Bears vs Babies
the rules

How to Play
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The Goal

Build amazing Bears (and other Monsters)
strong enough to eat the horrible Babies when they attack.

Llama vs Babies - Llama Wins

The player whose monsters eat the most baby points wins!

Setup - Practice Round

The best way to learn a game is by actually doing stuff.

For the next few minutes, you're going to try a quick practice round.

Unfold the playmat in the middle of the table.
Bears vs Babies Playmat
Open Packet 1 (leave Packet 2 in the box for now).
Shuffle the cards REALLY WELL.
Deal five cards face-down to each player.

Players may look at their own hand.

If you get a Baby Card (any card with the word "Baby" on it) in your initial hand, put it face-down on the playmat on the matching color.

Draw a new card to replace it so you still have five cards; repeat as necessary.

Playmat and Babies
Your Hand
Roughly separate the remaining deck into three Draw Piles and put them face-down on the playmat.
Bears vs Babies Playmat
Pick a player to go first.
(Some sample criteria: furriest, most recent tantrum, most body parts, etc.)

Playing Cards

You can play up to two cards on your turn to build Monsters.

You must play a Head Card to start building any Monster.

Add strength by adding additional body parts.

Adding up the strength of your Monster

Your collection of Monsters is your MONSTER ARMY. Build as many Monsters as you can, and add as many body parts to them as possible to add to their strength.

As you build, make sure the stitches line up.

Multiple Monsters

You don't have to complete a Monster to start building another one.

Drawing Cards

If you can't play two cards, you can draw a card instead.

Three Draw Piles

There are three Draw Piles to help randomize the cards you draw.

Drawing a card or playing a card is an "action".

On your turn, you can perform two actions:

Action 1:
Draw or play a card.

Action 2:
Draw or play a card.

Pro Tip:

Count your actions out loud so that everyone can keep track.

Count your actions out loud.

There is no maximum or minimum number of cards you can have in your hand.

When any Draw Pile is depleted, do not replace it. Just work with the remaining Draw Piles.

Cards in hand.
Your Hand

If you draw a Baby Card, put it face-down in the matching Baby Army.

Drawing a Baby Card and putting it on the playmat counts as one action.

Babies go on the playmat.

Go around the table three times playing and drawing cards to build Monster Armies.

As you play, the Baby Armies will grow as well.

Bears vs Babies

Monster Armies

The goal of building Monsters is to make them strong enough to eat the Babies.

There are three types of Monsters, determined by the oval icon on each Monster's head:

Three types of Monsters, Land, Sea, and Air

All your Monsters of the same type fight together, so you really have three Armies if front of you.

Here's an example of the three Monster Armies you might have built and the strength of each one:

Three types of Monster Armies

Notice that you can build multiple Monsters of the same type and add their strengths together because all your Monsters of the same type will always fight together!


For practice, each player should announce the strength of their three Monster Armies.

Some players might only have one or two Army types.

Provoking the Babies

Notice there are three types of Baby Armies to match the three types of Monster Armies.

Three types of Baby Armies

The goal of the game is to build Monsters strong enough to eat the Babies when they attack.

Babies will attack whenever they are provoked.

To provoke a Baby Army on your turn:

  • 1

    Take No Actions

  • 2

    Yell Provoke!

  • 3

    Pick one of the Baby Armies to provoke.
    (Land Baby Army is in the example)

  • 4

    Turn over the Baby Army that's been provoked and add up the strength of the Baby Cards in the pile.

Provoking the Babies
Provoking the Babies

A provoked Baby Army will attack ALL players' Monster Armies of the matching type anywhere on the table.

Provoking the Babies

All matching Armies anywhere on the table must fight! Including those of the player that provoked the Babies!

The strongest Army wins.

Monsters win.  Babies win.

If there is a tie between the Monsters and the Babies, the Monsters win.

Provoking - Example

Land Babies provoked!

Provoking - The Aftermath

All Monsters and Babies only fight once!

After a battle, all Monsters that fought are discarded regardless of who won.

Land Babies provoked!

As you can see, provoking the Babies can clear huge Armies from the table, so use it strategically!

You can provoke a Baby Army when you think your Monster Army is strong enough to eat the Babies, or provoke to wipe out another player’s Army before it grows too powerful.

Pro Tip:

You can provoke a Baby Army if you don't have any Monsters of that type. It's a great way to hurt your opponents!


For practice, the next player should provoke the Land Babies.

If there are no Land Babies, provoke a different Baby Army.

Let's Play

Now enjoy your last few moments with your Monsters.

I love my Monster Armies

We're about to collect all the cards, end the practice round, and Play Fur Real.

Collect all of the cards and Monsters from all players, and clear the playmat.

Open Packet 2

This packet contains extra Babies and other cards that either help you build more amazing Monsters or hurt other players. You can learn what each card does by reading the text on the card.

Bear Heads

There are five Bear Heads in this packet (cards with the word BEAR at the top). Keep them separate for a moment.

These cards are the strongest but also the most vulnerable cards in the game.

Bear Heads are all three types of Monster (Land, Sea, and Sky) which means they must fight in EVERY battle. Use them carefully.

Rainbow Bear Head


  • 1

    Shuffle all of the cards together REALLY WELL.

  • 2

    Deal one Bear Head to each player.
    (Shuffle any extra Bear Heads into the deck.)

  • 3

    Deal four more cards to each player so that your starting hand is a Bear Head plus four more random cards.
    (Put any Baby Cards dealt in your initial hand on the playmat face-down in the appropriate pile and replace them until you have five cards.)

  • 4

    Roughly separate the deck into three face-down Draw Piles on the playmat.

Deal the cards Draw Piles and Baby Army

Your Turn

On your turn, you can do one of three things:

Take Actions

One Action =
Drawing a card
or playing a card.

Actions Graphic


Take no actions and pick a Baby Army to Provoke instead.

Provoke Graphic

Dumpster Dive

Take no actions and take a card of your choice from the discard pile into your hand.

Dumpster Dive Graphic


All Monsters must start with a head card.

Start with the head

When building your Monsters the stitches must always line up.

Make sure the stitches line up

If you draw a Baby Card, you must move it to the appropriate pile on the playmat. Drawing and moving a Baby counts as 1 action.

Where to put the Babies

How many actions do you get?

  • 2 Players: 4 Actions Per Turn
  • 3 Players: 3 Actions Per Turn
  • 4+ Players: 2 Actions Per Turn
Pro Tip:

Be strategic about when you play and when you draw. You might want to build powerful Monster Armies immediately, or collect cards for a while and let your opponents fight it out.

Play continues clockwise around the table.


Battles begin when you provoke a Baby Army.

On your turn, take no actions and yell "PROVOKE!"

Pick a type of Baby Army (Land, Sea, or Air) to provoke.

Flip the Babies over and add up the points.

ALL players' Monster Armies of the matching type fight in the battle.

The player with the strongest Monster Army that can beat the Babies wins the battle and collects the Babies as points. (in the case of a tie between a player and the babies, the player wins.)

After the battle, all Monsters and Babies that fought go to the discard pile regardless of who won.

The Battle

Ending the Game

When a player draws the last card from the last Draw Pile, that player will complete their turn, and then every player (including the player that just drew the last card) will get one more turn.

You don't have to take all your actions on your final turn if you don't want to.

The player with the most points on the baby cards they’ve eaten wins!

Victory is Mine!

Bonus Rule

Add this rule to the game because you really like rules and want more of them.

Armageddon Attack
After each player takes their final turn, there will be a final attack in which Baby and Monster types are ignored. All the Baby Armies left on the table will combine forces to attack all players. The player with the strongest combined Monster Army who can beat the combined Baby Army will win the battle and collect the final points. (Otherwise, the Babies win and no one collects the final points.)

All other normal battle rules apply.

FAQ and Field Guide

Frequently Asked Questions


What if there's a tie between players during a battle? If two or more players have winning Monster Armies of equal strengths, the Babies and the winning Monsters stay on the table and wait for the next battle. (The Babies return to their pile face-down.)

Any other players who were involved in the battle and lost, discard their Monsters as usual.

What if there is a tie between players at the end of the game? The player with the most Baby Cards wins.

In case of a continued tie, the players share the victory.

What if we tie?
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Can I provoke an army if there are no Babies or Monsters in it? No. Both Babies and Monsters of the provoked type must be somewhere on the table.

Can I provoke a Baby Army if I personally don't have any Monsters that will fight? Yes. This is a great way to hurt your opponents.

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Do I have to show other players how many Babies I've eaten durning the game? No. You only have to show them when you are figuring out your score at the end of the game.

Can I count the number of Baby Cards in a Baby Army? Yes, but the cards must not be turned over.

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Building Monsters

Can I move the parts of a Monster around? Once you start building a Monster, you cannot rearrange any of the parts of that Monster.

Can I attach Arms or Tools to Monsters upside down? Yup! You can play an Arm upside down to make it fit on either side of a Torso or Body Card.

You can also play a Tool upside down to fit on either side of a card that has a matching connection.

Building Monsters

Can I attach body parts together with the tool connector? Nope! Tool connectors can only be used to add Tools to your Monsters.

Tool Cards

Can I connect any matching stiches together? Nope! You cannot connect a card to another card of the same type.

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Dumpster Diving

Can I Dumpster Dive for a Baby Card? Yes, but you must play it immediately.

Dumpster Baby

Field Guide

Some information about particular cards

Hat Icon
Hat 3 Cards

Doubles the strength of a Monster. Add the strength of all cards making up that Monster and its Tools and then double the total.

A Monster can only wear one Hat at a time.

Monster Hats
Section Break Graphic
Wild Provoke Icon
Wild Provoke 2 Cards

Provokes any Baby Army.
YOU MUST PLAY THIS CARD IMMEDIATELY. You must provoke a valid fight (both Monsters and Babies of that type on the table). If you cannot provoke a valid fight, the Provoke Card is discarded and the action wasted.

If you are dealt a Provoke Card as part of your starting hand, shuffle it back into any Draw Pile and draw another card.

Section Break Graphic
Swap Icon
Swap 2 Cards

Swap any two heads.

You can swap Heads between your Monsters and another player's Monsters, between two other players, or between two of your own Monsters.

If you swap a Head wearing a hat, only swap the Head. The Hat stays where it is.

If you swap a head wearing a Mask, the Mask and the Head are swapped as if they were a single card.

Section Break Graphic
Mask Icon
Mask 3 Cards

Play this card with any Head to keep the identity of your Monster a secret from all the other players. Play the Mask Card on top of any Head as a single action.

  • Masked Heads are swapped or dismembered as if they were a single card.
  • A Masked Heads identity must be revealed when that Monster type has been provoked.
  • If you want to provoke a Baby Army and you're not sure if there are any Monsters that must fight because there are Masked Heads, you can still try provoking.
  • You can look at the identity of a Masked Head you received in a swap.
Pro Tip:

Place the Head Card face-down on the table and the Mask Card face up!

Using Monster Masks
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Tool Icon
Tool 5 Cards
[+1 Action Cards]

Receive one extra action per turn, effective immediately, but subtract one point of strength from the Monster.

Connect tools using the two corresponding sides of a tool.

You can attach a tool to either side of a Monster even if it means playing the Tool upside down.

Remains in effect for all future turns as longs as it's being held by a Monster with a Head. (If your Monster's Head is dismembered, Tools held by that Monster are ignored until it gets a new head.)

Monsters can hold multiple Tools, but each must have it's own connector.

Monster Tools
Section Break Graphic
Dismember Icon
Dismember 3 Cards

Remove and discard any "Edge Card" from any player's Army, including your own.

Edge Cards are cards that are not connected to more than one card.

  • After dismembering, the remaining cards making up that Monster remain on the table.
  • If you dismember a Head, the headless Monster is dead but not removed from the table. A dead Monster may not fight, use Tools, or have any cards attached to it until you add a Head and bring it back to life.
  • You cannot dismember a Head wearing a Hat because it's not an Edge Card. Just dismember the Hat.
  • If you dismember a masked Head, discard the Mask and the Head as a single card.
Dismember a Monster Cards
Section Break Graphic
Lullaby Icon
Lullaby 2 Cards

Remove the top half of the cards in the Baby Army of your choice, round up if there is an uneven number of cards, and move them to the Discard Pile.

If there is only one Baby Card in a Baby Army, discard that card.

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Total Cards: 107
Body Parts
  • Bear Heads: 5
  • Land Heads: 7
  • Sea Heads: 7
  • Sky Heads: 7
  • Crossroad Torso: 9
  • Mini Arm Torso: 3
  • Mini Body: 3
  • Armless Body: 2
  • Legs: 7
  • Arm: 7
  • 0 Point Babies
  • Land: 1
  • Sea: 1
  • Sky: 1
  • 1 Point Babies
  • Land: 3
  • Sea: 3
  • Sky: 3
  • 2 Point Babies
  • Land: 3
  • Sea: 3
  • Sky: 3
  • 3 Point Babies
  • Land: 2
  • Sea: 2
  • Sky: 2
Other Cards
  • Tool: 5
  • Lullaby: 2
  • Hat: 3
  • Swap: 2
  • Dismember: 3
  • Mask: 3
  • Wild Provoke: 2