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A free-for-brawl card game by The Nerdologues set in the 1920s on an airship. Our mission: bring people together, make people laugh.
598 backers pledged $13,205 to help bring this project to life.


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Fisticuffs! is a free-for-brawl fighting card game created by The Nerdologues, a bunch of people you don’t know but could totally be friends with. Four to six players engage in head-to-head (-to-head-to-head) constant combat until the frenzy peaks and one player emerges victorious. 

Set in an alternate 1920s, an eclectic collection of some of the world’s greatest fighters are pitted against each other by the magnanimous Baron Reginald Fistcuffington Smythe aboard his monolithic floating airship. Baron Smythe, inventor of the new super-element Hydrolium, offers the winner of his "Fisticuffs Bouts" the granting of a single wish, whatever their heart desires most. The surviving fighter will get their wish fulfilled - and become champion of Fisticuffs! 

  • Be prepared: Super easy to pick up and play, a game for 4-6 players of all ages 
  • Come out swingin’: Get after opponents with Jabs, Hooks, Uppercuts and more
  • Get defensive: Block punches, counter when your opponent drops their defense 
  • Think outside the box: Spit and kick, play mind games, or crash the whole airship! 
  • Touch gloves: A great way to make new friends … 
  • Knock out!: … or enemies! 


An mp3 player, a rock, a tortoise, a floatation device, made from sponge, a tool to refinance your home, tips to please your lover at night, The Nerdologues’ home phone number, or food. 


We are The Nerdologues, a comedy collective based in Chicago, and we tell stories and make fun or funny things. We’ve been playing around with this or some variation of it for over a year now and wanted to share it with people.

This is our first game, and as such we anticipate and have already faced a lot of challenges. Luckily we are a tight knit collective of eight really wonderful and intelligent people with diverse backgrounds, committed to making this game fun and getting it into your hands. 

For the past year we’ve extensively playtested this game at conventions such as PAX Prime as part of their Indie Megabooth, at local gaming events, in private events, and at local bars. We have had guidance and advice from some of the best minds in the industry, and our product is being printed by one of the best print companies in the country. For months we have researched the best way to get this game into your hands, and we are very excited that we now have a chance to share Fisticuffs! with people like you. 


Fisticuffs! includes:

  • 54 Punch Cards 
  •  21 Rounds Cards 
  •  8 Character Cards 
  •  6 Reference Cards 
  •  6 Life Counters 
  •  1 Bell Token Card 
  •  Rules Sheet 
  •  Our hopes and dreams 

The physical copy of the game will come to you in a nice box, professionally printed and sealed for freshness. The PDF copy does not include our hopes and dreams. 


You want to play? Let’s play! We will be your coach/manager/promoter (and we’ll also be taking 60% of the purse)! 

Gameplay is simple. Each player picks a fighter from our cast of characters, each with their own backstory and special move. The stable of fighters include a sky pirate, a flapper, a saxo-magician, the son of a slain Chicago mayor, and a robot built by Baron Smythe himself. Every player gives their fiercest battle cry, and whoever’s is best begins the game. 

Each player starts with five cards from the Punch Card deck. These Punches will be a fighter’s offense and defense. On a player’s turn, they throw a Punch against any opponent - but that player can Block if they are holding a Punch of the same name. This leaves the attacking player open for a Counter, allowing the defending player to attack with a Punch that is the same color as their Block. 

Combat continues until a Punch goes un-Blocked or a Block goes un-Countered. When an attack successfully lands, the defending player loses health. Everybody starts at 12, and when they reach 0, they’re knocked out for the rest of the match. Every remaining player gets a turn each round. 

Once a full round (one turn for everybody) has been completed, the fighters return to their corner. This is when you draw new Punch Cards - and when you get a Round Card, a special action that will help provide a tactical advantage by giving you more attacks, depleting an opponent’s defenses, or giving you the edge you need in the middle of combat. The new round begins to the left of the person who started the last round.

The rounds keep going until there are two boxers left, at which point they enter Close Combat - no more rounds, no more Round Cards, just two boxers fighting over one dream. The fighter that is left standing is the winner of the bout and the champion of Fisticuffs!


Printing - $6,590
Shipping - $1,970
Expenses - $465 (prototypes, props, money we've already sunk)
Kickstarter Fees - $1,000

TOTAL - $10,025

So really, you're getting a deal.


Does the United States Postal Service consider you part of their regular route? Then shipping is free! Free as a bird!

Outside of the ol’ U S of A? Then we ask that you pay another $10 USD to make sure the game gets to you, safe and sound.


If you'd like to purchase several copies of Fisticuffs! and would like to save money on shipping, bulk orders will be available once the Kickstarter is fully funded. 


Thank you to Claire Friedman, who made all the art for the game and did our Kickstarter video. She worked really hard and we wouldn’t have a game this cool (or likely a game at all) without her.


Clifton Walker Jr. (The Lion Son), Annie Columbia (The Lady of Liberty), Gene the Gorilla (The Congo Bongo), and Lucy Santiago (The Red Raider) are all fighting to get their greatest wish fulfilled. Gene roars with all of his gorilla might, and he gets to go first. Gene swings at Annie with a massive punch by playing a red Haymaker card on Annie.

This card has three important things: the name of the move (Haymaker), the color (Red), and how much health the target opponent will lose if this punch isn’t blocked (Five! Which is a lot, since your starting health is 12!).

Luckily for Annie, you can Block an incoming Punch, so long as she a Haymaker in her hand, she can block the attack - the color isn’t important here, only the name is. You block a Haymaker with a Haymaker, a Jab with a Jab, and yes, even Spit with Spit!

Annie saw this opening coming from the great ape, and with all of her training, manages to block it with a Haymaker card of her own. This catches Gene off guard, and he’s now vulnerable to a counter-punch!

Once the move has been blocked, the fighter who blocked can play a Counter on top of it to attack whoever is involved in the combat. Here is where the color comes in to play - the Counter has to be the same color as the Block it’s getting played on top of. Then a Block can be played on that, and a Counter on that, and a Block on that, and so on.

After Annie blocks Gene’s red Haymaker with his blue Haymaker, she then counters with a blue Jab card. Gene blocks Annie’s Jab card with a yellow Jab, then plays a yellow Uppercut. Annie doesn’t have an Uppercut, so she should lose three health...

Or at least she would, but there’s a chance another fighter can help! Whenever you don’t have the card you need, you can throw in the towel by saying “Towel.” At this point, any player can jump in with their own card - Block or Counter - and get in the current combat. Since it’s a free-for-all game, whoever gets their card down first gets to play it!

Some characters have special moves that are benefited from joining in, or you could make alliances with other players at a table to take down bigger threats. The choice is yours - remember though, while only one player can be victorious, big threats can require teamwork to take down!

Annie doesn’t have an Uppercut, so she says “Towel.” Clifton joins in the fight, blocking Gene’s Uppercut with a red Uppercut of his own. Because Clifton has a special move called “Courageous Charge,” he gets to draw two Punch cards immediately every time he blocks a Punch or Counter for someone else.

Even with the two new cards, Clifton doesn’t have a red card and is forced to say “Towel” - Annie immediately throws down a red Haymaker.

At this point, Annie can choose where that Haymaker goes. She can direct it only at people involved in the combat, which at this point is between herself, Gene, and now Clifton. She can slug Gene for starting this fight, or she could be treacherous and clobber Clifton anyway.   

Annie decides to direct it at Gene. He doesn’t have a Haymaker in his hand and begrudgingly grumbles “Towel.” No one at the table will help him, so he loses five health! The game passes to Gene’s left, Lucy Santiago, The Red Raider.

The game continues, with each player getting a turn to initiate a combat like above until it gets back to Gene, where the bell is sounded and the first round ends. Each player goes back to their corners, gets new Punch Cards, as well as a powerful Round Card which will give them new abilities and tricks such as stealing other players’ cards, or forcing everyone to discard and redraw their hands.

The fighters keep going, round after round, until only two fighters are left. This initiates Close Combat! This will severely limit their ability to replenish their hands with new cards, and is the most knock down, drag out, bare knuckle brawling you'll find in the whole game! The fighter who can manage to knock out their opponent, and the final combatant standing, is the winner of the bout and the new reigning champion of Fisticuffs!

Risks and challenges

The obstacles that face us are pretty limited. The biggest challenge was making a game that was fun and balanced. We have an established relationship with a reputable printer. As always, there is the potential for unseen issues with something like delivery - if anything goes wrong, we'll be sure it gets righted!

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    Red Corner: If you pledge $20, you'll get the PDF version, and we'll send a physical copy right to your doorstep! International shipping, please add $10 USD.

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Funding period

- (32 days)