Rowan was a restless gnome, bored of the everyday gnome life of garden tilling, bee-conversing, and acorn collecting. He fancied himself an adventurer and often rode saddled atop his turtle through the Great Wood to spy on the big folk, bringing back to the village tales both strange and wonderful.
On one such adventure, Rowan returned to the village with a tale that captivated them all: chiseled castles, towering windmills, plaster dragons, and tidy green lawns under a glittering and majestic sign reading “Mini-Golf.” The gnomes set to work immediately, intent on recreating this verdant wonderland.
After a week of diligent trimming, digging, and weeding, Helna’s golden Acorn Trophy was sitting atop a pedestal beyond the last hole. The course at Stottingham Shire was open and the game was ready to begin!
Just like in the big folk game of miniature golf, you and your fellow gnomes are doing your best to recreate the game by earning the lowest score. Over the course of three rounds, you’ll be collecting and arranging cards into a 3 by 3 grid.
Drive your score as low as possible by placing Negative value cards in your grid or by creating rows or columns of 3 identical Positive value cards, which will earn you Negative points equal to the matching value of the set (example: a row of three 6’s would earn you -6 points).
As soon as one player has no more face-down cards in their grid, each other player takes one final turn and the round is over. After three rounds, total your scores and find out which gnome has won the game. Celebrate their victory by carrying them around your home and cheering their name!
Contents: 110 Cards.
Prepping the Course.
Shuffle the deck and deal nine cards to each player, face down (no peeking!). Place the remainder of the deck in the middle of the table and flip over two cards, placing them side by side next to the deck to form two discard piles.
Each player should arrange their cards (still facedown) in a 3 x 3 grid and then choose any two cards to flip face-up. Play begins with the player who is nearest to the age of FORE!
On Your Turn.
Each turn you will take each of the following actions in order:
Draw: Choose to either draw a card from the deck or take the top card from one of the two discard piles.
Play: If the card you drew is one you’d like to keep, place it in your grid by replacing either a face-up or face-down card.
Discard: Place either the card you drew or the card you replaced on top of one of the two discard piles unless it is a Hazard; these are simply removed from play.
Note: If one of the two discard piles is empty at the end of your turn, you must discard into that pile if able (only discarding a Hazard would prevent you from doing so).
Types of Cards.
There are 4 types of cards you will encounter throughout the course at Stottingham Shire.
Positive Cards are numbered 3-8 and comprise most of the deck. They are scored at face value, earning the player Positive points, unless they are arranged in a row or column of 3 identical values, in which case the player earns Negative points equal to the matching value. A single card of the same value may be used to complete both a row and a column.
Example: A row of three 5’s is worth -5 total (not -5 each).
Negative Cards are numbered -1 through -4 and are scored at face value. There is no advantage to matching Negative Cards in a row/column, so it’s best to position them in your grid where they won’t interfere with any sets of Positive Cards you might be collecting.
Hazard Cards are never a good thing for the player who exposes or draws one, but they can be a benefit to others. If a player discards a Hazard on their turn, the other players get to flip over one card in their grid so long as it is not their last face-down card as this would end the round.
If a player ends the round with a Hazard still in their grid, they will receive a penalty of +10 points. Hazards are never added to the discard piles. Instead, simply remove them from play (we suggest the opposite side of the draw pile) until the next round. You may not draw from this pile.
Mulligan Cards have no value by themselves. Instead, their value can become any Positive value needed to complete a set of 3 Positive Cards in a row, column, or both. The value the card represents can be different in the row and the column.
A player may only have one Mulligan in their grid. If at the end of your turn, you have more than one Mulligan (either drawn or revealed) you must discard it.
When choosing to replace a face-down card in your grid, first reveal the face-down card. If the revealed card is a Positive value that matches the card you are replacing it with or at least one card already in your grid, you may use it to replace another card in your grid instead of discarding it.
If the next card you replace is face down, you may repeat this process so long as it is another matching card of Positive value. There is no limit to the number of cards you can bounce in a single turn.
Important: You cannot bounce Negative Cards or Mulligans.
The end of the round is triggered when a player replaces the last face-down card in their grid. Each other player is then given one final turn. Next, any remaining face-down cards must be flipped face-up. Revealed cards may not be rearranged or replaced (including extra Mulligans). As the big folk say, “Play the ball where it lies!”
Reminder: Don’t forget to put any removed Hazards back into the deck, before shuffling, for the next round.
Scores are tallied at the end of each round.
Negative Cards and Positive Cards not in matching sets earn players points equal to their face value (example: a -2 scores -2 points; a 7 card not in a set scores 7 points). A Hazard carries a whopping value of +10, and a Mulligan not used to complete a row is valued at 0.
Matching sets of 3 Positive Cards that appear in the same row or column earn the player Negative points equal to the matching face value (example: a set of three 6 cards would score -6 points).
BONUS: If the player who went out first also has the lowest score, they are awarded a -5 point bonus. However, if they are tied, or have a higher score than another player, they receive a +5 punishment instead.
Note: When playing with those ages 9 and under we recommend omitting the penalty.
The player seated to the left of the previous dealer becomes the dealer for the next round.
End of Game.
The player with the lowest total score wins. If there is a tie, the player with the lowest score in the final round is the winner.
If there is still a tie, share in the victory!
See diagram below. Greta was able to use a Mulligan to complete both a row of 5’s and a column of 7’s, earning her -5 pts and -7 pts respectively. Her -4 card earns her -4 pts. The total of her Negative points is -16 pts.
Neither the 4 nor the 7 in her middle column are part of a matching set. The sum of their face values gives her +11 pts. The Hazard she flipped over at the end of the round penalized her with an additional +10 pts. The total of her Positive points is +21 pts.
-16 added to +21 gives Greta a score +5 pts for the round.
Once you’ve mastered the basics and know your way around Stottingham Shire we recommend that you modify the following rules to increase strategy, skill, and satisfaction.
Bounce: In addition to being able to bounce face-down cards when you replace them in your grid, you may also bounce face-up cards. As before, the card you are bouncing must match a Positive card already in your grid, and you may bounce as many cards on your turn as you are able.
Runs: In addition to earning a Negative score for completing a set of 3 identical cards, you also earn Negative points for a run of 3 consecutive Positive Cards of ascending or descending value. For example, a 3, 4, and 5, or an 8, 7, and 6. The points earned for completing a run is the Negative value of the number in the center of the run.
Example: A run of 7, 6, 5 would be worth -6 points as 6 is the middle number.
Hazards: When you discard a Hazard, only opponents with 4 or more face-down cards in their grid are allowed to reveal a card, thus only those who are behind receive help.
Mulligans: For added complexity and strategy, Mulligans now only represent one value instead of two. They can still be used to complete either a set or a run in both the row and column they are part of, but the Positive value they represent must be the same in both.
Examples (Basic Rules)
Helna’s Turn (Player 1):
At the start of Helna’s turn, a 7 and a -2 are atop the discard piles. Instead of drawing, or picking up the -2, Helna picks up the 7 to complete the row of 7’s on the bottom of her grid. She flips over the card the 7 will replace and reveals a 4.
As she already has a 4 in her grid, she is able to keep the one she just revealed. She flips the face-down card next to the 4 in her top row before replacing it. The card she flipped is a -1, which she must discard as Negative Cards cannot be bounced. As the 7 was the only card in the discard pile she drew from, she must discard the -1 into that pile, leaving the -2 exposed.
Rowan’s Turn (Player 2):
Rowan has the option of drawing a card from the deck or picking up the -1 or -2 card. He picks up the -2 (revealing the 5 beneath it) to place beside his 6 on the bottom row, (where it won’t get in the way of the sets he’s working on).
He flips the card he’s going to replace; it’s an 8, which he can’t bounce, so he discards it on top of the -1 to prevent the next player from being able to gain a Negative card.
Kiara can choose to pick up either the 8, the 5, or to draw a card. As neither the 8 or 5 are useful to her, she opts to draw a card from the deck instead. She draws and flips the card, revealing a Mulligan. As she already has one in her grid, she must discard it. She does so, placing it atop the 5 in the discard pile.
Penny is happy to see the Mulligan Kiara had to discard and snatches it up to place in the center of her grid to help her towards completing a column of 8’s and a row of 5’s. She flips the middle card in her grid before replacing it, revealing the Hazard. As the other three players all have more than one card face-down in their grid, they each get to flip one card of their choice face-up. She then removes the Hazard from play.
Game: Brent Beck
Development and Production Management: Jeff Beck
Copywriting: Jeff Beck, Cathy Bock, David Bock
Illustrations: Apryl Stott
Graphic Design: David Bock and Cathy Bock