draw:

1st player position moves 1 person to the left


a. Catastrophes affect ALL gene pools. All players must adjust their gene pool cards before turns are taken. This effect lasts for the rest of the game.(remember, players do not draw or discard until they must STABLIZE!)

b. All catastrophes have a catastrophic effect. Follow that effect before turns are taken. Catastrophic effects only last during the round.

c. IGNORE the world's end effect, UNTIL the 3rd and final catastrophe arrives, and the game ends. No more turns are taken. It's time for the World's End


When the final catastrophe is drawn, that's it! The world ends, and no more turns are taken. ... now what?
Play the GENE POOL EFFECT and CATASTROPHIC EFFECT, just like any other catastrophe.
players check their traits for any "World's End" symbols in the bottom corner.
Resolve these effects now!

RESOLVE the World's End effect of the final catastrophe.
Remember, no more turns are taken.
It's time to tally the score.


You might be a swell arithmetician, but in case you aren't, we recommend you grab a pen and paper, and follow these steps when scoring.

 If the final catastrophe's World's End effect gives or takes away points, count those now.

2 Count up the face value of your  traits.

3 Finally, tally up any bonuses or modifiers you may have.

TIES: In the rare event of a tie, we leave it to fate!
Draw a trait from the top of the deck, and apply only the face value to your final score!
(Then laugh triumphantly about your well-earned victory!)



The text at the bottom of a card is an EFFECT. Traits with no text are EFFECTLESS.

There are many types of effects. Most are self-explanatory, but the information below will offer clarity in special situations: 

AGE EFFECTS: last for that round only

TRAIT EFFECTS: typically occur as long as they're in your trait pile. If you lose the card, you lose the effect! 


Actions only occur when the trait is played directly from your hand. By default, do not play actions on traits that are stolen or swapped, played directly from the discard pile, the community deck, or by any other means, unless told to do so.


Some traits can be played out of turn. If the trait is played as instructed, it does not count as your turn! Do not stabilize until the end of your turn!

NOTE: these traits can still be played as a normal turn, but we recommend against this!

FACE VALUE: refers to the number in the bottom left corner of a trait(the number at the top after the color in braille). This value is constant, as any bonus points are tallied separately at the end of the game. 

VALUE IS EQUAL TO language means the final value of a trait is variable. If it has a compass star(an x in braille) it's FACE VALUE is always treated as zero


If a trait is randomly removed from your hand/trait pile for any reason, we suggest flipping a set of cards face down, and offering an opponent to select the card. (ideally the receiving opponent, or if no one is receiving then the player's choice)

SWAP/STEAL: If you swap/steal from a hand, put the card in your hand. If you swap/steal from a trait pile, put the card in your trait pile

REQUIREMENTS: If an effect is a requirement, like, "To play, you must have at least 1 colorless trait in your trait pile," you must fulfill the requirement to play from your hand, the top of the deck, or the discard pile. Ignore the requirement if the trait is moved, swapped or stolen. 

RESTRICTIONS: Effects can be restricted. Example: an age states players cannot discard. If a trait requires you to discard, (To play you must. .. ). you cannot play the trait. If an effect is not required, (Discard 1 card from your hand), just play the trait and ignore the effect. This might even work to your advantage! Note: In most cases, you cannot choose to ignore an effect 


Minimum = 1, Maximum = 8

Your Gene Pool card represents what your hand size should be after you stabilize. 

STABLIZE: To stabilize, simply draw or discard until the number of cards in your hand equals the size of your Gene Pool. This is how you end your turn. (Some cards will also force you to stabilize.) 

IMPORTANT: Throughout the game, you'll find yourself with more or fewer cards than your Gene Pool allows. That's okay! Just remember to stabilize at the end of your turn.


Catastrophes and traits can increase/decrease your Gene Pool. When this happens, rotate/flip your Gene Pool card so that its current value is at the top.
DO NOT draw/discard until you must STABILIZE.

CATASTROPHES affect ALL Gene Pools immediately, and the effect is permanent. Effects with +/- Gene Pool effects apply when they enter your trait pile. If the trait leaves your trait pile, adjust your Gene Pool accordingly.


If an effect would have you exceed a Gene Pool of 8 or dip below a Gene Pool of 1, ignore the effect.
But when a trait leaves your Gene Pool, ALWAYS adjust your Gene Pool, even if you have enough effects to reach the maximum Gene Pool. The event of the trait leaving causes the change.


Dominant traits have a gold border and a gold star.
Once played, they cannot be swapped, stolen, discarded, returned or removed from your trait pile for any reason.
You can ONLY play 2, so choose wisely!

3RD DOMINANT: Your trait pile might receive a 3rd dominant trait by random chance (i.e. playing a trait from the top of the deck). In that case, instead of playing the 3rd dominant, discard it. You may not redraw to replace it.

BIRTH OF A HERO: The age "Birth of a Hero" commands you to play the trait "Heroic" without restriction. Play "Heroic" immediately. If it would be your 3rd dominant trait, you may keep it. This is THE ONLY WAY to have 3 dominant traits in your trait pile. Congratulations, you've pulled off something our crack team of statisticians assured us wouId only happen once in a thousand super volcanoes ...


To help keep track of the impending end of the
world, we suggest starting a new pile, or ERA,
after a new catastrophe is drawn.


Discard face up. Only reshuffle the discard pile if traits deplete (e.g. games of 5·6 players, without expansions).


There are 4 colors: blue, green, purple, and red. Dual color traits act as 2 colors simultaneously. Grey(c in braille) is "colorless" and cannot be considered for "color" designated effects. 

It might help to know that each color has a minor specialty: Blue traits are often defensive. Green traits encourage growth. Purple traits are for sneakier playstyles. Red traits play with risk and reward. Colorless traits have catch-all utilities. 


If you are able, you MUST play a trait, even if it's something you don't want in your trait pile!
On rare occasions, you might be unable to play a trait on your turn. If your hand is empty, draw 3 cards and skip your turn! If you hold cards but can't play any, skip your turn. You may, if you choose, discard your entire hand and draw 3 cards.

In either case, do not stabilize this turn!
NOTE: Grow your Gene Pool to avoid getting skipped!


Just like in life, there are exceptions to many rules in Doomlings.

Doomlings generally follow a hierarchy structure:


If a card says you can do something, follow the card!

If a dilemma arises that cannot be solved with a friendly battle of wits- or perhaps a light shouting match - we suggest drawing cards from the top of the deck and awarding the decision to the highest face value. Or submit to house rules!


In 2021, the first edition of Doom lings was introduced to the world, and it wouldn't have been possible without the help of incredible friends. family, and a passionate community of players like yourself. You can scan the QR code on the inside of this box to see the original Kickstarter backers who helped bring this game t,o life.
Key content contributor: Anthony Miller
KS Videos: Vannick Douglas, Cam Robinson, Dick Duncan Downie, James Toth, Marlon Clark, Jamie Costa.
Doomlings Team: Christine Petrowich, Gregory Frank, James Freeman, Patrick Jones.
Notable playtesters/smelltesters: Miranda Liebsack, Anthony Rath, Nick Moore, Seth Reger, Rebecca Svehla, Angela McMahon. Couldn't have done it without: Brooke Anne, Charles Como. Immortalized Cards: Clever {Ono the Penguin) -Lucy Koerbel/Michael Koerbel, Doting-Becky Vornebrock/Rachael Donovan, Eloquence - Mary Anne Meyer, Fortunate - Dianne Shackelford, Bad - Linda Barnes.
Honorary cards: Mighty-Luisa Arnaudo, Acrobatic -James Freeman, Bloom - Margaret Blueberri/Jeff Dean,
Witchy/Mecha -Christine Petrowich, The Magician - Patrick Jones, Ozmorian Winds - David Liebsack/Eric Carda. Coastal Formations -Sarah Meyer. Adorable - Truffles.
Shoutout to Heather and Matt Hahn.
Thank vou tomy loving: wife for continuing to support my spontaneous obsessions. however they turn out Dedicated to Mary Anne and Leroy Meyer. Developers: Chris Svehla and Eric McCoy
Creators: Andrew Meyer and Justus Meyer