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How to Play the Game Curses

The bell is one of the most important aspects of Curses.
Satendra Mhatre

Curses is a fun and interactive party game that will have your party guests rolling on the floor in laughter as players impersonate pirates, cluck like chickens and perform other wacky challenges. Have a laugh and let loose your creativity with the game that Mensa chose as a Mensa Select Mind Game Winner in 2002. Once you play Curses, it is sure to become both a family and party game favorite that you'll want to play again and again.

Set up the game. Shuffle the two stacks of cards separately, putting the Curse cards in one pile and the Challenge cards in another. Put the two stacks of cards and the bell on the floor in easy reach of all of the players. Have each player draw a card from the Curses pile. The player with the closest upcoming birthday goes first and then play continues clockwise.

Read your Curse card out loud to the group. In Curses, a "curse" is a task that the player must perform throughout the game without fail. Examples of Curse card tasks include talking in various accents, making various animal noises and contorting your body in silly positions. As the game progresses, players will be watching each other to be sure they're keeping up with all their curses. When a player notices a lapsed curse, they ring the bell and the curse is taken away from that person. Be careful, because if you break three curses, you're out of the game.

Start normal game play. At each turn, draw a card from the Challenge deck and read it out loud to the rest of the group. Players perform the challenge on the Challenge card, which could be something as silly as examining everyone's ear lobes to pretending to be a police officer arresting another player. The catch is that you have to perform the challenge on your Challenge card while keeping up with your various curses. When you're finished with the Challenge card, put it in the discard pile.

Draw a Curse card from the Curses deck and hand it to another player of your choice. That player assumes the new curse in addition to any other curses they may already have. In the event that you get two curses that are conflicting or can't be performed at the same time, tough luck: You have to either perform both curses or break one.

Keep playing. The game continues as in previous steps with each player completing a Challenge card and giving out a Curse card on each turn. Players are eliminated from the game after breaking three curses and game play continues until there is only one player left.


Watching to be sure that other players aren't breaking their curses is just as important to game play as making sure you're keeping up with your own curses. If you see another player forget to perform a curse, ring the bell.


  • Curses is a game about having a good time. If any of your curses are making you too terribly uncomfortable, like the one that says you can't bend your elbows, you can break it and be done with it. Just remember that you can only break three curses before you're out of the game.
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