Set Up
A trick-taking card game for 3-8 players, Ages 8+
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Ken Maher
Summary of Play
Stephanie Johnson
Development Team
D. Brad Talton Jr., Joshua Van Laningham,
Christopher Smith, Mike Robles, Sam Tapper, Reagan
McClellan, JR Honeycutt, Chad Hantak
Ty Arnold, Kier Arnold, Matthew Fournier,
and others on the Level 99 Games Forum
• 9 Role Cards
• 56 Animal Cards
• 10 Trait Cards
• 12 Fool Cards
• 8 Off-Suit Abilities Variant Reference Cards
“A story, a story; let it come, let it go.”
Once, all the stories belonged to someone else but now they belong to
Anansi, the Trickster (which is a story unto itself!). Everyone knows
that the best stories happen when you play someone else for the fool. But
sometimes even the best of tricks can backfire, and who plays the fool then?
In Anansi and the Box of Stories the players take on the roles of
archetypal animals in a trick taking game where you can use your animal
cunning and abilities to turn the tricks in your favor.
During each Trick, every player plays one card they feel will trump
everyone else’s. The player who wins the most tricks without being made a
fool will prove their wisdom and be made the winner.
The cards
The Role Cards display each Character’s image, score multiplier, and
an explanation of their unique ability on the front.
The Animal Cards consist of both a suit (Strength, Bravery,
Arrogance, Jealousy, Friendliness or Craftiness) an Animal (one of the
nine Characters) and a Value (from 1-9).
In addition, there are two Wild Animal Cards that have a value but no
suit. These are wild and may be used during any trick, and can even win a
trick (they count as the Lead suit). They also count the same as any of the
other Anansi cards in the deck for determining the fool.
Animal Card
# of
Players Dealt
# of
players Dealt
Player 1 Hand
Player 3 Hand
Player 2 Hand
Player 4 Hand
All players score points according to the role they chose for the
Round. Score is printed on the front of the respective Role Cards. This
number is the value of each Trick won during the Round.
The number in the upper right corner
shows how many points this player will
receive for each trick they capture in the
round. The mouse player will get four
points per trick captured.
* For a 3 player game remove any two suits from the deck before
** For a 4 Player game remove one of the suits.
Role Card
Separate the 9 Role Cards and the 56 Animal Cards (including Wilds).
Spread out the Role Cards in the center of the table. Shuffle the Animal
Cards and deal out a starting hand to each of the players according to the
following table. Any remaining cards are put to the side. They will not be
used this round.
After a round ends, you will find the Fool and then score points for the
Round. After this you will start the next round. For the next round, shuffle
up the animal cards and deal new hands to players. Since players keep
one card from the previous round, they will receive one less from round 2
The following is an example of a 4 player
game on the last two Tricks.
Wild Card
The game is played over a series of rounds in which players choose
their roles, play cards, find the fool, and score points.
The game ends as soon as one player has collected 3 Fool Cards or
after 5 Rounds have been played.
A finished trick. Since the Lead card at
the bottom of the stack is Arrogance, the
player who played the 8 of Arrogance
would win this Trick.
Choosing Roles
When choosing roles, randomly set out animal cards equal to the
number of players plus one in the middle of the table for all players to see
and select from. Set aside the rest for possible use in later rounds.
For the first round, the smallest player gets to choose the first role. In
future rounds, the player named the Fool in the previous round is first to
choose their role in the following round (if none, determine who chooses
first randomly). The right to choose a role then moves to the player’s left.
The nine roles are: Anansi the Spider, the Hornet, the Chameleon,
the Mouse, the Hare, the Turtle, the Snake, the Monkey and the Leopard.
Each role has its own unique abilities and its own score multiplier which
is fully explained in the “Scoring” section of this rulebook..
Any roles not chosen by players are set aside for the round. At the
beginning of each round, randomly set out a new set of animal cards.
Card Play
Once the hands are dealt, roles are assigned, the Leopard has named
the Trump suit for the Round, and the Monkey has traded for their
desired card, play begins with the first Trick (set of cards played). The
Hare goes first. If the Hare is not in play, randomly choose who goes first.
The first player can play any card from their hand. This is called the
“Lead”. The next player must play a card of the same suit as the Lead (wild
cards count as the Lead suit). If a player has no cards of the Lead suit, then
they can play a card of any other suit. This is called playing “off-suit”. If
a you have not played a trump card in a Trick, you cannot play a trump
until you have no cards of the Lead suit in hand. This is called “breaking
the Trump”. After everyone has played one card, the Trick ends.
The winner of the trick is the player who played:
1) The highest-numbered trump card; or if no trumps were played,
2) the highest-numbered card of the lead suit.
In the case of a tie (through using special abilities or the two wild
Anansi cards) the Trick goes to the next highest-numbered lead card
played. If it is still tied, no one wins the trick.
The winner of the trick gets all of the cards played (these are the
“captured Tricks”) and puts these cards in front of them in a pile facedown, taking care to keep each captured trick in a separate pile. That
player then leads the next Trick, play again proceeds to the left.
If a role card affects your card play (Snake, Chameleon, Hornet), they
use that ability at the moment they play their card during a trick. The
Mouse can only use his or her ability at the moment a trick is captured.
Remember, you can only use the special ability once per round! You can
turn your character card sideways to mark that you have used one of these
Play Tricks until each player has one card left. This final card of each
hand (including the final round) is kept in the player’s hand secretly to be
used in the next round. The kept cards do not count toward scoring this
round, nor toward finding the fool. This final card is added to the player’s
next hand. Consider carefully what you will carry over between rounds!
Player 1 Hand
Player 3 Hand
Player 2 Hand
Player 4 Hand
In this Trick the Lead card is of the
Friendliness Suit. Since there is no other
Friendliness card in the Trick, the played
who played the Lead card wins the Trick.
Since this is the last Trick of the Round,
the last card in all player’s hands will be
kept for next round.
Finding the Fool
At the end of the Round, when all but the last card in each players’
hand has been played, each player will add up the value of all the Anansi
Cards they have collected in their captured tricks.
The player with the highest total of Anansi Animal Cards takes a Fool
Card and places it in front of them to show their folly. If there is a tie, the
Player with the single highest-numbered Anansi card wins. If no one has
Anansi cards, no one is the Fool for that round.
Fool Cards also subtract 5 points from a player’s score at the end of the
game (see Game End section). If a Player receives a third Fool Card, the
game ends (scoring still occurs) and they automatically lose the game.
The round ends, and the left player has one Anansi card with a
value of 9. The right player has two Anansi cards with a total value
of 7. Thus, the left player is the Fool and gets a Fool card.
The Leopard, Monkey , Chameleon, Hornet and the Turtle earn 3
points for each Trick. The Hare, Mouse and Snake earn 4 points for each
Trick. Anansi scores 5 points for each Trick. Keep track of the scores on a
sheet of paper.
Once the Fool is found and the scores recorded, place all Role Cards
back in the center of the table, shuffle all the Animal Cards and deal them
out again adding the left-over card from each player’s hand of the previous
Starting with the player who was just named the fool choose your new
roles (all 9 are available) and begin another Round.
This role gives three points a Trick. Since this
player won three Tricks they get 9 points.
Game End
The game ends one of two ways: immediately when one player
receives a third Fool card, or after 5 Rounds have passed. If any player gets
a third Fool Card, they also automatically lose the game, no matter their
Among all remaining players, tally up the score for each player.
Subtract 5 points from a player’s score for each Fool Card they have.
Score totals can be negative. The winner of the game is the player with
the most points. If there is a tie, the highest scoring Player with the least
number of Fool cards wins. If there is still a tie, then both players win.
Special Abilities
THE LEOPARD is feared by the other animals
for its great power. The player choosing the Leopard
gets to name the Trump Suit for that Round (after
looking at their dealt hand). Trump cards played
automatically beat the highest numbered card of any
other suit. They may choose any one of the six suits
(Strength, Bravery, Arrogance, Jealousy, Friendliness,
or Craftiness) as trump. All cards of that suit will beat
any card of the others. The player announces trump
by saying “This is a story about ... (Bravery).”
The Leopard may choose to have no trump for the
Round. In this case the highest card of the suit led will
win each Trick.“This is a story about nothing.”
If no one chooses the role of the Leopard,
trump for the Round is defaulted to Cleverness (all
Cleverness Cards are Trump).
THE MONKEY is a thief. The player choosing
the Monkey may call for any one card of a suit and
value. The player who has that card must trade it with
the player who chose the Monkey. The player who
chose the Monkey chooses the card to return in the
trade. If no one has the requested card, the Monkey is
out of luck.
THE SNAKE is strong. Once per Round the
Snake may change the value of one of his cards by
adding or subtracting 2 to its face value. He declares
this as it is played. This effect ends after the Trick is
taken. If this causes a tie for who wins the Trick, the
Snake wins.
THE HARE is fast. The player choosing the Hare
may jump in and lead the first Trick in a Round,
whether it was their turn to do so or not. He may use
this ability only two times per round. This option
must be declared by the player after a Trick is won,
but before any other player has led a card to the new
THE MOUSE is sneaky. Once per Round he may
decide to prevent ONE Trick from scoring. The player
who claimed it may still lead the next Trick, but may
not score the Trick for points.
Set the chosen Trick aside face up to show that it
won’t score any points. The Anansi cards in this Trick
also do not apply for determining this Round’s totals!
THE CHAMELEON is subtle. Once per Round
the chameleon may change the suit of one of its cards.
This may be used to change a card into a trump suit.
The chameleon cannot use this ability to change the
animal on the card.
THE HORNET acts as a swarm. The player
choosing the Hornet may play any two cards of the
same animal to count as one combined value in one of
the suits of the cards added together. This effect ends
after the Trick is taken. You may not use this if you
only have two cards in your hand.
This also means that this player will be short one
card for the remainder of the Round. They therefore
have to not play in one Trick of their choosing before
the Round’s end if they use this effect.
THE TURTLE is wise. The player choosing the
Turtle may not be named the fool for this Round. If
the Turtle has claimed the most Anansi points for the
Round the title of Fool is given to the player with the
next highest total.
ANANSI is crafty. He is neither feared nor
admired by anyone, but they do all watch him closely,
for they all know he has something up one of his eight
sleeves. The player choosing Anansi receives no special
Partnership (Variant)
Off Suit Abilities (Variant)
The smartest animals work together, whether to
prove their wisdom or their cunning. Playing with
partnerships lets you team up to score.
The partnership variant allows for play with 4, 6,
or 8 players working in teams of 2. Teams sit around
the table spaced equally among the teams. A four
team (8-player) game this would look like this.
Normal rules apply with the following exceptions:
• A player cannot modify their partner’s cards with the Snake,
Chameleon, or Hornet ability.
• Tricks captured and fool cards are shared between both partners. Use
the lower score multiplier from among the two roles the partnership
• The Anansi role has the ability “Your partnership’s captured tricks are
worth 1 additional point.”
• The first partnership to collect three Fool Cards loses the game as
normal. This triggers the end of the game with the scoring as normal.
Especially clever players may wish to introduce more trickery into the
game. Playing with off-suit abilities makes every card play a chance to use
your cunning.
Off-suit abilities are special abilities that trigger when you play a card
that is neither a trump nor a lead card (note that you can only play off-suit
when you do not have any cards that match the lead card). Whenever you
play a card off-suit, look at the animal on the card, and activate the ability
that matches that animal.
THE LEOPARD can remove an Anansi card from
one your captured tricks. The removed card is set
aside for the rest of the round.
Character Traits (variant)
Animals are more than just their physical traits–character plays a part
in deciding how they act and what they will do. In this variant, you have
access to select special character traits, which offer additional scoring
Normal rules apply with the following exceptions:
• Pair a character trait randomly with each role, then choose roles as
• Character Traits take effect during scoring, and give you some
additional points.
• Any unused Character Trait Cards are set aside for the Round, but will
be available again next Round, like Role Cards.
• In combination with the Partnership Variant, scoring effects from Traits
are applied only to the player who chose the Trait, not to their partner.
Once the individual scores are tallied, they are added together for the
partner’s final score for the Round.
THE MONKEY takes a card from the current
trick (except the card that is currently ‘winning’ the
trick) and puts it into your hand. Then put a card from
your Hand into the current trick face down. This card
is considered blank until scoring ends and does not
count for anything (finding the Fool, Leopard’s off-suit
ability, scoring, etc.).
THE SNAKE allows no more off-suit abilities to be
used for the rest of this Trick.
THE HARE allows the player who played it to lead
the next trick. If multiple Hares are played off-suit, the
player that played the most recent one leads.
THE MOUSE allows the player who played it
to break order and play last during the next Trick.
If multiple Mice are played off-suit, the player that
played the most recent one goes last.
Common Questions
Q: What happens if it is the end of round 5 AND a Player receives a
third Fool card?
A: The Player that received the third Fool Card would lose the game, then
proceed to final scoring and the end of the game as normal.
Q: I have the Hornet role and am playing with off suit abilities variant.
If I use the Hornet’s ability to play two cards of the same animal, do I
get the off suit effect twice?
A: No, you are playing them as if it were one card, so you only get the effect
once. You would choose which one of the effects to use.
Q: Can I play with multiple variants at the same time?
A: Yes! All the variants are designed to be mixed and matched, so you can
play with as many or as few as you want!
Trick: A set of cards being played once by each player. At the end of
this the player with the highest card or highest Trump card played wins all
cards played.
Captured Trick: The cards gained from winning a Trick. These are
Round: A full set of tricks played, with one card left over in each
player’s hand. At the end of this, scoring occurs.
Game: A full set of 5 rounds played (or when one player gets 3 Fool
Suit: Strength, Bravery, Arrogance, Jealousy, Friendliness, or
Craftiness. These are present on all Animal Cards.
Value: The number in the corners of every animal card.
Off-Suit: A card that is not of the current Lead suit or Trump suit.
Trump: A card of the suit that is declared trump by the Leopard, or a
Cleverness card, if there is no Leopard. Trump cards played automatically
beat the highest numbered card of any other suit.
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THE CHAMELEON changes to the current Lead
suit when played.
THE HORNET gives the winner of its Trick one
negative point. Mark this on your score sheet. Scores
can go below 0 during scoring.
THE TURTLE gives the player who played it 1
point. Mark this immediately.
ANANSI has no additional effect for this variant.
This player has two Bravery cards in their winning Trick(s) at the end of the
round. With the Brave Trait they would score an additional 2 points, for a
total of 5 points (1 Trick+2 bonus points).
Thanks for Playing!
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