This King’s Court Has More Tall Tales Than You Can Keep Track of!

In this boisterous edition of the classic card game of Bluff, the only way to come out tops is to get away with bluffing, and be able to catch people out when they do. If players want to go far, they have to know a story when they hear one, and keep a straight face when telling one of their own!

54 animal cards
6 joker cards
7 red penalty tokens

2-5 players, aged 6 and above

– Emotional Intelligence
– Risk taking
– Strategy

Shuffle the cards well and deal two out to each player. Place the rest of the cards in the centre of the table.

Just like the original Bluff game, players take turns putting a card face down on the centre of the table, next to the deck of spare cards, and announcing it as they do. The catch is, each card has to be bigger in value than the one put down before.

What happens when we run out of bigger cards to put down?

We just place one down anyway, of course – but we can’t promise that we’ll be telling the truth when we do!

In the case of this King’s Court, each card put down has to be of a higher rank than the one before… but how do we know who is bigger than whom?

Better yet, how do we know who’s telling the truth and who isn’t?

The vertical hierarchy of animals at the side of each card signifies how these animals rank against one another in the court. Starting from the bottom of this ladder, we have our little fledgling cricket who is tiniest in rank; and right at the top sits His Royal King Cow, who enjoys relaxing in his comfortable throne above all his other Royal Subjects!

But wait – why does one card have only one animal, and the other three?

Brilliant observation!

Every rank in the Court comes in three further tiers reflecting one, two, or three of that animal within the same card. Needless to say, using the example above, the card with two chickens will be bigger than the one with just one, and the card with three chickens will be bigger than the one with two.

However, take note that even the card with three chickens will still rank lower than the next animal subject in line, the Royal Dog – even if there is only one Dog on the card.

That said, it can be safely concluded that the One of Cricket card is of the lowest rank in the entire deck; and the one with Three of Cows is the highest.


(i) Decide who begins first. The player puts down the first card (always face down) and announces what card it is.

For instance…

The Three of Birds!

The next player now has to put out a card that is higher in rank than the Three of Birds.

(Keep in mind that every card that is put out has to be higher in rank than the one before, and all cards are to be placed face down.)

The Two of Pigs?

Wow, that definitely outranks the Three of Birds by miles, but that’s also a mighty big card on the hierarchy!

Let’s see if the next player can top this one!

A Two of Crickets and Three of Rams?

Yikes! Neither outranks the Two of Pigs!

Don’t break into a sweat just yet. This is a game of bluff, after all. It’s time to keep calm, put our best poker face on, and carry on.


Anyone can call a player out for a lie immediately after he places a card down. For instance, if you’d just placed down a card and someone suspects you enough to call your bluff, the game pauses and your card gets flipped over for investigation.

Did you lie? Oops! You receive one penalty point!

Were you really telling the truth? Thank goodness! The person who called you out wrongly gets one penalty point. (Phew!)

[Game Tip #2: Amp up the emotional intelligence play! If you have a high-rank card, try strategizing your sabotage by getting other players to wrongly call your bluff. How? By pretending to look like you’re lying, of course. Nervousness, shifty eyes, wide-eyed innocent looks, gigglish laughters – anything that typically makes people feel like they have reason to suspect you, really.]

HABA’s Flunkerkönig is, incidentally, a recent Harper’s Bazaar Junior Toy Awards winner.

As with all bluff games, Flunkerkönig is excellent for developing emotional intelligence and the ability to not only read body language and expressions acutely, but be conscious of your own at all times as well. Do not be shortsighted to think that this game teaches our kids to ‘lie well’. Bluff games are actually an excellent teaching tool to develop critical life skills that are transferable into the real world. Mastering the concept of this game means handling your own emotions (and hence, your environment) better; being acutely sensitive and aware of other people’s feelings; and of course, having a good sense of when someone is trying to pull a fast one on you!

Flunkerkönig is easy to teach to all ages 6 & above, generally short and quick, and based entirely on social interaction. Older and more advanced players may even find opportunities for ‘teamwork’, and game play can prove to be a real electric experience for all around the table. Peals of laughter, cries of mock anguish, and great deal of fun is guaranteed with the likes of this golden game!


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