A KICK ass game by Atlas Games. An excellent to play at a cafe when you are bored. I am here to tell you. the images on the cards are fantasticly creepy, the shit-talking gets rough and when you play with dollars as life counters, them games get expensive. :)

Lunch Money

These Are The Rules... Lunch Money is a game for two or more people. The two decks that came in the box with these rules (that is, if you weren't reading this on the 'net.) are sufficient for at least four people . If you have more players, you may want to combine another set of cards, or simply be willing to reshuffle the discard pile when the draw pile runs out.

Starting the Game

Each player starts the game with fifteen counters. You can use anything you like for counters: coins, milk caps, dead flies, whatever you have on hand. We recommend pennies. Each player is dealt five cards. The remaining cards are placed face down within reach of all players; they are the draw pile.


You play cards to take your opponents' counters from them (moving them to a growing pool of lost counters in the middle of the play area), and to defend your own counter pile. A player who runs out of counters is "unconscious" and out of the game. The object of the game is to be the last person with any counters left; in other words, the last person still "conscious" and in the game.


Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer and proceeds clockwise. This player may initiate an action: She may play a card (placing it on top of the discard pile while naming its target), discard any number of cards from her hand and draw back up to five cards, or pass. After her action has been resolved (meaning other players have had a chance to respond with their cards ‹ defending against attacks, for example, or intervening with a special card), all players draw cards if necessary to return the number in their hands to five, and it is the end of her turn. The sequence of one turn for each player is called a round.

Making Attacks:

On your turn you'll usually play a card to attack another player. Cards that do this include Basic Attack Cards, Weapon Cards, and certain Specialty Cards. Sometimes you will play a sequence of cards (such as Grab, Powerplay and a Basic Attack card). Your opponent may have cards to prevent you from succeeding, or to stop you from continuing the sequence of cards. You can also spend your turn playing First Aid Defense Cards. If your attack succeeds, it is your responsibility to remove counters from the victim's pile and put them in the lost counter pool.

Defending Against Attacks:

When someone plays a card on you, you may be able to respond with a Defense Card. Remember that the Humiliation specialty card can serve as an effective defense, too.

Table Talk:

Colorful banter is an important part of Lunch Money, so don't be afraid to get into the game by describing in vivid detail the insults you perform upon your opponents. Don't be surprised by the imaginative things they do to you in return, and remember: it's just a game.

Card Types

There are four types of cards. Each type has its own coloration, to make them easy to recognize at a glance: Basic Attack Cards (yellow), Defense Cards (blue), Weapon Cards (magenta), and Specialty Cards (orange).

Basic Attack Cards

Elbow, Hail Mary, Headbutt, Hook, Jab, Kick, Pimp slap, Uppercut

Each one of these cards has a number. This is the number of counters taken from the victim if nothing stops the attack. These cards may be Dodged or Blocked.

Roundhouse, Spinning Backfist

These Basic Attacks have one special trait: If they are avoided by a Dodge card, the attack proceeds to the next player (left or right, attacker's choice) and that player must defend against the attack or suffer the damage. If the second player dodges, the attack proceeds again in the same direction. If everyone between the original target and the attacker dodges, there is no effect (i.e., the attacker doesn't hit herself). If one of these cards is Blocked, the attack does not proceed to another player.

Defense Cards

Dodge, Block

A player who has been attacked may defend herself with either of these cards. Simply play the Defense Card, and you don't lose your counters. See individual Basic Attack and Specialty Cards for their interaction with these Defense Cards; sometimes a Defense Card is not permitted (in the case of "free attacks").

First Aid

Each First Aid is worth 2 counters, restored to the player who plays the card. You can play as many First Aid cards as you have in your hand on your turn. You can play First Aid (as many as you have) when another player attacks you only if the damage you otherwise take sends you to zero or fewer counters.


This card counters or breaks any Grab, Headlock or Choke.


This card is played against any Weapon Card attack. No counters are lost by the defender, and the weapon card is discarded.

Weapon Cards

Knife, Chain, Pipe, Hammer

Each one of these cards has a number. This is the number of counters taken from the victim if nothing stops the attack. Unlike Basic Attack Cards, Weapon Cards return to your hand after use (unless countered by a Disarm). These cards may be Dodged, Blocked, or Disarmed.

Specialty Cards

Big Combo

The Big Combo entitles the player with this card to dream up any two fancy moves (such as a front kick followed by a spinning elbow strike) and announce them as the card is played. Defending against this attack requires two defense cards. If a defender only has one defense card to play against the Big Combo, then only half of the attack landed and half damage (i.e., 3 counters) is taken.

(Grab + Choke) or (Block + Grab + Choke)

A Choke card is only played after a Grab card and immediately takes one counter from the victim. (Assuming the Grab wasn't avoided, the only immediate defense against the Choke is Humiliation or Freedom.)

Cards that will break a Choke when the victim's turn comes are: Freedom, Stomp, Headbutt and Humiliation. Until the victim plays one of these cards, she will continue to lose one counter each time the attacker's turn comes around until she is unconscious. On her own turn, the victim can play one of those cards (to escape the Choke), discard cards from her hand in an attempt to draw an appropriate card, or play Basic Attack cards on players other than her attacker at half damage (round down).

As long as the Choke remains, both attacker and victim are helpless and cannot defend themselves from attacks by other players. The attacker may choose to release the Choke at any time (e.g., in order to Block or Dodge an attack from another player).

Grab (Grab) or (Block + Grab)

A Grab card is usually played in combination with other cards. A successful Grab permits the player to one free Basic Attack or Weapon Card, which cannot be Dodged or Blocked. A Grab also sets up certain specialty cards: Choke, Headlock and Powerplay (see their descriptions).

A Grab may be played as the start of an action on a player's turn. In that case, the Grab may be countered by Dodge or Freedom, but not Block.

A Grab may also be played immediately after a Block has been played. The defender who played the Block has the first option to play a Grab card (and follow up). But if a defender plays Block and has no Grab, the attacker now has the option to play a Grab and follow it with a free attack.

Headlock (Grab + Headlock) or (Block + Grab + Headlock)

A Headlock card is only played after a Grab card (assuming the Grab wasn't avoided, the only immediate defense against the Headlock is Humiliation or Freedom). The Headlock card renders the victim completely helpless and entitles the attacker to as many free Jab, Uppercut and Stomp cards as she has in her hand every round.

As long as the Headlock remains, the victim is helpless and cannot defend herself from attacks by other players. Cards that will break a Headlock when the victim's turn comes are Freedom, Stomp, and Humiliation. On her own turn, the victim can only play one of those cards (to escape the Headlock ), or discard cards from her hand in an attempt to draw one of those cards she needs.

The attacker may choose to release the Headlock at any time; for instance, she may engage a Headlock, deliver the appropriate attacks, and then release the Headlock in the same turn. While the Headlock is in place, the attacker may not attack players other than the Headlock's victim.


This card can be played at any time, at any point, on any player making any play (offensive or defensive), to humiliate the victim and ruin her best laid plans.

The holder of this card may interrupt the action, out of turn (after the victim has played her cards), and describe a sequence of events that will humiliate, but not physically harm, the victim. Once properly humiliated, the victim is open to (and cannot defend against, except with another Humiliation) one free Basic Attack or Weapon Card from the player that played this card.

Poke in the Eye

If this attack is successful (it may be Dodged or Blocked), the victim loses one counter and is completely helpless for two turns (the turn she was attacked and the turn of the next person after the attacker; if the victim would be next, she loses her turn), and may not attack or defend herself in that time. The player who did the poking gets the first free shot (but only with a Basic Attack Card).

(Grab + Powerplay) or (Block + Grab + Powerplay)

A Powerplay card is only played after a Grab card (assuming the Grab wasn't avoided, the only defense against the Powerplay is Humiliation). The player using the Powerplay must describe how she manhandles the victim to cause 3 counters of damage and set up the victim for any single, free Basic Attack card.


The victim of this attack must make her next attack at half damage (round down) regardless of when that next attack is made. The Stomp may be Dodged or Blocked.


This attack is an uppercut so powerful it lifts the victim off the ground and onto her back, making her helpless and open to one free Basic Attack Card. The Uppercut2 may be Dodged or Blocked

Atlas Games Web Site Last Updated: 6 October, 1998 jtidball@atlas-games.com No Frames Navigation: Return to Main Menu

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