Skip to Content

Ransom Notes Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Ransom Notes Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Objective of Ransom Notes

The objective of Ransom Notes is to make the best/funniest/most accurate sentences in order to win five category cards before the other players.

Setup for Ransom Notes

  • Each player takes one of the black metal submission cards. You should place it in front of you with the flat side face up.
  • Each player should randomly grab a bunch of magnet tiles. The game recommends taking around 75. This does not have to be an exact amount unless all of the players agree that it should be.
  • You should place all of your word magnets face up in front of you.
  • Place the Prompt Cards face down in the middle of the table.
  • All of the word magnets not taken by players should be dumped back into the bottom of the box. Place the bottom of the box in the middle of the table.

Creating Your Response

Each round begins with the top Prompt Card being flipped over. It doesn’t matter who flips it over. One of the players will read the text on the card out loud. The round then begins. If the Prompt Card refers to the most recent judge, your submission should relate to the player that was the judge in the previous round.

Prompt Card in Ransom Notes
For this round all of the players will write a jingle for a toupee store.

All of the players will look at the word magnets placed out in front of themselves. Each player tries to create a sentence/phrase/jumble of words that best answers the text on the current Prompt Card. You can choose to do anything with your submission. Your submission needs to use at least one word, but it can use as many as you want. Place the word magnets on your black metal submission card to create your submission.

When creating your response you can choose whatever you want. You want to create something that you think the judge will end up picking. You can go with an accurate, ridiculous, funny, or any other answer that you want.

Creating a Response in Ransom Notes
This player has decided to create the response “look horrible has money come today” as their response to writing a jingle for a toupee store.

This phase of the current round should last around 60-90 seconds. Players can decide whether they want to strictly follow the time limit with a timer, or if they want to be more lenient with it.

Once you have finished your submission, you will turn your submission card over so the other players can’t see your response.

Presenting Your Response

After each player has finished creating their submission, it is time your reveal them.

Starting with the player who finished their submission last, each player will read it out loud to the rest of the players.

Presenting the Players' Responses
During this round three responses were created. Each player reads out their response to the other players.

Judging the Responses

After all of the players have revealed their submissions, it is time to judge who provided the best response.

To determine who will be the judge for the round, spin the bottom of the box which you placed in the middle of the table. Along one of the sides of the box it says “you’re the judge”. The player that is closest to where this side of the box is pointing becomes the judge for the current round.

Choosing A Judge
The box has been spun. The player that the “you’re the judge” side is pointing towards, becomes the judge for the current round.

The judge will consider all of the submissions and decide which one they think is the best. They can choose any of the submissions including their own.

The judge should only pick their own submission if it is truly the best option. If the judge picks themselves, the rest of the players can overrule them with a unanimous vote.

The player whose submission is chosen as the best for the round takes the Prompt Card. This card will act as a point at the end of the game.

Choosing the Best Response
The judge has decided that the middle response was the best. The corresponding player takes the Prompt Card which counts as a point.

End of Round

After a player wins the current round, it is time to prepare for the next round. Take all of the magnets off each players’ submission card. Return all of these word magnets to the top of the box.

Each player can pick up some new word magnets to replace those they used in the previous round.

The next round is played in the same way as the previous round.

Winning Ransom Notes

The game ends once one of the players have acquired five Prompt Cards due to providing the best response in the round. The first player to acquire five Prompt Cards wins the game.

Winning Ransom Notes
This player has acquired five Prompt Cards. They have won the game.

Alternative Ransom Notes Modes

Party Gamer

Choose a judge for each round. The judge for the current round does not create a response. The judge’s only duty during the round is to pick the player that submitted the best response.

The player to the left of the current judge becomes the judge in the next round.

Shrink City

This variant plays the same as the normal game with one small change.

Throughout the game you cannot replenish the word magnets in front of you. Thus the players have less words to choose from as the game progresses.

The game continues until one of the players can’t make a sentence with the word magnets that they have remaining.

Whichever player earns the most Prompt Cards wins the game.

Components for Ransom Notes

Year: 2021 | Publisher: Charty Party LLC | Designer: Evan Katz, Josh Roberts | Artist: NA

Genres: Party, Word

Ages: 17+ | Number of Players: 3-6 | Length of Game: 30-90 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: Moderate

Components: 255 Prompt Cards, 840 word magnets, 6 Metal Submission cards, instructions

Where to Purchase: Amazon, eBay Any purchases made through these links (including other products) help keep Geeky Hobbies running. Thank you for your support.

For more board and card game how to plays/rules and reviews, check out our complete alphabetical list of board game posts.


Friday 5th of January 2024

My box also does not have the words " you be the judge" aa shown on line.


Friday 5th of January 2024

I bought the Ransome Notes game today. I looked online for the game rules and it says there should be 840 word magnets and the one I bought has 180 words.


Thursday 7th of March 2024

@Jyoti, you must have bought the expansion then. Not the full game.

Eric Mortensen

Saturday 6th of January 2024

I tried looking online to try and find the version of the game that you are describing. I couldn't really find anything. The box doesn't say anything about an expansion on the front right? The game does have two expansions that have a similar number of magnets to your version.

I have a couple of theories. If you bought the game used the previous owner might have just lost most of the magnets. Second there could have been a manufacturing error with the game and a bunch of the magnets weren't included.

If you bought the game new I think it could be one of two things. The first could be that the version you bought was fake. There are sellers on sites like Amazon who sell fake copies of games. Otherwise it could be that the version you bought was a smaller version of the game. Recently I have seen a number of party games that have released smaller versions with less cards/components etc that are sold at discount type stores. These games are fully playable, but don't have as many components. In a way they are sampler packs of the game. I am not aware of Ransom Notes being a game that has done this, but I have seen more of these versions of games in recent years.

I am sorry that I couldn't have been of more help.