A fixed-deck card game (118 cards) for two to eight players, designed by Joseph Fourhman, based on the television show "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and the movie "Mitchell."
Try to avoid being investigated by puffy-faced detective Mitchell. Mitchell's sheer doggedness and eye for clues keeps him bouncing from suspect to suspect, looking for free soup and potato cakes.
Win the game by playing all your cards. Try to keep your opponent from winning by sending Mitchell after him.
There are four types of cards in Mitchell: the Card Game.
- Investigation cards represent the possible venues Mitchell could use in his mission. Investigation cards come in five different types: stakeout, car chase, brawl, crime scene and off duty.
- Action cards represent the many ways the suspects can lure Mitchell or throw him off their trail. There are four types of action cards.
- Reaction cards allow for players to cancel action cards or surprise opponents with a little return vengeance. There are two types of reaction cards.
- Suspect cards give each player the identity of one of Mitchell's favorite criminals or friends. None of these cards are ever shuffled into the deck.
There are two additional cards: Mitchell himself and the Plot card. Neither of these cards are ever shuffled into the deck.
Suspect - suspect cards have the word 'suspect' across the top and the name of the suspect at the bottom. These cards are not shuffled into the deck.
Investigation - these cards have the word 'investigation' across the very top, and have a rounded top border on the film scene.
Action - action cards say 'action' and describe the card's function in the bottom half of the card.
Reaction - reaction cards say 'reaction' and describe the card's function in the bottom half of the card.
Remove the following cards from the deck:
- all eight suspect cards
- the special Plot card
Each player chooses a particular suspect to be for the game. It does not matter in any way who is who. (Any remaining Suspect cards should be set aside and ignored.) Place the Plot card and the Mitchell card in the center of the table. Deal 7 cards to all players and place the remaining cards in a draw pile in the center, leaving room for a discard pile. Place a penny or similar small object on the Plot card.
Choose one player to go first (perhaps the smelliest?) Play continues clockwise.
On your turn, you may play one and only one card (not counting Reaction cards.) You can play either an Action card or a properly sequenced Investigation card. The first player of the game may play any Investigation card to start the game.
When an Investigation card is played, the specific 'suit' of that card determines what cards can be played next. For example, if Player 1 plays an Investigation card of suit 'car chase,' than only car chase cards can be further played on the discard pile.
Or, if the Investigation card has a descriptive function (only half of them do), an Investigation card of a different suit but the same function may also be played. For example, if Player 1's car chase card has the function "Move Mitchell to Center." Then Player 2 may play either any car chase card or any other Investigation suit that says "Move Mitchell to Center." (This function-matching rule only applies to matching Investigation cards and when the previous investigation card is on top and uncovered.)
In the example above, the first card played is an Investigation - Brawl card. Player 2 then plays another Brawl card (matching the Brawl "suit"). This Brawl card has a function that sends Mitchell anywhere. Player 3 may then play either a Brawl card or a card that sends Mitchell anywhere... so Player 3 plays an Investigation - Off Duty card with the send-Mitchell-anywhere function. The current active suit has now been changed to Off Duty.
When a suit is determined, move the Plot card penny to illustrate to all players which part of the plot the game is currently in. If the current suit is covered by future cards, the Plot card should always reflect Mitchell's current venue: stakeout, car chase, brawl, crime scene or off duty. When the suit is changed, change the position of the penny.
Investigation cards that have a function described on them must always perform the function when they are played. This function cannot be ignored or cancelled.
- Attract Mitchell - When you play this Investigation card, wherever Mitchell is, he immediately comes to you. Place the Mitchell card in front of your suspect card.
- Move Mitchell Anywhere - When you play this Investigation card, wherever Mitchell is, you may move him wherever you want. Place the Mitchell card in front of any suspect card or in the center of the table. Moving Mitchell to where he already was is a legal move.
- Move Mitchell to Center - When you play this Investigation card, wherever Mitchell is, he immediately returns to the center of the table.
Action cards may always be played, regardless of the current suit. Reaction cards can only be played in response to an Action. Reactions do not count towards your one-card-a-turn limit.
If you have any cards in your hand that can be played, you must play one of them. Players can't stockpile cards or try to pass their turn when they can legally play a card.
If you can not play any of the cards in your hand, you must draw a card from the pile and pass your turn. If you draw a card that can be played, you can do so immediately. (This only applies to cards drawn from passing a turn, not to cards drawn from Actions or Reactions.)
|Playing Actions and Reactions
- Action Cards
Action cards may only be played on your turn. They can be played no matter what suit is currently dominant. Several different-looking cards may have the same function. Here are the four types of action cards, by function, not card name:
- Change Investigation - By playing this card, you can alter Mitchell's current course by changing the dominant suit to any one of the five. Remember to change the penny on the Plot card!
- Force Anyone Draw Two - Play this card to force any opponent to immediately draw two cards.
- Move Mitchell Anywhere - Play this card to move Mitchell to any position: any suspect (including the suspect he is currently on, if applicable) or to the center of the table.
- Give a Card to Anyone - When you play this card, you immediately give another card from your hand to any single opponent. But you also attract Mitchell to your suspect. This card cannot be played if you have no other cards in hand.
- Reaction Cards
Reaction cards are only played in response to an opponent's Action card. They can always be played in this manner no matter what suit is currently dominant. In all cases, any given Action can only be Reacted to once, by a single player.
Players need to remember a certain response order when playing Reaction cards. This is to prevent, say, three players from simultaneously trying to React to a single Action. When a player plays an Action card, follow this chain to determine the order in which players are given the opportunity to React:
First: the person immediately affected (in the case of Force Draw Two, Move Mitchell Anywhere, and Give a Card) by the Action has the first chance to play a Reaction. Then continue in turn order around the table until (and if) someone wishes to play a Reaction.
Second: if no player is immediately affected (in the case of the Change Investigation card), then start the Reaction chain with the player who currently has Mitchell.
Third: if the above provision is true and no player has Mitchell, then begin the chain with the player next in turn order from the person who played the Action card.
(Note that none of that is necessary in a two player game.)
There are two types of Reactions: Cancel/Draw One and Force Draw Two. The Force Draw Two card is merely an instant revenge card, allowing a player who has been attacked by a pesky Action to respond in kind. The Cancel/Draw One Reaction actually stops the Action from taking effect, and both cards are merely discarded. The player who played the cancelled Action is forced to immediately draw a card.
A player may not play Reaction cards against his own Actions. You cannot play a Reaction card against another Reaction card. Reactions may not affect Investigation cards or the special Mitchell-moving functions of Investigation cards.
When you have only one card in hand, you must announce this to all players by shouting "Mitchell!" Having Mitchell in front of you does not count as a card in hand.
The first player to play his last card and not have Mitchell in front of him wins the round. If a player plays his last card and has Mitchell, he is still in the game and must remove Mitchell and play all his cards to win. A winning player scores 200 points.
If Mitchell is in front of a suspect when someone else wins, that suspect is considered 'caught' by Mitchell. That player scores -100 points.
All other players should score 5 points for each unplayed Action or Reaction, and 10 points for each unplayed Investigation.
Keep playing rounds until someone hits 1000 points! (Or, for a quick game, just play until the first person is out of cards.)
Keep an Uno-like mentality for choosing suits and playing cards.
Use the Give a Card Action to dump those Attract Mitchell cards on other players.
Remember that Cancel/Draw One Reactions can be used to cancel Change Investigation cards as well!
Say the functions of the cards out loud as you play, so everyone is aware what is going on:
And so on, until someone runs out of cards!
- Greta: [begins game] Car Chase. [She moves the Plot penny to Car Chase.]
- Gallano: Car Chase, Attract Mitchell. [Moves Mitchell to him.]
- Cummins: Stakeout, Attract Mitchell. [Moves Mitchell to him and shifts the Plot penny to Stakeout.]
- Greta: Action, force Gallano to draw two.
- Gallano: [interrupting] Reaction, cancel that and you draw one. [Greta draws one.]
- Gallano: [taking his normal turn] Stakeout.
- Cummins: Action, change to Brawl.
- Gallano: [interrupting] Reaction, force you to draw two. [Cummins moves the Plot penny to Brawl and draws two cards.
- Greta: Brawl, move Mitchell anywhere... move him to Gallano. [She moves Mitchell to Gallano.]
- Gallano: [has nothing to play, so he draws a card, which he also can't play] Go ahead, Cummins.
- Cummins: Brawl.
- Greta: Brawl.
- Gallano: [still nothing to play from his hand, so he draws...] Action, give a card to Cummins, attract Mitchell.
- Cummins: Can't react.
- Greta: I will... Reaction, force you to draw two, Gallano. [Gallano keeps Mitchell in front of him, gives a card to Cummins, and draws two cards.]
- Greta: [taking her normal turn] Brawl, move Mitchell to center. [She moves Mitchell to the center of the table, by the Plot card.]
- Gallano: Crime Scene, move Mitchell to center. [Mitchell stays where he is; Gallano moves the Plot penny.]
- Cummins: [has nothing to play, so he draws a card, which he also can't play] Go ahead.
- Greta: Crime Scene.
- Gallano: Crime Scene, move Mitchell anywhere. [He moves Mitchell to Greta.]
Cans of Schlitz to playtesters Rhonda Millin, Mike Fell, Noelle Heinhold, Scott Siegel, Marci Fourhman, Jill Stasiulis and Ken and Lisa Huth. More cans of Schlitz to Mystery Science Theater 3000. Complete Schlitz six packs to Joe Don Baker and the cast and crew of "Mitchell."