Luca’s Gaming Corner: Ninja – Silent but Deadly


Ninja is a amazing game. You will love this game if you love hiding stuff.

Ninja is recommended 6+ but anyone can play. Just make sure little ones don’t eat the cards. Up to 10 players can play. Ninja was made by Ben Gerber and published by Button Shy Games.

This game is very long. Why? Because you hide a card and it may take a while for the other person to find it. There are many ways to play Ninja.

How to play

You get a wallet that says Ninja on it. Take a card and do what it says. If you grab one with a number you can just hide it anywhere. Wait until the other player finds it and that person will have to guess who hid it and then hide it back on them. Repeat until you want to end the game. No one wins!


I give this game a 9/10. One thing, I wish there is a way where you can play and not wait a while until the other player finds it. I definitely recommend this game to everyone!

(A note from the editor: Luca is my 10 year old daughter. She’s been a gamer for just about her entire life and over the last few years has played a variety of non-family, non-kid games with me, my wife and friends. Some of her current favorites are the DC Deck Builder series, Isle of Skye, Love letter and a little game called Swamped. 

She’s been interested in writing game reviews for a while now and I’m slowly showing her the ropes here on Troll. I’ll edit her writing for format and spelling (as best I can) but I’ll leave her style to her. Luca also chooses which games she reviews.)

My Ninja: Silent But Deadly – A sneaky little metagame is live on Kickstarter RIGHT NOW!


Button Shy Games has taken the next step in cardboard ninja evolution and launched Ninja: Silent but Deadly on Kickstarter as part of their line of wallet games! I highly suggest, no, I insist that you check this out! You can own this game for just $8.

Ninjas! Their very name conjures images of black clad, highly trained assassins. Now, the mystique and power can be yours to use as you see fit.

Perfect for a game night, casual party or other social gatherings. Hand out one “You Lose!” card to every player. Each player has until the end of the game session to slip their card somewhere where another player will be forced to find it. Amongst other cards of a game currently in play, in their chips or what have you. Be creative! And don’t get caught! When a ninja card is found by another player, that player is out. The last player standing wins.



This is the simplest game I’ve ever developed. You can teach someone to play it in 30 seconds or less. Interesting enough, this is also one of the must fulfilling and enjoyable games I’ve ever created! I’ve had games of Ninja that have lasted a few minutes and I have on going on three years now. It’s up to you how long you’re going to play and how elaborate you’ll allow yourself and your gaming folks to get!

Button Shy Games have a great, fast 10 day campaign lined up for Ninja with some wonderful stretch goals and the ability to add on other games in their wallet game series.


If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with the game as it existed in it’s print on demand form. Well now it’s better real, fantastic art by a real artist! Easy to carry around packaging and the ability to print it out right now and see for yourself! Here’s our chance to bring this fun game to life!

New Year, New Me. Also: Swamped update, Ninja update and Total Confusion 30 Update!


Ninja - coming soon!
Ninja – coming soon!

Here we are in 2016! This is looking to be a good year for me games-wise and will be starting off with a bang! First though, I have to comment on the lack of activity here on Troll. You see, I’m a new man. Literally.

About a week before Christmas I had surgery to repair my right shoulder. Since then I’ve been confined to a giant, sling-contraption that severely limits the mobility of my right arm. I eat with this thing on, sleep with this thing on and do everything with this thing on – I’ve come to thoroughly loathe it. The good news is that as of this week I’ve been cleared by my surgeon to do computer stuff (i.e. typing).

Another reason why the content from me has slowed considerably on this site and why the Indie Talks podcast has vanished is simply time. With a full time job, a lengthy commute, a wife and two children, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to devote to everything I really want to do. One of the things I really, really, REALLY want to do is design games. I’ve chosen to give that priority over blogging and podcasting. That doesn’t mean I’m gone from this site completely – though I wouldn’t expect Indie Talks to return any time soon. I’ll be here periodically updated, reviewing other games and whatnot. Now on to the cool things coming in 2016!


As of yesterday, Bellwether Games have confirmed that Swamped is shipping to Kickstarter backers and off to retail distribution as well. Dennis from Bellwether produced a wonderful How To Play video for the game and it should be available for order from their site in the very near future for those who didn’t Kickstart the game. Also check out your friendly local game stores for copies!


You just lost!
You just lost!

Ninja – Silent but Deadly

I’m very happy to say that Button Shy Games have picked up my game Ninja and will be bringing it to Kickstarter this year. There are no firm dates or details available yet other than the image at the top of this post but I can tell you that I had several offers on this game. I went with Button Shy because I’m really interested in what they’re doing in the small games space and they wanted to do Ninja the way I had done Ninja.

Button Shy are experts at producing small games that play well, are super portable and most importantly fun! Please do check them out.

Total Confusion 30


My local gaming convention – and my favorite convention to attend, Total Confusion is going off again this year from tc30February 18-21 in Mansfield, MA. This is their 30th year running and it’s going to be fantastic! I’ll be there as an industry guest, with a few copies of Swamped on me and running a few other events as well. If you’re planning on attending for a day or for the weekend, please don’t hesitate to let me know and stop me to say hello! I’ve included my schedule at the end of this post. Last year TC hosted a flea market on Thursday evening which was a huge success. This year I’ll be helping to organize and run it so that’s your best chance to bump into me in a psuedo-random fashion. My Saturday is also fairly free as I’ve left some time for me to get some games in.

The Rest of 2016

So that takes us through February. Hopefully I’ll have more exciting table top related things to talk about for the rest of the year! Regardless, 2016 is starting off strong!

Total Confusion Schedule

This doesn’t include scheduled games that I’ll be signing up for to participate in as pre-registration hasn’t opened yet.


Arriving in the late afternoon/early evening.

7pm – Private game.


1pm – 3pm: Seasons 

Seasons is the beautifully illustrated, wonderfully designed game of magicians battling to score the most points, as magicians are wont to do. If you enjoy a bit of card drafting mixed in with a ton of card combos, a few ‘take that’ moments and lots of interesting decisions, come play a game of Seasons! If we have a novice player, we’ll use the basic set. If we have experienced players, we’ll use some of the expansions.

6:00pm – 10:30pm Flea Market at the Auditorium 


10:00am – 12:00pm:  Clubs, Villas and Rhinos – The Friday Morning Ugg-Tect, Dexterity Game Spectacular!

Have you ever wanted to construct a fabulous monument that will stand the test of time, while being directed by a slobbering, pre-literate, club wielding task-master with zero language skills? This is the event for you! In this Friday morning event, you can begin your day with a bash! Also build your own Villa – but do it carefully or it’ll all fall down! Then assist a ½ ton rhino to climb a less-than-stable apartment building!

1:00pm – 3:00pmSmall Board and Card Games: Big Fun!

I love small box games. Cards and board that can almost fit into your pockets make for a great experience in quick games. Many people call these filler games but sometimes what you really want is to get 3-4 games into a two hour period. If you’re curious to check out some smaller games, from Love Letter to Diamonds, Eight Minute Empire Legends to My Happy Farm and more – this event is for you! I’ll be bringing a bunch of my favorites, maybe even my own game, Swamped!


7:00pm – 11:00pm: Talisman with the Dungeon, Highlands and a few house rules

Talisman is the classic roll and move quest game that brings players together so they can all kill each other. In this version, we’ll include an expansion or three and have one house rule – The +1 rule! Every character gets one extra Strength and Craft, turning this 5 hour game into a 3-4 hour game. Also in force – the rule of 5. It takes 5 points to upgrade your Craft or Strength, not 7.

12:00am -> Private event.


10:00am – Noon: Prototype Pitch Workshop – Board and Card Games

Bring in your card and board game prototype and give us a 15 minute pitch! We’ll give you a 15 minute review in turn! First come, first serve! Last year’s event was a big hit so stop by and say hello. Please limit one prototype per person.

I’ll also be around for the rest of the day Sunday to close out the convention – so if you’re hanging about, let’s game!

Ninja – Silent but Deadly the Ultimate Edition. Cheap, deadly, card stock.

Yesterday afternoon my proofs arrived from DriveThruCards and let me tell you, it was a wonderful thing. Finally, you can get not 10, not 20, but 30 ninja cards, including lots of You Lose cards, every card from the Even Silenter expansion and two brand new, never before printed or used in an assassination attempt cards! The best thing? While it doesn’t come with a lovingly and painstakingly designed box, it will only run you $4.99 plus $2.99 or so for ground shipping (in the US).

Become one with the Ninja!

Let’s consider this for a moment. That’s $3 less than the MSRP for Love Letter, you get 14 more cards, a tri-fold rules PDF for use at conventions, 2 cards NO ONE ELSE WILL GET and, you can conceivably play this game until the heat death of the Universe. Love Letter. Bah!

ninja ultimate

Ninjas! Their very name conjures images of black clad, highly trained assassins. Or pictures on the internet of a bunch of empty chairs with captions like “Ninja convention LOL”. Now, the mystique, the power, the meme can be yours to use as you see fit. What’s even cooler? Every time you share this post with someone, and they view the ninja above, they’ve just lost and you’ve just won! It’s like… like printing money, except the money is winning and winning can’t buy you anything!

I was just kidding about that love letter thing, seriously, I really love that game. Sorry Love Letter making people.

Assassination has never been so much fun!

Ninja – Silent but Deadly is more than just a game. It’s a prank delivery system. A tiny little piece of tabletop gaming art. A meta-game to be played in the background, silently, with ninja like skills.

There are several ways to use these cards and this game box that are listed here, and most likely a hundred more that have not been thought of yet. Here you’ll find four suggestions on how to use Ninja! – Silent but Deadly.

Ninja – Silent but Deadly Expansion: Even Silenter introduces 5 new cards to use with Ninja! Silent but Deadly!

Basic Ninja
You’ve gotten your gamer friend a gift! A brand new game called Ninja! The box looks promising but there’s not much in the way of description on it. When your friend opens the box, they’ll find… nothing! Just an empty box and their creeping sense of suspicion and indignation.

The next part is up to you. In an hour, a day, a week… even a month, one of the You Lose! cards originally included in the box will suddenly appear where your friend can easily find it. They’ve just lost at Ninja – Silent but Deadly!

Ninja Advance
Perfect for a game night, casual party or other social gatherings. In this meta-game all of the players are aware of Ninja! – Silent but Deadly. Hand out one “You Lost!” card to every player. Each player has until the end of the game session to slip their card somewhere where another player will be forced to find it. Amongst other cards of a game currently in play, in their chips or what have you. Be creative! When a ninja card it’s found by another player, that player is out.

Advanced Ninja Advance
Use the same setup as Ninja Advance, but with this twist. Players can accumulate more than one “You Lose!” card during the course of the event. They can also distribute more than one, should they have them. Again, be creative! The player with the least amount of You Lose cards at the end of the event wins. Cards cannot simply be thrown away, or put into a pocket. They must be distributed in a way that another player is sure to find them.

Hardcore Advanced Ninja Advance
The Ninja! – Silent but Deadly game that may never end. Distribute one “You Lose!” card to each player. Players may not give these cards to other players that day. Starting 24 hours after each player has received their cards, Hardcore Advanced Ninja Advance begins!

It is up to each player to get their “You Lose!” card to another player. It must be given to them in a way in which they won’t know it’s a “You Lose!” card until they are holding it in their hands. Wrap it up as a birthday present, include it in a seemingly still sealed CCG booster pack. Be creative in how you get it into their hands!

Points are awarded by the person who’s received the “You Lose!” card based on a scale include with the game.

The Ninjas invade your bathroom, and a cool new gaming photo project announced on Google Plus

Photo Credit: John Beall
Ninja Credit: The gathering darkness that cloaks unseen assassins.

Ah, Ninjas. It’s great to see my little assassins popping up here and there on the internet, often in unexpected places. This photo not only shows the versatility of these black-clad assassins, but also serves to show off a new photo project just launched by Jon Beall and Clinton Coddington.

If you’re interested in these Ninjas, you can get the whole game for free at DriveThruRPG as a PDF or head on over to The Game Crafter and buy the lovely deluxe edition with box, high quality cards, and rules for US$11.99.

As for the photo project, if you’re not on Google Plus yet, now’s a great time to join. Once you’ve gotten your account set up, join us on our little corner of G+ at the Board Games Community. Once you’re there, you can search for the #123games hash tag to find original photography of games, taken in ways you may not expect.

Speaking of unexpected, I’d like to share with you a bit of physical mail I received at my work yesterday. It was postmarked from Florida, originated in England, and contained a card from my very own Ninja game. I’d like well played Sharon, well played!


I got ninja’d last night an lost what could be the first inter-species card game ever lost by a human being.

So this happened to me last night. I lost a quick game of Ninja – Silent but Deadly to my freaking cat.

My youngest cat, Lexi, likes to play with stray cards. One of the kids must have hidden this somewhere not to terribly hard to find. At least, not hard to find if you’re an 8 lb. cat. I heard a bit of a scuffle coming from or hallway and then she comes trotting up to me looking very proud of herself and spits this out at my feet.

I lost. To a cat.
I lost. To a cat.

My cat successfully assassinated me in my own game. This could be the first cross-species card game ever lost by a human being.

Ninja – Silent but Deadly is now available for you to own! From free to $12, you pays your money, you gets your ninjas!

Ninja Silent but Deadly

The ninjas are here! The ninjas are here!

Ninja – Silent but Deadly

Ninjas! Their very name conjures images of black clad, highly trained assassins. Or pictures on the internet of a bunch of empty chairs with captions like “Ninja convention LOL”. Now, the mystique, the power, the meme can be yours to use as you see fit.

Ninja – Silent but Deadly is more than just a game. It’s a prank delivery system. A tiny little piece of tabletop gaming art. A meta-game to be played in the background, silently, with ninja like skills.

There are several ways to use these cards and this game box that are listed here, and most likely a hundred more that have not been thought of yet. Here you’ll find four suggestions on how to use Ninja! Silent but Deadly.

Available right now


Deluxe Ninja Edition from The Game Crafter for $11.99 – The game box. The cards. The rules. The only way to prank your gaming buddies with an empty N-SbD box! Get it now and rejoice in your ability to fully utilize your inner ninja and have a sweet looking box to place on your gaming shelf. This edition comes with both the base game, and the Even Silenter expansion, the nice box pictured above and even instructions! Place your order and download the PDFs immediately!

Or, get the Ninja – Silent but Deadly the Print and Play and Paper Cut Edition is available entirely for free, from DriveThruRPG! That’s right, spend less money on this game than you’d spend on sitting at home on your couch not being a ninja, all from the convenience of your home or work computer! Grab the base set of Ninja – Silent but Deadly and then latch on to the Even Silenter expansion – both absolutely free!

Very soon now, a nicely printed set of cards (with the rules as a PDF) will be available at DriveThruCards as well! If you’d like to have professional quality cards and forgo the box I poured my blood, sweat and blood into, this is the way to do it.


My entire family has been attacked by Ninjas. On the whole, we enjoyed it.

Ideal Ninja is ideal!
Ideal Ninja is ideal!

The Game

I certainly would not have tagged Ninja – Silent but Deadly as a family game. It just never occurred to me that those outside of regular gamers would be all that interested in it.

I was wrong, so wrong.

A few days ago my 7 year old found a stack of You Lose! cards hanging out on my desk. After I explained what they were, I offered to let her have one, and being the human squirrel that she is, she jumped at this and vanished with the card. An hour and a half later my family was preparing to leave the house for some reason or another, and my oldest found an envelope stuffed into her jacket. Curious, she opened it and became the first person in my family to lose at N-SbD.

Later that evening, my youngest lost as she discovered that same card hidden in her pajamas. Thus the battle was engaged in full. Our household began to rapidly hire a ninja per person so as not to be left entirely defenseless.

Yesterday evening, as my day was winding to a close and I was enjoying the last book in the Riftwar series, a You Lose! card fell out of the book. A quick bit of searching and I saw that my oldest had been the first to take a swing at her parents. This morning, as they awoke, both of my children should have found cards shoved into the clothing they had picked out for the day.

I imagine the attacks will only get more elaborate and subtle from here on.

Already, if I don’t sell a single unit of this game, the development and prototyping costs (a total of $29.17) was well worth it just to have fun with my family.

Production and Classification Issues

I’ve also run into an interesting problem. I’m trying to get a BoardGameGeek page up for this. But they can’t classify it as a traditional ‘board game’ seeing as it could play out over hours or years. They suggested it may fit into their RPGGeek site, so I’ll wander over there and try it. Hopefully I’ll be able to establish an outside reference page for this somewhere, but if not, it’ll go onto my list of gaming stuff I’ve made that is not easily classifiable.

TheGameCrafter has run into a problem printing their small boxes (the one I’ve used) and until that’s resolved, I won’t be receiving my prototype of the Deluxe edition, which is also problematic. N-SbD Deluxe is going to become the standard edition for purchase – coming with the box, 10 You Lose! cards and 5 additional cards to enhance play, along with both sets of instructions. I’m a little leery on getting the free PDFs online before the physical version is available, but if I get no more news by this Wednesday, the free Print and Play versions are going live.

I suppose I could release both versions – there’s only be a dollar difference in the price for the 5 extra cards, but I worry that would create a bit of confusion. Why have two versions when for an extra buck, you could get everything you need?

There’s my ninja news for today. Expect a release announcement no later than Wednesday, at least for the free to download, print and play versions of Ninja.

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