#refugee is a multiplayer, strategy card game in which players assume the role of countries that affect and/or control the destiny of refugees fleeing their respective homelands.

The game includes:

  • 40 refugee cards (black backed)
  • 40 action cards (red backed)
  • 80 vetting cards (white backed)
  • 1 special 6-sided dice
  • 1 rules booklet

Final packaging design is not 100% finalized, but the above list is going to be pretty darn close to what the end product will contain.


Object of the Game

#refugee card game is a 2-4 player, turn-based strategy card game in which players assume the roles of countries attempting to address an acute global influx of refugees. Players take turns discovering certain facts and pieces of information about each refugee. Leveraging this knowledge, players then make choices on how best to manage the effects that these refugees will have on the security of their borders and countries. #refugee card game affords players flexibility the form of alternate win-conditions as well as ad-hoc collaboration in games with more than 2 players. Will you try to allow as many refugees as possible into your country or will you try to eliminate your opponents by redirecting “undesirable” refugees away from your borders?

There are three ways to win the game.

  1. The primary method for winning is to achieve a score of 20 (or more) points by by accepting refugees. This win condition is immediate. Once a player reaches 20 (or more) points, no further cards may be played or resolved.
  2. The secondary method for winning is to cause all other players achieve a score of -20 (or less) points.  If a player reaches a score of -20 (or less), they are out of the game and any cards in their control are placed in the discard pile.
  3. The final method for winning is to be the first player to accept 10 or more refugees into their country.

If the Refugee Deck is exhausted and there are no refugees left in play, the game ends before any of the standard win conditions are met, the winner is the player that accepted the most refugees.


The first step in playing a game of #refugee is to get the Refugee, Action, and Vetting decks ready.  These should be place in the center of the table so that they are easily reachable by all players. Typically, for 4-player games, it's best to designate a dealer.

Alternatively you can assign one player to be the dealer and set the three decks off to the side. This method seems to work better as it clears the middle of the table for easier movement of refugees.

Refugee Deck

Refugee CardRefugee cards have black backs. Shuffle and place the Refugee Deck (40 black backed cards) in place 10 Refugee Cards per player face down on the table.  Set any remaining Refugee Cards aside.

Read more about Refugee cards.

Action Deck

Action CardAction Cards have red backs. Shuffle and place the Action Deck (40 red backed cards) face down on the table.

Some Action Cards are countered by other Action Cards while others can not be countered.

Read more about Action cards.

Vetting Deck

Vetting cards have white backs.  Shuffle and place the Vetting Deck (80 white-backed cards) face down on the table.

Read more about Vetting cards.

Starting Player

Roll the 6-sided die to see who goes first. The player following the highest number of marks goes first. Red beats white. If there is a tie, tied players roll again until the tie is broken. Game play is clockwise from the starting player.

Initial Hand & Refugees

The starting player takes the Vetting Deck and deals 5 cards to each player as their starting hand and then deals 1 Refugee Card, face-up, in front of each player. It is important to note here that the context in which the refugees are placed in front of a player represents that they are in-country, but undergoing the vetting process before being allowed formal entry into the country.

Player Turn Sequence

Each player follows three basic phases as as a part of their turn: 1) Roll & Draw; 2) Vetting & Action; and 3) Resolution.

Roll & Draw

  1. Roll the 6-sided die to see how many Vetting (white marks) and/or Action (bolt or a red mark depending on which die you have) Cards to draw.
  2. If you have less than 3 Refugee Cards in front of you, draw another refugee from the Refugee Deck and place it, face-up, in front of you. If you already have 3 Refugee Cards in front of you, do you NOT draw another Refugee Card.
  3. For each white mark, draw a Vetting Card and put it into your hand. For each bolt/red mark, draw an Action Card, look at it, and place it face down between you any any Refugee Cards you may have.

Vetting & Action

On your turn, you must play the same number of Vetting cards that you drew in the Roll & Draw phase (this corresponds to the number of white marks on the die). To play a Vetting Card, simply declare which refugee you are vetting and place the card on top of the corresponding Refugee Card.


  1. You may play Vetting Cards on any refugees (yours or those of your opponents) in play that do not already have 3 Vetting Cards assigned to them.
  2. A refugee may not have more than 3 Vetting Cards.
  3. If all refugees in play have 3 Vetting Cards assigned to them and you have not played all of the Vetting Cards you needed to, you must discard until your hand-size is 5.

All Vetting Cards must be played before any Action Cards are played. Once all Vetting Cards are played, move on to the Action step of this phase. Starting with the current player, players take turns (clockwise) playing as many Action Cards as they wish. Each player may respond to any previous Action Card played until no players wish to play any more Action Cards.


  1. You have the first option to play as many Action Cards as you wish.
  2. Declare each Action Card one at a time, clearly identifying targets as required by the text on each Action Card.
  3. If a refugee is already the target of an action that has caused him/her to flee, he/she may not be the target of any subsequent actions except Grant of Asylum.
  4. The Action Card phase ends when all players have had a chance to respond (clockwise) to Action Cards played by other players.


After all Action Cards have been played, the resolution phase begins.

  1. Resolution begins with the current player and proceeds clockwise.
  2. Any refugees that are fully vetted (3 Vetting Cards) and is not the target of an action are resolved first. These refugees enter their respective host countries and player scores are updated.
  3. Any refugees that are the target of an action are resolved, one at a time.
  4. After each refugee that is fully vetted and the appropriate players score is updated, check to see if that player has won (20 or more points) or if that player has been knocked out of the game (-20 ore less points).
  5. Continue this process until every refugee is resolved.

When there are no more action cards and fully vetted refugees, the next player starts their turn.