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Extended Game

If you'd like to play an extended game of Mottainai, change the end-game condition from five works in one wing to six. No other rule changes are necessary.

Four / Five Player Rules

Playing with four or five players requires both decks to be shuffled together, and it is recommended to play with the Extended Game rules above. With two decks, there are two copies of each work. Players are allowed to complete the same work twice, and both can take effect.

Team Play

For a four player team game, sit across from your partner. Card texts that reference 'opponent' do not affect your teammate. All other rules remain the same. Add your score to your partner's score to see which team wins!

Don't Overwhelm Newbies!

We strongly recommend that you not play a four or five player game with new players.

In this case it's much better to play two side by side two or three player games to learn. Mottainai comes with two decks and six temples for this exact reason!

Effect Glossary

There are many different types of effect on works. Here is an explanation of the various things works can do. Remember that a work has no effect until it is completed, and placed in one of the two wings of your temple.

End Game Scoring

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

These provide additional points or benefits during end game scoring, and have no effect until the game ends.

Action Boosters: For Your___

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

Each of these effects enhances an action type for you. You can use the benefit every time you take an action of the appropriate type.

"Instead Of"

Chopsticks, Handkerchief, Sketch, Doll.

These cards allow you to replace one part of the Morning. Note that Handkerchief can be used even if you are at or below the hand limit. You cannot use both Sketch and Doll.


Go Set, Turtle.

These cards are always in effect, both during the game and during end game scoring.


Bangle, Curtain, Mask, Tower.

These affect how your opponents are able to use your tasks. Curtain and Tower prevent use of your tasks entirely, unless a matching card is revealed.


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

Effects that happen during the appropriate time in Morning or Night. If you have several effects, you may perform them in any order. Each may be done once.

Before A Task

Figurine, Flag, Fountain.

Allow you to reveal cards to gain extra actions during a task. Extra Clerk helpers for Fountain can be covered, and count for Haniwa if the game ends during the task.

Before A Tailor Action

Dice, Fan, Puppet.

These let you perform effects before each Tailor action you take. Each can be used once, and if you have more than one, can be used in any order.

After Effects

After you complete this: Frog, Jar, Shuriken, Statue, Tablet, Vase.

After you complete a work: Amulet, Cloak, Poem, Stool.

After an action: Cup, Deck of Cards, Gong, Plane, Ring.

These effects all occur after the completion of an action (often a SMITH or CRAFT action to complete a work).

They can be used following the SMITH or CRAFT action that completes them, if applicable (i.e. Deck of Cards, Poem). If several effects could be used, you choose the order, except that Poem or Cloak must be used last, as they return the work.

If you do use Poem or Cloak to return a work, 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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