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A game of creating and manipulating a deal so you can get the biggest piece of the action. If the cards don't go your way, spoil a deal and frustrate your opponents by turning the deal from a big profit into a big loss.

Through cunning deal-making, and favoring your "Cousins" (and by throwing in some guile and backstabbing too), acquire the most money to prove once and for all that you are "The Boss".


  • 96 Deal Cards in 3 colors
  • 3 "X" Cards
  • 6 multi-colored "Wild" POTA Cards
  • 1 "Boss" and 2 "Cousin" Tokens
  • 12 double sided "I'm In/Pass" Disks
  • 1 "2X" Disk
  • 90 Money Cards
  • 1 Rulebook


Give each player two I'm In/Pass disks and $50 in money. Randomly determine the starting player and give that player the Boss token and the two Cousin tokens. The player with the Boss token is the Boss and the dealer in this round.

In a 3-player game only one Cousin token is used-place the other one back in the box. The starting player shuffles the cards and deals out a number to all players based on the chart below. He then splits the remaining cards roughly into two halves and shuffles one of each of the X Cards into each half.

He reassembles the deck by placing the halves on top of each other without shuffling. He places the now-ready deck close by. Place the 2X disk next to it, and put the remaining X Card (face down) underneath the 2X disk.

#Players#Cards# of Rounds to be The BossDeal Limit

Game Play

The Boss starts his Deal by playing the first card. Players MUST follow suit, i.e. all cards played in each round will be of one color only. Opponents play cards in clockwise order until all opponents have passed twice. Then, the value of the Deal is determined.

If the Deal value is positive, the Boss, each Cousin, and each Piece of the Action (POTA) card receives that amount from the bank. If the Deal is negative, the same shareholders must PAY that value to the bank.

The Boss token is passed to the left to start a new round. All players simultaneously choose up to two cards to discard, keeping them face down, and then draw cards and return their hands back up to the number of cards indicated in the chart above.

The game ends when each player has been The Boss for the number of rounds indicated in the chart above.

Playing Cards

The Boss must start a round by playing a positive or negative Deal Card (+$1 through +$4, or -$2 through -$5) to the center of the table. In the unlikely event that the Boss does not have such a card, the Boss picks one of the three colors and the first play passes to the player on his left.

The Boss' s first card, or his stated color if he doesn't have a regular Deal card, determines the color of all cards played for this round (the Deal). (Note that there are 6 Multi-Colored POTA cards that can be played on any deal).

Each player in clockwise order then plays a card of the proper color or turns one of his I'm In! disks to the Pass side. A player may pass even if he has a card that could be played. After passing, a player may still play on a subsequent turn.

The player who is last to turn over his first Pass disk draws an extra card as a bonus. Turning the second Pass disk, however, ends a player's ability to play further cards (and to have cards played against him *), but does not end that player's participation in the payoff of the Deal.

A player may opt to "double pass" and end his active participation in the round even if he still has playable cards left in his hand. If all players except one have passed, that player may play as many cards as desired before passing.

The Deal

Positive and negative Deal Cards are played to the center of the table. The final value of a deal is determined by totaling all the Deal Cards played, then multiplying by 5, and finally multiplying by the number of X's showing (starting with the 2X disk, and adding an X card, face up, as and when they appear).

This means that deals progressively grow over the course of the game from 2X to 3X and 4X and finally to 5X.

Example A: At the end of a Deal, the cards in the center are $3, $4, $4 and -$2. The total is $9. Multiplied times 5 this equals $45. In addition to the "2X" disk, there are also two X cards in play-see below. So $45 X 4 equals $180, the final value of this deal.

Example B: The deal ends with $2, -$4, and -$5. The total is -$7, times 5 this is -$35. The "2X" disk and one X card are in play. So -$35 X 3 equals $-105, the final value of this deal.

The final values of deals, positive or negative, are limited and based on the number of players. See the Deal Limits shown in the chart above.

Cousin Tokens

I'm The Boss: The Card Game is intended to be a light-hearted negotiation game. The Boss starts each round with two "Cousin" tokens (one in the three player game). The Cousin tokens have the same effect as the POTA Cards-allowing the person(s) with the Cousin tokens to obtain one piece of the action when the deal is concluded.

Unlike POTA Cards, Cousin tokens do not move during the round-"once a cousin, always a cousin". The same person cannot obtain both Cousin tokens in the same round. Players negotiate with the Boss during each round to obtain the Cousin tokens from the Boss. All negotiations must pass through the Boss (no separate side deals between the non-Boss players).

Typically a player will offer to either play, or not play, a card in return for the Boss making him a Cousin for this round. For instance, a player might offer to play a +$4 Deal Card to the center of the table if the Boss makes him his Cousin for this round.

Or a player might offer to discard a Reverse Card rather than playing it on the Boss. Discarding is not allowed as a turn action unless it is in the context of a negotiation with the Boss. Creativity of negotiations is allowed and encouraged, and you will likely develop "house rules" to govern negotiations.

The Boss, however, is the person in control of the length and nature of any negotiations. The Boss may opt to not assign one or both of the Cousins, but he will not receive extra shares for retaining the Cousin tokens.

The Cards

Piece of the Action Cards

Piece of the Action cards (POTAs) are played face up in front of any player, including yourself, instead of in the middle with the Deal cards.

The POTA card ensures that the person who has it in front of him will either receive a share of the winnings or have to pay the bank, depending on the result of the deal.

Multiple POTAs in front of one player allow a player to get multiple payouts, or make multiple payments (for example, a final Deal amount is $100. The player with two POTAs will receive $200).

Players can play or receive POTAs if they are already the Boss or Cousins to gain multiple payouts or payments.

Reverse Cards

Reverse Cards are played face up in front of any player, including yourself, instead of in the middle with the Deal cards.

If, at the end of the deal, there are 1 or 3 Reverse Cards before a player, the final value of the deal for that player alone is changed from positive to negative (or negative to positive).

An even number of Reverse Cards negate each other and there is no change in the value of the deal. For instance, if a player has a single Reverse Card in front of them and the final deal value is -$75, it becomes +$75. With two Reverse Cards in front of them, the deal value remains -$75.

Move Cards

A person playing a "Move 1" Card must move one of the cards in play in the following manner:

  • A positive or a negative Deal Card from the deal (center of the table) to the discard pile
  • A POTA Card or a Reverse Card between any two players
  • A POTA Card or a Reverse Card from any player to the discard pile.

With a "Move 2" or a "Move 3" Card, the player must move that many cards. Move Cards are placed in the discard pile when the play is completed.

Settling the Deal

The final value of the deal is determined, and the players receive (or pay) the appropriate money for each Boss token, POTA Card, and Cousin token. For example, the final value of the deal is $40. The Boss has one POTA card and therefore collects $80.

Another player has two POTA cards and a Cousin token and therefore collects $120. Remember that the final values cannot exceed the "Deal Limits " set in the chart on page 2. The amount of money you have is secret - you do not have to reveal it.

If a player is unable to pay the full amount owed, he simply pays as much as he has. You do not go into debt in this game.

Subsequent Deals

All the cards from the current deal are placed in the discard pile. The Boss token and the two Cousin tokens are passed to the player on the left. All players, simultaneously and sight unseen, discard either zero, one or two cards from their hands to the discard pile.

The new Boss draws enough cards from the deck to return his hand to the number of cards dealt at the beginning of the game (either 8 or 10 depending upon the number of players).

Then the next player to the left refills his hand, etc.

Important: If an "X" card is drawn, it is added face up underneath the 2X disk, thus increasing immediately the multiplier of subsequent deals to 3X, 4X and eventually 5X. The player who drew the X Card simply replaces that card with a new draw.

All of the Pass disks are flipped to the I'm In side and another deal is started by the new Boss. If, when refilling hands after a deal, the draw deck is exhausted for the FIRST TIME, the final X card (which was put face down underneath the 2X disk at the beginning of the game) is added to the discard pile.

The discard pile is then shuffled and becomes the new draw deck.

End of the Game

The game ends when each player has been the Boss the number of times indicated on the chart on page 2. The player with the most money is the winner.

In case of a tie, the players involved share the victory and boss everyone else around.

The Nasty Variant

If you want to make the game play nastier, remove the rule that after two passes you are unaffected by the other players. This means that even after two passes you are vulnerable to having cards taken from you and placed on you by opponents.

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