Designed by Andrew Watson
Players 3-5
Length 45 minutes
Extra Material Suit chips and cubes (13 in each of 5 player colors)

Libtis is an area control game, with location cards representing areas, and personality cards enabling you to place cubes in those areas. At the end of each of the three rounds, suit chips are awarded. At the end of the game, each player's score is calculated as the sum of suit chip points and bonus points.

Suits have the standard Decktet ordering: Moon chips are the most valuable, and Knot chips the least. (For point values of suit chips, see Game End and Scoring below. For a rich thematic description of the game, see the Libtis Almanac, if I ever get round to publishing it.)


Form the board by laying out the following location cards:

  • 2suns.pngwyrms.png (Desert)
  • 4moons.pngsuns.png (Mountain)
  • 5moons.pngleaves.png (Forest)
  • 6leaves.pngknots.png (Market)
  • 7waves.pngwyrms.png (Cave)
  • 9waves.pngwyrms.png (Darkness)
  • pawn.pngsuns.pngleaves.pngknots.png (Window)
  • crown.pngwaves.png (Sea)

It may well be easiest to make the board a 2x4 grid. Note that this is a board rather than a map; Libtis does not use spatial concepts such as "adjacent" or "distant".

Have each player select a cube color. Give them 13 cubes in their respective colors (or 10 cubes, if there are 5 players). Select a start player somehow.

Form the deck from:

  • The 9 2-suited personality cards
  • The 6 aces
  • The other 5 personality cards (if and only if there are 4 or 5 players)

Shuffle the deck, face down, and deal it out between the players. Thus, if there are 3 or 4 players, each gets a hand of 5 cards; if there are 5 players, each gets a hand of 4. These are the hands for the first of the three rounds.

The final setup step is the allocation of bonus cards. Shuffle together the following 6 cards, and deal one, face down, to each player. Place the remaining bonus card(s) back in the box, face down.

  • crown.pngleaves.png: if you hold the Crown of Leaves, you get the bonus if you have the most leaves.png chips.
  • crown.pngwyrms.png: as above, but for wyrms.png.
  • crown.pngknots.png: as above, but for knots.png.
  • 9moons.pngsuns.png: if you hold Pact, you get the bonus if you have the most complete sets of 6 different suit chips.
  • pawn.pngmoons.pngsuns.pngleaves.png: if you hold Harvest, you get the bonus if you have the most chips (summed across all 6 suits).
  • -: If you hold the Excuse (which has no rank or suit), you get the bonus if you have most voids (suits in which you hold no chips).

Bonus conditions are checked, and bonuses awarded, at the end of the game (not at the end of the first or second round; so see Game End and Scoring, below, for details).

This account of Setup is for Standard Libtis. There are Quickstart and Advanced variants, described below. The main source of variation is the use of bonus cards.

Game Play

There are three rounds, followed by end game scoring (described in the next section). Each round proceeds as follows.

The start player plays a card from hand, face-up, to the table, then plays a cube from supply to one of the locations on the board. The played card and the destination location card must match, in that they must share at least one suit. Play then proceeds clockwise, with players taking turns to play one card and one cube according to the matching rule. Each card is played face up on top of the card played by the previous player.

For each player, the number of cubes is lower than the total number of turns. For example, if there are 4 players, each will start with 13 cubes, and each will have 15 turns (5 turns to play a card in each of the 3 rounds).

So each player must, on at least 2 turns, move a cube from one location to another, rather than move a cube from supply to a location. The location from which a cube is moved has no effect on the rules for placing that cube. The same matching rule still applies, and that rule refers to only two cards: the one played from hand, and the destination.

Card play for the round continues until all cards have been played. Passing one's turn is not an option.

Suit chip allocation follows card play. Consider the locations in the order of the list in Setup above. The player with most cubes at a location gets a chip in the highest suit on the location card. If there is a second suit on the card, the player with second-most cubes gets a chip in that suit. If there is a third suit on the card, the player with third-most cubes gets a chip in that suit.

If there is a tie for highest suit chip, each of the tied players gets a chip in the second suit. To use the example of the first location, 2suns.pngwyrms.png (Desert): if there is a tie for first, each player involved in the tie gets a wyrms.png; if there is a clear first, and a tie for second, the first player gets a suns.png, and none of the players involved in the tie for second receives a chip. A tie for second results in the awarding of chips only if there is a third suit at the location.

Ties may result in the need to award more chips in a suit (most likely Wyrms) than the 10 provided in a set of Decktet chips. If this happens, simply use coins (or whatever else works and is to hand) as extra chips; do not deprive a player of an earned chip.

Awarding of chips is of course public. As you are awarded chips for a round, stack them so that other players can see them. When all players have received their chips for the round, and have had the opportunity to make a mental note of chips awarded to others, you may hide your chips.

If it is the first or second round: pick up the deck from the table; turn it face down; shuffle it; and deal out the cards for the next round, for which the start player role moves clockwise. If it is the third round that has just finished, it is time for end-of-game scoring.

Game End and Scoring

If you meet the condition on your bonus card, score 12 points. If you are tied for the condition, divide the bonus by the number of players involved in the tie. For example, if 3 (i.e. you and 2 other players), are involved, you score 4 points. Note that neither of the other players scores for that bonus card, since neither of them held that card. (In the unlikely event of all players in a 5-player game being involved in a tie, the player holding the card scores 3 points.) If you do not meet your bonus condition, you score no points.

Score points for the chips you hold as follows.

  • 6 for each moons.png.
  • 5 for each suns.png or waves.png.
  • 4 for each leaves.png or wyrms.png.
  • 3 for each knots.png.

Your final score is the sum of your bonus points and chip points. There is one tiebreaker: number of chips.


Quickstart: don't use the bonus cards.

Advanced: use an extra bonus card (8wyrms.pngknots.png, Betrayal), and allocate bonus cards differently, as follows.

The player who will play 3rd in the 1st round (and so will play 1st in the 3rd and final round) takes the 7 bonus cards, shuffles them, randomly selects one, and places it face down in the box without looking at it. That player than looks at the remaining bonus cards, privately chooses one of them, and passes the remaining bonus cards to the left. Players choose and pass bonus cards until each has one bonus card. The last player to take a bonus card return the unused bonus card(s) to the box, face down.

You may look at your hand for the 1st round while choosing your bonus card.

If you hold Betrayal, you score bonus points according to the failure of other players to achieve their bonuses. For each other player (OP), you score points as follows.

  • You beat OP on the bonus condition (e.g, you finished with more wyrms.png chips than the player with the Wyrm bonus card): 9 points.
  • You were involved in a tie with OP on the condition: 6 points.
  • OP beat you on the condition, but did not score for the condition due to being beaten by yet another player: 2 points.
  • OP beat you on the condition, and tied for the condition with yet another player (or players): 1 point.
  • OP achieved the bonus condition (and did not tie for it): no points for you.


If you playtest Libtis and email me about it (andrew at changingway dot org), your name will appear here.

Thanks to those who commented on early version of the rules in the Libtis thread on the BoardGameGeek forums.

As always, thanks to PDM for the Decktet itself. And thanks to whoever invented the cube.


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