Climbing Games: Part II

In case you missed our debut climbing game (linked here), welcome to theDIHEDRAL’s Climbing Games series. Last time, I proposed a climbing video game, but today I’m going to propose a climbing card game. The really nice thing about card games is that they are exceptionally portable, so this game could go with you anywhere.

Name: Send or Die

Players: 2-6

Deck: crag cards (all unique); route cards; skill cards; support cards; hazard cards


At the beginning of the game, everyone chooses a crag card. Each crag is different, so each player gets a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. For example, a player with a sandstone crag card may have a texture bonus and a hold-breaking deficit. These strengths and weaknesses come into play later.

The goal of the game is to reach a minimum number of points. Each route card has a certain number of points; more difficult routes have more points than easier routes, but they also need more skills to send. Thus, players need to collect skill cards like strong feet, tight grip, iron abs, etc. to acquire the appropriate skills for the routes they want to send. Only sent routes count towards a player’s total points.

Other players can try to place hazard cards on your routes. If your route is in progress, they may add a hazard (slippery rock, short roping belayer, etc.) that make it more difficult to send the route. A player’s crag powers may change the effect of a hazard card; e.g., the texture bonus would cancel the slippery rock. Similarly, support cards can cancel out a hazard card (e.g., belay change would cancel the short roping belay). Otherwise, if a route has too many hazards, you take a fall, and must discard your route card and all other skill, support, and hazard cards that applied to it.

Certainly there are other semantics to iron out, but the key to this game is taking calculated risks to send. Please comment your feedback! What cards would you add to the deck?


7 Replies to “Climbing Games: Part II”

  1. You’ve thought this through pretty well! I’m impressed…or maybe you just have too much time on your hands;) Having the word “die” in the game name made me think about adding an element of chance to the game by rolling a die. Sometimes, shit happens that is not foreseen…but I wouldn’t want that to be the focus of the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That sounds like it might be fun! Use it to teach the fundamentals of rock climbing to newbies and have fun while they are at it.

    Play around in a graphics program and print some cards and cut them out. Maybe you know a graphic artist/rock climber who could make it fancy but that isn’t necessary to start. Play the game a bunch of times to get the rules worked out right. Then maybe a GoFundMe campaign.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know, maybe I am wrong, but from what I read it sounds like it would be a fun game.

    I don’t know why as I read I kept getting reminded of the original Monopoly board game. I loved Monopoly- I wonder why I feel a connection between the two?

    Liked by 1 person

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