I'm a sheep.
A lovely, fluffy sheep.
I'm here today to tell you about a little card game that has brought me much laughter. Far more than I would have expected from a game about insects - I may not be afraid of them, but I'm not exactly a fan of them either.
Now, here's how this little insect game plays - everyone (the rules say that everyone is 3-5 players, but it can be played equally well with 6 and probably with 7 too. More than 7 would be a bit too much, though) gets 8 cards from the deck, one card is flipped and one player begins the game. On your turn, you play a card from your hand to the open card pile. If you have no cards you can play, draw a card from the deck and skip your turn. The cards have numbers from 1 to 5 on them, and if the top open card is number n, you play n-1 or n+1 on it. The numbers wrap around, so you can play 1 and 5 on each other too. The first player to get rid of all of their card wins.
So far, this probably sounds like a boring version of UNO. And if this was all, it would indeed be. But it's not. Some cards have special powers:
Cockroach: If you play a cockroach, everyone plays a card with the same number as the cockroach (not +/-1). The first player to do so leaves their card there, the others take theirs back.
Ant: If you play an ant, everyone but you draws a card from the deck.
Spider: If you play a spider, you give a card from your hand to another player.
Mosquito: When you see a mosquito, you're supposed to hit it. The same holds here - if you play a mosquito, everyone slaps it. The last player to do so gets a card from everyone else.
OK, now this sounds better. Might be on the same level as UNO. But it's still not all. Because there are the Cheating Moth cards. You can't give them to other players. You also can't play them to the pile. So what are you supposed to do?
The answer is cheat. See, the rules allow you to drop cards to the ground, hide them up your sleeve or what have you. Once it's no longer in your hand, it's gone. This is how you get rid of moths - and other cards, if you feel like it.
Dropping cards needs to be regulated somehow, though - since otherwise a player could just drop all his starting hand and go "oh, looks like I won!". That is implemented here by means of the Guard Bug - this card is given to the oldest player at the start and remains face up all the time. The Bug isn't allowed to cheat. At all. (he is, however, allowed to play the moths to the pile) And it's his job to make sure the other players don't, either. If you are trying to get rid of a card somehow and the bug sees you, you take that card back, you get one more card from their hand and you become the new guard bug. If the bug says you cheated and you didn't, they instead get one card from your hand and remain as the guard.
There are some other regulations to cheating. You are supposed to keep your hand of cards above the table, cards spread out so that the guard can tell how many you have. And you aren't allowed to dispose of more than one card during any one player's turn or to dispose of your last card - that one you must play or legitimately give to another player.
Now that's pretty much all there is to the game. There was also some kind of UNO-like scoring for playing multiple games, but, just like (I believe) nobody uses that there, so here we don't count any points. In our group, the winner is the starting Guard for the next game and we play on. Games like this are most certainly not about winning, they're about laughing.
I have rated Motte a 9/10. I'm pretty sure I couldn't put into words just why this game is so fun, so I'll just ask you to believe me on this. The feeling of successfully dropping something when the Guard was staring right at you is amazing. The frustration (but it's a fun kind of frustration - is that even possible?) with yourself when you're a Guard and you realize you turned your head two miliseconds too late and now your opportunity to catch somebody red-handed is gone - that's amazing as well. And the way how, twice already, I have managed to literally toss a card over my shoulder without the Guard noticing - nothing comes close.
9/10 does imply some drawbacks, though. So, here goes:
1) Motte is a party game, no questions about it. A maximum player count of 7 is a bit low for a party game.
2) The rules are unclear on one important point, so that falls to the group to decide - exactly how soon after the card leaves your hand does the Guard have to claim that you cheated? In my group, we play that the guard needs to see the card before it stops its movement. If you didn't see anything and then hear the card hit the floor, that's too late.
Recommendation: I definitely recommend this to everyone who finds themselves in need of a new party game. And everyone else too. If you are capable of laughing, you will like this.
This game is so much funny. But don't play it with anyone who takes games too seriously - in fact don't play any games with that person - just send him off on his own with a one-player game while everyone else has a great time with Mogel Motte.