Last Hand Standing Game Review

A dark side of math with a survival twist.

Math teachers can now claim that the subject might just save your life and limb!


We’re trapped! In this survival game, each of our hands have been strapped down to a table and fingers are being cut off every round. In a weirdly dystopian paradigm, we are trying to cut each other’s fingers off in order to survive… Will you survive the math?

WARNING: The contents of the game and the following review have quite graphic descriptions afflicting body parts. If you are squeamish, you might just want to skip on. That said, my eight year old quite enjoyed the grim humor.

Player 1 ready to play with all their fingers in the game.


In this macabre game, players use number cards in their hand and the number on the die roll to formulate math equations. The answer determines which fingers get chopped off. The object of the game is to be the last player who keeps their finger!

Each player receives 2 cards at the start of the game. They use one hand to hold the cards and the other hand is placed palm down on the table. Beginning at the thumb, each finger is numbered one through five.

The 5 deadly number cards are laid across the table in view of all players. These represent the deadly number and the finger which will be afflicted. The final answer of the equations represents which finger opponents will lose in that round.

Game Play

Each round is played in 3 phases. In the first phase, players roll the die and combine the dice roll with any number of cards in hand, using the four main mathematical operations. The used number cards are discarded and the die is placed on the Deadly number card to indicate which finger all other opponents lose.

If a player rolls a 4 and has the number cards 3 and 5, they may create 5 + 3 – 4 = 4. All other players lose their 4th finger.

In the second phase, players play the actions on cards whose number matches the final answer in the round. Following the above example, any player with a card number of 4 can activate its effect.

There are 4 different types of card actions. The red card is a knife which cuts off an opponent’s finger. The blue card is a bandage which heals a lost finger of their choosing. The purple card is a stun gun which causes a player to lose their turn. The yellow card is a trap and removes a random card from another player’s hand. Other than the blue card, the player who activates the card gets to choose who takes the card’s effect.

There are 2 cards of each number and color in the deck.

For example, if a player has a red 4 card that matches the deadly number from the previous round, they can activate the card’s effect and choose to cut off any of their opponent’s remaining fingers.

If the next player in line has a yellow 4 card, they can direct the trap toward the active player and pick a random card from his hand to discard.

Each player activates a card and takes its action in clockwise order. Cards may be activated over a number of rounds in this manner until everyone has had an equal number of opportunities.

In the last phase, any player with no fingers left is out of the game. Players who are still in the game draw one card from the card deck and the turn moves clockwise.

Keep Your Wits (and fingers) About You

The deadly number is 1, so player 1 has lost her thumb, the number 1 finger in the game. She has a purple 1 card though, so in the second phase of the round, she will use the Stun Gun action to skip another players next turn.

Even though the theme is dark, I quite enjoyed the novelty of the physical hand play. However, there are quite a few challenges in actual play. Obviously you do not want to lose any fingers, which makes keeping your hand on the table surprisingly hard to do! I naturally want to use it to pick and play cards. Or pull back with a squeal if the gauntlet comes down on a finger. But once I take my hand off the table, I inevitably forget which fingers I’ve lost!

WiseBox has got around this with some promotional cards depicting the five fingers of a hand that is placed in front of players. But I only saw them at the Asian Board Game Festival and it did not come in my box I reviewed.

Secondly, here I am losing fingers and while the blue bandage cards may help me heal my losses, what I really want is to grow a third arm, with hands and fingers so I can have one hand on the table, another hand holding my hand of cards and yet a third to throw the die, pick my cards and play them. But, since we can’t do that, the next best thing is to make sure you have some card holders handy.

My family actually liked the game play and I liked the use of my physical hand, but it is quite hard to manage cards in hand and remembering your fingers on the table when you are losing them! That has been the biggest hurdle to us bringing this game back on our table even though we all liked it conceptually.

Final Thoughts

The game is a macabre spin on the playground game of Chopsticks. Yea, it is math but it is really about being trapped in a bloody room and doing a MacGyver with the tools we’ve gotten from the deck. The gameplay is straightforward and works well in groups which enjoy sabotaging each other. So find a gang of childhood friends, enjoy a dash of dark humor, and try the luck of your hand or its loss instead.


Last Hand Standing details

About the author

Ly-ann Tan

Ly-ann is an educator who loves to play! She has never quite grown up herself and wants to inspire parents, tutors and teachers to help kids learn through tabletop games.

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