Additional Rules for Mottainai

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Mottainai Additional Rules

Hey there! Let’s dive into some extra rules for the fascinating game of Mottainai. Are you ready? Great!

First up, let’s talk about card placement. When you play a card, you have the option to either build on top of an existing structure or start a new one. It’s up to you to decide which strategy suits your current situation.

Another important rule to remember is the concept of card color. Each card in Mottainai has a unique color, representing a different type of action or effect. It’s crucial to understand these colors and the abilities they unlock when played. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the choices at your disposal.

Now, let’s touch on the concept of “pawing” a card. This means you can use an action on a card that another player added to your structure. How cool is that? It adds a whole new level of interaction and strategy to the game.

Ah, timing. It’s everything in Mottainai. You see, each card has its own unique timing restrictions. Some cards can only be used during certain phases, while others have special effects that trigger at specific times. Understanding these timings is vital for success.

Lastly, let’s talk about scorekeeping. Mottainai has a beautifully intricate scoring system. Each structure you build has its own score, and there are various ways to earn points throughout the game. Don’t forget to keep track of your progress and aim for those extra points.

There you have it, my friend! Some additional rules to spice up your Mottainai experience. Take these tips to heart, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a Mottainai master. Enjoy the game!

If you want to make your game of Mottainai longer, try changing the end-game condition from five works in one wing to six. You don’t need to make any other rule changes.

When playing with four or five players, you’ll need to shuffle both decks together. It’s also a good idea to use the Extended Game rules mentioned earlier. Since you have two decks, there are two copies of each work. This means players can complete the same work twice and both effects will take place.

If you’re playing as a team with four players, make sure to sit across from your partner. Card texts that mention ‘opponent’ won’t affect your teammate. Everything else stays the same. Add your score to your partner’s score to see which team wins!

Oh, and one more thing: remember to go easy on new players! Don’t overwhelm them with complicated rules. Just have fun and enjoy the game together.

I highly advise against attempting a game with four or five players if you’re new to Mottainai. It’s far more beneficial to start with two separate two or three player games. Luckily, Mottainai provides two decks and six temples specifically for this purpose!

A Glossary of Effects

Let me explain to you the different ways that works can have an impact. When we talk about effects, we mean the various things that can happen when you complete a work and place it in one of the wings of your temple. Until then, the work doesn’t have any effect at all.

End Game Scoring

Bench, Coin, Haniwa, Lampshade, Pillar, Quilt, Scroll, Tapestry, Teapot.

These things give you extra points or benefits when we reach the end of the game. They don’t have any effect until then, but once the game is over, they come into play.

Action Boosters: For You

Bell, Brick, Crane, Flute, Robe, Socks, Straw, Sword.

These effects make your actions better. Each one enhances a specific type of action, and you can use their benefits whenever you take an action of that type.

“Instead Of”

Chopsticks, Handkerchief, Sketch, Doll.

Hey there! I want to tell you about these special cards that you can use in the Morning. They’re pretty cool because they let you replace one part of the Morning. You can use the Handkerchief card even if you already have a lot of cards in your hand. Just remember, you can’t use both the Sketch and Doll cards at the same time.

Keep It Going

Go Set, Turtle.

These cards keep working all the time, both during the game and when you’re scoring points at the end.

Getting in the Way

Bangle, Curtain, Mask, Tower.

These cards mess with your opponents’ plans. The Curtain and Tower cards stop them from using your cards, unless they have a card that matches yours.

Morning or Night

Bowl, Daitoro, Kite, Pin, Pinwheel, Umbrella.

These cards have effects that happen during the Morning or Night. You get to choose the order in which you use them. And remember, you can only use each card once.

Before a Task

Figurine, Flag, Fountain.

Hey there! Let me tell you about these cool cards that can give you some extra help during a task. They’re called Fountain Clerk cards, and they allow you to reveal other cards to get more actions. If the game ends while you’re doing the task, those extra Clerk helpers can also count for Haniwa.

Things to Do Before a Tailor Action

If you want to do some extra stuff before each Tailor action, there are some special cards you can use. They’re called Dice, Fan, and Puppet. Each of these cards can only be used once, and you can use them in any order you like.

What Happens After Completing an Action

Once you finish a certain action, some other cards come into play. After you complete a task, you can use the Frog, Jar, Shuriken, Statue, Tablet, and Vase cards. After you finish a work, you can use the Amulet, Cloak, Poem, and Stool cards. And after you take any action, you can use the Cup, Deck of Cards, Gong, Plane, and Ring cards. These effects happen right after you finish an action, usually when you’re completing a work as a SMITH or CRAFT action.

When it comes to using cards in the game, there are different actions and effects that can come into play. You have the option to use a Deck of Cards or a Poem, among others, to complete a work. The order in which you use these effects is up to you, with the exception that the Poem or Cloak must always be used last, as they return the work.

If you decide to use the Poem or Cloak to return a work, it’s important to note that the Stool, Poem, Cloak, or Amulet can trigger again on the new completed work.


Matching: Two materials of the same type (CLOTH, STONE, etc)

Return: Place on the bottom of the deck.

Complete: Place a completed work into play, in one of your two wings.

Support: The cards used to count toward having enough of a material to complete a work.

Reveal: Show to everyone

Waiting Area: Face down cards that you’ve drawn. Collect them at Night.

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