Your goal in Ada’s Library — first published as Phoenix — is to arrange all of the books in your personal display in an order that matches the books in the "master display".
The game includes larger "master" book cards in a six colors, as well as smaller books in these six colors. To set up, each player draws ten books from the bag, then places them in a row in front of themselves in the order drawn. Shuffle the six master cards, then lay them out in a row, e.g., red, light blue, gray, brown, yellow, dark blue. Shuffle the deck of action cards, with each player getting a hand of five cards.
On a turn, either discard a card from your hand (ignoring its effect) or play a card from your hand. Cards will:
Swap the position of two books in your display, with the number of spaces between these books being specified.
Move a book in your display a specified number of spaces either left or right, but never past the end of your display.
Move a book to either end of your display.
Swap the books on the ends of your display.
Swap a book of your choice with the book in the opponent’s display directly opposite.
Move a book in the master display 1 or 2 spaces to the left or right.
Draw a replacement card to end your turn. As soon as the ten books in your display match the order of the books in the master display — regardless of whether all the colors are present — you win.
Ada’s Library differs from Phoenix in two ways. First, it includes only four books of each color whereas Phoenix had five pawns of each color. Second, in Phoenix, a complete game lasted three rounds, and players scored points at the end of each round based on whether they went out, had a pawn of each color, and had 3-5 pawns of a color in a row on their display. Whoever had the most points after three rounds won.