Some Rulings for Groo: the Game
Groo is a fun and very fast beer and pretzels game.
The rules are not quite complete, however, so here
are a few rulings we've chosen. Some are just clarifications
of the real rules that were not immediately obvious.
- Winning: A player wins by
having seven victory points at the end of his turn only.
It doesn't matter if someone has more points. This is
after replenishment phase, so Groo could die and
wreak havoc, wresting defeat from the jaws of victory.
- Pawnshop/Marketplace: The Pawnshop
can be used during
Leftover Phase. The Government Building and all other
buildings that multiply or create resources that "cannot
be passed on" do not function during leftover phase. The
Marketplace only works on your turn, so it's irrelevant
during leftover phase.
- Groo is Dead: During the resolution of the Groo
is Dead event, effects that move Groo do not occur,
and the cards with these effects are just discarded unheeded.
- Building and Troop Special Powers: Building and troop
cards that need to be discarded to get some bonus (such as
the Wizard's Keep) must be played into the player's
- Last Turn: When the second deck runs out, no
second reshuffle is done. The players may
use only the cards remaining in their hands.
- Event Procedure: Event is drawn, then resolved,
then replaced. We draw multiple cards at once; if one
draws multiple events, one may choose the order in which
they are resolved. They are replaced immediately upon
resolution. Moreover, one must draw multiple
cards. If one needs to replenish three cards and
draws an event on the first card, one does not resolve
the event until all three cards are drawn.
- Destruction: When Groo destroys buildings,
the owner of the buildings chooses which he destroys.
Same goes for armies.
- The Fray: The Fray kills all troops actually involved
in the battle, but none who are watching drunken on the sidelines.
It kills the troops before they have a chance to knock down
buildings, so it's a good defensive card. Watch out
for the Fray/Taranto combination.
- Timing: There are no interrupts. Once a card is
faced or announced, it resolves before any other cards
are played. Wild cards may be played in response to any
other card; time must be given by players for this to happen.
For example, if Rufferto moves Groo, players must be
given a chance to play another Rufferto card before
the active player plays Did I Err?. Troop and building
special effects have the same timing as Wild Cards.
- Timing, continued:
Phases are not atomic. That means one can play Wild
Cards during Replenish Phases. As a result, one can
continue drawing. For example, one may discard a card,
draw Cheese Dip, play it, then replace it.
I'm not sure this is best, but it is simplest. Otherwise,
one needs a more detailed turn order and timing rules. Ugh.
- Combat Values: To find the final combat value of
a troop card, first add all bonuses on the card. Then
double if appropriate. Then add all other bonuses.
- Double Trouble: Nothing can be doubled more than once.
For example, Groo Heads cannot be quadrupled due to event
- Rules Questions and The Minstrel: The Minstrel's owner
need not rhyme when discussing rules problems/questions/arguments
or while doing anything outside of the game (e.g. getting beer, answering
- Dice Results: There are four types of dice results:
Supplies, Labor, Kopins, and Groo Heads. Regardless of how
they are obtained, they are still dice results. So, if one
plays a card to obtain two Groo Heads, one can use the Pawnshop
to convert them into a Kopin. If a card says, "rolled," however,
that means "rolled dice results," so the Tax Collector
cannot take that Kopin. If "Groo Heads are doubled," then twice
as many dice results are available; the Marketplace can
convert a doubled Groo Head into whatever it pleases.
- Groo and Shipyards: We play that Groo destroys any
Shipyard that pre-existed when Groo came to town.
If a new Shipyard is built while Groo is there, it
can continue to exist (in secrecy), but if Groo leaves and
comes back, even within the same turn (perhaps by the play
of two Rufferto cards, it implodes. This doesn't
seem all that realistic (Groo-istic?), but Shipyards
are such bad cards that we figure they need some sort of
- Building Effects: There are two types of
such effects. "Mandatory effects" are effects that are always
active, such as the Shipyard's vulnerability or the
Ophanage's Groo repellant. Optional effects are
powers that the player may invoke, such as the Pawnshop's
ability to convert dice or the Wizard's Keep's extra turn.
Mandatory effects begin immediately upon playing the card.
Optional effects cannot be used the turn the card is played,
but can be used during the next player's turn.
- Groo's Dead and Befuddled: Befuddled does not apply
if Groo's Dead occurs.
Variants and Optional Rules
- Events in Initial Draw: If someone is originally
dealt an event card, it is reshuffled into the deck and
- All Players Draw?: Some play that the end-of-turn
draw phase applies to all players. With only one deck,
I think this rule will cause players not to have enough
turns to make warfare at all viable except in some rare
situations (such as the last turn). A variant with
two or more decks will be interesting, I think. With
the expansion set, adding this rule is a good idea.
Players replace starting with the phasing player and
continuing clockwise. This may make some events' durations
- Limited Pawnshop: Instead of its printed abilities,
The Pawnshop can only convert two of the same type of
resource (including Groo heads) into one of another type.
The new resource must be spent this turn. Even with these
changes, the Pawnshop is one of the most powerful cards in the game.
Woe to the player on the Pawnshop's left.
- Limited Pawnshop 2: The pawnshop is the same as
The Marketplace; that is, it does not work in leftover phase.
- Limited Residences: Two Residences are worth only
3 VPs. We had four games in a row won by someone's playing
two Residences on the last turn. Three Residences are
worth 4 VPs. Anyone who manages all three of the Butcher, Baker,
and Candlestick Maker deserves to win, so they are worth
the six points originally stated.
- Deck Composition: If the expansion set is included,
I suggest removing the following cards:
- 1 Pikesman
- 1 Guard Tower
- 2 School of Arms
- 1 Residence
- 1 Shipyard
- 1 Befuddled
- 1 Groo's Confusion (the one-time only one)
- Two-Player Game: With two players, play to ten points.
February 14, 2001