From Ludocity
Designer: Kevan Davis; developed with Minkette, Tassos Stevens, Holly Gramazio and Crabapple at a Coney Playday.
Year: unknown
Players: 6-20.
Stuff required: Printed cards; printed sheets; envelopes; ribbons.
Crew required: One.
Preparation: Envelope-stuffing.
Time required: Half an hour to an hour.
Place required: A large outdoor area, with places to hide small things.
Activities: Finding, trading.
This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

A game of scavenging and bartering in a post-apocalyptic economy.

Setting up

Prepare a deck of around 40 cards - as listed below - to represent the items that the players will find and barter.

Prepare 20 handouts - as described below - which define the characters' identities and the objects they're trying to collect, summarise the rules, and have a clear map of the playing area. (If you're feeling dramatic, mark some apocalyptic hazards to explain the boundaries, or to give hints as to where items might be found.)

Fill 20 envelopes with 1 handout and 1 card each (the character section suggests a range of starting cards which are of no use to the owner, but thematically appropriate), and a ribbon for each player to wear around their arm so that the players can spot one another to initiate trades.

Hide the remaining cards around the playing area before the game starts.

Player instructions

As a survivor in this post-apocalyptic wasteland, you need to scavenge and specialise to survive. In your envelopes are your identity, a map of the area, and an item you're carrying but don't really need.

To survive in this harsh environment, and to make your mark on this collapsing society, you need to find the tool and item cards listed on your sheet. Each card is worth 1 point at the end of the game, except for the four bonus cards listed on your sheet.

Some of the objects you need can be found lying around on the deserted streets, hidden in plain view, while others are already being carried by your fellow survivors. If you meet other survivors out there, identifiable by the ribbon on their arm, you can trade so that you both get something you want.

In half an hour's time, night falls. The player with the highest total score will be in the strongest position to make a bid for power in this post-apocalyptic city, and will win the game.

Item cards

A few item cards.

Basic items:

  • Helmet, Binoculars, Telescope, Lab Coat, Box of Matches, Seeds, Live Chicken, Notebook, Needle, String, Screwdriver, Spade, Knife, Microscope, Goggles, Hacksaw, Newspaper, Scrap Metal, Map, Pickaxe, Petrol Can, Coin, Plastic netting, Lump of Chalk, Encyclopaedia, Jaw Bone, Tin of Syrup, Bellows, Loudhailer, Boots, Glass Bottle, Rags, Paintbrush, Morphine, Tin of Beans, Tin of Soup.

Special items:

  • Gun ("The gun starts with two bullets. If you're in conversation with another player, you can fire the gun at them by tearing a corner off of this card. Your target must then give you a card at random from their hand (if they have any cards).")
  • Tin Opener ("If you've got the Tin Opener, all tinned food items you're carrying are worth 2 points to you at the end of the game.")
  • Lockbox ("If you have both the Lockbox and the Key, you can take them back to the game moderator to receive the contents of the box. (It might be empty if someone else got there first.)")
  • Key ("There's another item out there that needs a key. That card has instructions on how to use the key on it.")
  • Diary Entry / Note / Radio (These give some sort of clue towards finding a high-value-to-somebody card which has been hidden a little more thoroughly than the rest. The clue cards still count as 1 point in themselves.)


The "Doctor" character sheet, with a map of the post-apocalyptic ICA area, from Sandpit #10.
  • Scientist: You're investigating the pollution in the lake to the south. With a little more research, you could design a filtration system and win the respect of the other survivors.
    • Starts with: Glass Bottle
    • Requires: Microscope (5) Lab Coat (4) Encyclopaedia (3) Goggles (2)
  • Soldier: You're trying to get your kit together before heading off in search of your unit. A lot of people are going to be after that gun.
    • Starts with: Knife
    • Requires: Gun (5, +1 bonus for each bullet remaining) Helmet (4) Binoculars (3) Boots (2)
  • Artist: Your latest piece is nearing completion. If you can gather the final few tools you need, your masterwork could do wonders for survivor morale.
    • Starts with: Tin of Syrup
    • Requires: Lump of Chalk (5) Notebook (4) Paintbrush (3) String (2)
  • Astronomer: By studying the skyline and the heavens, you hope to reassemble some understanding of the city's place in the world and its calendar.
    • Starts with: String
    • Requires: Telescope (5) Notebook (4) Map of London (3) Encyclopaedia (2)
  • Engineer: It takes a lot of work to keep the survivors supplied with heat and light; if you can pull of the current round of repairs, society will thank you for it.
    • Starts with: Goggles
    • Requires: Scrap Metal (5) Screwdriver (4) Bellows (3) Hacksaw (2)
  • Motorist: You've managed to get one of the old petrol-driven cars running again. You just need a few more things, and you can take it for a spin across the city.
    • Starts with: Helmet
    • Requires: Petrol Can (5) Scrap Metal (4) Map of London (3) Goggles (2)
  • Gardener: You keep the survivors supplied with the fruit and vegetables you can coax from the soil here. If you could expand your operations a little, you're sure life would be easier for everyone.
    • Starts with: Boots
    • Requires: Spade (5) Live Chicken (4) Packet of Seeds (3) String (2)
  • Doctor: Your impromptu surgery has been running low on tools and supplies since the last outbreak, and the survivors are feeling the consequences. You need to restock.
    • Starts with: Microscope
    • Requires: Morphine (5) Knife (4) Hacksaw (3) Lab Coat (2)
  • Beekeeper: Your bees provide the survivors with a little honey, but they also keep the crops alive. With more colony collapses on the wind, you need to expand and strengthen your hives.
    • Starts with: Packet of Seeds
    • Requires: Plastic Netting (5) Tin of Syrup (4) Box of Matches (3) Bellows (2)
  • Mystic: You've seen what's going on. You know the truth. You know how it ends. You just need to hone your visions, spread the word, and the survivors will be saved.
    • Starts with: Chalk
    • Requires: Loudhailer (5) Morphine (4) Goggles (3) Jaw Bone (2)
  • Prospector: There's a lot of useful material to be found in the strata of the rubble, and you've heard rumours of vast tunnels underground, if only you can dig that far.
    • Starts with: Scrap Metal
    • Requires: Pickaxe (5) Spade (4) Helmet (3) Box of Matches (2)
  • Teacher: Everybody needs to be taught how to survive. If you can get a classroom together, the survivors will thank you for improving their lives.
    • Starts with: Needle
    • Requires: Encyclopaedia (5) Lump of Chalk (4) Loudhailer (3) Notebook (2)
  • Tailor: Very few clothes were designed to be worn for this long, or in this harsh conditions. The other survivors need constant repairs, and you help maintain the very fabric of their society.
    • Starts with: Plastic Netting
    • Requires: Rags (5) Needle (4) String (3) Knife (2)
  • Cook: It takes skill to make something healthy from the city's meagre crops and looted junk food, let alone something appetising. If you had a few more ingredients, the other survivors would appreciate your work more.
    • Starts with: Jawbone
    • Requires: Live Chicken (5) Box of Matches (4) Knife (3) Any tinned food (2 per tin)
  • Explorer: The survivors can't just scavenge from this same patch of rubble forever - we need to look further afield, into the wider city, and maybe even out into the wasteland beyond. You should be the one to scout it out.
    • Starts with: Coin
    • Requires: Map of London (5) Binoculars (4) Boots (3) Telescope (2)
  • Historian: Only by looking to the past, can we hope to understand the future. Finding out what happened here is fundamental to the future of this small society.
    • Starts with: Notebook
    • Requires: Newspaper (5) Map of London (4) Encyclopaedia (3) Coin (2)
  • Fisher: The lake is polluted, but you've found a few clear streams running in from the north. With a little equipment, you could bring the survivors a whole new food source.
    • Starts with: Binoculars
    • Requires: Needle (5) String (4) Plastic Netting (3) Knife (2)
  • Ratcatcher: Rats were always a problem, but as nature reclaims the city, distant wildlife is also returning. If you can scale up your operations to rabbit or even deer, the other survivors would see you in a whole new light.
    • Starts with: Spade
    • Requires: Knife (5) Gun (4) Hacksaw (3) Binoculars (2)
  • Brewer: Most people in a post-apocalyptic world could use a drink, or a swab of medicinal alcohol. With a few more containers and filters, you could double your output.
    • Starts with: Matches
    • Requires: Glass Bottle (5) Petrol Can (4) Tin of Syrup (3) Rags (2)
  • Builder: You've been gradually renovating the buildings around the Mall, and giving survivors somewhere to call home. Your current plans require a few more tools.
    • Starts with: Paint Brush
    • Requires: Hacksaw (5) Pickaxe (4) Spade (3) Helmet (2)

Play history

Rubble started as an unfinished card game design in 2007, and was revived during brainstorming at a Coney playday. It ran at Sandpit #10 in April 2009, along the ruined Mall outside the ICA in London.