Now or Never Rules

Now or Never Rules
Quick Reference
Glossary
solo underground story modestandard mode

Settings

Play Options

Choose all play options you’re using.

Game Length

Standard game length is six seasons. This also changes some setup instructions.

Theme
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Index

On Your Turn do one of the following…

Specialist Action

  1. Select a face-up specialist, and choose one option…
  2. Flip the specialist face down.
  3. Draw a card from the solo deck and perform bot actions.

Hero Action

If you have at least 1 heart and an unused hero action token

Hero action

Example

  1. Move
  2. Play a Quest Card (optional)
  3. Choose one (optional)…
  4. Draw a card from the solo deck and perform bot actions.

If you run out of hearts, your turn immediately ends and you receive no rewards.

Pass

Once you pass, you cannot take any more actions until the next season.

Seasons

Now or Never is played in rounds, called seasons.

Each season, starting with the first player, players take turns in clockwise order performing one action each until all players pass. When all players have passed, players simultaneously perform the production phase. After this, a new season begins and play continues.

After six five four seasons, the game ends. Players perform the final production phase and score victory points. The player with the most points wins.

When all players you have passed, perform the production phasefinal production phase

  1. Discard all…
  2. Collect…
  3. Refill empty mana slots
  4. Reset hero action tokens
  5. Flip specialists face up
  6. Advance the season marker 1 space
  7. Begin the next season
  8. Gain VPs for…
    • Filled upper-tier building rows
    • Sets of villagers in housing rows
    • Reputation
    • Some buildings
      • Bottled Demons Lab: 3 VP per bottled demon
      • Crystal Lab: 3 VP per crystal
      • Workshop: 3 VP per tool
      • Library: 3 VP per adjacent book icon
      • Market Hall: 3 VP per adjacent good icon
      • Town Hall: 3 VP per adjacent bed icon
    • Completed quest cards
    • Completed order tokens
  9. Sell goods for coins, then gain 1 VP for each coin you have

For the bot, just shuffle all solo cards and make a new pile, then turn its face-down specialists face up.

Anytime Actions

You may take the following actions at any time, even after you have passed or when it is not your turn. You can even perform these actions during the production phase.

Components

These are components that have associated rules. For a full list of components, incluing quantities, see the rule book.

Buildings

Some specialist’s actions are to build buildings in your town. Buildings house villagers, add to production, and more. Select a building below for details…

Bottled Demons Lab

Bottled Demons Lab: Gain 3 victory points at game end per bottled demon you produce in the final production phase. All produced bottled demons in the final production phase are counted (from buildings and villagers), before you sell them for coins/victory points. This building has an extra bed, which means it can house up to 2 villagers.

Construction HQ

Construction HQ: Gain 1 book when you build this building. Pay 1 fewer coin each time you build another building.

Crystal Lab

Crystal Lab: Gain 1 book when you build this building. Gain 3 victory points at game end per crystal you produce in the final production phase. All produced crystals in the final production phase are counted (from buildings and villagers), before you sell them for coins/victory points.

Garden House

Garden House: Collect 2 coins during production except during the final production phase.

Inn

Inn: This building has 2 extra beds, which means it can house up to 3 villagers. Also, you may, at any time, move a villager placed in housing on this row to any other row with available housing.

Library

Library: Gain 3 victory points at game end per building in town that is adjacent to this building that has a book icon. (Do not count this building.)

Market Hall

Market Hall: Gain 4 victory points at game end per building in town that is adjacent to this building that produces any 1 of the 4 goods (not hearts or coins).

Production

Production Buildings: This building produces 1 shell at the end of each season. It also has an extra bed, which means it can house up to 2 villagers.

Production

Production Buildings: This building produces 1 shell at the end of each season.

Production

Production Buildings: When this building is in your town, gain 5 hearts at the end of each season.

Production

Production Buildings: This building produces 1 bottled demon at the end of each season. Gain 1 book when you build this building.

Production

Production Buildings: This building produces 1 bottled demon at the end of each season. It also has an extra bed, which means it can house up to 2 villagers.

Production

Production Buildings: This building produces 1 crystal at the end of each season.

Production

Production Buildings: This building produces 1 crystal at the end of each season. Gain 1 book when you build this building.

Production

Production Buildings: This building produces 1 tool at the end of each season.

Production

Production Buildings: This building produces 1 tool at the end of each season. It also has an extra bed, which means it can house up to 2 villagers.

School

School: This building gives you 1 book when you build it, but it has no other abilities.

Snail Ranch

Snail Ranch: Gain 1 book when you build this building. Each time you take a hero action, you have +1 movement.

Town Hall

Town Hall: Gain 1 book when you build this building. Gain 2 victory points at game end per bed icon in a building in town that is adjacent to this building.

Workshop

Workshop: Gain 1 book when you build this building. Gain 2 victory points at game end per tool you produce in the final production phase. All produced tools in the final production phase are counted (from buildings and villagers), before you sell them for coins/ victory points.

Locations

When you visit a location, you can perform the action that is shown there. Select a location below for details…

City of Spirits

City of Spirits: Lose 2 hearts. Gain 1 bottled demon and 1 coin.

Crystal Meteorite

Crystal Meteorite: Roll a die and lose the resulting number of hearts. Gain 1 crystal and 1 experience.

Flying Casino

Flying Casino: Pay 1 coin. Draw 3 quest cards of any type and keep 2 (discard the other). Gain 5 hearts.

Forest of Faces

Forest of Faces: Lose 5 hearts to gain 5 coins.

Hermit’s Hut

Hermit’s Hut: You may swap the location of two buildings in your unbuilt building grid (so that you can more easily access a specific building that you want to build). Also gain 1 shell and 4 hearts.

Itreska

Istreka: You may buy 1 gear token from the season board. Also draw 2 quest cards of any type and keep 1 (discard the other).

The Monument

The Monument: Gain 4 hearts and 1 coin. Also take the first player token. If you still have the first player token at the start of the next season, you take the first turn. (Another player may claim the first player token after you.)

Nomad Camp

Nomad Camp: Lose 1 heart, pay 1 book, and gain 1 villager (from the season board). If there are no available villagers, draw 6 new villagers to refill the slots.

Scholar’s Tower

Scholars’ Tower: Pay 3 coins to gain 1 book.

Snail Caves

Snail Caves: Lose 2 hearts to gain 1 experience and 2 coins.

Tower of Miners

Tower of Miners: Draw 2 order tokens and keep 1. (Place the other tile at the bottom of the pile). Place the order face up near your town board. You can complete the order at any later time (except in the final production phase). When you complete an order, place the token face down near your town board. You can only complete each order once.

Ublo Tower

Ublo Tower: Lose 1 heart to gain 1 tool.

Undergarden

Undergarden: Pay 2 experience, draw 2 quest cards of any type, keep 1 (discard the other), and gain 6 coins.

Wailing Caverns

Wailing Caverns: Lose 8 hearts and pay 1 mana to gain 1 villager from the season board. If there are no available villagers, draw 6 new villagers to refill the slots.

City of Spirits

City of Spirits: Lose 2 hearts. Gain 1 bottled demon and 1 coin.

Crystal Meteorite

Crystal Meteorite: Roll a die and lose the resulting number of hearts. Gain 1 crystal and 1 experience.

Flying Casino

Flying Casino: Lose 5 hearts to gain 5 coins.

Forest of Faces

Forest of Faces: Pay 1 coin, 1 mana, and lose 5 hearts to gain 1 villager (from the season board). If there are no villagers, draw 6 new villagers to refill the slots.

Hermit’s Hut

Hermit’s Hut: Gain 1 experience. Draw 3 quest cards of any type, and keep 1 (discard the others).

Itreska

Istreka: Gain 1 heart. Draw 2 order tokens and keep 1. (Place the other tile at the bottom of the pile). Place the order face up near your town board. You can complete the order at any later time (except in the final production phase). When you complete an order, place the token face down near your town board. You can only complete each order once.

The Monument

The Monument: Gain 4 hearts. Also take the first player token. If you still have the first player token at the start of the next season, you take the first turn. (Another player may claim the first player token after you.) You may also swap the location of two buildings in your unbuilt building grid (so that you can more easily access a specific building that you want to build).

Nomad Camp

Nomad Camp: Lose 1 heart, pay 1 book, and gain 1 villager (from the season board). If there are no available villagers, draw 6 new villagers to refill the slots.

Scholar’s Tower

Scholars’ Tower: Pay 3 coins to gain 1 book.

Snail Caves

Snail Caves: Pay 2 experience. Draw 2 quest cards of any type and keep 1 (discard the other). Gain 6 coins.

Tower of Miners

Tower of Miners: You may buy 1 gear token from the season board. Also gain 1 shell.

Ublo Tower

Ublo Tower: Lose 1 heart to gain 1 tool.

Undergarden

Undergarden: Pay 1 experience to gain 2 hearts and 4 coins.

Wailing Caverns

Wailing Caverns: Lose 8 hearts. Draw 3 quest cards and keep 2 (discard the other). Gain 1 shell.

Icons

Specialist’s Actions

On your turn you can pay a specialist to build, gain experience, heal, buy gear, and more. Select a specialist below for details…

Specialist

Starting Specialist: Pay 5 coins to build.

Specialist

Starting Specialist: Pay 5 coins to build.

Specialist

Starting Specialist: Pay 5 coins to build.

Specialist

Starting Specialist: Pay 5 coins to build.

Specialist

Starting Specialist: Pay 5 coins to heal and gain 1 experience.

Specialist

Starting Specialist: Pay 4 coins to heal and gain 1 mana.

Specialist

Starting Specialist: Pay 5 coins to heal and gain 1 shell.

Specialist

Starting Specialist: Pay 6 coins to heal and gain 1 tool.

Specialist

Story Specialist: Pay 4 coins to build, then gain 1 crystal.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 5 coins to build, then gain 1 bottled demon.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 4 coins to build, then gain 1 experience.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 4 coins to build, then gain 1 experience.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 4 coins to build, then gain 3 hearts.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 4 coins to build, then gain 3 hearts.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 3 coins to build, then gain 1 shell.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 5 coins to build, then gain 1 tool.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 1 coins to buy gear.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 1 coins to buy gear.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 3 coins to gain 2 experience and 2 hearts.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 4 coins to gain 2 experience and 1 tool.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 6 coins to heal and gain 1 crystal.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 4 coins to heal and gain 2 mana.

Specialist

Specialist: Pay 4 coins to heal and gain 2 mana.

Setup

Retrieve the correct book for your current chapter and return the rest to the game box. Each chapter has some modified setup rules, listed at the start of each chapter. Be sure to check these before starting.

Game Board Game Board Season Board Season Board Global Setup Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Enemy Search Token Search Token Search Token Random Location Random Location Solo cards one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve
  1. Place the game board in the center of the table. Be sure not to cover up any mountain symbols as you place tiles on the board…
  2. Shuffle the 3 random location tiles and place them on the board, one on each of the spaces with the small scroll symbol in the top left corner.
  3. Shuffle the order tokens and place them in a face-down stack on the top left space on the map (Tower of Miners).
  4. Place enemy tokens on the 9 spaces on the board with enemy symbols. Match the enemy level at the top of the enemy token with the number on the board. Place 2 enemy tokens for levels 1–8, and only 1 token for level 9. Place 1 enemy token per player for levels 1–8. For level 9, place 2 enemy tokens if playing with 3–4 players, and only 1 token if playing with 2 players. Be sure to use underground enemies for levels 2, 5, and 7. Return the unused enemy tokens to the box.
  5. Shuffle the search tokens and place one face down on each space with a letter in the bottom left corner: A-N A, B, C, D, E, F, H, I, J, L, and M B, C, D, E, F, H, J, L, and M. (The faces have variable rewards. The backs are identical.) Return the unused search tokens to the box.
  6. Place the season board next to the game board. Place the side with the reputation track (flame symbols) face downup, and place your hero’s reputation marker at 0. (The reputation track is for story mode.) Shuffle the villager tokens in a pile, face down. Draw 6 and place them face up in the 6 slots on the season board.
  7. Shuffle the red gear tokens and the blue gear tokens in their own piles, face down. Place the piles on the season board, then draw 3 red gear tokens and 3 blue gear tokens and place them face up in the slots below.
  8. Place the season marker on space 1 of the season track.
  9. Organize the quest cards into 3 piles according to their backs. The quest card types are: basic, artifact, and advanced. Shuffle each pile and place them face down near the board.
  10. Shuffle the specialist tiles (no sunset icon on back) and place the pile, face down, to the side of the game board. Draw the top 4 tiles and place them face up in a row nearby.
  11. Place the coins and experience tokens to the side of the board. This is called the “supply.” These components are not limited. If you ever run out, use a suitable replacement. All other game components are limited by amount.
  12. Shuffle the 9 solo cards and place them in a face down stack.
Hero Board Hero Board Hero Board Hero Board Hero Board Hero Board Player Setup Hearts Ability Die one two three four five six seven eight nine

Each player chooses a hero board and sets up their individual play area by following these instructions:

Choose a hero board and set up your play area by following these instructions:

  1. GiveTake 1 random starting builder (building icon) and 1 random starting healer (heart icon) to each player. Place your 2 starting specialists face up on 2 available slots at the top of your hero board. Starting specialists are indicated by the sunset icon on the backs of their tiles.
  2. Place a heart marker on the space farthest to the right on your heart track, indicating full health.
  3. Place 1 mana token on each mana symbol to the right of your heart track.
  4. Take 3 hero action tokens and place them on the faded arrow symbols on your hero board.
  5. Place 1 die near your hero board.
  6. Take your 6 matching hero ability tokens (3 red, 3 blue) and place them below your hero board.
  7. Take a town board and place it to the side of your hero board (with the above ground side face up).
  8. Take the following markers and place them on the 0 space on the resource track at the bottom of your town board: book, shell, tool, bottled demon, and crystal.
  9. There are 4 identical sets of building tiles in the game. (Each set is differentiated by the color on the back of the tiles.) Take 1 set of tiles, shuffle them face down, and place them face up in a 5x4 grid to the side of your town board. Once placed in this grid, the tiles cannot be rearranged unless you take specific actions in the game.
  10. Take 17 1 shell villager, 1 experience token, and 25 1 shell villager, 1 tool villager, 1 bottled demon villager, 2 experience tokens, and 30 coins from the supply.
  11. Draw 6 basic quest cards, 1 artifact quest card, and 1 advanced quest card. Choose 4 cards to keep, and discard the others in their own discard piles to the side of each draw pile.
  12. Place your hero cutout in a standee, and place it on the Monument space on the game board.
  13. The player who most recently won a game takes the first player token. Play moves in a clockwise direction. The 2nd and 3rd players start with 1 extra coin, and the 4th player starts with 2 extra coins. Return any other unused components to the box. Select one of the unused hero boards for the bot and place the two starting specialists on the board. The bot does not use hearts, mana, a town board, buildings, resources, experience, coins, ability tokens, quest cards, or a standee.
  14. If continuing a campaign, the player who had the lowest score in the previous chapter starts with +4 coins and +1 reputation. The player who had the highest score in the previous chapter can choose to start on any space on the game board.

Hero Abilities

Ability Token Color Experience Cost Level

Ability token

  1. Color: This is a blue ability.
  2. Experience cost: Amount of experience to purchase this ability.
  3. Level: This is a level 2 blue ability. You must first have a level 1 blue ability to buy this.

Purchase a hero ability. At any time, you can purchase one of your hero abilities. Pay the specified amount experience and place it on your hero board (in an appropriate red or blue slot). To purchase an ability, you must also meet the ability level requirements. The ability level is indicated by small hexagons on the right side of the token. You must first own a level 1 ability to purchase a level 2 in the same color, or a level 2 before purchasing a level 3. For example, if you want to purchase Halia’s level 2 red ability, Cinder Slash, you must first own her level 1, Dark Flame. Once you own one level 1 ability, you can purchase any number of level 2 abilities in the same color.

Ability Descriptions

Select an ability below for more details…

Leadership

Leadership: Whenever you recruit a new specialist from the row, you pay 1 fewer coin.

Navigation

Navigation: Each time you take a hero action, you have +1 movement.

Counter

Counter: Once per combat round, you may pay 1 mana to deal 1 damage to your enemy and reduce how much damage you take by 2.

Dark Flame

Dark Flame: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 3 damage, and you may deal an additional 2 damage if you pay 1 mana.

Cinder Slash

Cinder Slash: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 6 damage.

Cinder Strike

Cinder Strike: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 8 damage, and you may deal an additional 4 damage if you pay 1 mana.

Cooking

Cooking: You gain 2 hearts whenever you gain a new villager token.

Research

Research: Pay 3 mana to gain 1 book. You may perform this as many times in one turn as you want.

Siphon Power

Siphon Power: Pay 1 bottled demon to gain 4 mana. You may not gain more mana than you have available empty mana slots. You may perform this as many times in one turn as you want.

Static Burst

Static Burst: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 4 damage, and you may deal an additional 1 damage if you pay 1 mana.

Gravity Orb

Gravity Orb: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 7 damage, and you may spend 1 mana to roll a die and add the result to damage.

Plasma Mortar

Plasma Mortar: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 7 damage, and you may deal an additional 7 damage if you pay 2 mana.

Salvage

Salvage: You may spend 1 shell to gain 1 tool. You may only use this ability outside of combat and you may only use it once per season.

Construct

Construct: Pay 1 fewer coin each time you build a building.

Self-Repair

Self-Repair: You may spend 1 tool to gain 7 hearts. You may only use this ability outside of combat and you may only use it once per season. You may not gain more hearts than there are spaces on your heart track.

Pound

Pound: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 4 damage.

Laser Eyes

Laser Eyes: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 5 damage, and you may deal an additional 3 damage if you pay 1 mana.

Rapid Punch

Rapid Punch: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 4 damage.

Toughness

Toughness: Take 1 fewer damage each time you search make a choice in a story encounter. For example, if you roll 1 when you search, you take no damage.

Climbing Claws

Climbing Claws: When you enter a space with a mountain icon, you don’t lose any hearts.

Rock Shield

Rock Shield: Once per combat round, you may pay 1 mana to reduce how much damage you take by 2.

Earth Slam

Earth Slam: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 4 damage, and you may deal an additional 2 damage if you pay 1 mana.

Rock Shards

Rock Shards: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 7 damage, and reduce how much damage you take by 1.

Geode Bomb

Geode Bomb: When you roll the assigned number for this red ability, you deal 7 damage, and gain 1 coin.

Basic Ability (on hero board)

Haste: Pay 1 mana to move 2 extra spaces during a hero action. You may do this multiple times in the same turn/move action.

Strange Luck: Pay 1 mana to reroll a die. You may perform this ability multiple times in the same turn, or even multiple times on the same die roll.

Armored: You may pay 1 mana to ignore all enemies for 1 turn. (You may move through them without taking damage.)

Farsight: Once per season, you may pay 1 mana to draw a quest card from any of the 3 piles.

Bot Rules

Solo Card

Solo Card Back

The bot never scores victory points or collects coins, goods, books, or experience. When the bot gains a villager or search token, simply place the villager or search token on the bot’s hero board. If you’re playing in story mode, the bot does not read stories and simply takes search tokens when instructed. If the bot starts combat, it is always successful. When the bot uses a specialist, it simply flips the specialist face down, ignoring the specialist’s specific action.

Turns: You always go first each season. Each time you take a turn, after your turn is finished, draw and reveal the top card from the solo deck. Perform the listed instructions for the bot. After this, you may begin your next turn or pass. If you pass, the bot does not take any more actions that season and you start the production phase.

Production: During the production phase, the bot does not produce any goods. To prepare for the next season, shuffle all solo cards and make a new pile. Turn all of the bot’s face-down specialists face up.

Bot’s specialist: You may pay to use a specialist belonging to the bot. The bot does not collect the tax.

Gaining villagers: When the bot gains villagers, the bot chooses villagers with the following priority: first crystal, then bottled demon, then tool, then shell.

Season end: The season ends when you pass. The bot does not take an action after you pass.

Solo Cards

Recruit specialist

The bot gains a new specialist, the left-most available on the season board. If there are no available specialist slots on the hero board, you choose one of the old specialists to discard. Redraw so that there are 4 specialists available.

Search

The bot takes the search token nearest to you. If there are multiple tokens that apply, you choose which one the bot gains. Place the search token on the bot’s hero board.

Attack (first time)

If the bot has not yet attacked this season, the bot defeats an enemy at the lowest available level (for example, if there are no level 1 enemies left, the bot defeats a level 2 enemy). Discard the enemy token. The bot gains villagers from the display equal to the villager reward on the enemy. The bot does not gain any other listed rewards. If the bot has already attacked this season, ignore this card and draw again.

Roll a die

Place either the order token or the quest cards face down on the bot’s hero board.

Exhaust specialist

The bot uses the left-most available specialist on their hero board OR your hero board (the card text specifies), flipping the specialist face down. If the bot uses your specialist, the bot pays you the tax from the supply.

Build

Build icon

When you pay a specialist to build, you may place 1 building tile on your town board. Choose 1 tile from your unbuilt building grid and place it on the town board, according to the following rules:

If this is your first building in the game, you must choose a building from the outer border of your grid. On future building actions, you may only choose buildings adjacent to empty spaces in the grid. (The outside border of the grid doesn’t count.)

You must place your first building in one of the 4 building spaces on the starting building row of your town board (the row with the star). After this, you must place new buildings adjacent to any previously placed building in the town.

Pay the coin cost of the building to the supply. (The coin cost is listed in the bottom right corner of each building tile.) Buildings only cost coins, not goods or books.

If you place a building on a town space with a resource (such as a shell), gain 1 of that resource immediately.

If you place a building on a space with this (coins: build) icon, you must pay the indicated coin cost to build there.

If the building you place has this book and arrow icon on the tile, you immediately gain 1 book (only when you build it). This is not a cost.

Every building built in your town can house 1 villager in the villager space on its row.

Some buildings give a bonus when built.

Building Pay Tax Action

Building tile

Campaigns

Campaign sheet

Campaign sheet

When playing story mode, keep track of each player’s victory points at the end of each chapter. Also track their final reputation. When you complete all 6 chapters, each player combines their points from the 6 chapters for a campaign score. The player with the highest total reputation combined from all 6 chapters gains an additional 25 victory points. The player with the highest total victory points is the campaign winner.

Each time you start a new chapter (except for the 1st chapter), the player who had the lowest score in the previous chapter starts with +4 coins and +1 reputation. The player who had the highest score in the previous chapter can choose to start on any space on the game board.

Coins

Coins are used to pay specialists and to build buildings. Each coin is also worth a victory point at the end of the game.

At any time, you can sell goods for coins.

End of the Game

During the sixth fifth fourth and final season, follow these steps:

  1. Before producing, you must discard all of your coins and set your resource markers to 0 (except books). Also discard any quest cards or order tokens that are not completed.

  2. You may now produce goods and coins from search tokens as normal and sell all of your goods to gain as many coins as possible.

  3. Victory points

    Now count your final victory points:

    • Each coin is worth 1 victory point

    • You gain victory points for building 4 buildings in the second, third, and fourth building row from the top: 6, 7, and 8 victory points, respectively.

    • You gain victory points for each housing row that contains villagers that produce at least 1 of each type of good (shell, tool, bottled demon, and crystal): 5, 5, 6, and 7 victory points, respectively.

    • Some buildings give victory points for specific requirements.

    • Gain victory points for completed quest cards.

    • Gain victory points for completed orders (remember that you cannot complete additional orders in the final production phase).

    • Gain victory points for reputation.

The player with the most victory points has done the most to rebuild the Monument and restore the villagers to their hometown and is declared the winner! If there is a tie, the player with the most remaining experience and books is the winner. If still tied, the player with the most remaining hearts is the winner.

If this is the last chapter of a campaign, determine the campaign winner.

Experience

Experience token

Experience token

Experience can be used to purchase hero abilities, refill villagers, or play quest cards.

Experience can be gained by paying a specialist, fighting enemies, or visiting locations. Experience tokens are not limited. If you ever run out, use a suitable replacement.

Experience is also a tiebreaker at the end of the game.

Fight an Enemy

Enemy token Level Health Damage Rewards

Enemy

If you end your move on a location with an enemy, you may combat the enemy by following these steps:

The rewards for defeating an enemy are experience, villagers, coins, and resources — which are gained in any order. If you defeat an enemy, you rescue villagers trapped or waylaid by the enemy! You choose villagers from any available villager tokens face up on the season board. If there are no villagers left, draw 6 new villagers from the supply and refill the empty slots on the season board. Only refill the row of villagers if there are no more villagers left in the row.

If Namal rolls a 1, she deals 2 damage. At this time, she could spend 1 mana to deal an additional 1 damage.

Red Abilities/Gear: Some red abilities and gear deal extra damage or defense if you pay mana, and some even require that you pay mana to gain any effects at all. A red combat ability can only be used when you roll its assigned number, and only once per combat round. Example: If Zeik rolls a 1 on his first combat roll and Dark Flame is the weapon in his “1” slot on his hero board, he deals 3 basic damage. At this time, Zeik may pay 1 mana to deal 2 extra damage. Zeik can only activate this ability once per roll.

Azure Coat

This gear provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round.

Blue Abilities/Gear: Unless otherwise stated, a blue ability that costs mana can be activated at any time on your turn, and you may activate it multiple times (by paying the mana cost each time you activate it). Some blue abilities do not cost mana, such as defensive gear. Defensive gear only activates once per combat round, and it does not apply to damage taken outside of combat.

First Player Token

First player token

The player with the first player token takes the first turn each season.

During setup, the player who most recently won a game takes the first player token.

When you visit The Monument location you take the first player token.

Gear

Some specialists, locations, and search tokens allow you to buy gear.

Buy Gear

Buy Gear: You may immediately purchase 1 gear token from the season board. Pay the coin cost shown on the gear token, place the new gear on a matching red or blue slot on your hero board, and draw from the appropriate pile to refill the empty slot on the season board. If you do not have a matching open slot on your hero board for the gear token, you must make room by putting an old token in the game box. When placing red gear, you cover up a basic ability on your hero board.

Note: You can purchase multiple copies of the same gear.

Gear Descriptions

Select a gear token below for more details…

Arzian Helm

Arzian Helm: Any time you roll a 4 during combat, gain 1 heart. You can choose when during the combat round to gain the heart. For example, you could roll, deal damage, take damage, and then gain the heart. Or you could gain the heart before taking damage.

Azure Coat

Azure Coat: This gear provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round.

Azure Gloves

Azure Gloves: If both the Azure Gloves and the Azure Coat are equipped, you gain +1 max mana. Gain the extra mana as soon as you equip this gear. As long as they are both equipped, this mana replenishes at the end of each season.

Climbing Gear

Climbing Gear: This gear provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round. Also, when you enter a space with a mountain icon, you don’t lose any hearts.

Energy Blaster

Energy Blaster: When you roll the assigned number for this red gear, you deal 6 damage.

Explorers Kit

Explorers Kit: This gear provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round. Also, when you search, reduce the number of hearts you lose by 1.

Flame Saber

Flame Saber: When you roll the assigned number for this red gear, you deal 6 damage, and you may deal an additional 3 damage if you pay 1 mana.

Gravity Rod

Gravity Rod: When you roll the assigned number for this red gear, you deal 5 damage, and you may spend 1 mana to roll a die and add the result to damage.

Mech Armor

Mech Armor: When you roll the assigned number for this red gear, you deal 5 damage, and reduce damage you take from enemies by 2 this combat round.

Meteor Vest

Meteor Vest: This gear provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round. Also, when you search, gain 1 heart before you roll to lose hearts.

Mystic’s Book

Mystic’s Book: This gear provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round. Also, when you defeat an enemy, draw 1 quest card as an additional reward.

Pack Bird

Pack Bird: This gear provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round. Also, each time you take a hero action, you have +1 movement.

Royal Pike

Royal Pike: When you roll the assigned number for this red gear, you deal 6 damage.

Scaled Sword

Scaled Sword: When you roll the assigned number for this red gear, you deal 8 damage, and you may deal an additional 4 damage if you pay 1 mana.

Shield Crystal

Shield Crystal: When you equip this, you gain +1 max mana. Gain the extra mana as soon as you equip this gear. As long as the Shield Crystal is equipped, this mana replenishes at the end of each season. This gear also provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round.

Tracking Dog

Tracking Dog: This gear provides 1 defense, reducing damage you take from enemies by 1 each combat round. Also, when you defeat an enemy, gain 1 coin as an additional reward.

Vampire Knife

Vampire Knife: When you roll the assigned number for this red gear, you deal 8 damage and gain 1 mana immediately (if you have an empty mana slot). You can use it to activate abilities on the same attack roll. For example, if you rolled the Vampire Knife, you could use the mana to immediately activate Zeik’s Rock Shield.

Witch Wand

Witch Wand: When you roll the assigned number for this red gear, you may pay 1 mana to deal 7 damage and reduce damage you take from enemies by 1 this combat round.

Hearts

Hearts icon

Hearts represent health and vitality. When you lose hearts, you’re expending effort and taking damage, when you gain hearts, you are resting and recuperating.

You may never have more hearts than the maximum number on your heart track. They are also a tiebreaker at the end of the game.

Running out of hearts: If you ever reach 0 hearts during a hero action, your turn immediately ends. You cannot take another hero action until you have at least 1 heart. If this happens when visiting a location, you do not gain any of the rewards of the action. If this happens during combat, the combat ends and the enemy returns to full health. If this happens when picking up a search token, you must leave the search token on the board.

Heal

Heal: When you pay a specialist to heal, move your heart marker on your hero’s heart track to the furthest space to the right, indicating full health. If there is a “+mana” icon, restore the indicated number of mana (without exceeding your maximum mana slots). If there is a resource icon next to it, gain 1 of that resource.

Hero Action

Hero action

Example: Namal has 2 movement. She starts at the Monument space and moves to the space on the right first, losing a heart because it has a mountain icon. Then she moves to the space below. She’s out of movement, but she can continue to move by losing hearts. She loses 1 heart to move to the right, deciding to stop at the Undergarden space. She then plays an Undergarden quest card. Finally, she visits the Undergarden location, paying 2 experience to draw 2 quest cards (keeping 1) and gain 6 coins.

Hero Board

Hero Board Hero Board Hero Board Hero Board Hero action token Hero action token Hero action token Hearts marker Mana token Mana token Hero Actions Specialist slots Blue ability/gear slots Basic ability Red ability/gear slots Mana slots Heart track

Mana

Mana

Mana is used to power gear, abilities, & artifacts, and to play some quest cards.

Empty mana slots are refilled each season during the production phase.

You can never have more mana than mana slots unless a card, gear, or ability specifically states that you can.

Mission Tokens

Hero mission token Hero mission token Hero mission token Hero mission token

Mission token

Sometimes a story will instruct you to place your mission token somewhere. When this happens, place the token with your hero image on the instructed location. You may perform a search action at this location to continue a storyline.

When you complete the search action, remove your token from the board (or place it in a new location if instructed). You must take a random search token from the box and place it with your other claimed search tokens so that you gain 1 coin during production (unless the story mission specifically said to discard the search token).

Only you may perform the search action where your mission token is located.

Move

Hero action token Hero action token Hero action token

When you take a hero action, you must first move. Slide one of your available hero action tokens so that it covers the hero action slot to the right. Move your hero on the game board according to the following rules:

Order Tokens

Order token

(back)

You gain order tokens by visiting the Tower of MinersIstreka. At the end of the game, you gain 2 victory points per completed order. You cannot complete an order token in the final production phase!

Order token

(front)

Complete an order: At any time, you can complete one of your order tokens. Pay the specified goods to gain the listed coin reward. After this, place the token face down near your town board. You can only complete each order once.

Pass

If you cannot or do not wish to take any more actions this season, you pass. Once you pass, you cannot take any more actions until the next season. Play continues until all players pass. Then the production phase begins.

Play Options

Select any of the following play options in Settings to show these rule changes.

Story Mode

In story mode, you play through a campaign consisting of 6 game sessions, called chapters, starting with chapter 1 and continuing in numerical order to chapter 6. This mode takes longer to play and it is slightly more complicated than standard mode, so it is recommended that you play at least one game in standard mode before trying story mode.

Solo Play

When playing solo, you play against an artificial player referred to as a bot. The bot performs game actions but it does not score victory points. Your first victory is achieved when you score 100 or more victory points. After this, you win by beating your high score.

Underground

To play underground, use the opposite sides of the game board and town boards. Replace the standard enemies with the underground enemies of the same level (levels 2, 5, and 7). You can tell which monsters are underground monsters because they have cave art on the backs of the tokens. The location actions and the town board rewards are slightly different on this map and town board, but all other game rules are the same.

Game Length

A typical game is played over six rounds called seasons. For a shorter game, you can choose to play for only five or even four seasons, along with a few setup changes.

Production Phase

If it is the final season, see End of the Game

  1. Building Villager Search token

    Collect produced goods, adding the totals to your resource track. Each of your villagers in housing produces a specified good, while villagers not in housing do not produce goods. Some buildings also produce a good or other bonuses at this time (specified on the building within a light gray area at the bottom left of the building token). Also, collect 1 coin per search token you own.

  2. Mana token

    Refresh your mana by returning any spent mana to the empty mana slots on your hero board.

  3. Hero action token

    Return all hero action tokens to their starting spaces, to the left of the numbered arrows, so that they’re ready to use again in the next season.

  4. Specialist token

    Flip all of your specialists face up.

  5. Season marker

    Move the season marker 1 space forward.

  6. Begin the next season, starting with the player that has the first player token.

Important!

Strategy Tip

Make sure to focus on building your economy in the first few rounds of the game. You need buildings and villagers that produce goods so that you have enough money to be competitive. Search tokens also produce coins during production, so they can be helpful as well. A large portion of your final score is based on how much you produce in the final production phase! If you’re teaching the game to new players, it is helpful to mention this.

Quest Card Examples

Quest Cards

Quest Card

Quest card examples

Whenever you draw quest cards, you can choose to draw them from any of the three piles. There is no hand limit. If a pile runs out, reshuffle the discard pile.

Play a quest card: After you move your hero, you may play 1 quest card from your hand that matches the location in the space where you stop moving. You play the quest card before visiting a location, combat, or picking up a search token.

Advanced quest card

advanced

Advanced quest cards usually cost 2 books and give lots of victory points. Some have other requirements to play.

Artifact quest card

artifact

Artifact quest cards usually cost 2 books and give you an ability you can use by paying mana, which you can use on your turn. Some of these abilities are limited to once per combat round, or once per season. To keep track of the once per season uses, place your spent mana on the card. Remove it at the end of the season.

Artifact Abilities

Demon Trap

Pay 1 mana at any time (except during the final production phase) to gain 1 bottled demon. You may only perform this once per season. Place the mana spent activating the artifact on the token to help you remember that it has been used.

Life Candle

Pay 1 mana at any time (except in the middle of combat) to gain 6 hearts. You may only activate this artifact once per season. Place the mana spent activating the artifact on the token to help you remember that it has been used.

Lightning Fungus

Pay 1 mana to take 1 hero action with a movement of 3. You may only use this on your turn, and it takes 1 turn to use. This is limited to one use per season.

Magic Chest

Pay 1 mana at any time (except during the final production phase) to gain 4 coins. You may only perform this once per season. Place the mana spent activating the artifact on the token to help you remember that it has been used.

Metal Hound

Pay 3 mana on your turn to pick up any unclaimed search token on the game board and gain its rewards (even in story mode). You may only perform this once per season. Place the mana spent activating the artifact on the token to help you remember that it has been used.

Warp Stone

When taking a hero action, pay 1 mana to move +4 spaces. This does not give you a free hero action; it can only be used to help you move further during a standard hero action.

Resources

Books

Coins

Books represent lost knowledge, forgotten secrets, or rediscovered technology. Books are most commonly used to play quest cards. Books are tracked on your town board. They are also a tiebreaker at the end of the game.

Goods

Shells, bottled demons, tools, and crystals are goods produced by villagers and buildings that can be used or traded. Goods are tracked on your town board.

Sell goods for coins. At any time, you can sell goods for coins. The season board lists combinations of goods and how many coins you gain for selling them. Be sure to reduce each good you sell on your resource track by the correct amounts. For example, if you sell a single shell, you gain 1 coin. If you sell 3 shells together, you gain 5 coins. If you sell a shell, a tool, a bottled demon, and a crystal, you gain 12 coins. Etc.

Reroll Variant

If you want to play a game with more luck mitigation, use this rule: at any time, a player may spend a good (shell, tool, bottled demon, or crystal) to reroll one of their die rolls. A player may spend multiple goods to reroll the same die multiple times.

Search

If you end your move on a space with an unclaimed search token or mission token, check the letter on the space on the board and read the specified paragraph for your hero in the storybook (make sure to read the correct hero). Example: Zeik A, or Halia D. If the space does not have a letter, look up the story by the location name. Example: Zeik Crystal Meteorite.

Search tokens: If you successfully complete the story, take the search token and keep it face down near your town board. It provides 1 coin during each production phase for the rest of the game, including the final production phase. Ignore the random reward icons on the search token (you do not get these in story mode; instead, your rewards are listed in the stories).

If you end your move on a space with an unclaimed search token, you may roll a die and lose hearts equal to the result. If you reach 0 hearts, your turn ends and you do not gain the search token.

After rolling, take the search token and gain the reward listed on the opposite side. After this, keep the token face down near your town board. It provides 1 coin during each production phase for the rest of the game, including the final production phase. Some search tokens instruct you to discard them. Do not keep these as income.

Search Tokens

Search Token Production Effort

Search token back (face down)

Select a search token below for details…

Lost Knowledge

Lost Knowledge: Gain 1 book.

Ruined Shelter

Ruined Shelter: Immediately buy 1 gear token from the season board at –6 the standard coin cost.

Abandoned Camp

Abandoned Camp: Gain 4 coins and draw 1 quest card.

Abandoned Camp

Abandoned Camp: Gain 5 coins.

Hidden Cave

Hidden Cave: Gain 1 crystal and 1 experience.

High-tech Ruins

High-tech Ruins: Gain 1 bottled demon and 1 shell.

Old Teacher

Old Teacher: Gain 2 experience.

High-tech Ruins

High-tech Ruins: Gain 1 bottled demon and draw 1 quest card.

Crashed Vehicle

Crashed Vehicle: Gain 2 tools.

Lost Villager

Lost Villager: Gain 1 villager. Discard the search token!

Season Board

Season Board Season Board Season marker Season track Gear piles Gear store Market Villager slots Reputation
  1. Seasons Track: Use the season marker to mark the current round of the game.
  2. Gear Piles: Draw from these stacks of gear tokens to refill the gear store.
  3. Gear Store: Buy gear from these available tokens. Refill empty slots immediately.
  4. Market: Sell goods for coins using the trade values shown here.
  5. Villager Slots: Refill villagers when all of these slots are empty or when a player spends two experience.
  6. Reputation Track: When a player gains or loses reputation as a reward from a story, the player must mark this on the reputation track (they cannot choose to ignore it). At the end of the game, players earn (or lose) victory points depending on their final reputation. A player with positive reputation earns the victory points listed on their space on the track, or the next space to the left. For example, if Zoey has 5 reputation, she earns 2 victory points. If a player has negative reputation, they lose victory points equal to their space (–1 or –2). Also, the player with the most reputation gains 3 extra victory points. If multiple players are tied for most, they each gain 3 extra victory points.

Specialist

On your turn you can use a specialist to build, gain experience, heal, buy gear, and more.

Specialist Token Pay Tax Action Rest

Specialist token

  1. Pay: Coin cost to perform the specialist’s action (double to recruit).
  2. Tax: Coins you collect from the supply when another player the bot uses your specialist.
  3. Specialist’s Action
  4. Rest: Instead of using the specialist’s action, you may spend a turn flipping them face down to gain 2 hearts or 1 coin.

Pay a Specialist

Pay a specialist to perform that specialist’s action. You may choose one of the following three options:

As soon as you pay any specialist (yours or another player’s) and perform their action, flip the token face down. That specialist cannot be used again until the next season.

You may pay a specialist and perform no action, or only part of the specialist’s action. You still flip the token face down in this case.

Rest One of Your Specialists

Instead of paying a specialist, you may simply flip the specialist face down and gain either 2 hearts or 1 coin (as shown on the bottom right of each specialist). You may only rest your own specialists, not those of other players.

Stories

Each character has their own set of stories for each chapter. These stories often contain the same event or encounter for each character, but have slight text, choice, or reward differences based on the hero’s abilities and personality. Some stories are completely different and tell more about the particular hero’s past and current story.

Each time you search, read the specified paragraph for your hero in the storybook.

The player to your left is the reader (unless playing solo, in which case you, of course, are the reader).

The reader then reads the story paragraph (normal text just below the story number). After this, the reader reads the choices (indicated by letters A, B, etc.). The reader only reads the title and the skill or combat level of each choice, not the reaction paragraph beneath the choice OR the rewards (in bold at the bottom of each reaction paragraph). When playing solo, you are allowed to read the rewards for each choice.

You must make a choice, roll the die, and choose how many hearts to lose. Then read the reaction paragraph to gain rewards/consequences.

For example, when reading this example, the reader first only reads the blue text:

A robot head sticks out of the dirt, the head blinking and twirling.

  1. Dig out the robot. Skill 6

    As soon as the robot is free, it bashes you in the head and strides away. When you gather your senses, you discover a few useful treasures at the bottom of the hole where the robot was stuck.

    REWARDS: 2 coins, 1 tool. BONUS (+2): 1 experience and 1 coin.

  2. Reprogram the robot to dig itself out. Skill 8

    The robot pulls at the dirt, shoving it downward like a mole. In moments it stand before you. “Ready for assignment,” it beeps.

    +2 reputation. REWARDS: Gain the ROBOT Y9 token. BONUS (+2): 1 tool, 1 experience.

After the reader has finished, you select one of the choices and state your choice out loud. You then roll one die and lose hearts in an attempt to reach or exceed the skill required to succeed. Each heart you lose adds 1 to the final result. After rolling, you choose how many hearts to lose (for example, roll 3, add 5 hearts, for a total of 8).

For combat rolls, you begin combat as if you were fighting a enemy.

In either case, if you reach 0 hearts, your hero action immediately ends and you do not gain the search token or any rewards.

If the total roll plus lost hearts is equal to or greater than the required skill (or if you succeed at the combat), then you succeed. The reader then reads the reaction paragraph for the choice and you receive the listed rewards.

If your total is 2 or more above the required skill, then you also receive a bonus reward (listed after the base rewards). For example, if Jenny had a skill 8 for the choice “Dig out the robot.” in encounter 41, she would gain the standard 2 coins and 1 tool and ALSO 1 experience and 1 extra coin.

After completing the story, you remove the search token and place it next to your town board (so that it gives you 1 income at the end of each season, as in standard mode).

If you do not gain enough skill to succeed, you fail the search and your turn ends. You do not get any rewards or the search token. The token remains on the board.

Note: Some story choices require a payment of some kind in addition to a skill roll or combat. For example, if a story says “–1 coin” then the player must pay 1 coin to select this choice.

Town Board

Town Board Town Board Building villager villager book shell bottled demon crystal tool Housing row Building space Extra building cost Build bonus Build start row resources

Villagers

Villager

Villager icon

You will find lost villagers, rescue them from enemies, or otherwise gather them to your town. Once housed, they will produce goods each season. At game end, you gain victory points for each housing row that contains villagers that produce at least 1 of each type of good.

Villager

Villager token

Place a villager: At any time, you can place one of your villagers in the housing area on the right side of your town board. You must choose one of the four rows, and you must have enough buildings in that row to hold the villager. Each building allows you to place one villager in the housing space on the same row, and each bed icon on a building allows you to place one additional villager there. Once you place a villager in housing, you cannot move that villager to a different row or trade it out with an unhoused villager. Once a villager gets settled in, they don’t want to move to a new house or sleep outside again! When you gain a villager token, if you have room, you may place the villager in housing immediately. If you do not have room, or do not want to place the villager in housing yet, you may place the villager below your town board, placing the villager in housing at any later time as long as you have enough housing to support them.

Refill villagers

Refill villagers: Empty villager slots on the season board are refilled in two ways…

Visit a Location

Locations are indicated by a name on a scroll with an action beneath the scroll. When you visit a location, you may perform the action. Generally, you must pay something and/or lose hearts to gain something else.

What’s this about?

Red Raven Games

This site is an official rules reference for Now or Never by Red Raven Games.

It’s great for finding a specific rule quickly. It’s also an excellent supplement to the rule book included in the box, when watching a how-to-play video, or while teaching the game.

Play Options

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Usage Tips

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Credits

Game Design: Ryan Laukat

Illustrations and Graphic Design: Ryan Laukat

Rule Book: Ryan Laukat

Editing: Ryan Laukat, Malorie Laukat

Development: Ryan Laukat, Malorie Laukat

Writing: Ryan Laukat, Malorie Laukat, Brenna Asplund

Proofreading: Malorie Laukat, Brenna Asplund, Diana Parkin

Playtesters: T. Alex Davis, Brenna Asplund, Eric Rayl, Brandon Laukat, Scott Hendrickson, Dave Jeffers, Jake Simmons, Katie Arends, Jean-Samuel Gauthier-B., Elisabeth Desjardins, Richard Junior Charron, Michael Blank, Thorsten Blank, Diego Castro, Helge Burger, Derek DiCesare, Davis Fettes, Kyle Grimsley, Amanda Grimsley, Andreas Nienkötter, Christian Sievers, Nuyki, Dan Miller, Jerry Hsu, Sara Belisle, Becky Nelson, Timothy Nelson, Leon Niewoit, Sarah Niewoit, Alison Parkllan, Bryce Parkllan, Bill Webb, Paris Nicolaides, Amelia Grimaldi, Mitchell Cooper, Felix Bestehorn, Birgit Komander, Niko, Xyon, Tom Castellani, Davis Fettes, Nynke Rixt Bosma, Mandy Fransz, David Connick, Thorin Finch, Hadrian Finch, Bennett McBrayer, Oliver Goeken, Aidan Klein, Ethan Cheney, Kyle Patterson, Johnathan Frunzi, David Hull, Seth Blackman, Douglas Fenderson, Chaslyn Drilling, Teresa Telesco, Jeremy Knutson, Luke Knutson, Allison Bradley, Mike Jones, Eric Liegel, Sophie Schwabe, Bayard Catron, Jamey Pratt, Ben Burch, Lloyd Gyan, Ramsey Shehadeh, Christopher Gross, Daniel Dowhan, Simcha Kuritzky, Steven Quade, Eddie Chen, Rachel Walkowiak, Stephen Daldry, Lloyd Gyan, Justine Archambault, Johanne Richard, Jonathan Roy, Frédéric Fortier, Greg Forster

Copyright 2021 Red Raven Games

Importers

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6 Waterbrook Road
Alton
Hampshire
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Authorised Représentative : Asmodee Group 18, rue Jacqueline Auriol
Quartier Villaroy
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