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Zodiak Card Back

Zodiak is a game I've had in the works for some years and recently decided to pick back up. It uses miniatures who move like chess pieces (knight,Rook,bishop,queen) and collectible cards used to build custom decks and increase the speed of the game.

Beginning The Game
Each player chooses 7 Unit's
1x Hero
2x Guard
2x Paladin
2x Monk

These Units are the miniatures you'll be playing with on the "Field" and move as their "Chess" counter parts would (Within limits).
Hero = Queen
Guard = Rook
Paladin = Knight
Monk = Bishop

Each Unit has it's own "Stat Card" These cards are different from Enchantment cards because they are kept outside of the enchantment deck and are used to help you determine a Unit's stats.
Each Stat Card reveals the following:

Card Color: The color of the card is 1 way of determining the Unit's element.
Name: The name of the Unit
Picture: A picture of the Unit to help you identify its corresponding miniature
Element: The type of element the Unit uses
(There are 6 elements: Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Light,Dark. These elements are represented by different colored circles found on the stat card and also represented by the stat card's background color )
Species: The Unit's Species (Dragon, Giant, Human, Elf, etc)
Zodiak Sign: The Unit's Zodiac sign. Different signs have different Zodiak Powers.

Zodiak Powers:
Aries: Once per turn Aries Units can tribute 1 of your other Units to regain double its current health (max full health).
Gemini: Once per turn a Gemini can add the stats from another Gemini unit of the same class to its own. (the other unit used in this effect cannot move, attack, or be healed the turn this effect is used)
Libra: Discard 1 card. Look at your opponent's hand.
Cancer: Each Unit once per game can take damage for another unit (regardless of position)
Taurus: Once per game you can move one of your Units to an adjacent space on the field.
Leo: Once per turn, if you control a Leo Hero you can discard 1 card to Call a benched Leo Unit
(This power cannot be used during a stalemate)
Virgo: If you only control 1 Virgo, once per game you can target 1 space on the field and destroy 1 non-hero unit occupying that space
Scorpio: Once per game if you control at least 2 Scorpio sign Units, you can Call one of your Destroyed Units back to the game and place them on the summoning line.
Sagittarius: The first time a Sagittarius unit moves it can double it's agility. This power is not affected by other effects or abilities.
Capricorn: If your Hero unit is a Capricorn once per game you can choose one of the following effects:
Draw 1 card or Have your opponent discard one card. (this cannot be used during stalemates or dead positions)
Aquarius: If you control an Aquarius Hero Unit, once per turn you can tribute 1 of your other non-Hero Units to end a battle.
Pieces: Once per game remove one of your active enchantment cards from your enchantment zone to stop both players from activating cards in their respective Enchantment zones for 2 turns.
>Sign abilities cannot be activated while you control Units with conflicting Zodiak signs.<
Taurus & Scorpio
Libra & Aries
Virgo & Pisces
Leo & Aquarius
Cancer & Capricorn
Gemini & Sagittarius
Class: (Hero, Guard, Paladin, Monk)

Lv: Each Unit has 3 Levels. Each time the Unit destroys an opponents Unit through an attack it's level is increased by 1. Leveling up changes the Unit's stats and allows the Unit to use different attacks.
HP: Health
Agility: The number of spaces the Unit can move
Range: How many spaces a Unit's attack can travel
Movement: The Unit's movement pattern (the different symbols reflect the unit's class)
Resist: What element the Unit is resistant to. An element shown here does 20 less damage to the Unit
Weak: What element the Unit is weak against. An element shown here does 20 more damage to the Unit
Ability: The Unit's special power
Ability Level: The number shown to the the right of the Ability. This number reflects when the ability can be activated and on whose turn.
1=Can only be activated during your action phases
2=Can be activated during either players turn
3=Can be activated at anytime during either player's turn and in response to an enchantment or ability
Attack: Most unit's have 3 attack. Each attack may contain the following:
Lv: The level required in order to use the attack.
Damage: (The number below Lv) The amount of damage the attack will do to the opponent if successful.
Attack Title: The name of the attack
Effect: The effect of the attack if successful (if the attack doesn't have an effect it is considered normal)
Flavor Text: A short bio or description about the Unit.

Build your Enchantment Deck
The Enchantment deck is built out of 30 cards used to speed up the game, change the status of the game, and gain the advantage over your opponent.

There are 6 different types of Enchantment cards:
1. Unit Call: Allows you to "Call" an additional Unit from your "Benched" Units to the field. Your only allowed 6 Unit Call cards in your Enchantment deck.
2. Equipment: changes the overall value of a Unit's stat card or how the Unit is able to play.
3. Normal: Cards used once and than sent to the discard pile.
4. Artifact: Enchantments that can only stay on the field for certain number of turns before being sent to the discard pile.
5. Continuous: Are active and remain in the Enchantment Zone until removed or destroyed.
6. Trap: Before activating it must be set face down in the Enchantment zone for at least 1 turn.

Enchantment Cards Have the following information on them:
Card Color: The color of the Enchantment card reflects what kind of Enchantment it is
Name: The name of the Enchantment card
Picture: The picture on the card
Type: The type of Enchantment the card is (Trap, Continuous, Artifact, etc).
Level: The number to the right of the "Type". This number reflects when the Enchantment can be activated and on whose turn. Enchantments must be placed in the Enchantment Zone before being able to activate it on your opponent's turn.
1=Can only be activated during your action phases
2=Can be activated during either players turn
3=Can be activated at anytime during either player's turn and in response to an enchantment or ability
Effect: What the Enchantment card does when successfully activated
Cost: What you need to do in order to activate the Enchantment card
Turn: The number of your turns the Enchantment card lasts before removing it to the discard.

Game Mat (26" x 28"):
The field is where everything in Zodiak takes place.
Each player sits behind their respective Enchantment Zones.

The Enchantment Zone.
The area behind the field, between the deck and discard pile
Certain cards must be played or set in the Enchantment Zone in order to activate them.
(Equipment, Trap, Continuous, Artifact)

If your Enchantment zone is filled you can remove cards from it and place them into the discard in order to play additional cards. Some Enchantments can be stacked on top of each other (e.g. If you play 2 Equipment Enchantments on the same Unit, you can stack the two cards on top of each other so not to take up more room).
Equipment: Stackable when attaching to the same Unit, must be played in the Enchantment Zone.
Artifact: Stackable, Must be played in the Enchantment Zone.
Continuous: non-stackable, Must be played in the Enchantment Zone.
Traps: non-stackable, must first be set face down in the Enchantment Zone for one turn before you can activate it
Normal: non-stackable, To activate these cards place them in the discard zone. These cards are not played in the Enchantment Zone.
Unit Call: Non-Stackable, To activate these cards place them in the discard zone. These cards are not played in the Enchantment Zone.

In the center of the Game Mat is the Field.
Each player places their Units on field in any order along the "Summoning Line" (The first spaces in front of the Enchantment Zone).
The field is 12" x 18". Each space on the field is 1.5" square.

The field has different elemental areas on it (water, lava, forest, etc). These areas affect the stats and overall attack of the Unit on them. (different Game Mat Fields affect Units differently ).
Collecting different Game Mats is encouraged because of how they could affect a player's Units.

Along with your 7 active Units. A player is allowed 13 additional Units to keep in the Bench area of the Game Mat. These Units can be Called to the Field during the game by using Unit Abilities, and Unit Call cards.

Grave: Units that are removed from the Field are placed in the Grave area on the Game Mat.

How To Play:
(2 Players)
1. After deciding who goes first each player draws 4 cards from their Enchantment deck.

2. Both player place 7 Units along their respective Summoning Lines.
The Units must be
1x Hero
2x Guard
2x Paladin
2x Monk

2. There are 5 steps to each turn:
Draw Phase - Draw from your Enchantment deck
Action Phase 1 - Play Enchantments & Move Units
Combat Phase - Battle Units
Action Phase 2 - Play Enchantments & Move Units
End Phase - End your turn

3. Draw Phase:
At the start of a turn the player draws 1 card from their Enchantment deck and places it in their hand. There can not be more than 5 cards in a players hand at the end of their turn. If a player has more than 5 cards at the end of their turn they must discard cards in their hand unit they have 5.

4. Action Phase 1:
During the Action Phase you are allowed to activate your Enchantment cards (only 3 Enchantment cards can be activated during a player's turn. During your opponents turn you may play as many Enchantment cards from your Enchantment Zone as you wish. As long as the Enchantment cards are level 2 or higher). As well as Move up to 3 Units on the field.

5. Combat Phase: Combat Phase starts when you target an opponent's Unit for an attack. During the combat phase only level 2 and 3 Enchantment cards can be activated.

Combat Phase ends when you are finished attacking with all your Units for the turn (Combat Phase only occurs once per turn unless a card says otherwise).

Action Phase 2:
Another chance for a player to activate their Enchantment cards and make any addition moves with their Units, as long as the player has not maxed out their number of plays during Action Phase 1.

End Phase:
End your turn.

How To Win:
1.Destroy your Opponent's Hero Unit.
2. Your opponent fails to escape Dead Position

Dead Position:
When the only Unit a player has left on the field is the Hero Unit, he/she enters into a "Dead Position"
When this happens the player has 3 turns to either win the game or Call an additional Unit to the field to end "Dead Position".
When trying to end the "Dead Position" you have 2 options.
1. Go through each of your 3 turns individually and try to either Call an additional Unit or win the game.
2. Take an advancement on the 3 cards you would have drawn and and draw them all in one turn and try to Call an additional Unit to the field to end the "Dead Position". If you take the advancement and draw the 3 cards in 1 turn you can only use the cards to summon an additional Unit. If you didn't draw an additional Unit card you can add 1 of the 3 cards you drew to your hand and discard the other 2. If you fail to either summon an additional Unit or win the game by the end of the turn that you took the advancement you lose.

If both players only control a Hero Unit "Stalemate" will begin. Each player draws 5 cards. All additional Unit cards (if any drawn) must be played.
One of these situation will take place:
1. Both players draw a Unit Call card and Stalemate ends allowing for the game to proceed as normal
2. Only one player draws a Unit Call card forcing the other player into a "Dead Position" which will take place on their next turn (If the player has has already been in a "Dead Position" he/she cannot repeat it).
3. Neither player draws a Unit Call card which means "Sudden Death" goes into affect. If "Sudden Death" is initiated keep the 5 cards you have drawn at this time in your hand

Sudden Death:
Both Heroes are moved to the center of the field and are forced into battle. All Enchantment cards at this time can be played from either player's hand or field regardless of Lvl. The last Hero standing wins.


New Updates on Unit Functionality

Different Units have different stat ranges depending on class.

Paladin: Low Range/High Agility/Moderate HP and Attacks
Monk: High Range/Low Agility/Moderate HP and Attacks
Guard: Low Range/Low Agility/ High HP and Attacks
Hero: Moderate - High on all stats and attacks

Each Unit has their own Unique way of attack and moving.

moves in "L" shape patterns. This allows them to change direction up to twice in a single turn (e.g. Move forward 1 space, than left, than back) These Units are the only class that can Jump over other Units in their path. *Note: Paladins must always move at least 1 space vertically or horizontally after moving in any direction (thus creating an "L" shape)

Attacks in straight lines either vertically or horizontally.

Moves diagonally
Attacks diagonally

Moves horizontally, vertically
Attacks vertically, horizontally

Moves horizontally, vertically, and diagonally
Attacks horizontally, vertically, and diagonally

2 Units cannot share a single space

Rule changes after testing:
- Remove rule that you can add agility to range if you haven't used it all

+ Adding Monk placement on summoning line to help game play
Reason: Situation came up where monks shared a common movement path and couldn't attack opponent's Units.


The game sounds really cool. It seems to flow really well with a well defined requirement to win and even a nice little climactic mechanic. I loved the dead position concept. I was wondering if there would be a graphic or table or something with all the zodiac powers and the opposing zodiac signs. Without them on the card its hard to remember exactly what the powers are and what signs are opposing, especially if you're controlling multiple units with different zodiac signs. I love the card designs very sharp. If you don't mind the question how were they made?


So originally when we were coming up with ideas for the game we wanted players to use a small single pocket card album where all your Unit Stat cards could be kept. We called the binder the "Summoning Book" and on the inside of the cover was the different Zodiak powers and conflicting signs so you wouldn't forget them. The Zodiak powers really gives the game some incredible twists and furthers game tactics and strategy. Forgetting a power could really hinder you and on the other hand forgetting a Libra can't use its effect if you have an Aries means your strategy is lost.

Right now we are on the fence about the Summoning Book because it would need to be about 20 pages and that would make the book incredibly thick. What we might do is include a "White Card" inside each booster pack that has all the Zodiak sign information so players can carry it on them or in the very least always have one around.

To answer your question about the card design I used Photoshop to create the overall layout of the card and it's information. I also have a public template on rapid share for others to use so they can design their own unique cards and send them to me to maybe appear in the game. The images themselves are just google images or from deviant art. Obviously we wont use these images after publication but right now for displaying purposes and prototyping they are fine.

I hope to put up the Zodiak website within the next week so people can see the game as it progresses. I'm really glad you like the game Idea and any ideas you may have or if you have any suggestions about the game I'd love to hear them.

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut