Antidote Rules


Download PDF Version Here: Antidote_Rulebook_Download

One day in the lab, you suddenly hear a terrible sound, the loud CRACK of a massive container shattering in the middle of the room. Never mind the loss of research! You know what that container held: “Compound X,” a deadly airborne toxin expected to kill everyone in lab in less than 30 minutes. Don’t panic…yet. There’s an antidote! Your team has been working on a number of ingestible anti-toxins for Compound X, but none of you know yet which anti-toxin will serve as a reliable cure. Now, in a race against time, you must engage in a battle of wits with the other researchers to deduce the correct antidote before the deadly compound takes its lethal effect, but as you begin to solve this heart-pounding puzzle, a sinister question takes root in your mind: will there be enough of the antidote to go around? Perhaps you shouldn’t share everything you know with the other researchers…



  • 64 Formula Cards (8 formulas numbered 1-7 and “X”)
  • 8 Syringe Cards
  • 22 Expansion Cards (8 ID Badges, 8 Lab Romance Cards, 3 Clinical Trials, & 3 Placebos)
  • 7 Lab Assistant Cards
  • Rules


(Unless you are playing a 7-player game, place all the Agent-U Cards (numbers 1-7 and “X”) back into the box.)

  1. Separate all the “X” Cards (cards with an “X” in the upper left corner) from the deck and shuffle them face-down.
  2. Select one “X” Card at random and set it face-down in the game box. You may NOT look at this card until the end of the game! It represents the antidote.Note: When you see an “X” Card during the game, you can be sure all cards that match it are NOT the antidote, since the “X” Card that represents the antidote was removed from the game.
  3. Select the number of Syringe Cards needed (see Table 01). Shuffle these together with the remaining “X” Cards and deal two cards (three in a 3-player game) face-down to each player. (For 2-player set-up see 2-Player Rules).
  4. Refer to Table 01 to select the Number Cards (cards with a number in the upper left corner) needed. (For example, in a 4-player game, select all cards numbered with a 1, 2, 3 or 4). Shuffle and deal all selected cards, one at a time, face-down to all players.
  5. You may look only at the cards you have been dealt. All players should always have an equal number of cards throughout the game.



At the end of the game, have a Number Card in your hand that matches the antidote.


The researcher who most recently won a game goes first. Play commences in clockwise order from the starting player. On your turn, announce one of the three following actions:

  1. Discard a Card
  2. Trade Research
  3. -or- Use a Syringe Card

After the action is completed, your turn is over.

1. Discard a Card

All players must simultaneously discard one card from their hand to their workstation (a space on the table in front of them). “X” Cards must be discarded face-down, while all other cards must be discarded face-up.

Note: Do not cover-up cards in your workstation with subsequent discards.

2. Trade Research

There are two ways to trade research:

  1. All players pass a card to the left or to the right, OR
  2. You complete a one-to-one trade with another player of your choice.

A. Tell all players to pass a card to the right or to the left. Everyone must simultaneously pass a card face-down from their hand to the player next to them in the direction you indicated. Take the card passed to you into your hand.

B. Announce your wish to make a trade with any player. You may discuss and agree to any trade terms you would like, but you may only trade one card from your hand for one card from another player’s hand and both players must fulfill the terms of the agreement. Take the card traded to you into your hand. If no player agrees to trade with you, choose a different action (e.g. Discard a Card).

3. Use a Syringe Card

Reveal a Syringe Card from your hand to “steal” a card from any other player’s hand or workstation into your hand. If you steal a card from their hand, choose the card randomly. If you steal a card from their workstation, select any card (face-up or face-down). Place your Syringe Card in place of the card you stole (face-up if in their workstation).

Note: You may say anything you’d like about the cards in your hand during the game, but you may never show your hand to any other player.


Eventually all players will only have one card left. When this occurs, reveal your last card. This card indicates the formula you drink. Then reveal the antidote (the “X” Card hidden in the box during set-up).

  1. If you drink the antidote (i.e. the antidote matches your last card) you live! You get points equal to the number on your last card. (See Table 02: Scoring Examples – Example 1)
  2. If you do not drink the antidote (ie. your last card does NOT match the antidote), you die. You lose points equal to the number on your last card. (See Table 02: Scoring Examples – Example 2)
  3. If your last card is not a Number Card (e.g. if it is a Syringe Card) you die and receive -1 point.


Even if you die, you can play again! Keep track of the number of your points each game. The winner is the player with the most points after 3 games.


For two players, set up the game according to the 3-player setup (see Table 01). Place all the cards from the third player’s hand face-down on the table using the pattern shown in Table 03. You will be exchanging cards with this third “silent player” throughout the game. Decide which of you is to the right and the left of the silent player.

Play the game as usual with the following exceptions:

  1. Whenever you choose to discard a card, only you and your opponent discard a card. The silent player takes no action.Note: The silent player will always have 10 cards and will not participate in the revealing of the antidote at game end.
  2. Whenever you choose to pass a card to the left or the right, include the silent player as follows: If you must pass a card to your opponent, choose a card to pass as normal. If you must receive a card from the silent player, draw any one of the face-down cards from the silent player’s hand. If you must pass a card to the silent player, fill the spot in the silent player’s hand that was vacated when your opponent selected a card. See Table 04.
  3. You may not complete one-to-one trades with the silent player.
  4. If you use a Syringe Card to steal from the silent player, place the Syringe Card face-down in place of the card you stole.



The Placebo Effect and Lab Romance Expansions are separate add-ons to the base game and are intended for experienced researchers only. The expansions are not intended for play with the 2-player rules.


Placebo Effect Setup

Set up the game as you normally would, with the following changes:

  1. Shuffle the cards shown in Table 05 into the deck of Number Cards before you deal. (For example, in a 4-player game, add 1 Placebo, 2 Clinical Trials and 1 Syringe to the deck of Number Cards.)
  2. Unless you are playing a 7-player game, place the ID Badge for the 8th formula (Agent-U) back into the game box.
  3. Shuffle the remaining 7 ID Badges and deal 1 face-down to each player (place any undealt cards in the box). This is your unique ID Badge for the rest of the round. You are not allowed to show anyone the ID Badge you were dealt until the end.

The Placebo

Whenever you discard, you may discard a Placebo face-down. In a subsequent turn, if any other player steals the Placebo using a Syringe or a Clinical Trial, announce to the table, “It was a Placebo.” You may then immediately exchange any card in your hand for any card in your workstation.

Clinical Trial

Clinical Trial Cards are activated when they are discarded. They must be discarded face-up. Whenever you discard a Clinical Trial Card, announce “A clinical trial is occurring.” All players must then conduct the clinical trial by drawing a card to their hand from the workstation of the player to their left, right or from their own workstation. The player who announced the clinical trial decides which direction all players will select a card from (i.e. all from the left, all from the right, or all from their own workstation). Any card may be selected during a clinical trial, except a Clinical Trial Card.

Example: Mike, Laura and Janelle are playing. Mike tells all players to discard. As her discard, Laura discards a Clinical Trial and instructs all players to draw a card from their own workstation. Mike draws a card from his workstation, Janelle draws a card from her workstation and Laura draws a card from her workstation.

Cancelled Trial

If two or more Clinical Trial Cards are discarded simultaneously, the clinical trial is “cancelled” and no players may draw any cards. The discarded Clinical Trial Cards remain discarded.

ID Badges

There is one ID Badge per formula in the game. You are the researcher for the formula indicated on the ID Badge you are dealt. If the formula shown on your ID Badge is discovered to be the antidote you lose 1 point per player who failed to drink it. If the formula on your ID Badge is NOT the antidote, you lose 1 point for every player who drinks your formula. In either case, if you live your score cannot go below 0. At the end of the game, reveal your ID Badge and refer to it when calculating your score.



There is a whole lot of “love” in the lab! You suspect that some of the other scientists have been sharing special relationships, but you don’t really know for sure. On a normal day, lab romances aren’t so bad, but now that you’ve all been exposed to a deadly toxin, you fear these relationships could result in a dangerous form of favoritism. What’s more, you’ve heard that some of the relationships have gone sour. Will the “lover scorned” use this as an opportunity to take revenge?

Lab Romance Setup

Setup the game as you normally would. In addition, shuffle all eight Lab Romance cards and set them in a face-down stack in the middle of the table.

Lab Romance Gameplay

The game plays as normal with one additional option. On your turn, instead of taking the other turn options, you may instead draw a Lab Romance Card from the face-down stack. You may only take this option once per game. You must keep the card you draw and you may not show it to any other player. The card you draw gives you a new objective that you must complete in order to live. At the end of the game, reveal your Lab Romance Card and refer to it for calculating your score.
Note: Whenever you “live” you always score points equal to the number on the card you “drank,” plus or minus any bonuses indicated on your Lab Romance Card. Similarly, whenever you “die” you always lose points equal to the number on the card you “drank,” plus or minus any bonuses indicated on your Lab Romance Card. In the Lab Romance Expansion you will not necessarily “drink” the formula on your last card. Pay close attention to the instructions on your Lab Romance Card!




Your new goal is for both you and your lover (the player to your right/left) to drink the antidote. If your lover does not drink the antidote, your heart breaks and you also die. If you both live, add the points on your final card and your lover’s final card for your score.


Your new goal is for your lover to drink the antidote. Your lover “shares” their final card with you to drink. You will live and score the number of points on their final card +2 if your lover’s final card is the antidote or die and lose the points on their card if it isn’t.



You are an altruistic member of the lab. You must drink the antidote to live, but you earn +1 point per other player who lives. Share your information freely with the other researchers, but remember you cannot reveal the cards in your hand!


You are a scorned member of the lab. You must drink the antidote to live, but you are seeking revenge and earn +1 point for every other player who dies.


You are a jealous lover. You must drink the antidote to live, but you will score + 1 point per player in the game (you included) if ONLY you and your lover (any one other player) survive.


You would deceive the whole lab to get what you want. At the end of the game, before you see the antidote or any player’s final card, draw any card from your workstation. This is the card you drink. Clearly indicate to all players the card you drew. You earn +1 point for every other player who drank the same formula as the last card in your hand (NOT the card you drew from your workstation).

Lab Romance Example

Mike, Tyler, Laura and Janelle are playing. Mike has the Iago Card and Laura has the Lysander Card. Janelle and Tyler don’t have a Lab Romance Card. At the end of the game, it is revealed that the antidote is the red formula (Rubiximab)! Mike’s final card is the Red 4; Janelle’s final card is the Red 3; Laura’s final card is the Purple 4; Tyler’s final card is the Purple 2. Janelle lives and scores 3 points. Since Janelle is sitting to the left of Laura, Laura also drinks the antidote and lives (even though her final card wasn’t the antidote) since she has the Lysander card. Laura scores the points on Janelle’s final card plus 2 for a total of 5 points. Tyler dies and scores -2 points. Mike lives and scores 4 points plus 1 point because one other player died (Tyler), for a total of 5 points.
Note: If you play with both the Lab Romance and Placebo Effect Expansions, calculate the bonus from your Lab Romance card first, before calculating any loss of points from your ID Badge.


Playtesting: Too many to name here (you know who you are), but notably – Sara Hoyle, Dan Ray, Brian and Magdalen Gallagher, Destiny Clark, Ben Chamness, and Jonathan Logan Clark

4 Responses to “Antidote Rules”

  1. Dave Kohler

    What happens in a tie? My friends and I were playing a game and two of us ended the 3rd round with 14 points. So who wins? I would suggest the player who played the highest valued antidote card on the last round. Please explain.

  2. bellweth

    Dave: Thanks for your question! You can choose any way you would like to break the time, but we would suggest breaking the tie with a 4th (or 5th) round!


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