A Board Game About Life


"...the life of man:
and short."



Laugh. Attack. Reflect.

HOBBES is a party game for adults with a sense of humor about life. There are many party games out there, but you will likely find this board game to be much different.

HOBBES plays best with a large group of friends and family who are familiar with one another’s foibles, habitual behavior and past history. The game will liven up your dinner party.


Inspired by the famous quote by 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, this game is about the joys of life – whether self-inflicted or imposed upon you - and timeless words of wisdom to help you understand, endure and transcend your besieged existence.

The object of the game is to end up with the most remaining points in life. Proceed through the major stages of life on the game board, draw cards and take your hits, deducting points along the way. You will also have the opportunity to stick point losses to opponents to accelerate their downfall. If you land on spaces where you are soothed by philosopher wisdom, you will recover some points for yourself. Can you survive the onslaught and emerge the winner, the one least beaten down by life?

Age: Mainly for jaded adults / Players: 4-8 / Time: Around 2 hours


click on image to view larger



View as PDF


All players begin with 100 points. The player with the most remaining points at the end of the game “wins.”

Set Up

Shuffle and arrange each set of Life Stage cards in chronological order. Shuffle and lay down the Common Misery and Philosophy card sets as well. The player youngest in age rolls first, then clockwise turns.


Roll the die and move in a zig-zag pattern as laid out on the board. When you land on a Life Stage space, draw a card from the designated deck and read aloud. Deduct the number of points indicated on the card. If the card is also a “Redirect” card (denoted with an “R”), you may give it to the player you believe it’s applicable to (or more suited for). That player then must take the hit. Point deduction can vary depending on the card.

If you land on a Common Misery space, it’s time to attack. Draw a card, read aloud, then multiply the point loss associated with the card by the number you rolled and spread out the point deduction pain among two or more opponents, or hand all of the damage to a single player if you want to be particularly nasty.

If you land on a Philosophy space, you will gain a temporary respite from your downhill slide and add points to your own score. The number of regained points depends on your decision: You may elect to recover the last point deduction that you had on your running total, or you can roll the die to determine the number of points to add back. (For example, roll a 5, add back 5.) Declare your choice. Then, draw a card, read aloud and add the points resulting from your choice.

The game concludes when all players exit the last stage. An exact roll to enter the last space is not necessary. If you are still rolling, you may continue to cause point losses for anyone who has finished. Anyone who drops to zero during the course of the game is eliminated. The player with the highest remaining number is the “winner,” the one who was beaten down the least by life.

Keeping Score

Ask for a volunteer or assign one person to keep track of scores on a blank sheet of paper with pen or pencil (items not included).


Life Stage cards describe things that typically afflict individuals during major phases of their lives. Common Misery cards describe shared experiences and phenomena for most people regardless of their life stage. Philosophy cards attempt to help you rise above the realities and events that relentlessly chip away at your existence and diminish society as a whole. There are 330 playing cards altogether. Warning: occasional mild profanity in some of the card sets.        


Progression from sunrise and calm skies in life to storminess and sunset.


Progression from innocent boy to beaten-down and bitter old man. The final portrait bears the likeness of Thomas Hobbes.


Thomas Hobbes


Thomas Hobbes was a prominent 17th century English philosopher best known for Leviathan (1651), a book in which he laid the foundation for his social contract theory. In Chapter 13, entitled “Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning Their Felicity and Misery,” Hobbes observed that it is human nature to be in a perpetual state of conflict with one another for survival over scarce resources. Life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” he bluntly and concisely described. Therefore, according to Hobbes, people should submit to a legitimate and just authority to contain the “passions” of men in order to live in a more civil and peaceful society. Hobbes himself managed to avoid at least one of his five characterizations of life: short. He died in 1679 at a ripe old age of 91.

 Questions or Comments?

Please send an email to: contact@hobbesboardgame.com