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Death Valley

Button Shy Games

Regular price $11.99

Shipping calculated at checkout.

Sunlight glaring through the windshield. Your favorite songs blasting through the speakers. Candy bar wrappers piled next to a warm drink in the cheap plastic cupholder. Your companion riding in the passenger seat, snapping pictures of landmarks as you settle into the hypnotic rhythm of the road. But be careful: this fun road trip could get dangerous as you drive through Death Valley.

Death Valley is a pocket-sized, push-your-luck, tableau building game for 1-2 players, with each traveler striving to assemble the best mix of cards in their Journey and Scrapbook in order to win the game.

Each turn, players will choose whether to assign a card to their Journey, or move cards from their Journey to their Scrapbook. Cards feature stars (points), special abilities (affect the value and position of cards), and some interesting facts about Death Valley.

Each card also has a hazard (Heat, Terrain, Flood or Animals) listed. Having 3 of the same Hazard visible in their tableau will cause the player to bust and lose all the progress in their Journey.

At the end of the game the player with the most stars in their Journey, plus any additional points from card abilities, is the winner.

Finalist (top 3) of Button Shy's 18 Card Challenge: Design a game about a real life location.

Death Valley National Park is a beautiful desert landscape of extremes. Enjoy its life and scenery to build the best tableau of Death Valley attractions while also pushing your luck and being cautious of the desert heat and other hazards.


To set up the game, shuffle all 18 cards and place 1 face-up between the players. On a player’s turn they have 3 choices: add the face-up or face-down card from the top of the deck to their own Journey, or Rest. When a player Rests, they move at least one card from their Journey to their Scrapbook (stacking them into a single pile if they select multiple cards) and shuffle as many of their remaining Journey cards into the deck as they choose.

After the player takes their action for the turn, they check for Hazards among the visible cards in their Journey and Scrapbook. If they have 3 of the same Hazard type showing (3 Flood cards, for example) the player busts: 1 of the Hazard cards is removed from the game and the rest of the player’s Journey cards get shuffled back into the deck.

Once there is only one card remaining in the center area, the game ends. Each player counts up the stars showing in their Journey row. Visible cards in the Journey and Scrapbook might have abilities that adjust that score. Once all effects have been applied, the player with the highest star count is the winner.

Backseat Driver Variant

If you want to really press your luck and give up a little control, try out the Backseat Driver Variant. In this variant players may choose to play the face-up card on their opponent’s journey as well as their own. At the end of each turn you will check to see if either player busts.

Solo Mode - Designed by Kevin Ellenburg and Mike Mullins

The game will come with rules for solo play. Here you will face an AI explorer that thinks through its action each turn similarly to a player (playing the more intense Backseat Driver Variant). This explorer never rests in its pursuit of adventure.