Grave Robbers from Outer Space
Grave Robbers from Outer Space (GROS) is a card game designed by Stephen Tassie and published out by Z-Man Games. GROS parodies movies and movie clichés, especially those from science fiction and horror movies. It is played with a specially designed 120 card deck.
The idea of the game is to create a movie (made up of a location and characters, and having your characters holding props). Each of these cards has a "defense strength" (DS) between +10 and -15. The sum of the values on your cards is the defense of your movie. The goal is to have the strongest movie (i.e. the one with the highest defense) when either there are no cards left to draw, or one of two cards with the words "Roll The Credits" is played.
Each card contains the following information:
- A name ("The Babysitter", "Wrong Side of the Gorge")
- A picture (Special Effect cards do not have pictures on them)
- A quote ("Why should I believe your story, kid ... say, is that a tentacle?")
- Traits (Not all cards have traits)
- Special rules for the card
- A title word or words ("In 3D", "Sinister")
Each card is in one of five colors:
- Green - locations ("The Mall", "Tokyo Skyline")
- Blue - characters ("The Military Officer", "Skippy the Wonder Dog")
- Orange - props ("The Flashlight", "The Hat")
- Red - creatures ("Lava Men", "The Gym Teacher")
- Yellow - special effects
The two "Roll The Credits" cards are all black with the words in large red letters in the center.
At the beginning of the game, six cards are drawn at random from the deck. From the title words, which appear at the bottom of the card, you create a title for the game. At the end of the game, each player receives five bonus points for each word that appears both in their movie and in the game title. Many players choose not to play with this rule, and skip this phase.
You are dealt a hand of six cards. If you have no characters in your initial hand, you return your hand to the draw pile and draw a fresh hand, continuing to do so until you have at least one character in your hand.
You then put out your characters. Once all players have put out their characters, play begins.
Any time any card is played, its quote is read, otherwise it is not in play.
On your turn, you fill your hand to six cards. You may then play as many cards as you like, with three restrictions:
- You cannot affect other players' movies in the first round.
- You cannot "roll the credits" in the first two rounds.
- You can put out as many props as you have characters, giving one prop to each of your characters on your turn.
You may take a prop from one character and give it to a second character, this counting as the prop that the second character is given this turn.
You are allowed to change not only your own location, but any other player's location.
The Defense Strength (DS) of your movie is equal to the sum of the point value of your location, your characters, their props and any special rules that will add to these point values. For example, certain special effect cards give bonuses to a character or to a prop, and certain cards affect other cards. For example, the Nymphomaniac Cheerleader gives a bonus of +1 to all characters with the trait Male in the same movie.
You attack other players' movies using creature cards. Each creature has an "attack strength" (AS). If a creature's AS is greater than or equal to the movie's DS, then the player who played the creature gets to choose one of the characters to die (i.e. go to the discard pile with all of its props).
Special Effects cards can be played at any time, during any player's turn. You simply read the quote and apply the effect. These can change the outcome of an attack either way, or can do all sorts of different things.
After you have played any and all the cards you want to, you may also choose to discard any number of cards. Play then passes to the next player.
The game is over when either there are no cards left in the draw pile, or someone plays a "Roll the Credits" card. The person who wins is the person with the highest DS at that time.
There are nine other similar versions of the game. Each can be played on its own, or can be combined with the others.
The other games are:
- Cannibal Pygmies in the Jungles of Doom (action and adventure movies)
- Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island (Asian cinema, including anime)
- Grave Robbers II: Skippy's Revenge (more sci-fi and horror)
- Bell Bottomed Badasses on the Mean Streets of Funk ('70s and blaxploitation movies)
- Berserker Halflings from the Dungeons of Dragons (fantasy movies)
- The Scurvy Musketeers of the Spanish Main (swashbuckling/pirate movies)
- Bushwhackin' Varmints Out Of Sergio's Butte (Western (genre) movies)
- Silent But Deadly Night (Christmas movies)
- Grave Robbers III: Suburban Slashers from Sunnydale Street (even more sci-fi and horror)
Some of the games have a slightly different rule as to the circumstances when a "Roll the Credits" card may be played. Other than that, the games all use the same rules of play.