Below is a non-comprehensive set of quick references to help clarify rules as you play. For the complete rules, please see the manual.
You are in a mob-ruled town in the 1940s, and at least one of you was a witness to something you were not supposed to see. You need to make it across town alive to where there are people that can protect you, but your journey will be a dangerous one.
You are informed that another witness will join you. By working together, you may have a much better chance of surviving. But what if they are not who they claim to be?
- • Mantis Falls blends tactical card-play and hand-management with social deduction.
- • As witnesses hunted for their information, players take single steps down increasingly dark roads - working towards the End of the Road so they may escape with their lives.
- • Along the way, players encounter dangerous events, discover allies and accumulate wounds. Each turn, players contend with the challenges together by queuing action cards from their hands to be processed in sequence.
- • Communication and cooperation are key to survival, but also fragile. Depending on the deal of hidden roles, there may in fact be only witnesses (meaning all must survive together), or there may secretly be an assassin hidden among the players waiting for the right moment to strike.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON COMMUNICATION
- • Communication and discussion is a VITAL part of Mantis Falls. Only play this game if you have a means to communicate with one another (BGA chat can work, but live communication by voice/video is preferable).
- • Players may communicate without restriction (about what cards they have, what event they drew, what they plan to play next, etc.). At all times, you can be honest or lie or choose to say nothing at all - that is up to you.
Each player receives one secret role card at game setup. This role may either be a witness or an assassin. Games may consist of only witnesses or there could be one assassin:
- • If there are only witnesses, then this is a cooperative game that the players win or lose together.
- • If there is an assassin, then this is a competitive game.
This means that if you draw an assassin role card, then you (secretly) know that the game is a competitive one. If you draw a witness role card, then you do not know if the game is cooperative or competitive.
- • If you are a witness, your goal is for all witnesses (including you) to survive. Your game can end successfully if all players make it to the end alive OR with the death of an assassin. If any witness dies, you lose.
- • If you are an assassin, your goal is for a witness to die and for you to stay alive. Your game can end successfully only with the death of a witness.
If the game ends with an assassin and at least one witness killed, the game is a tie.
- I. Initial Movement
- • Turn player may move up to one road forward.
- • Turn player may expend Conserved Energy. (This is only applicable if Conserved Energy is full of cards; see further explanation in "Other Rules" below.)
- II. Event Draw
- • If it is a “seen event”, the event is shown to all players; if it is an "unseen event", it is visible only to the turn player.
- III. Main Play (all active players choose one)
- • Create Action Play: Place any number of action cards of a single suit face down in a selected order.
- • Conserve Energy: Place one action card face up in Conserved Energy.
- • Discard: Discard up to two action cards.
- • Do Nothing
- IV. Action Reveal/Processing
- • In alternating order, reveal and process all cards from action plays.
- V. Event Processing
- • Turn player processes the event and discards it (if it is “unseen”, it continues to not be seen by other players).
- VI. Draw
- • All players replenish hands to seven action cards.
LAST GASPS (very important to survival and endgame!)
- • When a player reaches their maximum wounds, they are not yet dead! They first make a Last Gasp play:
- • This play is made as an additional, normal action play (any number of action cards of the same suit), and is immediately processed as a sidebar to all other action.
- • After this, the player’s "gasp marker" advances one space right.
- • It is possible to survive Last Gasps if wounds are reduced to below maximum and the gasp marker is below three. In this case, play continues from where it was suspended.
A player is dead if either:
- • They are at maximum wounds after completing a last gasp
- • Their gasp marker reaches 3
The death of a player ends the game (although another player may first need to resolve a Last Gasp if at their maximum wounds). A dead player cannot win, but can possibly tie.
Game ends at:
- • Escape: A turn begins with all players alive at the end of the road
- • Death: A player is dead (and all necessary last gasps are complete)
- • Witnesses win if no witness is dead (can occur with the death of an assassin or if all players escape).
- • Assassin wins if they are alive and a witness is dead.
- (Games in which an assassin and a witness both die are tie games for all players.)
CALL IN A HIT (why all players should claim to be witnesses)
In every game, two players begin the game with a special action card named "Call in a Hit". This card lets witnesses near a phone on the road make an extremely powerful attack. Assassins should fear this card and refrain from acting too suspiciously until they think they can avoid or withstand such an attack.
3-PLAYER GAMES ONLY: THE BYSTANDER
In 3P games, turns rotate clockwise. Players play as rotating pairs (”active players”; the turn player and the player to their right), making one player each turn a “bystander” (the player to the turn player's left):
- • Active players: The active players face the turn together, with all references in the game to “the other player” (or “both players”, “either player”, “the players”, etc.) referring ONLY to active players (NEVER the bystander).
- • Bystander: The bystander cannot interact with the event, play cards, be the target of an attack, use/receive/lose conditions or allies, receive wounds, etc. What they can do is the following:
- • Discard/conserve energy: After the two active players have made their main plays, the bystander may either discard up to two cards or place one card face up in Conserved Energy.
- • Draw: After the two active players have had their draw from the draw phase, the bystander also draws their hand to full.
- • Bystander abilities: Cards in the Triad Module may refer to the bystander by name. These cards are NOT played by the bystander directly, but when an active player processes such a card, it gives the bystander specific abilities or choices.
- • Allies are helpful cards attained from some actions and events, and are completed by set collection.
- • Ally cards have "completion requirements" in the upper left corner. This indicates how many matching copies of that ally card you must have in order to "complete" the ally.
- • Once the completion requirement is met, the ally turns face up in front of you and begins to have its lasting effect.
- • Some action cards have "condition" boxes on them. These are treated like regular action cards (put them in action plays and process them as normal, etc.) but one of the effects will instruct you to "keep the card as a condition". When you process this effect, the card moves to in front of you and begins to have the lasting effect written within the condition box.
- • Keep in mind these will not provide their condition effect until they are out as a condition.
- • CONSERVING CARDS: As a “main play”, players may put one action card face up on an open space in Conserved Energy.
- • DRAWING FROM CONSERVED ENERGY: When drawing, players may draw from any space in Conserved Energy instead of the draw pile.
- • EXPENDING CONSERVED ENERGY: At the start of their initial movement phase, a player may discard four cards from Conserved Energy to:
- (1) Add one road to the initial movement OR (2) Heal one wound
- • MOVEMENT: Players work their way through the sequence of roads in a serpentine pattern. Note that reaching the end of the road does not automatically end the game.
- • STOPLIGHT NUMBERS: Every road has a red, yellow and green "stoplight" number. These numbers are frequently referenced by other cards (most usually by events) but otherwise impart no specific rules.
- • PHONES AND BUS STOPS: Some roads have symbols denoting a phone or a bus stop. These are sometimes referenced by other cards but otherwise impart no specific rules.
- • AMBUSHES (CIRCLED NUMBERS): Some roads have "ambushes", denoted by a circled number in the lower right. Landing on these roads forces you to randomly discard that number of action cards AND receive that number of wounds. Passing through an ambush (not stopping on it), however, incurs no penalty.
- • THE "BROKEN ROAD": One of the night roads is the "Broken Road". Landing on this pushes you back one road. Passing through this road (e.g. from an action providing 2 roads of movement, expending of Conserved Energy, etc.) gains you access to your choice of powerful action cards ("Actions by the Night").
- • THE "END OF THE ROAD": The final road is the "End of the Road". The game does not end when a player reaches the end of the road. Landing here gains you access to your choice of a powerful action cards ("Actions by the Dark").