maneater board game

These rules first appeared in Ripping Yarns #25, April 1983. They follow closely those drawn up by Derek Wilson for use in Cut & Thrust. The major difference is the conversion from a three-player format to one for five players. Note: The three-player format is outlined at the end of these rules. Credit must also be given to Tony Hetherington who is responsible for bringing the game to the attention of the hobby-at-large. Maneater is copyright Footloose Publications 1976 and was devised by Richard Macrory and Nick Young and designed by Hilly Beavan and Dick Snowball. The postal map was designed by Dick Pentland.


1. The playing board represents the sea off a bathing resort, and is divided into numbered hexes. At the South end is a large beach: this is the HOME BEACH where everyone is safe. Out at sea are four AIRBEDS, and dotted about are ROCKS, three ISLAND BEACHES and RED HERRING spaces.

2. The SHARK starts on hex 120 (119 in Variable Pig games) and The SWIMMERS (with legs attached) start on their appropriate AIRBEDS (Red: hex 79; Green: hex 91; Blue: hex 168; Yellow: hex 181). The SWIMMERS try to swim across the board to the safety of the HOME BEACH, while the SHARK's aim is eat them up!

3. Postal Maneater is played by five players plus a Games Master (GM) and consists of five games. In each game one player plays the SHARK, while the other four play SWIMMERS in sequence. The five games are run simultaneously, and the winner is the player with the largest combined score from the five games.

4. The GM adjudicates players' orders. His decision is final.


5. Each tum the players send movement orders to the GM: SWIMMERS with 2 legs must move 1 or 2 spaces, and cannot end their move on the space from which they started (treading water); SWIMMERS with 1 leg must move 1 space, and SWIMMERS with no legs drift 1 space in a straight line southwards towards HOME BEACH. As two SWIMMERS may not end their movement in the same space (though one SWIMMER may move through another's space), conditional orders may be supplied for Blue, Green and Yellow SWIMMERS. The SHARK may move 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 spaces.

6. If a SWIMMER-player has written an impossible move (e.g. one for 3 spaces, or to a nonexistent space), he is carried backward (Northward) 2 spaces. If the SHARK-player has written an impossible move (e.g. one for 5 spaces or to a nonexistent space), then he cannot move or attack that turn.

Order of Play

7. First the SWIMMERS move in the order: Red, Green, Blue and Yellow. The GM will ensure that no two SWIMMERS occupy the same space. Second, if any SWIMMERS have moved onto RED HERRING spaces the GM will follow the RED HERRING PROCEDURE (see later). Third, the SHARK moves.

8. If a SWIMMER reaches the HOME BEACH, either through his own movement or as the result of a RED HERRING, he is safe. (SWIMMER score: 3 points for complete SWIMMER; 2 points for SWIMMER with 1 leg; 1 point for legless SWIMMER).

9. If the SHARK lands on the same space as a SWIMMER, he swallows him whole. That SWIMMER is removed from the board.(SHARK score 3 points for complete SWIMMER; 2 points for SWIMMER with 1 leg; 1 point for legless SWIMMER). If the SHARK lands on a space adjacent to a SWIMMER (with 1 or 2 legs), that SWIMMER loses 1 leg (SHARK score: 1 point). The SHARK may not attack that SWIMMER again during the next turn. Where the SWIMMER to which the SHARK is adjacent is legless, the SHARK scores no points, and the SWIMMER is safe. The SHARK may, however, attack him during the next turn.

10. If the SHARK lands on a space adjacent to two SWIMMERS at the same time he may attack only one of them. SHARK orders may specify an order of preference, Where unspecified, the GM will make the choice at random.

Red Herrings

11. The GM will apply the RED HERRING PROCEDURE for any SWIMMER ending his movement on a RED HERRING spece. RED HERRING spaces are marked on the board by an inverted triangle. By rolling special dice, one of the results on the RED HERRING TABLE (see later) is applied.

12. 'Forward' means in a straight line towards Ihe HOME BEACH end of the board (Southwards), and 'Backwards' means towards the AIRBED end of the board (Northwards). Sometimes a SWIMMER will find he cannot move fonward or backwards because there are ROCKS in the way. When this happens, he must skirt round them to follow the direction as closely as possible.

13.In the case of TIDAL WAVES, the SWIMMERS must move diagonally NW or SE, and if there are ROCKS in the way, they must stop in front of them. Once a TIDAL WAVE has occuned, no further RED HERRINGS may be applied that turn.

14. When two or more SWIMMERS land on RED HERRINGS during the same tum, the RED HERRING PROCEDURE is applied strictly in the SWIMMERS' usual order of play (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow), and if two of these are mutually impossible (e.g. two receive "Shark heads for you"), then the first to occur takes precedence.

15. When a RED HERRING instructs a SWIMMER to stay where he is (e.g. "Cramp"), another RED HERRING is not applied for his next turn (although he may be affected by another SWIMMER's TIDAL WAVE). Similarly, it a RED HERRING instmcts a SWIMMER to move a number of spaces, and this moves him onto another RED HERRING, this second RED HERRING is not applied.

Rocks, Island Beaches and Shark Nets

16. The ROCKS on the board (marked clearly) are out of bounds to both SWIMMERS and SHARK. The sole exception is that a legless SWIMMER may drift onto ROCKS, in which case he will remain there for the rest of the game and the SHARK may no longer aHack him. (No score for either SHARK or SWIMMER).

17. The ISLAND BEACHES (marked by the DOTTED lines and identified 'A', 'B' and 'C') are out of bounds to the SHARK but not to the SWIMMERS. Once on an ISLAND BEACH a SWIMMER may stay there for as many turns as he wishes, unless he is the last SWIMMER left in play, in which case he may remain there for only one tum at a time. ISLAND BEACHES count as one space, so only one SWIMMER is allowed there at a fime. SWIMMERS may move onto them from one side and leave from the other but not in the same turn.

18. The SHARK NETS (marked on the board by broken lines and running between 183 and 159, 128 and 106, and 82 and 56) are out of bounds to ihe SHARK, but not to the SWIMMERS. The SHARK may never cross the SHARK NET spaces, but must always skirt mund them. The SWIMMERS may move freely across them. When a SWIMMER is on a SHARK NET space he cannot therefore be swallowed whole by the SHARK, although he can still have a leg bitten off if the SHARK lands in an adjacent space.

19. The SWIMMERS may move back onto the AIRBED spaces but are not safe from the SHARK on them. Neither SHARK not SWIMMERS may move onto unnumbered spaces nor off the board.

End Game

20. Once a SWIMMER lands on the HOME BEACH he is safe. He may not go back into the water.

21. When there is only one SWIMMER left in play (Me others having been eaten by the SHARK, reached HOME BEACH or drifted onto ROCKS), then the game may only last for a further 5 turns, after which the game ends. If the last SWIMMER is still not on HOME BEACH or eaten at the end of the fifth turn, no points are scored by either SHARK or SWIMMER.

NMR (No Moves Received)

22. If the GM receives no orders for the SHARK by the deadline, the SHARK cannot move or attack that tum. If the GM receives no orders for a SWIMMER by the deadline. that SWIMMER is moved backwards by 2 spaces. Persistent NMRs will result in either a replacement player being found or all the pieces belonging to that player being removed from play, depending on the GM's assessment of the state of play. If pieces ars removed, points for the SWIMMERS are awarded to the SHARKS, unless they have reached HOME BEACH, in which case no points are awarded.

23. If a SWIMMER cannot move to his chosen space because there is alrsady a SWIMMER occupying it, and no conditional order has been supplied, Ihe GM will move ihe balked SWIMMER to the nearest higher-numbered space to that oriinally selected (still within the movement allowance for that SWIMMER).

3-Player Version

24. This consists of three games in which the players and their SHARKS are known (in the 5 player version the owner of each piece is not revealed until game end). In each game, one player takes the SHARK, another plays the Red and Blue SWIMMERS, and the third plays the Green and Yellow SWIMMERS. The 3 games are run simultaneously, as in the 5-Player version.

Map as published in Diversions #50 - December 1988

maneater map

Chart as published in Diversions #50 - December 1988

maneater map