Rocky Road

In the game of Rocky Road, Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic society will test your survival skills. Will your strategy and humor be enough to keep you going or will you collapse under the pressure?

Rocky Road

In the game of Rocky Road, Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic society will test your survival skills. Will your strategy and humor be enough to keep you going or will you collapse under the pressure?

Beware of the cannibals !

Contents of the game

Dice: 1 x weather & 1x number

3 stacks of cards: (Take Or Get Taken) & (Gain or Loss) & (Wild)

4 characters : The boy, Elye, The Man, and The Cannibal

How to Play

1. This is a game of 3-4 players (you may also have a team for each player). Each person must choose a character. Keep in mind that each character has a strength and weakness.

  • Ely: People give ½ their food & In the snow he moves back a space

  • Boy: Flare gun (gets to exchange an item when at beach) & Gets sent to lost when near a cannibal

  • Man: Gets ½ of people’s items in exchange for getting them out of lost. & Needs 3 cans of food at all times or else he cannot move.

  • Cannibal: Can eat people who land on the same space as him & Allergic to peaches.

2. Everyone must choose what package they want to start their cart with.

Starter Package

  • Package A: Lighter & knife & water

  • Package B: Shelter &  gun & food

3. Everyone begins in the center of the board. Only one person  can go down each of the four paths. Each person must roll the dice. {even number = city or woods} {odd = beach or mountains} Of the first two people to roll even, the person who rolled a larger even number gets to pick first. The same rules apply to odd numbers. If more than two people roll even then the third person has to choose an odd path.

4. During each person’s turn they are to roll both die, the numbered one and the weather one.

  • The numbered die determines how many step a player moves forward.

  • The colorful dice has 6 icons: snow, rain, sunny, dust storm, wild card, and the 2x. Each weather will impact the player’s wellbeing based on the area they are in. When you roll the weather dice you will either give up a can of food or use 1 /3 of water. Each area has one type of weather that requires specific supplies to be used.

    • Mountains: snow → (lighter: fire fuel = 2x)  or (shelter: food = 1x)

    • Woods: dust storm →  (shelter: food 2x) (no shelter: food= -2 steps)

    • City: rain storm → (Food = 2x)

    • Beach: sunny → (Water = 2/3x)

  • If your die lands on the W you draw a Wildcard. If your die lands on a x2 card then you get the same weather as the last person who rolled.

5. There are several spaces wherein if you land on them you can receive whatever item’s icon appears on it. For example, if the peach can icon appears you can receive one peach can.

  • Give up four item you own in exchange for claiming that space. If you own a space you alone can freely receive one item each time you land on it.

  • When other people land on your space they can only gain something by making the owner laugh within 45 seconds or they have to barter with the owner and exchange one item for another. If the owner laughs then the player may receive one item from the space.  The player also has the right to simply land on the space and not ask for anything.

    • If a player has a lighter they can use three lighter fluids to blow up the store. If a person has a gun they can break into the store and steal three items.

      • If a store is blown up or stolen from the owner the owner can either pay the original price to buy the property again or give up. If the owner gives up the space returns to its original rules, providing one specific item to each player that lands there.

      • If a player is running out of resources they cannot keep their property. They can either sell it to someone else or just give it up. When they sell the space the items gained from that sale will be used to make up for the items the player needs to continue to survive.

Three decks of cards:

Gain or Loss cards:

These cards are a choice and are substantial. When you gain a certain amenity, you lose another. For example, if you find two gallons of water, you could sacrifice the steadiness of the cart.

Take or get taken from cards:

For Take or Get Taken cards, you don’t have a choice. You either get to take a certain amenity or lose one. For example, you could draw a card that gives you a new cart or you could draw a card where you have to leave your card and everything in it on the side of the road.

Wild Card

Life is wildly unexpected, the wild card can create some pretty unexpected moments in the game. For example it may say that you got lost for the next two turns.


If you land on lost you must either call upon the man and pay the fee. If you are the man you must give up three items to another player of your choosing to be able to leave. The longer you stay lost, the more you lose. After three turns of being lost, you lose one meal’s worth of food. Theoretically, you could die in jail.


In the bunker take all you need. Grab a can of food, or a weapon, or a bullet. It’s all yours! Except, you can only choose one.

Cormac McCarthy’s acclaimed novel The Road features the story of a boy and his father on living day to day by scavenging for food, clothing, safety, and sources of happiness in a post-apocalyptic society. Danger lurks at every turn and through every ordeal, the boy and his father grow closer while the reader learns more about what makes their relationship as strong as it is and what they’re personally struggling with. In Rocky Road, our group explored events and theoretical situations and incorporated them into our version of monopoly.

General Set-Up

Essentially, the goal is to stay alive, as it is in The Road. The four characters--the man, the boy, Ely, and the Cannibal--travel the board landing on various spaces that allow them to do certain things. All four characters have certain abilities and drawbacks to choosing them for the game. Most of the spaces on the board are food or resource stores. These spaces are purchased by trading all of your share of that given material (ex: you’d pay for a peaches store with all of your peaches). If you land on a certain spot called “lost” you have to stay there (our equivalent of jail) until you roll a 6. There is no way to win.


  • Four characters

    • We decided to have four characters mainly because we thought they had the most impact on the book as a whole.

      • The man and the boy are the main characters and were no-brainers for us to include due to their journeys on the road. Both of their abilities reflect them as characters as well. The man’s navigation skills are impressive which is why he is the only person on the board who can get you out of “lost”. However, his health isn’t very good and often coughs blood (272). His poor health gave us the idea to prohibit him from moving without the proper amount of food. The boy’s relationship with the flare gun towards the end of the book (270) and how he wanted to fire it upwards to find help inspired us to give him a flare with unlimited ammunition to keep his unrivaled amount of hope alive. However, we thought it would be fit to make him get “lost” when on the same space as the cannibal due to his reaction when his father killed him.  

      • We decided to include Ely because of how influential he was to forming the doubt that the man and the boy have in their mission for survival. He’s one of the only characters that the boy and the man interact with together, let alone converse with, and plant ideas in both characters head that survival is a burden (169). Similarly to the book, we decided to make it a requirement to feed him half of your food if you land on the same spot as him. The cannibal is a villainous character in the book and serves as one in the game. His abilities allow him to take half of all characters food if they’re on the same spot on the board as him. This is because of when he lied about surviving on people giving him food (171). We saw it fit to add a bit of irony to the game. However, he can’t withstand cold temperatures because of his scrawny stature and the fact that he’s old.

Components of the Game

Seasons: We decided to have several seasons due to how much the weather impacts what the characters wear, how able they are to move, and how it affects their mental and physical health. All of the seasons are seen in the book and split the board into 6 equal parts.

Wild Cards: With wildcards, the idea behind this is to just gain. This also allows you to go to the bunker. The bunker is a place where it is safe and has all things essential to survival. This is all for benefitting the players.

Gain and Loss Cards: With gain and loss cards, as players travel on the road, or around the board game, they will come upon spaces that will say “gain and loss cards” on them. Once landed on this space, you will pick up the top card on the “gain and loss” cards deck. The idea behind this is that a player will have the ability to gain something that will benefit them, or that they find essential, but losing something valuable in the process. This could be finding two gallons of water, but the steadiness of your cart will be impacted. This act is played in the book, The Road, as they are constantly searching for essentials, but making sacrifices in the process/coming across life-threatening situations.

Take or Get Taken From Cards: With take or get taken cards, it is also a space that a player will land on as they travel around the board game/the road. When on one of these spaces, you will pick up a “take or get taken” card from the deck. This card is more straight-forward. You either receive something or lose something, there is no in-between. For example, you can find a brand new cart for yourself to keep, or you can lose all your belongings and that will be it. You will have to continue with whatever happened. The idea behind this is people in the story The Road are constantly having things be taken from them (The boy and the man going to homes and taking essentials) or the other way around, taking people’s things. This is all part of survival. In our game, we wanted to incorporate something similar to this. With the take of get taken cards, we believe it does a good job displaying how the book goes.

Laughing/Crying emotive stuff: In The Road, characters must attain survival materials at all costs. This can take the form of cannibalism, murder, hunting, etc. but one tactic that the boy and the man use is being merciful and emotionally available for each other. Mental health is something that is often overlooked in the book due to the fact that the characters are living day to day in dire straights and don’t have time to think about how they feel. Being compassionate allows the characters to stay alive, especially due to their underlying doubts about the importance of surviving. We decided to have an aspect of the game that addresses this. You can gain certain amenities by making someone laugh or smile in 45 seconds.

Set up of Board

Although we did get our idea from Monopoly, there are many aspects of the game that is different. Our set up of the board is shaped as if it was a road. There are spaces on this road that players will move through. Inside of how the road is formed, different locations that were in the story is drawn in there. We placed the mountains north, the beach east, the woods south, and the city/town west. The gain and loss, take or get taken, and wildcards will also be placed in this location, but not where it blocks the locations.

All players will start in the inside space, not exactly on the road yet. The players will have the option of taking different routes to get onto the road. You can travel going to either the beach, mountains, woods, or city/town first and then travel on the road from there. We made the game this way because these were the main locations in the story that people stayed at.

Players in this game will roll two die at the same time when it’s their turn. One die determines how many spaces the player will move and the other die determines what weather condition they are in.