Hold my bear header

Hold my Bear

Hold my Bear is a fast (party) card game about animals playing sports.

At any point, there’s a set of cards on the table (a “match”).

On your turn, you must either do a valid move or give away cards. A valid move means you play a set that is better than the previous match. (Either by playing higher numbers … or changing the sport being played altogether!)

If nobody can beat your match for a whole round, you win!

A really fast card game with a clever system behind it and cute animal illustrations.

What’s special?

This game basically leans on two clever design ideas and nothing else. That’s quite rare, as finding even one unique mechanic that is simple yet provides depth is near impossible. (And even then, you often need some nasty exceptions or extra rules around the clever idea to make it work).

The first idea was the one about “valid moves”. In many card games you can only go higher and higher, which means players who are lucky and draw high cards will simply … win most of the time. In this game, the rule ensures both low and high cards are equally valuable and there are often smart ways to trump really good matches.

The second idea is the one that bears are magical. I basically threw all special rules onto the bear card—all other animals have no special powers or rules whatsoever—and to my surprise, that worked great. Bears are both wildcard (become any other type), trump (more bears always trumps fewer bears), and forbidden (you can’t win with a bear nor play cards with a matching number).

When you read the rulebook, you’ll notice that the two paragraphs above already explained 90% of the game. I love minimalist, simple games with one or two clever twists to make it work.

That’s probably why the development of this game was much easier and faster than any other I made before.