Click the buttons below to download a copy of basic rules for Tragedy or Comedy. You can choose a PDF version, or an editable document format.
How to Play
- One deck of Tragedy or Comedy cards
- Flashcards (or another source for questions: textbook, notes, etc.)
- Dice (10-digit dice are ideal, but any will do)
- A timer (for timed challenges)
- Scoring sheet & pencil
- A calculator (just in case!)
How I Play:
- Divide the group into equal teams (usually two). Roll the dice to determine which team goes first.
- Ask a review question, such as: “Name the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” or “Recite the 8s times tables.”
- If the team answers correctly, the instructor draws a card from the top of the Tragedy or Comedy deck. The team may choose to “Pick or Pass” this card.
- “Pick” means the team wishes to keep the card drawn and live with the tragic or comedic results.
- “Pass” means the team passes the card to the other team (or the next team, if playing with more than two teams) and the other team must live with the results.
Points won or lost for either team are scored on the scoring sheet.
If the team answers incorrectly, no card is drawn, and it’s the next team’s turn for a question.
- Each card may include points to be awarded or lost (sometimes by multiplying, dividing, or converting negative values into positive, etc.), or a challenge to perform (for example, a certain number of points for each sit-up completed). Other cards include:
- Sudden Death Final – Teams answer questions in rounds, eliminating any team that answers incorrectly. The last team to answer a question correctly is declared the winner. (Alternatively: only one more question is asked and then the game is over.)
- Immunity Card – The team gets immunity from the next tragedy card (either by drawing or having it passed to them).
- Steal a Player – The team may choose a player from another team to join theirs.
- Switch Points with Another Team – Swap scores with the team to your right.
- Take Another Turn – Other teams are skipped, and the current team answers another question.
- The winner is the team with the highest point total at the end of the game. (The instructor may determine the end of the game at his/her discretion, by time, number of questions, or any other method.)
- The instructor is the final arbiter of the rules of the game, and may change the rules at his/her discretion.
- Add or remove cards as needed. Keep students guessing which cards are in the deck, and how many cards of any one type there might be.
- Add mathematical operation dice to the mix. When asked to multiply or divide points, first they must solve the equation rolled.
- Instead of two teams, try four teams of two, or individual play. Modify the cards to suit as you go.
You can use any blank sheet of paper to score a game of Tragedy or Comedy. However, if you prefer, click the button below to download a printable Scoring Sheet.
The Scoring Sheet can be used horizontally or vertically, and adapted for almost any number of players or teams. Examples of how to use the Scoring Sheet are also included below.