Mourner placement among the graves

This summer TheGameCrafter is having a ‘Mint Tin’ design contest! They’re adding mint-tin style boxes as a game option, and they’re encouraging their designing community to come up with a game that will fit entirely in a tin. Compact and easy to play!

Lucky for me, I’ve got a game just sitting around that will be perfect to submit: my years-old Halloween giveaway game, Grave Robber, which I’ve been meaning to update and republish anyway!

In the original Grave Robber, it was a simple dice-roller, where each player would just remove a gravestone whose number matched the dice, while trying to avoid the ghosts that haunted the graveyard. In Grave Robber 2.0, the goal is to dig up and collect body parts to make a Frankenstein’s monster, while trying to avoid digging up too many graves in a row. I also added a Mourner mechanic (similar to the robber in Settlers of Catan) that guards multiple graves in each graveyard to prevent them from being dug up.

Here’s the first draft of the rules for Grave Robber 2.0! Let me know what you think!

Grave Robber 2.0

You and your opponent are lackeys for the local mad scientists, who are having a contest to be the first to assemble and reanimate a dead body! But first they’ll need parts. As their hapless assistants, it’s your job to raid the local graveyards to find random body parts for your master. To do that you’ll have to avoid the mourners, and be the first to dig up enough parts to complete a body and win the game! But be careful, if you leave too many empty graves the locals will get suspicious and you’ll be found out!


Place all tombstones on the table tombstone-side-up, and mix them up. Each player builds a 5×5 graveyard of tombstones. Move the other tombstones aside but keep them ready – this is your pool of replacement graves. Place the Mourners to the side also but keep them close.

The player who finishes their graveyard first takes the first turn, and play continues to the left.

Digging Graves

The player’s turn begins by rolling the pair of dice. If the total of both dice matches a tombstone in your graveyard, you must dig that grave! Flip the tombstone over to see what you dug up! With luck, you’ll find a Random Body Part, and you can add that to your body. Replace that tombstone with a random one from the pool. If the grave is empty it stays where it is, and you are that much closer to being discovered!

If the numbers match multiple tombstones, you can only pick one of the matches to dig up. Don’t want to attract too much attention!

Build-a-Body Workshop

Each Complete Body consists of six parts: one head, one torso, two arms, and two legs. These parts are distributed randomly throughout the tombs in the graveyard. The first to complete a body wins the game! It’s possible you’ll end up digging up a part you already have, that’s okay — Just put the tombstone back in the pool tombstone-up and draw a new grave for your graveyard.


After the first round of play, the Mourners arrive. Whenever you roll a seven, you have the chance to place or move a mourner in one of the graveyards. Mourners are placed in the intersections between tombstones, and stand watch over the adjacent stones (up to four at a time). Each graveyard can only have one Mourner in it, but you can move any Mourner on your turn. Use Mourners to block your opponent from digging up certain graves, or to force them to dig up graves that will expose their actions to the local townspeople!

Sometimes a Mourner will prevent you from being able to dig the only grave in your graveyard that matches the dice-roll. In this case your turn is over and play continues to the left.

Once the Mourners are in play they may not be removed from the graveyards, but a Mourner in play may be moved to an otherwise empty Graveyard.

Being Discovered

As you dig up more and more empty graves, the townspeople are sure to notice the strange activity in the graveyard. Don’t leave five empty graves in a row in any direction (even diagonal!) or the locals will discover you looting their relatives’ remains, and you will lose the contest.