Each player starts with two ants in the nest and attempts to be the first to get all his ants in play by gathering leaves.
Every player picks a color of ants (the small disks in red, yellow, orange or brown) to play with and places those on the table in front of him.
The card displaying the nest is placed in the center of the table.
The other cards are shuffled and placed in a deck on the table, face down.
The oldest player starts and is termed the first player.
The first player takes the top eight cards from the deck and places them around the nest in such a way that the cards connect:
grass may border grass and trails must connect and continue.
Every player now places two of his ants in the nest.
The first player places two green counters on every card displaying a leaf and one spider (the black disk) on every card displaying a spider.
He places the card deck in front of him and starts the first round.
Adjustments for the online-version: The initial placement is created by the system randomly. Instead of wooden disks and green counters, images are used. In a two-player-game, the one who created the invitation moves first, in multi-player-games, this is determined randomly.
Playing the game
1. Adding a new card
The first player takes the top card from the deck and places it arbitrarily next to the cards already on the table.
He can put it at any place as long as the card connects as described above.
If the card displays a leaf, two green counters are placed on it.
If the card displays a spider, a black wooden disc is placed on it.
2. Moving ants
The first player may now move one or more of his ants or pass.
He is followed by his left player and so on until all players have had the opportunity to move one or more of their ants.
Ants cannot walk diagonally and cannot cross a card on which a spider is standing.
An ant can walk one or two cards if it follows a trail and only one card if it does not.
While moving, any ant can pick up a leaf, put it down, or steal or take it from another ant.
An ant can carry only one leaf.
When an ant carrying a leaf enters the nest (the nest card), its movement stops.
A new ant of the same color is put into play in the nest and the leaf is removed.
This new ant cannot move until the start of the next round.
At any given time, only a maximum of two ants of the same color can stay in the nest.
When moving ants, the nest card counts as a crossing.
When a player gets his turn to move his ants, all his ants standing in the nest must now leave it and cannot return until the next round.
Any ants that were already standing outside the nest can enter the nest, of course.
3. Moving spiders
After all players have moved one or more of their ants or passed, the first player moves the spiders.
Spiders cannot move diagonally, may never cross or enter the nest - the nest is a safe haven for the ants -
and do not move if all the ants in play are in the nest.
Every spider moves one card in the shortest way towards the card with the most ants on it, not counting the nest.
If there are multiple cards with the most ants, each spider will head to the nearest one.
If there is a choice for the shortest route, the first player will select which route the spider is taking.
Several spiders standing on the same card is allowed.
After all spiders have been moved, all ants standing on the same card as a spider are taken out of play and returned to the players.
Any leaves the ants may have been carrying remain on the card.
Rule clarification: It is not obvious how the distance between spider and ants are determined. In the online implementation, the real length of the path is used. Example: if the spider is on the one side of the nest, and there are some ants on the other side, the distance is not two (direct distance) but four (real path the spider would need to take).
Adjustments for the online-version: The system will move the spiders automatically where this is possible. If there are several possible paths a spider could take according to the rules, the start player has to decide which way to go.
4. Ending the round
The first player now passes the deck of cards to his left player.
This player now becomes the first player and a new round starts.
End of the game
There are three ways to win this game:
- the player who has six ants in play at the end of a round wins, or
- the player who is the only one with ants left on the board immediately wins, or
- when the last card from the deck has been played, the player with most ants in play at the end of that round wins.
A player is out of the game if he has no ants left in play.
Adjustmens for online-version: For the ranking table a complete list from winner to loser is needed, including who made the second or third place. As a first criterion the number of ants at the end of game is used. If there are players with the same number of ants, the number of ants which have been eaten by spiders are also considered. It is better to have lost less ants to spiders. If two players are still equal considering both criteria they played a tie (in two-player-games or if they are first) or have the same place (in multi-player-games)