"MONTY PYTHON & THE HOLY GRAIL CCG" - A QUICK OVERVIEW
by Hans ten Cate
Sunday, 22 September 1996

So here, quite simply, are the rules of the Holy Grail card game. For a complete set of instructions and a handy Frequently Asked Questions list, visit the Official Monty Python & The Holy Grail CCG home page.

THE CARDS

There are essentially thirteen card types or "suits" in the game. Not all of the cards in each suit have the same abilities and some cards are particularly cool (which usually means they are pretty rare). We've gone and picked some of those cool cards to be on the Daily Llama "Extremely Nasty" list in Daily Llama Issue 13.

People

  • Knights - knights can join the Round Table, if they're friendly, or be challenged into combat or a battle of wits if they're not.
  • Pages - Pages are hired to carry the coconuts and other gear for the knights; occasionally they must be disposed of like adversaries.
  • Personas - All sorts of colorful characters to annoy you.
  • Adversaries - Lots of dim-witted nasties to thwart your band

Places

  • Land - Cover huge tracts of land in your search.
  • Castles - Enter a castle to get combat bonuses and other cool stuff. In any case, you'll need to pass these to advance to the next part of England.
  • Villages - Similar to castles, villages can prove to be beneficial for bonuses but can sometimes be really annoying if the villagers get in on the act.

Things

  • Items - Relics, tools, and other cool stuff you can use to beat your opponent to the Grail.
  • Perils - More nasties.
  • Song Cards - Gotta stand-up and sing the verse or be ridiculed. Either way, you're embarrassed.

Dirty Deeds

  • Events - Just about anything can happen, and often does, thanks to these Event cards.
  • Taunts - Frenchmen are everywhere. They will taunt you into doing all sorts of silly stuff and won't listen to reason.
  • Questions Three - Answer all three questions correctly or pay the consequences!

OTHER BASIC CARD FACTS

WRITE YER OWN CARDS™ - David Kenzer is particularly proud of the fact that "Holy Grail" is the first CCG ever to truly live up to the phrase "customizable card game." Oh, sure, other card games may say they're customizable, but do they ever give you actual cards to draw on? Kenzer & Co. developed a series of "Write Yer Own"™ cards which has no text, no grail number, and the knights, people and other stuff have been erased from the scenes. You write in your own effects, grail number, and draw your own ideas onto the card. Kenzer says that "as long as you make them comparable to other cards you won't be in too much trouble." This can be a lot of fun and Kenzer & Co. would love to see what you come up with!
Card Number: 306-313 / Type: all types / Frequency: Common

TAUNTS - There are 22 different taunt cards in the "Holy Grail" card game. Each taunt forces your opponent to suffer some inconvenient handicap (e.g., can't enter a castle, you're forced into combat). In this case, the "Remain Gone" card will force your opponent out of his or her current location in England. They must retreat and may not enter for a certain number of turns.
Card Number: 2, 4, 34, 36, 39, 67, 80, 81, 85, 94, 96, 103, 154, 183-186, 209, 227, 246, 289, 312 / Type: Taunt / Frequency: Uncommon

QUESTIONS THREE - Any time this card comes up, your opponent has to answer three questions. The first question typically is something like, "What is your name?" The last question is usually a bit tricky. For example "What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?" Sounds easy? Try to answer this one: "What were 4 things that the people feasted upon in the Book of Armaments?"
Card Number: 228-245 / Type: Questions Three / Frequency: Common, Uncommon, Rare

SONG CARDS - Another obligatory embarrassment card. Your opponent has to stand up and sing the song's verse on the card. Try your luck with the "Knights of the Round Table" song or the "Brave Sir Robin" song. Good luck if you get the very rare "Prince Herbert" song though!
Card Number: 41-45, 162-164, 226 / Type: Song / Frequency: Common, Uncommon, Rare

Here's another cool thing: each card has a quote from the film. For a card to go into effect, players must read the quotes aloud. The game rules require that "... the reader should also make a good faith effort to imitate any applicable movie accent or inflection." What respectable "Holy Grail"-fan would have it any other way?

HOW TO PLAY

Players each lay out 14 cards face-down in front of them, sort of in the shape of England. This is the area players must traverse in their quest for the Holy Grail.

Both players move their knights one space at time and, each time they do, they turn over the cards that are found there. Meanwhile, you and your opponent will draw and play additional cards on each other to delay the Round Table from reaching their goal, Avalon. Players can throw in adversaries, knights, peasants, taunts, castles, villages, and other such cards to slow down their opponent's progress.

You should try and increase the size of your band since you are sure to lose some of your knights to a number of perils and monsters. These adversaries and other challenges must be overcome through combat, a battle of wits, or by running away. Used cards must be placed onto a discard pile which is appropriately titled the "dead cart."

Once you have reached Avalon in the middle of the board, you use your card deck to search for the grail. Finding the grail is no small thing. And don't be surprised if the police show up to cut your quest short. Serves you right for killing the historian!

Of course, the more nasty you make your deck, the more difficult you make it for your Round Table to traverse your own England. "If you go ahead and buy tons of cards and you've got all the Killer Rabbits and Legendary Black Beasts and Frenchmen you can get your hands on, you may have to fight those guys yourself," says Kenzer.