Bedlam Game Rules

Object of the Game

The object of Bedlam is to be the first player to travel the length of theboard AND back to the starting point. Each turn you move by collecting cardswith the same picture as the square on which your playing piece sits. There'sno individual turns, no politeness just - Bedlam.

There are two levels: MAIN GAME and ADVANCED GAME. The main game uses straightcard swapping, whilst the advanced game introduces THE TWIST which makes Bedlameven more addictive.

Preparing to Play

Each player takes a cone and a disc of the same colour. Put your cone ON aPicture Square at the START end of the playing board (one cone per square).Put the disc on the Picture Square at the far end of the same row.

A dealer is chosen by common consent. From the pack the dealer takes the samenumber of each Picture Card as there are players. There are EIGHT differentkinds of Picture Card:-

  1. Clown
  2. Slippers
  3. Palm Tree
  4. Penny Farthing
  5. Bi-plane
  6. Saxophone
  7. Candle
  8. Telephone

For example: For 4 players, the dealer takes 4 of each Picture Card (4x8=32cards) from the deck and sets the rest aside. The chosen cards are reshuffledand dealt. Each player should receive eight cards.

Playing the Game

The Main Game

Remember the aim of the Main Game is to collect as many cards as possible thatmatch the the Picture Square your cone is on. You collect cards by madly swappingthem during each 30 second round.

Play goes as follows:- Overturn the timer. All players immediately start toswap cards with each other. Cards are swapped face down. Players call out thenumber of cards they want to swap. The number of cards given and received ina swap MUST ALWAYS be the same.

You can swap any mix of cards you like, and as often as you like, until thetimer runs out. You don't HAVE TO swap with anyone, and you can stop swappingwhen you have the best hand you think you can get.

When the timer runs out everybody lays their cards down for all to see. Moveyour cone forward by the number of cards collected that match the Picture Squareyour cone is on. If none of your cards match, stay put and try again next turn.

As soon as everyone has moved pick up your cards, overturn the timer and beginanother swapping session. You must now get rid of your old cards and collectcards that match your new Picture Square.

When you reach the top of the playing board, "crown" your cone withyour disc. This makes it clear that you are on your way back down the board.

The Advanced Game

Like the main game, there is a mad 30 second swapping session each turn. UNLIKEthe main gameyou are trying to collect a maximum of 5 cards that match yourPicture Square, AND 3-of-a-kind of ANY OTHER card.

What to Collect

You have a total of 8 cards. You are trying to collect, up to 5 Picture Cardsplus 3 Bonus Cards (explained below).

  • Picture Cards - cards that match the Picture Square on which your cone sits.
  • Bonus Cards - Three-of-a-kind of any OTHER card.


You move forward by the number of picture cards collected - up to amaximum of five PLUS

If you have 3 BONUS CARDS you win 2 BONUS places which you can use to move yourself forward OR an opponent BACK.

To sum up, you can move a maximum of 7 squares with a perfect hand of - 5 Pictureand 3 Bonus cards. In a four player game the top score is 6 (4+2) as there are only four of each picture card.


If, at the end of the turn, you have only 3, 2 or 1 Picture Cards AND 3 BonusCards, the Bonus Cards act as a penalty cancelling all your Picture Cards ANDmoving you BACK 2 PLACES.

The Key to Advanced Bedlam

The key to winning at Bedlam is to keep an eye on the timer. If, near the endof a 30 second swapping session, you have collected three Bonus Cards but only1-3 Picture Cards, you must make a split second decision - do you try to collectMORE Picture Cards - or do you get rid of some Bonus Cards to avoid the "backtwo places" penalty? Go for broke or play safe it's YOUR decision!!


The first player to "crown" their cone and move back down the boardto land on, or pass, their starting point wins.

Summary of moves for all card combinations
P=Picture Card, B=Bonus Card

5P+3B..........................7 or (5 + another player back 2)
4P+3B..........................6 or (4 + another player back 2)
3, 2, 1P + 3B ................2 back
Up to 5P and not 3B.......move by No. of P Cards