The Road // Final Creative Project // Shana, Harlem, William


SETTING (Read aloud at beginning of game): An unnamed disaster has caused humanity to face extinction and you must now survive with the remnants of a ruined world. 


GOAL: To be the last one alive

STATISTICS (STATS): Stats fall under three categories:

Health Points (HP) - How much damage you can take. As the game progresses, HP cannot exceed the initial given HP. When a player’s HP reaches 0 at any given moment, they lose the game, meaning FOOD cards can only be used prior to a player’s HP dropping to 0.
Intelligence (INT) - Your ability to use certain items
Strength (STR) - Your natural ability in combat situations

DICE ROLLING PHASE: Determine the STATS you will be playing with for this game 

Players roll dice three times. The value rolled on the dice correspond to a STATS NUMBER (shown below). Each player will end up with 3 STATS numbers by the end of the DICE ROLLING PHASE. Players can assign their STATS NUMBER to any STATS above. 

Dice Rolls and Corresponding STATS NUMBER:

1-2: 3
3-4: 4
5-6: 5

Write all the STATS and the corresponding STATS NUMBER on a piece of paper. Keep this for reference for the rest of the game. Make sure there is enough room to cross out and rewrite your HP as the game progresses.


  1. Players roll a die to see who will go first. The person with the biggest number will go first AND decide whether turns will go clockwise or counterclockwise.
  2. There are 4 piles, one for ITEM cards, one for SCENARIO cards, and each type of card gets a DISCARD pile.
  3. When an ITEM or SCENARIO card is used, place it in the DISCARD pile. When ITEM or SCENARIO cards are completely used up, take them from their DISCARD pile, shuffle them, and place them back in their respective piles for reuse.
  4. On a player’s turn, they draw a SCENARIO card. The scenario is read aloud, which explains a situation or circumstance that requires a decision and the player follows any instructions.
  5. Food items can be used be any player at anytime during anyone’s turn
  6. At the end of each round, meaning the turn player has circled back to the starting player, all players’ health go down by 1 due to hunger

TYPES OF CARDS: There are ITEM cards and SCENARIO cards
ITEM Cards: May be food, tools, clothing, etc. Used for different scenarios.
  • All item cards are placed face down in front of the player. Players may look at their cards at any time.
  • Players may only have 4 ITEM cards at a time 
  • Cards are discarded after use, unless specified
  • Anything more than three must be discarded at the moment the card limit is exceeded
  • When a player has 4 ITEM cards and they draw another ITEM card, they must discard an ITEM card to replace it, or discard the newly drawn ITEM card)
How to read a card:
  • Cards are either labeled WEAPON, TOOL, or FOOD
  • Description: What the item is and what it can do
  • INT: Determines if a player can use an item. If a player’s INT is lower than the INT written on the card, they cannot use it. 

ITEM cards:

WEAPON: Used to deal damage to other players
Pocket Pistol (4):
Description: A ranged weapon for self defense. +2 STR.
INT: 4
Hunting Rifle (2): 
Description: A powerful long ranged weapon used for killing. +3 STR.
INT: 5
Rusted Dagger (6): 
Description: A close range weapon. +1 STR. If a player gets hit, flip a coin. If heads, they take 1 additional damage.
INT: 3

TOOLS: Various effects
Flare Gun (2): 
Description: Used to direct attention. Can be used during any players turn. When used, a player is chosen to be the target of an interaction.
INT: 4
Old Crowbar (4): 
Description: Used to open boxes.
INT: 3
Cart (2): 
Description: Used to hold 2 extra items. Flip over to use. Attach ITEM cards face down to it. Does not get discarded. If stolen, attached cards get taken too.
INT: 3
Old Tent (4):
Description: Provides protection during weather. Player doesn’t take damage from rain or snow.
INT: 3

FOOD: Used to gain HP
Bottle of Water (2):
Drink to restore 1 health
Can of Pineapple (4): 
Description: Restores 1 health
Jar of Corn (3): 
Description: Restores 2 health 
Crate of Beans (3): 
Description: Restores 3 health
SCENARIO Cards: A SCENARIO card is drawn each round by the player. Follow the instructions on the card accordingly.
  • Some scenarios may call for the use of a weapon (i.e. a roadrat attack) and others, a utility (i.e. a cold night). A few require specific items. 
  • If a player doesn’t have any eligible cards, they may take damage (if specified by the card). 
  • In all combat situations, a WEAPON card may be used during the battle phase to increase a players STR. Once a player chooses to engage in combat, they cannot back out until one player takes damage.
  • Night Time (4): All players are asleep. Turn player may flip a coin. If heads, take an ITEM card from another player. If tails, target is woken up and the two players fight. -1 HP for player with lower STR.
  • It’s Raining (2): Heavy rain and strong winds. All players -1 HP.
  • It’s Snowing (2): Dense snow and cold weather. All players -1 HP.
  • A Roadrat Attacks! (2): If you have a weapon, you defeat the roadrat and you loot his corpse. Draw 1 ITEM card. Otherwise, -1 HP. If you chose to run, flip a coin. If heads, you successfully escape. If tails, he catches you -1 HP.
  • Roadside Loot! (4): Someone must have abandoned it. Draw 1 ITEM card 
  • A Cave! (2): Flip a coin. If heads, you found someone’s abandoned belongings, draw 1 ITEM card. If tails, you got lost in the cave, -1 HP.
  • An Abandoned Trailer! (2): Draw 2 ITEM card
  • An Abandoned Town! (2): Draw 2 ITEM cards
  • LIGHTNING! (2): You got struck by lightning. You are left with 1 health
  • HUMAN ENCOUNTER! (4): You and the player to your left assume aggression from one another. Choose to fight or flight. If fight, player with lower STR -1 HP. If flight, flip a coin. If heads, you get away unscathed. If tails, you are attacked -1 HP.
  • Four Eyes On One (2): You and the player to the right found the same loot. Choose to fight or flight. If fight, losing player -1 HP. The winning player get to draw an ITEM card. If flight, flip a coin. If heads, you get away unscathed. If tails, you are attacked -1 HP.
  • Strike It Rich! (2): Today is everyone’s lucky day! All players find loot. All players draw an ITEM card
  • EARTHQUAKE! (2): A strong earthquake struck. All players discard 1 ITEM card and -1 HP.
  • Heavy Conscience (2): Give 1 ITEM card to another player
  • Wooden Box (2): Owner must not have gotten a chance to use it. Can be opened with an Old Crowbar. When opened, player draws 3 ITEM cards

National Catastrophe is a card game set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is facing extinction and the few that are left must fend for themselves with the remnants of a ruined world. Players will have to make choices, take risks, interact with other humans, and mostly importantly, learn what it takes to survive. 

The game has many connections to the novel, The Road. The first similarity is the setting and objective. Like the book, the game puts players in a world that has been destroyed, and all characteristics of a civilized people are thrown out the window. People kill and rob others for the sake of their own survival. And just as the book never explains what caused the world to become that way, neither is there is an explanation in this game. 
Originally, we thought of creating characters that can be played, similar to the card game Bang! There would be a name, like John, and characteristics that go along with the character. Although people have nothing left but themselves in The Road, their memories and skills still remain. Building off the reality that all people are different and everyone is better at certain things, we thought the players’ experience playing should also reflect that. Players would have a pool of characters to choose from, each with different statistics, so that each player will need to play a little differently and make choices according their strengths. As we learned through the progression of the story, the father has shown skills in both combat and medicine, so we decided to include strength and intellect as statistics. Strength is a measure of a player’s natural combat abilities and determines how combat situations play out. Intelligence is a measure of how knowledgeable a player is with tools, and determines if they can use a tool or not. However, to reflect the randomness of The Road and how the people have neither names nor history, we decided against having predetermined characters. Instead, name has no relevance, just like in the book, and players’ statistics will be determined through unpredictable dice rolls.

 We decided to have two types of cards: item and scenario cards. In The Road, the father and the son are on a constant journey traveling across the country taking whatever they can find use out of. There are times when they can’t find anything, and end up suffering either from the cold or hunger as a result. For this reason, we decided to leave item finds up to chance. Item cards are put in a pile and randomly drawn when the situation calls for it. There is an assortment of items that fall under either weapons, tools, or food, and that’s a pretty fair breakdown of the actual things that the duo come across. Weapons increase a player’s likelihood in winning during combat. A gun will provide an advantage over a melee weapon, just like how the father had an advantage over the road rat because he had a pistol and the other only had a knife. Tools have various effects that impact the player’s survival. Things like the flare gun and cart were actually in the book, and their uses are very similar. The flare gun is used to direct attention and the cart allows more items to be carried at once. At the end of each round, meaning the turn player has circled back to the starting player, all players’ health go down by 1 due to hunger. This was included to add more realism, as hunger was major issue in the book.

The father and the boy have no “long term goals” and constantly find themselves in tough situations. Scenario cards put players in similar shoes. Scenario cards are also drawn randomly so players don’t know what scenario they would find themselves in and they often require taking risks. Many of the scenario cards are reflective of the events that happened in the book, such as finding an abandoned town or getting struck by lightning. Finding an abandoned town allows players to draw item cards, just as the duo found useful things in the towns they scavenged, and getting struck by lightning leaves the player near death, just like the man who got struck in the book.

National Catastrophe requires players to think and plan ahead even when they don’t know what is to come. Resources are scarce and storage is limited. Players must be smart with how they spend their resources as well as which resources to keep. Sometimes it is better to play it safe but use resources inefficiently while other times you can afford to be more risky but get more out of your resources. Some items will have immediate impact, while others will require the player to hold on to it for specific situations, and in some cases, end up simply being dead weight. Players will find themselves in situations where they interact with other players, and can choose to either help, fight, or run away from them. Helping another player does not guarantee kindness in return, but may discourage players from choosing you as a target. Fighting someone usually includes a chance of gaining something in return, but you risk losing both health points and items. Flipping a coin determines the outcome of several situations, and it’s reflective of how some things really just come down to luck. There are no right choices, but players must learn to be resourceful and optimize their situation in order to increase their chances of survival.

Due to formatting limitations, use the link below for better reference:

(Sample Card)
(Sample Card)