The Grizzled Rules

Game by Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodríguez
Art by Tignous

A cooperative game for 2 to 5 players, with a length of roughly 30 minutes

August 2nd 1914 – In the village square, the group of inseparable friends contemplate, stunned, the General Mobilization order plastered to the town hall. For many weeks now, the papers had become worrisome, but the brutality of the announcement surprises everyone. Without having any idea of the hell in which they’ll be plunged, they promise each other that they’ll survive to come back all together no matter what happens. Unfortunately, the reality they’ll have to face will be much worse than their deepest fears.

Intention note

At the same level as literature and cinema, games are a cultural medium which is undeniably participative. There are no subjects it can’t broach, though some are more delicate than others. The life of the Grizzled is one of those.

Guided by the deepest respect that the suffering endured by these men has inspired in us, we’ve designed and tweaked this game with this constant concern.

In this earnest endeavor we’ve chosen to focus on the individual, with his preoccupations and his daily fears.

The only escape for the men we’ve portrayed is to use their solidarity, their brotherhood, and mutual assitance to save one another.

Without ever touching on the warlike aspect, “The Grizzled” offers each player the chance to feel some of the difficulties suffered by the soldiers in the trenches. Thus the emotions around the table will often be intense.
The path to victory may seem difficult, but don’t get discouraged – persist and survive the Great War!


Some of the characters in this game were real people. Some are the ancestors of people who worked on this game. “The Grizzled” is an homage to all the men who lived through this tragic period.


6 Grizzled Card
Good Luck Charm Side
59 Trial cards
16 Support Tiles
5 Speech Tokens
1 mission leader token
1 game aid
1 peace card
1 monument card


• Each player chooses a Grizzled card, Good Luck Charm side up.
• Each gets 3 Support tiles:
- 1 left tile
- 1 right tile
- 1 tile randomly drawn from the rest.
With 2 or 3 players, the 2 left and 2 right tiles are not used.
• 25 cards are placed face down on top of the Peace card and form the Trials pile. The other 34 cards are placed face down on the Monument card, and make up the Reserve of Morale for the group.
• Speech tokens are placed between the card piles, depending on the number of players:
5 tokens at 2 or 3 players
4 tokens at 4 players
3 tokens at 5 players

• The Mission Leader token is given to the hairiest player.
• And the game can begin!

Objective of the Game

Through a series of successive Missions the players will attempt to empty the Trials pile and make the Peace card visible.

The players win the game when the Peace card is visible and they have no cards left in hand.

At the end of each Mission, the Morale drops, and cards are transferred from the Morale Reserve to the Trials pile. The players lose the game as soon as the Monument card becomes visible.

Overview of a Mission


A Mission is composed of 4 steps.


The Mission Leader evaluates the risks to take and chooses the Intensity of the Mission, which determines the number of cards each player will be dealt. The cards are dealt one at a time, starting with the Mission Leader himself. The cards are taken from the Trials pile.
The intensity starts at a minimum of 1. If the Trials pile runs out when dealing cards, simply stop dealing further cards. Some players may have less cards in hand than others.

The Flower in the Gun Barrel

The intensity of the game’s first Mission is always a minimum of 3 cards.

The Mission

The players attempt to get rid of the Trial cards in their hand. The Threats will be placed in the middle of the table, in No Man’s Land (see illustration), while the Hard Knocks will be assigned to players. For the Mission to continue, there must never be 3 identical active Threats at the same time.

The 6 types of Threats

Whistle *The whistle represents the beginning of an assault.

The Actions
Starting with the Mission Leader, the players play in turn, going clockwise, for as long as the Mission continues (see End of the Mission). On their turn, if they haven’t withdrawn yet, each player chooses a single Action from among the following:

Play a Trials card from their hand

If the card is a Threat it is added to No Man’s Land, in the middle of the table. If it’s a Hard Knock, it is assigned to the player and immediately takes effect.

Use a Good Luck Charm

The player discards one of the cards from No Man’s Land bearing the same type of Threat as their Good Luck Charm. The player’s Grizzled card is then flipped over. To be able to reuse their Good Luck Charm, they’ll have to recover it (see Support section).

Make a Speech

If a player has a Speech token, it allows them to encourage their comrades and protect them from one of the 6 Threats. The active player chooses a Threat and announces it to the other players. All other players can then discard a single card from their hand which contains that Threat. If a player has more than one of those Threats, he can choose only one of them. Players who have already withdrawn do not benefit from the Speech. The Speech token is then removed from the game.

Withdraw and play a Support tile

By withdrawing, the player chooses to no longer take part in the Mission and will thus no longer be able to take actions. They must then choose to which player they will give Support. To do this, they secretly choose one of their Support tiles (if any remain) which they place face-down on their own Grizzled card. All of the played Support tiles will be revealed at the end of the Mission, when all players have withdrawn.
While a player is withdrawn, all Hard Knocks they possess have no effect for the current mission. The withdrawn player keeps the cards they still have in hand for the next round. A player who no longer has any Support tiles can still withdraw. They simply won’t play a Support tile. If the player still has cards in hand, they can place them face-down on their Grizzled card to represent their withdrawal.

Trap Cards

When a player plays a Threats card from their hand which has a Trap symbol, they must draw another card from the Trials pile AND immediately play it. If a new Trap is revealed, it will be ignored. If it’s a Hard Knock, the player places it next to their Grizzled card.

End of the Mission

The Mission can end in one of two ways:
• either all of the players have withdrawn, in which case the Mission is then successful.
The cards in No Man’s Land are discarded.
• or 3 identical Threats are present in No Man’s Land, including the Phobias and Traumas of the non-withdrawn players, in which case the Mission is a failure. The No Man’s Land cards are shuffled into the Trials pile and will have to be faced again.

In both of these cases, the unplayed cards are kept in hand, and the Hard Knocks remain assigned to each Grizzled. Play then proceeds to Support.


Once the Mission is over, the players reveal the Support tiles they played on their Grizzled cards when they withdrew, and give it to the chosen player.
If one player has received more Support than any others, that player benefits from the help of the group and can then:
- get rid of 2 Hard Knocks cards affecting their character
- recover their Good Luck Charm
In case of a tie, the effects of each cancel each other out and no one gets support.
Players keep the Support tiles they have received.


Defeat Condition

As soon as the group’s Morale Reserve is exhausted, the Monument card is revealed, and the game is lost!

If the players have made it to the Morale Drop, the Mission Leader token moves on to the next player. The former Leader gets a Speech token, if any still remain.
A new round begins...
...and the war goes on!

Card Breakdown
• 39 Trials cards: each of the 6 types of Threats is represented in it 14 times; 9 cards contain a Trap
• 19 Hard Knock cards
• 1 Merry Christmas card

Rookie Game

During your first few games we strongly recommend you ignore the Traps from the Threat cards.
Normal Game

Once you’ve mastered the game’s rules, you can apply the Traps from Threat cards when they appear.
Veteran Game

For expert players, the Trials pile starts at 30 cards.

Be brave!

2 Player Game

A virtual player is added: the Chaplain, a Grizzled card represents him. He gets 3 Support tiles like the other 2 players, and only takes part in the Support role, so he never has a Trial card and can’t be Mission Leader.
The Trials pile begins at 20 cards.
The used Speech tokens are returned to the stockpile instead of being removed from the game.
The game plays out normally, except during the Preparation, in which the Support played by the Chaplain is randomly drawn and placed on his Grizzled card. He thus withdraws before going on the Mission.
The Supports played are given to the selected Grizzled. If the Chaplain has the majority, he keeps the Supports, but nothing else happens. For more ambitious challenges, you can, after each victory, increase the initial size of the Trials pile by 2 cards. When you reach 30 cards, the victory will grant you the status of Veteran!


A great big thanks to all the players who had the patience to test the game again and again, specifically Catherine Riffaud, Corinne Blis, Muriel Lemay, Jérémy Jallet for his constant suggestions, Didier Jacobée for his confidence, Paul Guignard for his wise advice, Benoît Houivet for his minutiae, Patrick Bard for his support and his reactions, the members of the Touraine Maison des Jeux, François, Super Bony, the Poitiers Mipeul, Ludo Ergo Sum, Boris, Simon, Nicolas, Eva, Franck, as well as all those we’ve forgotten in this too short list.


• Some information in The Grizzled can’t be shared among players. The contents of the cards in each player’s hand cannot be revealed.
Players should also keep secret the Support tile they choose when withdrawing.
• The players can, if they so desire, count the number of cards remaining in the Trials pile and in the Morale Reserve.
• When a card is discarded, it is removed from the game for the remainder of the game.
• When the Trials pile is empty (the dove from the Peace card is visible), any card which should be drawn from it is ignored (Trap, effect from a Hard Knock, etc.).
Hard Knocks

• The Trauma, Phobia, and Fragile cards assigned to a withdrawn player no longer impact the current Mission.
• When a player no longer has any cards in hand, they can still withdraw, ignoring any active Hard Knocks that would keep them from withdrawing.

• In case of conflict between Hard Knocks:
- on the same player, the priority goes to the oldest one.
- on different players, those from the player currently playing are applied first.
• Clumsy Hard Knock: if a Trap is drawn, it doesn’t get activated.
• Mute Hard Knock: the player can’t play a Speech token but can still play a Support.
• The effect of a Hard Knock can force a player to withdraw, preventing them from choosing other actions.

• A Speech has no effect on a withdrawn player.
• The Speeches allow other players to discard from their hand a Trauma or a Phobia with the corresponding Threat.
• The Speech tokens all have the same effect. The text is only used as inspiration, for example: “My friends, don’t fear the shells, as according to our intelligence, no artillery fire will take place today”.


Version 1.1

A game designed and developed in FRANCE, from the SWEET GAMES collection, by SWEET NOVEMBER, 4 rue des Comblais, 28200 - Châteaudun - France
© Sweet November 2015 — Made in the European Community CoolMiniOrNot, and the CoolMiniOrNot logo are trademarks of CMON Productions Limited. Actual components may vary from those shown.

Game Design: Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodríguez -
Illustrations: Tignous Graphic Design: Juan Rodríguez -
Layout: Louise Combal and Mathieu Harlaut -
English translation: Eric Harlaux - English proofreading: Eric Franklin -
Producer: Lucas Antonini - Publisher: David Preti

It’s hard to imagine a game on friendship and brotherhood other than with a real friend. Your joy and enthusiasm, Bernard, were as needed as your talent.
Hasta Siempre Tignous