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Jacks & Giants

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hotsoup's picture
Joined: 08/28/2009

Hello, I had a recent idea I've been developing called Jacks & Giants (working title, others include Colossus and Giant Killer).

It works like this: It's a two player game (right now)

The board consists in a set, but well-balanced inter-connected web of 12 cities. There is nothing strategically different about the cities except that 6 cities have 3 roads leading out, 3 cities have 2 roads leading out, and 3 cities have 4 roads leading out.

At the beginning, the players take 12 defense tokens and take turns placing them on the cities. These represent how much protection the cities afford from the giants. The defense values range from 2 to 7, but mostly 4s and 5s.

The Giant player places the Jacks player's 3 Jack (hero) characters at three cities, and the Jacks player does the same to the Giants. 3 peasants are placed at each city.

When a Giant moves to an adjacent city, he compares the number of peasants there to the city's defense. If the defense is equal or greater than the number of peasants, then the peasants are all able to flee to adjacent cities (determined by the Jack player). If there are more peasants than defense, the Giant captures the excess peasants and places them on his character card. The rest of the peasants escape. Near the beginning of the game, therefore, it is difficult for Giants to capture peasants, but with careful coordination, the Giants can herd peasants into a city with low defense and capture a whole bunch.

Also, when a Giant moves to a city, instead of attempting to capture peasants, he can destroy the city walls. He does this by discarding (eating) a number of peasants (in his captured collection) equal to the city's defense. After doing this, the peasants still in the city all automatically escape, but the defense token is flipped around to its much-reduced "ruined" defense value.

My Jack rules are a bit hazier.

When a Jack moves to a city, he may 'drag' with him peasants from the city he was previously at, slowly collecting an army and keeping them out of the way of the Giants. He might also be able to 'rally' peasants from adjacent cities to come to him on their own, or even call up new peasants from outside the game. (This will be pretty necessary to keep the number of peasants from getting too low).

He may also attempt to rebuild a destroyed city he is at, but I'm not sure how this will work. One idea I had was that he looks at the restored defense value of the city he is trying to restore, and rolls that many dice. In order for the city to be restored each of the dice has to show a 5 or 6, but he can reroll a die for each peasant he has with him. Not sure about that though.

When a Giant and Jack encounter one another, things get hairy. First the Jack rolls 2 dice, and the Giant rolls 1. Then the Giant may roll 1 additional die for each villager in his collection that he eats. After this, the jack may make 1 die reroll (of his or the giant's dice) for each peasant in his army. This mechanic is intended to represent the brute force vs. strategy of Giants vs Humans. Whoever has the highest total wins. The winner gains all the peasants of the other.

My idea for win conditions is victory point based. Victory points are gained by fulfilling the requirements on Title cards. For instance, a Giant title card might read "The Gatebreaker": Attach to a Giant after he has detroyed 5 cities. All city's defense are -1 for him. Gain 2 Victory points.

Same sort of thing for Jacks. So the characters are never really removed from play, but they keep an eye out for which titles (objectives) their opponents are going for and try to thwart them. Perhaps one could also gain points by defeating a foe in combat...

This is still somewhat in the conceptual phase, and I'm in the process of making a prototype, so I'm very open to suggestions of any sort. I'm trying to keep the game as quick-playing streamlined as possible, and the theme closely tied to the mechanics. It might need a bit more variation though, and perhaps some randomization in the set up would make it more interesting. Also, I'm not set on the turn sequence. Would each player perform one action with one of his characters per turn? All of his characters? Restrictions on overusing one character?

Thanks for any feedback.

SiddGames's picture
Joined: 08/02/2008
It sounds interesting so far.

It sounds interesting so far. I think you really need to get a first quick playtest in before you spend a lot of time wondering if it is interesting enough or not. Actual play ought to reveal pretty quickly where the weak points are. Don't spend a lot of time on the prototype - draw it out on paper and make little chits or something. It sounds like the herding aspect of the giant movement vs. the Jack player's attempt to move mobs of people around should provide a dynamic flow to the game -- but only one way to find out.

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