Saturday, February 28, 2009

Heroes and Hoards

Just came up with an idea for a little strategy-board-card game.

OBJECT: You are a dragon, interested in amassing vast wealth. Your goal is to collect as much treasure as you can before the end of the game.

SETUP: You will need a chessboard, a deck of playing cards (with jokers), some six-sided dice, and a pile of pocket change. Only the white squares on the chessboard will be used, basically forming a 4 x 4 grid; label one axis A, B, C, & D and the other one 1-4. Pull the Aces out of the deck and distribute one Ace to each player (each player rolls two dice; the highest picks first). Each player then randomly draws three cards from the deck.

Meet The Dragons: The ace that you draw determines what type of dragon you have. Each dragon has a special ability that can be activated by spending one coin from your hoard.

The Ace of Clubs: You are a fire-breathing red dragon. SPECIAL ABILITY: Gain +1d6 when Razing a settlement.
The Ace of Spades: You are a stormy azure dragon of the air, hurling lightning bolts and able to fly with the celerity of the wind. SPECIAL ABILITY: During the Raid phase, write down two destinations and uncover both; you may decide to fly to either.
The Ace of Hearts: You are an icy white dragon of winter. SPECIAL ABILITY: A wintry chill falls over the land. Freeze all Heroes in place this turn.
The Ace of Diamonds: You are a cunning and covetous serpent from the depths of the earth. SPECIAL ABILITY: Your hoard is safely hidden deep within the earth and you cannot be stolen from this turn.

PLAY: Play proceeds in phases each turn, with a new dealer every turn. The dealer rotates clockwise around the table.

Build Phase. Each player plays one card face down on the chessboard on any white square. SPECIAL: On the first turn of play, each player plays two cards plus their Ace. This should leave them with one card remaining in their hand.

Trade Phase. Players negotiate and trade with each other. Anything can be bartered: wealth from your hoard (coins), captured cards, cards in your hand, promises, or even binding oaths (see Magicians, later).

Raid Phase. Players write down where they want to fly this turn using the 4x4 grid (for example, A-1). This is where their dragon will fly!

Resolve Phase. Uncover all the player's destinations at once.
- At a Settlement: Demand a Sacrifice, Demand Tribute, or Raze the Settlement
Demand a Sacrifice: You threaten the local populace and demand that they give you a tasty morsel to carry back to your lair and consume. Roll a die and add your Size. If you tie or beat the number on the card, you can roll a Size die to grow larger.
Demand Tribute: You threaten the local populace and demand that they give you loot! Roll a die and add your Size. If you tie or beat the number on the card, gain 1 coin from the settlement.
Raze the Settlement: You descend with fury on the population and try to turn the settlement into wasteland! Roll a die and add your size. The settlement rolls a die and adds its number. If you tie or beat the number on the card, the settlement is destroyed. You carry off the treasure (roll 1d6 and add that many coins from the settlement to your horde; the rest are destroyed), devour the citizenry (roll a Size die to grow larger), and destroy the settlement (remove the card from the board).
- At a Hero: Bribe the Hero or Battle the Hero
Bribe the Hero: Pay the hero coins and roll 1d6 for each coin. Retain only the highest result. Regardless of the result, the coins are stored in the hero's stronghold, i.e., the highest ranking card of the same suit of the hero. If there is no appropriate card, then the bribe is placed with the highest ranking Diamond stronghold.
1-2: Attack! The hero rejects your bribe and attacks you as a monster!
3-4: Safe Passage. The hero accepts your bribe and
5-6: Cooperation. The hero either moves one square (your choice) or goes to your lair to guard your treasure until bribed or defeated by someone else.
Battle the Hero: Roll 1d6 and add your size. The hero rolls 2d6. If you tie or beat the hero's result, the hero flees -- move them one square (your choice). If you rolled a 6, then you devour the hero -- remove them from play.
- At a Lair: Steal Treasure
Roll 1d6. Remove that many coins from the lair.

Hero Phase: Roll a die for each Hero to determine their actions. However, a player can expend treasure to control the activities of a Hero. If multiple players desire to Bid for the services of a hero, then each picks up a number of coins in their hand and one die. They reveal their bids simultaneously, rolling the die; add the coins to the die to determine the more influential dragon. The winner decides what the hero will do this turn. All coins wagered are placed on the highest ranking Settlement of the hero's suit that has been revealed. If no settlement has been revealed, the coins are lost.

Hearts. Hearts represent monasteries. Monks are stringy and tough -- not good eating -- but sometimes monasteries are known to sometimes hold valuable relics and other treasure. Unfortunately, monks and paladins tend to be rather inflexible when dealing with monsters.
Diamonds. Diamonds represent trade towns or caravans. They tend to be good sources of treasure to add to one's horde!
Spades. Spades represent fortified towns, outposts, and castles. They are difficult to raze to the ground and tend to be strong points for human civilization.
Clubs. Clubs represent agricultural areas. There is little wealth in these areas, but the peasants sure do make for good eating!

Aces. Aces represent the lairs of dragons. They are dangerous places to enter, but raiding the horde of a dragon while it is out pillaging can be quite lucrative!
Numbered Cards. These represent human settlements. The larger the number, the more impressive and powerful.
Jacks. Jacks are knights and other powerful heroes.
Queens. Queens represent princesses and female rules. They are valuable for dragons to kidnap and many dragons seek to keep a captive princess in their lair.
Kings. A King wields influence over all settlements within his purview. Capturing or bribing a king can have powerful effects.

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