Mantis Card Game Overview
Last week I mentioned how we like to bring small, new games when we travel. Velonimo was a good example of a game that is small, easy to teach, and enjoyable for all player types. That wasn’t the only game in our bag that weekend. We have recently acquired a copy of Mantis by Exploding Kittens. Yes, those Exploding Kittens. It also found its way to the convention with us.
This game is a delight since it only takes about ten minutes to play. The custom deck of 105 cards is beautifully illustrated with seven uniquely colored praying mantises doing or eating something silly. These act as suits and there are fifteen of each type. The back of each card also shows three colors, one of which matches the actual color on the face. The object of Mantis is to be the first player to capture ten or more cards.
After shuffling, each player begins a game of Mantis with four cards face-up in front of them. The remaining cards form a draw deck within reach of all participants. If there are any matching colors in a player’s tableau, they are stacked together. On a turn you have a choice from two actions. First, you may try to score by taking the topmost card from the draw pile and revealing its face. If the character color matches any of the cards already in your tableau, move all characters of that color into your score pile. If it does not match any, simply leave that new card face-up in your tableau.
Alternatively, you may try to steal cards from other players. Announce which player you are stealing from and reveal the top card from the deck. If the color matches any of their cards, take them all into your tableau (not your scoring pile). If it doesn’t match, that player adds it to their tableau.
Because the three colors on the back provide a hint about the actual color on the face, you can use this information to decide which action you will take. Cards in your score pile are face-down so others won’t know how many of a certain color are out of the game. However, you must reveal how many cards in total you have in your score pile if asked. The first player to have ten or more cards in their score pile wins Mantis!
Mantis supports up to six players and has special rules for two. Two players will play to fifteen points. Any time someone successfully steals from the other player, they get to take another turn immediately. We found this variation to not be quite as exciting when compared to the normal rules, but sometimes you only have one other person around to play! It’s good Mantis still supports a smaller number of participants.
You can find this new game at your favorite local game store, mass-market retailers, direct from Exploding Kitten on their website, or on Amazon with Prime shipping. Exploding Kittens is now known for more than their original title by the same name. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to find out what’s in store next!
Do you have praying mantises in your region?