Grunt Growl and Tear

Release Date: 
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Package icon ggt_complete.zip1.33 MB
PDF icon GGTexp1_MsTreat_Initiative.pdf153.75 KB
Setup Time: 
Play Duration (new players): 
Play Duration (experienced): 
Minimum number of players: 
Maximum number of players: 
Minimum Age: 

by Jonathan Leistiko and Remi Treuer


You’re a monster locked in mortal combat with your enemy. Your goal is to completely dismember your opponent and grind his or her torso into a bloody pulp.

You Need

A Poker deck for each player.
At least 15 Power tokens for each player.
Monsters, pawns, Monster Monitors, and eight Tracking tokens for each player.
A Grunt, Growl, and Tear map.
Grunt, Growl, and Tear Initiative Cards.

Setting Up

Set the Power tokens aside so that all players have access to them.

Give each player a Monster Monitor, four Tracking tokens, and a shuffled Poker deck. Set the Power tokens aside for use during the game.

Select a map to play on.

Monsters and Attributes

Before choosing a Monster, consider the Monster’s attributes and figure out which one suits your style of play. Monsters have four attributes: Speed, Strength, Smarts, and Health.

Health (Ht): Health measures the physical integrity of a Monster. Robust Monsters have lots of Health. You start the game with health points in your health pool equal to your total Health. When you run out of Health points, you lose a limb and reset your health pool to your new total Health.

Strength (St): Some Monsters are stronger than other ones. When you’re fighting another Monster, you play a card, then add your Strength to the value of the combat card you played. The highest total wins the combat and deals damage to the loser. Higher Strength makes you more likely to win in combat. Damage you deal in combat is directly related to how much you win by, so having lots of Strength also lets you deal more damage.

Smarts (Sm): A smart Monster is a clever Monster. Clever Monsters use better tactics. You start the game with cards in hand equal to your Smarts. You can never have more cards in your hand than your Smarts. When your Smarts drops below the number of cards in your hand, you must discard cards at random until the number of cards in your hand equals your Smarts.

Some effects may cause you to draw cards in excess of your Smarts. If this happens, draw the cards, then discard cards at random until the number of cards in your hand equals your Smarts.

Speed (Sp): Fast Monsters move farther and do more than slower Monsters do. The game is divided into turns. During your turn, you can take actions like running, resting, or attacking. The number of actions you get each turn is equal to your Speed. A higher Speed lets you move more often, make more attacks, or rest more often (Resting lets you draw more cards.).

Choose a Monster. When you’ve selected a Monster, take that Monster’s pawn also. Place Tracking tokens on your Monster Monitor to mark your starting Smarts, Speed, Strength, and Health (as indicated on your Monster’s torso).

Starting with player whose Monster has the highest Smarts and proceeding downward to lowest Smarts, each player gets to place his or her pawn in a starting space. Any unoccupied space on the edge of the board at least 5 spaces away from another monster is a valid starting space.



When your Monster wants to accomplish a task, but something is preventing it from accomplishing that task, you run a Test to see what happens. This kind of situation happens most often in combat or when one Monster is trying to get away from another Monster.

During a Test you select a card from your hand and place it face-down on the table. Your opponent does the same. Reveal both cards simultaneously. If you’re testing an attribute, like Strength, add the atribute you’re testing to the card you play. The player with the highest total wins.

During a Test, Aces count for 1, and numbered cards add their printed value. A royal card automatically beats any numbered card it’s played against. Kings and Queens beat Jacks, and Kings beat Queens. Nothing beats a King.

If there’s a tie, then both players select another card and add it to the total.

If you have no cards and you need to play a card, you may spend a point of Health to take the top card from your draw pile and play it at the instant that card is needed.

At the start of each round, pass out the initiative cards. The lowest card goes to the Monster with the most Smarts, the next-lowest card to the Monster with the second-most Smarts, and so on. Ties go to highest Speed, then Strength. The Monster with the lowest initiative card goes first and so on, with the highest card going last.

On your turn, your Monster may take a number of actions equal to its Speed. You do not have to use all of your actions before you end your turn. The actions you can take are:

Move: Move your Monster forward or backward one step. You may not Move if you are adjacent to a Monster without Escaping first, unless that Monster’s controller lets you.

Turn: You may turn up to 180 degrees, in 60-degree increments. Your first turning action in a turn is free; it does not cost an action. You may not Turn if you are adjacent to a Monster without Escaping first, unless that Monster’s controller lets you.

Attack: Make a close combat or ranged combat attack (See Combat, below.) on a target in one of your front three hexes.

Escape: If you’re next to another Monster, you can’t just walk away from it (Unless that Monster’s player lets you.). To get away from an adjacent monster, choose an Attribute other than Health. You and the adjacent Monster’s controller Test the attribute you selected. If you win, you may immediately take a free Move or Turn action; the Monster you beat can not stop you from Moving or Turning for the rest of this turn. If you fail, then your action is spent. You can try to Escape again if you have another action to spend on the attempt.

If you’re adjacent to more than one Monster, then you must challenge each Monster seperately. The free Moves and Turns you accumulate from successful Escapes must be used the instant you’ve escaped from all of your opponents.

Rest: Draw a card. You may not Rest if the number of cards in your hand is equal to or greater than your Smarts. You may not Rest if you are adjacent to another Monster, unless that Monster’s controller lets you.

Push: Engage an adjacent Monster or object in a Test of Strength. If you’re moving an object, draw the top card from your deck and add its value to the Weight of the object you’re pushing. If you win, you may move your target into a vacant space that’s adjacent to it.

Attach Limb: If you’re in the same space as a limb and have an open space on your body, you can attach that limb to your body and gain the benefits of that limb. To attach a limb to your body, choose the highest stat on the limb or the number 6, whichever is lower. Spend that many Power tokens and attach it to a vacant limb spot. Once the limb is attached, increase your attributes by the amounts printed on that limb. You may use any special abilities that the limb possesses. If the limb is not yours, give one of the Power tokens you’re spending to the former owner of that limb.

If you’re attaching a limb to a spot that matches that limb type, like attaching a leg to a leg spot on your torso, then you get to spend less Power than you normally would. Choose the lowest non-zero stat on the limb or 4, whichever is lower. Spend this many Power tokens to attach the limb to your torso. If the limb is not yours, give one of the Power tokens you’re spending to the former owner of that limb.

You may voluntarily remove one of your limbs to attach a different limb. Spend one Power token and place the limb you’re removing in an unoccupied adjacent space, then proceed to attach the new limb as you normally would.

A limb can only be reattached one time. If a limb that has been reattached is removed again, then remove that limb from the game.

You may attach a limb if you are adjacent to a Monster, but doing so must be your first action that turn and ends your turn.

Heal: You may spend Power tokens to gain Health. Gain one Health for every Power token you spend. You may not gain more Health than your maximum Health. Your first Healing action in a turn is free; it does not cost an action.

When you’re done taking actions, play passes to the monster with the next-highest initiative card. Once all monsters have had a turn, the round is over and a new round begins.


Combat Turn Sequence
(Players act simultaneously during each step.)

1) Heal
You may spend Power tokens to gain Health. Gain one Health for every Power token you spend. You may not gain more Health than your maximum Health.

2) Test Strength
Special powers may not be used to modify the outcome of the test of Strength once cards are revealed.

3) The Joy of Victory
If you win, gain one point of Power.

4) The Agony of Defeat
If you lost, you take damage. If both cards were numbered cards, you take damage equal to the difference between the two totals. If the winning card was royal, then you take damage as follows: Jack = 9 points of damage. Queen = 7 points of damage. King = 5 points of damage.

Reduce your health pool by the damage taken; if you were the attacker, then reduce the damage you take by 2, to a minimum of one point. If this drops your Health below zero, then set your health pool to zero.

5) Dismemberment?
If your health pool is at zero, or if you just took more than 9 points of damage, then your opponent gets to rip a limb of your body (Meeting both requirements only causes you to lose one limb.).

If you’re about to lose a limb, you may move a Power token from your power pool onto every limb on your Monster but one (your torso does not count as a limb); there must be at least one limb uncovered by a power token when you’re done. Your opponent may not remove a limb that’s covered by a Power token. Once your opponent has selected a limb, all Power tokens on limbs are spent and the selected limb gets ripped off.

Sum your attributes and adjust your Monster Monitor to reflect your new attribute totals; this includes resetting your Health to your new Health total. If you’re removing a limb, you may put the severed limb in your square or in any unoccupied space within two spaces of the victim’s square. You may not carry the limb around with you.

6) R.I.P.?
If you’ve taken enough damage to qualify for dismemberment, but you have no limbs left to lose, then your opponent has stomped you into a bloody pulp. You’re out of the game. Combat ends, that player gains 5 Power tokens, and the current player’s turn ends.

7) Continue or end?
If both participants want to continue combat, then go back to the first step. Otherwise, the combat action ends.

Ranged Combat
Ranged combat is identical to normal combat with the following exceptions:

  • The attacker does not receive damage after a failed attack unless the target also has a ranged attack that he or she can counterattack with.
  • If you lose a limb, it lands in an unoccupied square adjacent to you (Attacker’s choice).


If you’re the last Monster with points in your health pool, you win the game.


The Suicide Woods
Here’s another map: The Suicide Woods

There are still more monsters, boards, and variant rules that may make an appearance in the future. Stay tuned…

Origin and Credits

Jon’s Thoughts
Back in the late 80s or early 90s, Jeremy posited a game set in a hospital / asylum called Amputee. It was to be a race to escape from the asylum. Combat damage caused you to lose limbs, causing you to move slower. We never really developed it. About 7 years ago, I resurrected the idea as No Exit. No Exit (named after the Jean-Paul Sartre play of the same name) had the same general story as Grunt, Growl, and Tear. You’re a contestant on a game show in Hell, trying to win your freedom. Critical differences were: The board was not an actual board, but a special deck of cards littered with surprise monsters and other goodies; combat resolution involved rolling lots of dice; you could search for other bodies and abandon yours if it was too badly wounded; combat with non-player monsters was an option, and much more common than fighting each other; you could win by finding the exit, assembling three pieces of a special artifact, or by eliminating all other players; there were rules for combat with spirits not inside bodies. No Exit was a lot more complex than the original Amputee game.

There were three things that prevented me from making a playtest copy of No Exit: The combat rules were kludgy, the map deck was hard to create, and the game needed loads and loads of art. Even with these obstacles, I’d still brush it off and work on it a bit. During one of these episodes of poking at the game, I must have mentioned it to Remi. Nothing much happened then, but he got back to me in August 2003 and asked if I’d ever done anyhting with that, “ where players ran around a maze, fought with each other, and could cannibalize each other’s corpses for better arms/legs/machines.” I’d just finished a pretty intense freelance writing project and was looking for something to clean my mental palate, and this seemed like a perfect fit. We began a flurry of emails, punctuated by an occasional telephone conversation, and Grunt, Growl, and Tear was born.

Thanks to Jeremy for the original idea; ; Remi for kicking me into gear, doing such excellent art and layout, collaborating on the rules, and generally contributing to get this done; and to Frank and Michelle from the Monday Night Gaming Group and Ben Gibbs for playtesting and additional comments.

Remi’s Thoughts
One night back when I lived in Austin, I was at a sleep over with a bunch of Invisible Citizens. The night had worn on, and the only people still awake were Jon, Ben, and myself. We were talking about doing work on a different game at the time, but for whatever reason, sleep deprivation, the witching hour, or some mystical sense of timing, Jon brought up a game whose core idea, that of ripping off and re-attaching limbs, appealed to a deep and animal part of me.

Flash forward two years and a buncha change. It’s early in the morning. I’m sitting back, deep in a bit of reminiscence. The sleep deprivation, or the witching hour, or a mystical sense of timing struck, and I remembered that coversation, that unmade game. A giddy, electric feeling came over me, and I shot off a message to Jon, “Hey, do you remember that paper-doll game where you were running around a maze and ripping your opponents arms off? Wanna do it?” A couple months later, here we are. I couldn’t be happier with this game. It’s a fast, zany, violent blast to play, and working with Jon was a joy. I can only hope that a mystical sense of timing strikes again.

I’d like to thank all the folks who helped refine GG&T here at the Athens, GA branch of Invisible City. First is Jon Hanna, who was always there for a game and gave a metric ton of critique that improved this game immensely. Sean Holland let me playtest several times at his store Tyche’s Games, and contributed many useful tweaks. Big thanks to Jason Colquitt and Howard Brandon for playing!

Unedited as of October 17, 2003.