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Mottainai - Board Game Box Shot


| Published: 2015
14 2 1

A successor to the classic Glory to Rome, in Mottainai you are a temple worker, crafting various works out of basic materials. Each card can be used as an assistant, a sale, material, or crafted into a work of art -- giving you a special ability for the rest of the game. Combining your actions and works cleverly is the key to success

Mottainai Deluxe supports up to 5 players, and comes with enough components to play two side-by-side 2-3 player games.

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Critic - Level 2
41 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“This is the hardest game to teach! But it's very good.”

I’d heard this was very good and so I decided to get it, and because my group is into deeper games I thought I’d get the bigger version with two decks of cards.
I don’t know that I’ll ever play this with more than 2 players.

The game is great. It’s just… the most complex card game I’ve played in a long time.

Everyone is playing as a monk, and you’re trying to share your experience with your fellow monks and use what they’re offering to make items and display them. You have a Monastery(Player Board) in front of you that keeps track of your current Task, the cards that are your Helpers, the cards in your Sales area and items on your Crafting Bench. You get points for displaying objects in your Gallery and Gift Shop, and for having items in your Sales area.

Every card in the deck is different and all of them are different objects, like a Fan or a Poem or a Teapot. Also every object is made from one of five materials: Paper, Stone, Cloth, Clay or Metal, these allow you to Craft and Smith items from your hand. Also every type of material has a different Task(Action) associate with it, these are the actions you can take on your turn.

So, every card has the Object on it which has both Points for the end of the game AND a special ability on it once it’s been built, and a material on it which allows you to either Craft an item or Smith an item AND they have on them the titles of the Tasks that you can take if you play that card. So, every card has a lot of information on it.

And on your turn you’ll be playing a card down in front of yourself, performing the Tasks(Actions) in front of all the other players and then also performing the Task of the card you just played. Each time you play an action you get a bonus if you have Helpers of the right type in your Monastery, so even with two players you might end up taking like 6 Actions if you have the right Task and Helper cards on the table.

I’ve said a lot of words, and there’s still a lot to say to make this game understandable, so I’ll just kind of jump to how I feel about the game.

This game is really good. It really is, I know my language might not reflect that before this, but it’s just very, very good. It’s also very hard to learn. And very hard to teach(there’s a lot of questions). And it’s very hard to learn and teach it at the same time.
But it’s a really good game.

It has a lot of hard decisions that you make every turn. Do you try to Craft a paper item from your hand? You can do that pretty easily because you don’t need any extra materials from the Craft Bench, just the item itself, BUT that means that to make the Fan you have to sacrifice the Poem because you can only Craft with the same Material of item as the card you played. Or maybe you want to just discard and draw more cards(Tailor action/Cloth card) and get better things into your hand, well that’s not a bad idea, but it can be hard to know what to keep and what to discard. Do you get rid of the hard to make Metal items and hope to draw something easier to make like Cloth or Paper? Or do you go for the hard to Craft items because they have more powerful abilities and are worth more points at the end of the game?

There’s also a lot of “Bonus Action” stuff to consider and a lot of “coverage” which is a little hard to grasp at first, but… it’s a really smart and well designed game that is just, hard to grasp at first.

I look forward to playing this more and to learning the tricks to it, but I also dread it a little bit because I’m going to have to teach every person that I play with how to play and that is just a difficult task. Maybe if I put down more Clerks…


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