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[GDS] DECEMBER 2014 "MSP-Games' Micro-game Challenge"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

We have a winner!

Cloak and Dagger

by jamespotter

The competition was fierce and the prize worth fighting for. Share your thoughts in the critiques thread and look for a complete posting of results.

The results from the all rounds will be posted in the critiques thread.

MSP Games asked for entries, and man did you guys respond!

There are a mass of great entries this month, and it's very important that everyone vote. Due to the important nature of this contest coupled with the volume, I will be taking the cue from the February 2011 contest where voting was split into sections.

With Christmas coming up, too, I know a lot of people will be busy with family and not be able to spend time reading through 26 entries. So Voting this month will be split into three, 4 days periods.

The first vote, due by the end of 14h of December, will cover Entries #1-13. Following will be a second round due the end of the 18th for Entries #14-26. The top 4 from each round will be combined in the third round of voting to compete for the top prize. This third round will run from the 19th to the end of the 22nd of December.

I will post the results for each round separately in a Critiques thread.

Good luck!

Use this link for voting!

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

There's a very special treat for you this month. Matt Pohl of MSP-Games is looking for a new title to publish, and is going to enter a publishing deal with the winner (and possibly runners' up that he likes) of this month's GDS.

Want to know more about Matt and MSP Games? They've recently completed 2 Kickstarters for micro-games created with a wallet-slot-micro concept. (Micro Play-Break: Castles and Micro Play-Break: Kingdoms).

From Matt:

My productions are not large, but neither are the games themselves; i'm trying to create content that is accessible and ready-to-be-played-and-shared, to make the concept of tabletop games as easily at-hand. It is my mission to share and make games that allow people to live with, the Play-Break Philosophy.

Play-Break Philosophy:

Between work and personal communications, technology plays an ever increasing role in our lives. "We believe quick-to-learn and easy-to-share tabletop board and card games can provide an important avenue to enrich our interpersonal relationships while building a greater sense of community."

What is MSP-Games looking for?

Main Design Requirements:

Gameplay and Timing: Game should be relatively-easy to learn and understand. Play should be accessible to non-gamers while being engaging for experienced gamers. Games will ideally play in 2-5 minutes, with 5-10 minutes as an also-acceptable target.

Theme Restriction: None! This month feel free to come up with whatever theme you'd like.

Mechanics Restriction: Not Rock-Paper-Scissors; Otherwise, be as creative as you like with the Components allowed by the Component Restriction this month.

(Component Restriction: Primary Components: Start with a maximum of 7 "Business Cards" They will be made of water-proof plastic. These can be left whole OR cut in half OR thirds OR any combination of these sizes using the initial 7 business cards. You may use these as 1-sided or 2-sided components. The goal of this month's Showdown is to create a game that takes up only about as much space as 2 credit cards. See MSP-Games' MPB Castles game for reference.

Game Board (optional): Game can have a "playing board" sized up to 10-inch-square. Board must be 1-sided (not 2-sided). Board can be required to play the game or just a "nice bonus to make it easier to play"

No Additional Components: Players must NOT be asked to use "other components" to complete the game (example: do not ask players to gather coins or paper scraps)

Now the details:

Word Limit: To help you out on this very important challenge, the word limit is 750 words.

Voting: Award a Gold, Silver, and Bronze (worth 3,2, and 1 points respectively) Medals to your three favorite entries. Any entrant that does not award all three Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (that's "Fool's Gold") worth -3 votes!

When submitting your entry: PLEASE USE THE FORM LINKED HERE.

  • Submissions: Tuesday the 2nd through to Tuesday the 9th.

  • Voting: Through the 16th. Votes will be through a form (link posted after submission period is ended).

  • Voting Format: Each person has 3 Medals (Gold, Silver, and Bronze - with values 3, 2, and 1 vote respectively) to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:

    • Entrants may not assign any Medals to their own entry!

    • Entrants must assign all 3 Medals.

    • An entrant who does not assign all 3 Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (-3 votes) as a penalty.

  • Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge are handled on the Comments Thread

  • CRITIQUES: After voting has closed the entries will be posted for comments and critiques. Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques Thread.

  • GDS Details: For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work, visit the GDS Wiki Page.

Enjoy, and good luck!

-Rich and Mindspike

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#1 Goblin Derby

Goblin Derby

Welcome to the world of inconceivably dangerous, highly preposterous, break-neck-speed goblin racing. From local caves and distant realms, goblins of all types have gathered to risk life and limb for a chance to win the most coveted of all gobliny-treasures. The Goblin Derby Cup.

Goblin Derby is a game for 2-4 players and plays in under 10 minutes. Each player controls a goblincart, an unwieldy machine that is either the instrument of goblin-glory or a fast-moving, exploding-prone coffin. During the game, players move their goblincart around the track, racing to be the first over the finish line. But goblincarts are quite the finicky piece of gobo-engineering! The faster a goblincart is going, the more likely it is to explode. Players take turns moving their goblincart one space forward around the track, this is quite the leisurely stroll by goblincart standards. But this is the Goblin Derby, we want speed. Instead of moving just one space forward around the track players can move up to 3 extra spaces forward, but for each space extra space forward they move, their goblincart gains one stress. Reach 4 stress and your goblincart will disintegrate into deadly shards of metal and goblin-limb-confetti.

While this alone was thought to be rather dangerous, the sponsors of the Goblin Derby decided a few years ago that there was not enough explosions to keep Goblin Derby fans interested. In a stroke of uncharacteristic genius, a very goblin-minded solution was implemented. Pick-ups! What better way to keep the fans coming back than to see goblincarts racing past while shooting all manner of deadly nick-nacks at each other or while frantically trying to replace their missing wheel that was lost when they turned that last corner too fast or perhaps painting their goblincart red mid-race to get that much needed speed-boost! It was a huge success. But how does it work? At the start of the race pick-ups equal to the number of players are randomly placed face down on spaces 3, 6 and 9. If a player’s goblincart ends its turn in one of those spaces, they can pick up any one pick-up at random. They are then free to use whatever acquired at the start of their next turn. They may also use their goblin-cunning and hold on to it until the start of a later turn. However, there is only enough room in the goblincart to hold one pick-up at a time.

Assuming that you don’t explode into a plethora of bones and steel, the first player to get their goblincart to space 13 on the track, wins the Goblin Derby and can retire knowing that they have achieved the epitome of goblin excellence. They also get a shiny Goblin Derby Cup to lord over their competitors (shiny Goblin Derby Cup not included).

Let’s go over the nitty-gritty-goblin-bitties.

Summarized Turn

Use Pick-Up Move Goblincart up to 4 spaces Add 1 Stress Token for each space moved after the first Pick up a random Pick-Up if you end your turn on space 3, 6 or 9 Your turn ends and the next player’s turn begins

Component List

1x Double-sided rulebook (single sheet of paper) 1x Race Track Mat with 13 track spaces (1x 10” mat used) 4x Goblincart cards (1/2 business card size) (2x components used) 4x Double-sided Stress Indicator, values 1 or 2 (1/4 business card size) (1x components used) 4x Double-sided Stress Indicator, values 3 or BOOM! (1/4 business card size) (1x components used) 12x Various Pick-Ups (1/4 business card size) (3x components used)

Example Pick-Ups (subject to change)

Red Paint – Move one space forward for free (do not increase stress) Spare Parts – Lower stress by one Bomb-Chucks – Pick a player within two spaces of you, increase their stress by one. Giant Magnet – Move any player who is in front of you back one space. Catta-Bomb – Pick one track space, any player on that track space increases stress by one. Rocket-Pack – Move two spaces forward, increase your stress by one. Big Hunk of Metal – Use this instead of increasing stress due to another player’s Pick-Up.

And there we have it ladies and gentleman, I very much hope you have enjoyed the spectacle of the Goblin Derby, next time we will be looking at Jelly or Slime Monster? The deadly fun guessing game.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#2 Dragon Fight

Dragon Fight: A Micro-game duel for two players

It's Dragon-against-Dragon in an epic duel for air supremacy! As a dragon rider, it is your job to direct your dragon to victory by outmaneuvering and attacking your opponent mid-flight. But be careful, as your opponent will be doing the same! Each turn riders will secretly order how their dragons move and attack, and upon revealing those orders will simultaneously duke it out. A hit will score one point of damage against your opponent - sometimes more! The first rider to score three points wins the match!

Game Contents:

  • 2 dragon tokens (red and green, 1.5" x 1.5" square)
  • 12 movement tokens: 6 for each player (6 1.5" squares cut into 8 right triangles). Movement tokens are double-sided; reverse-sides show wounds.
  • 8 attack tokens: 4 for each player (1.5" x .75" rectangles)
  • Game board: 10" square, divided into a 5 by 5 grid (1.75" squares with a .625" border). The borders of two opposing sides will be color coded red and green to indicate each player. These borders will also serve as the players' scoring areas.

Game Setup:

Each player takes one dragon token along with their dragon's corresponding movement and attack tokens. Place the board equidistant between the players, with each players' color facing them. Players place their dragons in the middle space on their side of the board.

Turn Sequence:

  1. At the start of each turn, players will secretly choose one movement token and one attack token, placing them next to their dragon face down (movement tokens will show their wound side).

  2. Players simultaneously reveal their movement tokens and resolve them accordingly (see Token Descriptions). If the dragons end up on the same square, they have collided! Each player takes one point of damage, and the turn ends immediately (do not reveal attack tokens). If after moving either dragon has left the game board the game ends immediately (see End of Game).

  3. Players simultaneously reveal their attack tokens and resolve them accordingly (see Token Descriptions and Resolving Damage). If either player deals their third point of damage the game ends immediately (see End of Game).

  4. Players take back their movement tokens (unless their token was given to their opponent as a wound) and attack tokens and begin a new turn.

Token Descriptions:

Movement tokens: Each token is stamped with an arrow indicating one of the following orders:

  1. Move forward one spot
  2. Move forward one spot and turn around 180 degrees
  3. Move forward and left diagonally one spot and turn left
  4. Move forward and right diagonally one spot and turn right
  5. Strafe left
  6. Strafe right

Attack tokens: Tokens are stamped with symbols, indicating the following:

  1. Claw: Do one point of damage to your opponent if their dragon is one or two squares to the immediate left or right of your dragon.

  2. Breathe Fire: Do one point of damage to your opponent if their dragon is in the square two spaces in front of your dragon, or in one of the two squares diagonally in front of your dragon. Do two points of damage to your opponent if their dragon is in the square immediately in front of your dragon.

  3. Tail Whip: Do one point of damage to your opponent if their dragon is in the space directly behind your dragon, or in one of the two squares diagonally behind your dragon.

  4. Wing Buffet: Do one point of damage to your opponent if your opponent's dragon is exactly three squares away from your dragon in any direction.

Resolving Damage:

For each point of damage taken, the player gives one movement token to their opponent. This can be any movement token, including the token used that turn. The opponent flips the token over to show the wound symbol and places it in their scoring area. The player's dragon has been disabled, and may not use that movement token for the rest of the match!

Winning the Game:

You win if:

  1. You score three points of damage against your opponent, or
  2. Your opponent's dragon flies off of the game board, thus forfeiting the match!

If both dragons score their third point of damage simultaneously, or if both dragons fly off the game board at the same time, then the game ends in a tie. Time for a rematch!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#3 Node Conquest

This is a strategy game using units with hidden values. Each player needs to remember the location of their own units, as well as their opponents’ when revealed through combat. They will need to balance the desire to capture high-value locations with the risk of exposing themselves. The theme could be planets (spaceships), medieval castles (armies), computers in a network (viruses) etc.


1 playmat (8” by 8”)
10 tokens (1.5” by 1.5”)

The play mat shows a set of 12 locations (nodes) with connections between them. Each node will be connected to between 2 and 4 other nodes. Each node will have a point value equal to its number of connections.

Each player has 5 tokens. One side has their player’s colour (e.g. black / white), the other side is numbered: 2 tokens valued 1; 2 tokens valued 2; 1 token valued 3.

Game Setup
Players take turns placing tokens onto the play mat. Player who owns the game goes last.

Play is divided into two phases. Both players take a turn in each phase. Player who owns the game goes first each phase.

Phase 1, players alternate attempting to capture a node. Nominate a node occupied by an opponent’s piece (opponent holds their finger on the piece). Nominate which of your own pieces from connected nodes will make the attack and flip them over. Opponent flips over their piece to reveal the value. Add up the attacking values and compare to opponent’s defending piece:

- If equal, it’s a draw, flip all pieces back.
- If defender is higher the opponent can pick any one attacking piece to remove.
- If the defender is lower, then it is removed.

All pieces are flipped face down before continuing.

Phase 2, Each player can move one token to a connected node.

Play continues for 4 repetitions of phases 1-2. Each player adds up the value of nodes occupied by their pieces, and the value of tokens captured. Highest total wins. It is recommended to play again swapping the order of who goes first and last.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#4 Zoo Contest

A fast game for two players. If the players move quickly, a short game can finish in 5 minutes and a long game in 10, but if they ponder it can take longer.

== Parts ==

Pieces: There are 12 playing pieces, each half the size of a business card, printed so that they are wider than they are tall. In each set of cards (one set black, one white) are an elephant, a monkey, and four mice. The back of each card has the "Royal" version of the image, used once the piece has reached the opposite side. They should have the name of the card on the top, so that even if one card mostly covers another, you can still see what the card underneath is.

Board: The board is a 5x5 checkerboard, such that the squares are a little bigger than the pieces. Players sit opposite each other, and the row closest to each player is considered his "home row."

== Setup ==

Each player starts with the "Common" (that is, non-Royal) version of these pieces on his home row: the monkey on his left, a mouse in the middle, and the elephant on his right.

== Objective ==

Short game: Move the monkey, the elephant, and at least one mouse to the opponent's home row.

Long game: Move the monkey, the elephant, and at least one mouse to the opponent's home row, where they become "Royal" (i.e you flip the card over to its Royal side), then you bring them back home again.

When a piece reaches its goal, it is still in the game and may continue to move. Even if it moves off the goal, it still counts towards game completion.

== Movement ==

Players alternate turns – moving a single piece -- until one has achieved the objective.

Elephant: The elephant can move one square in any direction. However, he may not move on to the square of the opponent's elephant, nor may he move on to the square of any mouse. If an opponent's mouse moves on his square, he must retreat. (See Retreating, below.)

Monkey: The monkey can move one or two squares in any one direction, but may not combine directions. (That is, he cannot move like a knight in chess.) He may move on to or through a square containing his own elephant, any mouse, or the opposing monkey. If he stops on a square with an opposing mouse, he flings the mouse off the board. However, he is so afraid of the opposing elephant that he can't even move within one square of the beast. (He may move through such a square on a two-square move.) If the opposing elephant moves within one square of him, he immediately retreats. (See Retreating, below.)

Mouse: Mice move one square in any direction, PLUS they may generate an additional mouse which moves one square laterally in either direction from the mouse's original position. If not all the player's mice are on the board, then the extra mouse comes from the ones off the board. If they are all on the board, then he may remove one to put it into the new position. If both adjacent lateral positions represent illegal moves, the player does not get the extra mouse. Mice may not move in the square with the opposing monkey, the friendly elephant, or any friendly mice. A Common mouse generates another Common mouse, a Royal mouse generates another Royal.

A mouse can also be added to the board in any legal position on the player's home row, as the player's move.

== Retreating ==

The elephant must retreat directly away from the invading mouse, if possible, or, if that would be an illegal move, he retreats to any adjacent legal square, at the retreating player's choice. (A 'legal square' is one he could have moved to, on his turn.) If he retreats to a square within one of the opposing monkey, then the monkey immediately retreats.

The monkey must retreat to any adjacent legal square, if possible, at the retreating player's choice. If there are no adjacent squares that are legal, it can move two spaces to a legal square. If that is still impossible, it can move three squares to a legal position (which is always possible). If he retreats to a square with an opposing mouse, the mouse is removed from the board.

A retreat does NOT cost the player his turn — it is a free move.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#5 Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons

Two players


Angels and Demons battle to control four worldly powers - Life, Death, Sun, and Moon.


Creatures (six) – Three angels, three demons. Each creature is depicted holding two of four symbols - Moon, Sun, Life, Death - one in each hand. The flip side of each creature holds the opposite two symbols (Sun switched to Moon, Life to Death). These markers are square (2/3 cards).

Action tokens (six) – One set of three for each player (angel and demon). These are marked with a one on one side, and a two on the other. These markers are rectangular (1/3 cards).

Board – a hexagonal grid three spaces per side (19 total spaces). The six corner spaces and the center space are empty. The other twelve spaces are action spaces. These are marked with paired actions (Move, Flip, Transport) and symbols (Moon, Sun, Life, Death). For example, there is a Flip Death space and a Transport Sun space and every other combination of action and symbol. The board looks like this:

   x O x
  O O O O
 x O x O x
  O O O O
   x O x

Set Up

Creatures are set up at the six corner hexes of the board. Players take their three action tokens and flip them to the side marked one. The Demon player switches one token to the side marked two. The Angel player goes first.

Game Play

Players alternate turns. Each turn is broken into two phases, collecting tokens and taking actions.

Collect tokens: On the first turn, no tokens will have been played on the board, so the player starts with all of them in hand. On subsequent turns, players begin by collecting their action tokens by removing them from the board.

Take Actions: After collecting the action tokens, each player takes three actions using the three action tokens. The tokens must each be used in one of two ways:

1) Increase power – once per turn, a player may increase a token’s power by flipping it to the side marked two. That token cannot be played on the board to take an action this turn. Powering up a token is permanent and lasts for the rest of the game.

2) Take an action – To use an action token, the player places a token on the board on an action space and executes the action indicated. Each action is paired with a symbol. The actions are resolved as follows:

  • Move: The player may move any one of her own creatures that holds the symbol paired with the action. If the token played is powered up (shows a two), the creature may move one or two spaces; otherwise, the creature may only move one space. For example, if the Angel player plays a powered up token onto the “Move Sun” space, she then may move an Angel creature that holds a Sun symbol up to two spaces. Moves can only be made between adjacent spaces.

  • Flip: The player may flip any creature (her own or her opponent’s) that holds the symbol paired with the action. Flipping creatures changes the symbols they hold (Suns change to Moons, Death changes to Life, and vice versa). If the action token played is powered up, the player may flip two creatures with this action.

  • Transport: The player may transport any creature (her own or her opponent’s) that holds the symbol paired with the action. Transport means the creature is moved to the space directly opposite its current location across the center space. If the action token played is powered up, the player may transport two creatures with this action.

Illegal Moves:

No Move or Transport action can move a creature onto a board space that contains action tokens or another creature. No action token can be played on a space containing a creature. Therefore, tokens and creatures block movement and also block actions.

End Turn:

After the player has used all three action tokens, her turn is over. Action tokens played on the board are left there and serve both to block the opponent’s movement and also to deny access to potential actions.


Play continues until a player connects three creatures holding the same symbol. For three creatures to be connected, they must occupy adjacent spaces (in a straight line of three, in a bent line of three, or in a triangle). At least one of the three creatures connected must be the player’s own creature type.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#6 Tower Builders

Tower Builders
A micro game for two players.
Play time: 2 to 5 minutes per game.

Consists of:
One deck of 14 x half business card size cards, as follows:
4 cards valued at 1 floor
4 cards valued at 2 floor
2 cards valued at 5 floor
2 cards valued at 10 floor
2 cards labeled “Collapse”

One player volunteers to shuffle, then deal 1 card to themselves, and to the other player. The deck is placed face down between the players. The player who did not shuffle and deal goes first. On your next game, you should swap.

Turn sequence:
Draw 1 card.

Play one card. You may either play the card you drew, or the card you were already holding, but not both.

When you play a floor valued card, place it on the table, each card above the last, so you can see them all as a tower.

When you play a collapse card, your opponent's entire tower is destroyed. The collapse card and the floor cards for their tower are all discarded.

If there are no more cards, then the next players turn is to play their last card, and then you play your last card. This ends the game.

A note on holding cards:
You may only hold a card for three turns. On the third turn, it must be played, and the new draw becomes the held card. If you are caught holding the card for four or five turns (or longer!), the card must be discarded as your next play by placing it face down on your tower. This takes your turn and you can not play any other card until your next turn. If you get away with this little cheat, by playing the card BEFORE you are caught, then it is too late, and your evil corruption will go unpunished! So, you can cheat, but you have to hope your opponent does not catch you! A face down card does not count towards your points at the end.

A note on discarded cards:
Discarded cards are never brought back into play. Once discarded, that card is removed from play completely, until the game is over and you start again.

To win the game, simply have the highest number of floors melded when the game ends.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#7 War Wizards

War Wizards

Wizards lead their armies into battle for ethereal dominance. Destroy the wizard, capture their power, strengthen your army for the next battle...


Game Board (10"x10" with a 6x6 grid of 1.5" square spaces.)

The grid represents the battleground. Rows are numbered 1-6 as well as columns. (Grid coordinates are used for Teleport Self spell effect.) The first two columns are Player 1’s Start-Zone. The last two columns are Player 2’s Start-Zone.

Outcome Tiles (Three 1"x2" tiles.)

Used to resolve combat, cast spells, unit movement and spell effects.

  • Tile 1: Front: 1, Back: 1
  • Tile 2: Front: 2, Back: 0
  • Tile 3: Front: 3, Back: 0

Terrain Tiles (Three 1"x2" tiles.)

Represents one of three terrains. Terrains occupy two grid spaces vertically or horizontally (not diagonally). Certain terrain may give advantages to certain Units.

  • Tile 1: Front: Forest, Back: Mountain
  • Tile 2: Front: Lake, Back: Forest
  • Tile 3: Front: Mountain, Back: Lake

Unit Tiles (Eight 1.5"x1.5" tiles.)

Represent the unit’s class. Each has a Defense (DEF) attribute and may have an Attack (ATT) bonus. Players get one Wizard and three Army units. Units are differentiated by one of two colors.

Wizards (DEF: 5) (x2)

  • Front: Wizard, Back: List of spells and their cast (CAST) requirement.

Armies (x6)

Three classes; Warrior (DEF: 4), Ranger (DEF: 3) and Rogue (DEF: 4, ATT: 1). Only Rangers have a projectile attack.

  • Four Tiles: Front: Warrior, Back: Ranger
  • Two Tiles: Front: Warrior, Back: Rogue

Instructions Card (One card.)

Card lists instructions/rules on the front and spell details and effects on the back.


The terms “drop/drops/dropped” refer to tiles being shaken and dropped.


  • Each player drops the Outcome tiles and adds the face-up values. The player with the highest total is Player 1 and will go first.
  • Each player gets one Wizard.
  • Players drop their three Army units. Face-up units join that player’s army.
  • Player 1 drops Terrain tiles. Face-up tiles become the terrain for the battle.
  • Player 2 takes the terrain closest to them and places it on the battlefield (Lake terrain cannot be placed in any Start-Zone). Player 1 places the next terrain and Player 2 places the last terrain.
  • Player 1 places one Army unit in their Start-Zone. Player 2 does the same and so on. (Wizards are placed last.)


Player declares that they will either Move, Attack or Cast.

  • Movement: Outcome tiles are dropped and the total becomes their movement points. Player may split points between units. All points must be expended.

  • Attack: Player declares attacker and target and drops Outcome tiles. Attacking unit's ATT value (plus any terrain adjustments) is added to the total. If the total is equal to or greater than the target’s DEF value (plus any terrain adjustments), the target is defeated.

  • Cast: Player declares a spell and target (if applicable) and drops the Outcome tiles. If the total is equal to or greater than the spell’s CAST value, the spell is cast. Player continues with the spell’s effect.


When a Wizard is killed, the attacking army is victorious regardless of any remaining units. If both Wizards are killed from a spell effect, the Wizard that cast the spell is the victor, albeit a very short lived victory.


  • No diagonal casting, targeting, attacking or moving.
  • No moving through or on other units.
  • Spell effects include diagonal spaces.
  • Ranger in forest has ATT +1. (Cannot target through 2nd forest space.)
  • Unit on mountain has DEF +1 against non-spell attacks/effects.
  • Casting range is 6 spaces.
  • Attack range is 1 space except for a Ranger (3 spaces). Ranger cannot target through non-targeted units.
  • Spells and Ranger attacks cannot go through mountains or forests. (Units on mountains may be attacked/cast upon.)
  • CAST drop does not determine effect.


  • Fireball (CAST: 3+)
    • Target: Forest
    • Effect: Terrain removed. Attack drop against each unit in forest.
  • Earthquake (CAST: 3+)
    • Target: Mountain
    • Effect: Terrain removed. Attack drop against each unit on mountain.
  • Flood (CAST: 4+)
    • Target: Lake
    • Effect: Attack drop against adjacent units (including diagonal).
  • Lightning Strike (CAST: 4+)
    • Target: Non-Wizard
    • Effect: Attack drop against target.
  • Teleport Self (CAST: 4+)
    • Target: Player's Wizard
    • Effect: Drop Outcome tiles to determine Column number. Drop Outcome tiles to determine Row number. Wizard teleports to new location.
richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#8 Cloak and Dagger

Players: 2
Time: 5 minutes

The heads of two families that have been enemies for centuries are the mayors of neighboring cities. Instead of resorting to all-out war, each mayor has been sending a series of criminals to do his dirty work, recruiting them from the countryside and pulling them off of his city’s own streets. Most of the riff-raff they send at each other are relatively harmless: peasants, thieves, and the like, and there’s not enough cells in the local prison for all of them. But if a mayor fails to imprison a sellsword or assassin, his career might end...along with his life.

12x 1.5” by 2” Character Cards (3 peasants, 3 thieves, 3 sellswords, 2 blackmailers, and 1 assassin)

1x Reference Card, detailing the effects of the 5 characters

1x Board (Countryside region in the center and a Prison, City, and City Gate region for each player; the Countryside, Prisons, and Cities are large enough to hold three Character Cards, the City Gates are large enough to hold one Character Card).

A player wins if he manages to get his opponent to Admit the Assassin or two Sellswords to her city. He wins if he Arrests the Assassin, or if his opponent has three Character Cards in her Prison. NOTE: All win conditions occur immediately. The turn does not continue to its completion.

Determine a starting player in a manner of your choosing. Deal 4 Character Cards to the starting player and 5 Character Cards to the following player. Place the remaining 3 Character Cards facedown in the Countryside.

Players take turns, beginning with the starting player. The player whose turn it is is the Active Mayor for the duration of his turn. The player whose turn it is not is the Passive Mayor. If a player has no Character Cards in his hand and there are no Character Cards in the Countryside, then he passes his turn, doing nothing.

Turn Sequence:

I. The Active Mayor chooses one:

A. Add a card from the Countryside to his hand. He can only choose this action if there are cards remaining in the Countryside. The Active Mayor’s turn immediately ends. (Skip parts II-V)

B. Place a Character Card from his hand face down onto the Passive Mayor’s City Gate, and declare what character is entering. He must declare the character according to the following rules:

1. He cannot declare the character that he actually placed on the City Gate. (Example: If James placed a Thief on the City Gate, he cannot declare “Thief.”)

2. He must declare a character that is in his hand. (Example: If James placed a Sellsword on the City Gate and has a Sellsword and a Peasant in his hand, he must declare “Peasant,” and he cannot declare “Blackmailer.”)

3. If all Character Cards in his hand match the card he placed on the City Gate, or he has no cards left in his hand, he can declare any character (ignoring rules 1 and 2).

II. The Passive Mayor chooses to Arrest or Admit the character on his City Gate, and announces his decision.

III. The Active Mayor reveals the Character Card he placed on the City Gate and resolves its effects according to the Reference Chart and whether the Passive Mayor announced “Arrest” or “Admit.”

IV. If the Passive Mayor announced “Arrest,” the Character Card on his City Gate is moved to his Prison. If he announced “Admit,” the Character Card is moved to his City.

V. If the Passive Mayor now has 3 Character Cards in his Prison, the Active Mayor wins. Otherwise, proceed to the next turn.

Character Reference Chart:

Assassin: Arrest - Passive Mayor wins. Admit - Active player wins.

Sellsword: Arrest - No effect. Admit - If there is already a Sellsword in Passive Mayor’s city, Active Mayor wins.

Thief: Arrest - No effect. Admit - Active Mayor steals a random card from Passive Mayor’s hand and adds it to his own hand.

Blackmailer: Arrest - No effect. Admit - Active Mayor names a character. Passive Mayor cannot place that character onto his opponent’s City Gate during his next turn. (Example: James is the Active Mayor and names “Assassin.” When it becomes his opponent Rose’s turn, she cannot place an Assassin Character Card onto his City Gate.)

Peasant: Arrest - No effect Admit - No effect

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Joined: 12/26/2009
#9 Mediterranean Convoy

Mediterranean Convoy
This is a copyrighted work. All rights reserved.

This game represents the situation in 1941 in the Mediterranean Sea, when Allies and Axis both were convoying through the same area, Allies to Malta, Axis to Africa.

5 rows by 7 columns rectangular grid filling a 10" by 10" surface

21 plastic pieces each 2 by 1.16 inches:

10 pieces per side, colored blank red or blue on one side. On the other side:
Cruiser, three Destroyers, four Merchant ships, two Submarines

One piece, "Air Strike" on both sides, red on one side, blue on other

Flip the Air Strike piece to determine first mover. First mover sets up first. Partially conceal the Air Strike piece under the board.

Set up with seven ships in the row closest to you, three anywhere in next row, all face down (owning player can look whenever desired).

Game End, and Winning:
A player wins when one of his/her Merchant ships is in the row furthest away.

If all Merchant ships of one player are destroyed, the player who still has at least one Merchant ship wins.

If a position on the board is repeated three times consecutively (same as Chess rule), the game ends and pieces are all revealed. The player with a Merchant closer to his goal wins; if same, then the one with more surviving Merchants wins; if same, the game is a draw.

Sequence of Play:
Move one piece at a time, players alternate. A piece can move one orthogonally, not diagonally. Only one piece may be in a rectangle except when one player attacks the other. A player must move a piece (except when using Air Strike).

When a ship moves into the same rectangle as an enemy ship (attacks), both are revealed and stay revealed remainder of game.
• When the moving ship (attacker) cannot destroy the target, the attacker bounces back to where it started the turn.
• When ships are same type, both are destroyed, except when both are Merchants, then the moving ship bounces back to where it started the turn.
• A Cruiser eliminates anything except a Submarine.
• A Destroyer eliminates a Merchant or Submarine.
• A Submarine eliminates a Merchant or Cruiser.
• A Merchant eliminates nothing.

Air Strike:
Instead of moving a piece, a player may call in an Air Strike, only once per game per player. Choose one rectangle in any of the two rows farthest from you. The Air Strike destroys whatever ship is there!

Also, reveal the Air Strike piece and turn it face up for the player who hasn't used his/her Air Strike. When that one is also used, put the piece underneath the board.

Optional Rules (can be used together or separately):

1. Flip the Air Strike piece (like flipping a coin) when both ships are the same type (other than Merchants, which still bounce), color shows winner, other ship is eliminated.
2. Flip when Air Strike is called in, Strike succeeds only when calling player's color results.
3. Treat the board's center square as land, impassable to any ship.
4. (Radical change). When the attacker can be destroyed by the target, then it is eliminated rather than bouncing.
5. Play with three Merchants and three Submarines per side. One Merchant piece is marked so that it can be a Submarine for this option. This piece can be used for other combinations, for example as a second Cruiser or fourth Destroyer along with three Merchants.
6. A ship cannot move backwards (toward its player)!
7. When a Merchant attacks another Merchant, both are eliminated.
8. When a Destroyer attacks a Submarine, flip the Air Strike piece. If the color of the Submarine comes up, the Sub survives and Destroyer bounces.

Further playtesting should solidify rules, and may show that one or more of the Optionals must be used in the standard.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#10 Beasts

The game can be played with 2-3 players. The pieces include: 13 unique cards, 1 marker card. The cards have different colored backs according to which class they are in. There is only 1 copy of each card.

Brown back (Brutal Races): Kobald(1), Orc(3), Rakshasa(12)

Black back (Undead): Zombie (2), Vampire(5), Lich (9)

Green back (Animals): Possessed Fox (4), Dire Wolf (6), Dire Elephant (8)

Silver back (Constructs): Flesh Golem (7), Iron Golem (11)

Gold back (dragon): Black Dragon (10), Gold Dragon (13)

Shuffle all the cards to form the deck. Place the marker card aside. Choose a start player.

On your turn:
1. Look at the top card of the deck
2. Do exactly one of the following:
-Place the card
-Use the card's power
3. Check the Marker.
4. Check if the deck is empty. If so, go into the scoring phase.
5. Otherwise, the player to your right begins his or her turn.

Placing a Card
There is one pile per player, each of which begins the game empty. To place a card, put it face-down on the top of a pile. If you place the card on a pile that after you place it has 2 more cards in it than another pile, take the marker.
Ex: In a 3-player game the piles right now have 3, 4, and 5 cards in them, respectively. Bob looks as the top card, which is the Vampire. He can use its power or place it. He chooses to place it on the pile with 5 cards in it. Because the pile now has 6 cards in it, which is 3 bigger than the pile with 3 in it, he takes the marker. If he had placed it in the pile with 4 in it, he would not have to take the marker.
You may take the marker even if someone already has it!

Using a Card's Power
The power of each card depends on its color. After using a card's power, discard it face-up to the discard.
Brutal Races - The Brutal Races attack everything they meet. Discard two cards from different piles, which may be anywhere in the pile, to the discard face up.
Undead- The undead have the potential to bring the apocalypse. You may only use the power of undead if the other undead is in a pile. End the game, moving immediately to the scoring phase.
Animals - Animals are fierce and reproduce quickly. Place the top two cards of the deck in different piles, without looking at their fronts.
Constructs - Constructs are good for forced labor. Move one card from a pile to another pile, without looking at its front.
Dragons – The intelligence of dragons sets them apart. Look at 3 cards in any piles, without showing them to everyone else.

Scoring happens at the end of every round. The scores for each round are added to one another to get the final score for the game.
The start player takes a pile, without looking at the fronts of the cards in it. If the game has only 2 players, the second player gets the remaining pile. If the game is 3-player, the second player chooses one of the 2 remaining piles, and the third player gets the last one.
If you have the marker, you may not choose the pile with the most cards in it! You may still take it if it is the only pile remaining, though.
The sum of the cards in the pile you have is the number of points you have for that round.

Play one round per player. Each player is the start player for one of those rounds.
The person with the most points after the rounds are over wins.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
#11 The treacherous pond

The treacherous pond

2 players, 2 minutes.

A mouse must cross the treacherous pond, for reasons only the mouse knows. Luckily there are water lilies in the pond. Can the mouse safely cross the pond?

One player plays the mouse (1 rectangular card) the other player plays the pond (6 rectangular cards with 2 lilies on each side of the cards, total 4 per card).

Every lily card has 2 leaves on both sides, and a number. The numbers are different making all lily cards unique. The number specifies either the size of the leaves (the number that is visible when the card is placed on the table) or the strength of the roots (the number that is not visible).

The pair of numbers on the six cards:

  • 1-2
  • 1-3
  • 1-4
  • 2-3
  • 2-4
  • 3-4

Example: When card 1-3 is placed with 3 on top, the leaves are 3 big, and the roots are 1 strong. When placed with the 1 on top, the leaves are 1 big, and the roots 3 strong.


The pond-player takes all lily cards and keeps them hidden from the mouse player. The pond-player may look at both sides of the cards. He selects one card and places it on the table. The short side of the mouse is placed next to the first lily of the lily-card.

Extension phase

The path of lilies is one line of lily-cards with the short sides against each other. It will be extended during the game. Every time the mouse has less than two lily cards in front of him (excluding the one he currently stands on) the pond-player adds lily cards. If the pond-player must add two lily cards at once (for instance, in the beginning of the game) the top numbers of the two added cards must be different. Also, after placing those two cards, the mouse can decide to change its track and switch the two cards (no turning over!). If the pond-player needs to add one card, there are no restrictions, and the mouse cannot change his path. When the pond-player has not enough cards, he adds what he has. The mouse is close to winning!

Jumping phase

The mouse has two options: A high jump or a long jump. Each card the mouse jumps off, is taken out of the game. Each card the mouse jumps over, is returned to the pond-player. When the mouse jumps off or over the last card in the row, he reaches the other side and wins. Jumping can be dangerous though, the mouse may fall in the water. The first time that happens, the mouse-card is turned over (the other side has a wet mouse picture). The second time that happens, the mouse-player loses.

A high jump

The mouse uses the size of the leave to jump high, and advances as many lilies as the number on top of the card where he begins the jump. The lily where he lands must be strong enough in its roots to hold the mouse. Turn that card over and check if the strength of the roots equals or is higher than the height of the jump. If not... the mouse falls in the pond.

A long jump

The mouse uses the strength of the roots, puts his nails in the roots and makes a long jump. Turn the current card over to see how many lilies the mouse advances. Where he lands, the leave must be big enough to support a proper landing. If the size of the leave equals or is higher than the length of the jump, the mouse is safe.

When the mouse fails the first time, he is wet (turn mouse card over) and the game continues as if the jump was fine. The second time, the mouse has lost the game.

Alternate extension and jumping phases until the game is over.

Important: The mouse player may not see the hidden side of the cards when there is no need to. This includes cards that go out of play and obvious safe lands: A high jump of height 2, landing on a card with leave size 1… do not turn over. This is a save move, the strength of the roots will be at least 2.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
#12 Witty Engine

Story / Overview
The temperature of the boiler is a very important part of the train. As the engineer in charge of it, you are in charge to maintain the temperature. But unfortunately, the other engineer in charge of it has different order than you. Try to stick to your order and keep the temperature of the boiler according to your task. It can only go hotter or colder. But watch out, the other engineer will also do the same and try to maintain it according to their task.
It is a game played by 2 players.

Game Contents:
• 4 Heat Up! Cards with no star symbol on the front
• 1 Heat Up! Card that has 1 star symbol on the front
• 1 Heat Up! Card that has 2 star symbol on the front
• 4 Cool Down! Cards with no star symbol on the front
• 1 Cool Down! Card that has 1 star symbol on the front
• 1 Cool Down! Card that has 2 star symbol on the front
• 2 Restore Normal! Cards
• 1 Rule Card that contains rule of the game and the image of the current temperature to be used in game
• All card is in 42.80 × 53.98 mm (1.68 inch x 2.12 inch )

Game Setup:
1. Combine the Heat Up! Card and the Cool Down! Card that has 1 star symbol. Shuffle and then put them face side down.
2. Each player takes one.
3. The one that picked the Heat Up! Card with 1 star symbol will have to make the temperature on the end on “Hot” to win the game.
4. The one that picked the Cool Down! Card with 1 star symbols will have to make the temperature on the end on “Cold” to win the game.
5. Combine the Heat Up! Card and the Cool Down! Card that has 2 star symbols. Shuffle and then put them face side down.
6. Each player takes one.
7. Besides the previous task, the one that picked the Heat Up! Card with 2 star symbols can also win the game by making the temperature on the end to “Hottest”.
8. Beside the previous task, the one that picked the Cool Down! Card with 2 star symbols can also win the game by making the temperature on the end to “Coldest”.
9. Combine all cards and then shuffle them together.
10. Divide the card to 7 cards each. Each player opens the card on their hand and then the game start.

Game Play:
1. The boiler temperature goes like this from lowest to highest :
2. Heat Up! Cards will change the temperature from “Coldest” to “Cold”, from “Cold” to “Normal”, from “Normal” to “Hot”, or from “Hot” to “Hottest”.
3. Heat Up! Cards will not change the temperature if it has already reached “Hottest”, but it can still be placed on the table and count as a valid move.
4. Cool Down! Cards will change the temperature from “Hottest” to “Hot”, from “Hot” to “Normal”, from “Normal” to “Cold”, or from “Cold” to “Coldest”.
5. Cool Down! Cards will not change the temperature if it has already reached “Coldest”, but it can still be placed on the table and count as a valid move.
6. Restore Normal! Cards will change the current temperature into Normal regardless of the current temperature.
7. Restore Normal! Cards cannot be used when each player has less than 3 cards on their hand. If any player will use it, it is a valid move but it will not affect the current temperature.

Turn Setup and Subsequent:
1. The temperature starts on Normal condition.
The player that has the goal “Hot” has to place their card first. Placed the card on the back side of the information card according to the current temperature.
2. Then the next players place his/her card on the table but before that player place his/her card, the last placed card has to be flipped closed.
3. Each player places their card in turn and they are not allowed to skip any turn.
4. Repeat the process until all cards have been placed on the table.

Winning Condition:
1. After all cards have been placed on the table, check the current temperature.
2. The player that has the same winning condition with the end temperature will win the round. If the current temperature is “Normal” then the game is a draw.
3. Take best out of 3 rounds to determine the winner.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
#13 Micro Robot Rodeo

The miniature 2-4 player game of strategy and misdirection.

Each player represents a competitor at a robotics competition, where the objective is to have your robot cross as many flags as possible while limiting the number of flags that your opponents can take. This is done by laying set programs into the floor, which affect both your robot and the robots of your opponents. The twist? You never know what your opponents have programmed until it’s already too late.


Players place the 10”x10” mat on a table which depicts a blank 8x8 grid (with squares a little bit larger than 1”x1” to prevent pieces from bumping into each other too frequently). Next, give each player a few game pieces (called programs) which affect the game for both players. Programs are 1”x2”, and show one of three symbols:

-Move: depicts a simple arrow that goes lengthwise on the piece. Whenever a robot enters a square that has a move arrow on it, their robot must turn in the direction indicated.
-Flag: crossing a flag grants you one point. It does nothing to change your movement.
-Start: Depicts two arrows (on either long end) and an arrow that indicates clockwise or counterclockwise. Wherever you place this program is where your robot will start its run (and the arrows show allowed directions). The rotation arrow shows which direction your robot will turn when it hits a wall. When you run into a Start, you pass through it as though it wasn’t there (just like a flag).


Players take turns placing their programs on the mat face down. Programs cover two spaces each (they're 2"x1", while the squares are 1"x1"). The pieces may not overlap. After each player has placed all of their programs (including starts, flags and moves), all players turn their starts face-up and declare the direction that they will use in turn order. After each has made their decision, flip over all programs (and be careful to make sure that they remain pointing in the correct direction). Have each player trace their path with their finger, adding one point for every time they cross a flag (no more than once per flag). The player that crosses the most flags wins the round!
In case of a tie, have a rematch.

When you have X players, give each player the following:
2 players: 4 move, 2 flag, 1 start (Best if both players use different rotations (clockwise/counterclockwise)
3 players: 3 move, 1 flag, 1 start (There is one fewer flag in this variant. If a player is new, you can have them go first and take the extra flag.)
4 players: 2 move, 1 flag, 1 start (Play with two teams, and have each team contain one clockwise and one counterclockwise Start piece.)

Strategy suggestions

-Because different players will have different rotations, you can give yourself unique routes if you use walls to turn.
-Because players are forced to turn a certain direction when they hit a wall, you can put an arrow that directs them backwards along a wall to lock them into a loop. This is intentional, and it makes for an interesting strategy to trap your opponent if they run into it.
-Don’t place your programs in any particular order: keep your opponent on your toes (but keep track of where you placed your Start program).

Regarding the contest rules:
The 2”x1” game pieces are made by cutting the business cards into thirds. There are 9 Moves, 4 Starts (two of each rotation), and 4 Flags in the game to accommodate the player counts, giving a total of 17/3 business cards, or 6 used cards total. The last game piece (to complete the 6th card) is an optional wall which is placed face up before the game begins, and behaves like one of the outer walls (you're forced to turn when you hit it). This variant is only recommended for more experienced players. Completing the sixth card makes it so that the pieces will stack up more cleanly for cleanup.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
#14 Fences


2-4 Players arrange cards to enclose an area in their chosen color, while attempting to prevent areas from being completed in their opponent's colors.

Card Description

Each of the seven cards in Fences are 2 inches by 3 inches. The cards are double sided, so each side has a unique set of lines in 4 different colors. The lines follow along the edges of a 1inch by 1inch grid, making a U or L shape of varying sizes as they enter and exit the card.


Your goal in Fences is to arrange cards so the lines of your color connect to enclose an area. When lines of your color connect to each other to enclose an area, the fence is completed, and you take each of the cards into your hand that were used to make that fence. A fence can be completed using 2 or more cards. If completing the fence would get you to a total of 4 cards in your hand, you win.

At the start of the game, each player picks one of the 4 colors that are on the cards, and players choose who will go first. Shuffle the cards into a deck.

On your turn, you play a card from the deck, the table, or from your hand:

  • If you have any cards in your hand, you must play one of the cards from your hand. In this way, you could lose your lead as you return cards to the table, unless you complete another fence to get cards back into your hand.

  • If there are no cards in your hand, but there are still cards in the deck, you play the top card from the deck.

  • If there are no cards in your hand or in the deck, you choose a card that's in play on the table to pick up and play where you want. When choosing a card from the table to pick up, you can't choose the card that was just played by the previous player, unless it is the only card on the table.

When you play a card, you place it on the table connected to another card in play, so at least one of the 1x1 inch squares on both cards are adjacent to each other. You choose which side you want to be face up, and how you want the card to be oriented; horizontally or vertically. No part of the card can overlap another card.

Additional Rules

Other players are allowed to see the number of cards in your hand, but feel free to hide the details on your cards so they don't know exactly what options you have.

Rarely in a 4 player game, you could end up with no cards in your hand, deck, or on the table, as each other player has cards. If this happens, skip your turn so other players can play cards from their hand.

You're not allowed to complete another players fence.

Cards have two playable sides, so you can see the top card of the deck. This information may help you set up a move or help you block the next player from scoring.

You can't look at the other side of cards that are on the table, until you pick up the card to play it. Unless you manage to memorize the details of each card, there can be some luck when choosing which card you want to play from the table, unsure if the other side of the card will have the line shape that you need.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
#15 Gold on the Junkyard

Game Components: 6 cards of junk (double-sided) and 1 gold card, 2 fingers. Both sides of the junk cards are divided in quarters with symbols on each quarter, light side and dark side.

Scene: There’s a gold bar under all that junk! Quickly! Help me remove all these useless things, so we (I) can pick it up.

Setup: Place the gold card on the table, 3 random junk cards are placed bright side up over it, leaving one corner free, on top of them are the 3 remaining cards placed bright side up, leaving the gold corner visible. Any variation in card placing is acceptable, only the two card layers have to be on top of each other.

Gameplay: Players take turns and have generally one action available each turn. The action is always a touch (tap) of a symbol on any card.
Each card has three "junk" symbols (wood, metal and paper) and a "turn another card to dark side" symbol on the light side. On the dark side, there is always one "junk" symbol, a "junk crane" symbol, a "cart" symbol and "take another card" symbol.

Touching a symbol is an action - on "junk" symbol the player removes the type of junk from the spot. Turning and taking cards is allowed once there is no junk left on the card, and no other card is covering it. "Cart" symbol is used as "tap two different card areas in one turn" action. The "junk crane" is used once the player takes the card with it. Only he can use it to move (not take) a card anywhere around the junkyard that has only the type of junk let on it his crane can move. The taken card cannot be used for other action than crane.

A player cannot tap a card area tapped in his opponent's and his last turn.

Win: The player who fully uncovers the gold card can take it and wins.

Note: I can imagine the game to be either cooperative (counting amount of turns) or competitive (winner).

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Joined: 12/26/2009

2 Players
<5 minutes

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
Deceit, betrayal and murder run amuck in the Danish Court as Hamlet tries to avenge his father. But vengeance is a messy business, and even if you win the battles, you will not necessarily win the war.

• King Claudius defeats Gertrude, Hamlet, Laertes, Ophelia and Polonius.
• Queen Gertrude defeats Hamlet, Laertes, Ophelia, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
• Prince Hamlet defeats Laertes, Polonius, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
• Knight Laertes defeats Ophelia, Polonius, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
• Maiden Ophelia defeats Hamlet, Polonius, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
• Advisor Polonius defeats Gertrude and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
• The Fools Rosencrantz and Guildenstern defeat Claudius.

Players attempt to psych one another out in a game built on deception, deduction and fortune.

HAMLET has some similar elements to “Pass the Trash” and “Screw Your Neighbor,” where the winner of each round is determined by the roles/value of the card each player locks in.

However the major difference in HAMLET is that the sole survivor at the end of the game determines the overall winner. That means while you may lose all 3 rounds, you can still win the game.

Like I said, vengeance can be tricky.

Players can make 1 of 3 moves each round.
The player that goes first in each round may lock, trade or draw.
Players that go second may only lock or draw.

Lock – Locking one’s role means they are keeping their card for the reveal at the end of the round.
Trade – The first player of the round may choose to trade cards with their opponent. The second player of the round will still have the option to lock or draw.
Draw – Trade your current card for a random one in the remaining pool of role cards. Shuffle the role cards after discarding your original role.

Round 1
Each player chooses 1 random role from the available 7 role cards and looks at it.
Player 1 may lock, trade or draw.
Player 2 may lock or draw their role card.
Each player reveals his or her role cards.
A winner for the round is determined based on each player’s card, and these role cards are removed from the game.

Round 2
Round 2 begins using the remaining 5 role cards. Whoever won round 1 goes first.
Winner of Round 1 may lock, trade or draw a new card.
Loser of Round 1 may lock or draw their role card.
Reveal cards, determine winner for the round and remove these roles from game.

Round 3
Round 3 begins using the remaining 3 role cards. Whoever won round 2 goes first.
Winner of Round 2 may lock, trade or draw a new card.
Loser of Round 2 may lock or draw their role card.
Reveal cards, determine winner for the round and remove these roles from game.

After 3 rounds only one role card remains. This unused role card is the sole survivor of Hamlet’s revenge and helps determine the winner of the game.

If the sole survivor is Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet or Laertes, the player that won the most rounds wins the game.

If the sole survivor is Ophelia, Polonius, or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the player that lost the most rounds wins the game.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
#17 Micro Battle Arena


There are Bosses to defeat and Worlds that need battle at a time. Micro Battle Arena places you in one of these battles. Through a classic RPG-style turn based system, you will choose to go on the offensive, prepare to defend or recharge your strength. At your disposal are the powers of the elements or your own brute strength. Drive down your opponent’s hit points and emerge the victor.

Component Explanation

I have designed this with 2 different sized cards in mind 2 X 3 (large card) 1 X 2 (small card)

Each player receives

  • (1) Status Tracking Card (large card):

  • this is divided into 3 sections (Health, Energy & Defense). Each section is numbered from 1-5.

  • (3) Status Tracking Sliders (small card):

    • Health: (2-sided) one side of this slider is “0+”, the other side is “5+”. This allows for a game of 10 hit points starting with the slider on the “5+” side lined up with the 5 on the “Status Tracking Card”

    • Energy: Only 5 points allowed

    • Defense: Only 5 points allowed
  • (4) Action Cards (small card):* These are 2 sided [Water/Fire, Earth/Lightning, Melee/Ranged, Heal/Energize]

Game Overview

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round progresses through 3 phases: Preparation: In this phase, players determine what their course of action will be for the round. They must choose either an Action (Elemental/Physical Attack, Health/Energy Increase) or Defend. This decision is kept secret until the next phase. Since the Action cards are 2-sided it would be best to keep your selection in your hand so your opponent won’t be able to narrow down your decision.

Reveal: Once both players have made their choice, the Action cards are revealed. There are three types of Action cards and they are described in further detail in the “Action Cards” section:

Attack: Physical [Melee, Ranged] or Elemental [Fire, Water, Earth, Lightning] Recover: Heal, Energize Defend: The absence of choosing a card signifies the decision to defend.

Battle: In this phase, attacking, recovering and defending is performed in the following steps:

Move “Defense” slider +1 (If no “Action” was chosen) Move “Energy Slider +1 (If “Energize” was chosen) Increase “Health” slider +1 (If “Heal” was chosen) Determine how many points of damage will be done on an attack (player with lowest Health attacks first). Defending player may spend Defense points to mitigate the damage Decrease “Health” slider to account for the points of damage done by your opponent.

If either players’ hit points have been reduced to zero after Step 5, that player loses. Otherwise, a new round starts with the Prepare phase.

Action Cards

  • Attack: For all “Attack” Cards, players do one point of damage to their opponent. The attack can be modified by the following: One extra point is added for Elemental Advantages (see the “Elemental Advantages” section.) The player chooses to use one of their Energy points to increase the attack.

Example A: Player A has chosen to attack with Lightning and so will do (1) point of damage no matter what Player B chooses. However, Player B has chosen to attack with Water so Player A will do an extra point of damage since Lightning Elemental attacks have a specific advantage over Water Elemental attacks. Example B: Player B has been saving Energy points and currently has a total of 3. They choose a Melee attack and Player A chooses a Fire attack. Player B will do (1) point of damage for their Melee attack, (+1) point of damage since Melee has an Advantage over all Elemental attacks and (+1) point of damage because they choose to use one of their Energy points.

  • Recover: When either Heal or Energize are played, the player will move the appropriate slider to add one point on the “Status Tracker”.

  • Defend: When no Action card is played the player has chosen to Defend. The “Defense” slider on the “Status Tracker” should be advanced one point (Battle phase Step 1). Defense points can be spent (Battle phase Step 4) to decrease the damage done during an Attack.

Elemental Advantages

The Elemental Advantages for each Action are printed on the card but the following is a breakdown of how the various Attacks affect each other.

Fire: > Earth; < Water; = Lightning Water: > Fire; < Lightning; = Earth Earth: > Lightning; < Fire; = Water Lightning: > Water; < Earth; = Fire Melee > Elemental Ranged: No advantage when Attacking but (-1) to the Attack when Defending.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#18 Triad


An epic 7-minute battle of wits between 2 nuclear superpowers.

One component is a "board" filled with a 5x5 grid of 2” squares. The middle three rows are all ocean. The remaining 2 edge rows (“home rows”) represent either player’s country. On a home row, the center square is that player’s Capitol City, worth 3 points. On either side of the Capitol City are 2 Defense Centers, worth 1 point each. On the 2 outermost squares are 2 Minor Cities, worth 2 points each.

The other components in the game are 2 differently-colored sets of 7 1.5” cards. The cards come in 5 flavors of units, either 1 or 2 of each: ICBM, Aircraft, Fleet, Submarine, Spy. Each unit has rules governing its movement and what it can destroy:

-ICBM: Moves 2 squares per turn, but always towards the enemy country. Once moved, it is considered “launched” and it MUST be moved on subsequent turns. Armed with a simple but powerful nuclear warhead, it detonates as soon as it enters an occupied square, destroying any non-Aircraft unit there. Also, Cities destroyed by ICBM are worth an extra point.

-Aircraft: Moves 1 square diagonally. It is the only unit that can take down a “launched” ICBM. Being airborne, it is invulnerable to ICBMs and Submarine attacks. It carries small nuclear weapons, allowing it destroy anything it overflies except enemy Fleets.

-Submarine: Moves 1 square in any direction while submerged (face down) OR surfaces/submerges (flips over). While submerged, it is invulnerable to everything except ICBMs and Submarine attacks, yet it can only attack when surfaced. Once surfaced, however, its powerful nuclear missiles can defeat any adjacent opponent.

-Fleet: Moves 1 square orthogonally. It can defeat Aircraft, surfaced Submarines, and Defense Centers. Carrying only conventional weaponry, it cannot destroy ICBMs, other Fleets, or Cities.

-Spy: Moves any number of squares in one direction (queen in chess). Its main use is determining the identity of enemy units, but it can also be sacrificed to destroy a Defense Center. Defensively, it is the weakest unit, but an enemy must discard an Ammo card to destroy it
-Defense Center: Not technically a unit since they're part of the "board", but they can be used to destroy adjacent units by expending 1 Ammo, except for ICBMs, which require 2 Ammo. A Defense Center without Ammo is useless, but until it is disabled, it is hard to destroy an adjacent City.

-Cities: They aren’t units and don’t contribute anything to combat, but if you lose 2 or 3 of them, you’ll probably lose the game.

Setup: Each player places their 7 units face down. He then randomly draws 2 units. These units remain face down just behind his 2 Defense Centers, representing those Centers’ Ammo. The remaining 5 units must then be placed face down on the player’s home row.

Game flow: Players alternate turns "using" exactly 1 unit or Defense Center per turn. “Using” a unit just means either moving it or attacking adjacent squares in the case of Submarines and Defense Centers. Units remain face down until they engage an enemy (by attacking or moving into it), upon which both units are turned face up momentarily (similar to Stratego). Anytime a City or Defense Center is destroyed, any unit there is also destroyed. The attacking unit is out of ammo at that point and remains on top of its target until the end of the game to indicate points scored.

The game ends when either player has no more units left to use. Each player then adds up their points. Player with the most points wins.

Major Hooks:

Large replayability due to different force composition: “I didn’t draw a Fleet or a Spy, but I have 2 powerful ICBMs this time!”

Initial unit placement matters: “I’ll use my Fleet to protect my Sub” or “I’ll put 2 Ammo on this Defense Center and use Aircraft to shore up the other side”

Bluffing and keeping the enemy uncertain of your plan is important: “Is my opponent trying to position a Submarine off my coast, or is that a Spy that will cost me big if I attack it?”

Varying point values leads to different strategies: “Do I work hard to take down the Defense Centers so I can get the high-value Capitol, or should I go for the easier Minor Cities?”

Quickly and easily translates into a compelling story of 2 warring superpowers with direct confrontations, subtle conniving, and epic stakes.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#19 Haunted House pocket game

I have a simple and fun haunted house game to meet your December game requirements. Explore 7 rooms of a haunted house to find a lost secret while avoiding monsters and ghosts lurking in the rooms. Each room also has objects to either help or hinder your search.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#20 Micro Play-Break: Combat

Micro Play-Break: Combat

In this game, you are a commander of a small army. Deploy your five unique troops strategically to defeat your foe!

Objective: The first player to defeat all of their opponent’s combat units wins!

10 Troop cards (2 each - Shieldbearer, Swordsman, Spearman, Archer, Medic) – half-business card sized.
(optional) 2 Battalion cards, with 1-4 written on the sides – half-business card sized.
(optional) Battle board with two 2x3 grids for Troop placement.

Each player takes one of each Troop card and one Battalion card (if used). The player who has most recently played a war-based game goes first.

Gameplay is split into three phases – Deployment, Combat, and Recovery.

In the Deployment phase, commanders will place their 5 Troops face-down in a 2x3 grid (Front Row and Back Row, three columns wide). Commanders should alternate placing one Troop at a time. The Front Row must be filled before filling the Back Row. If both Commanders have 4 or less troops, then only two columns are used.

Troops have different effects based on whether they are played in the Front or Back Row (see table on Troop Effects), so these effects should be taken into account when deploying your Troops. These effects are written on the cards as well, with the Front Row effect on the top of the card and the Bottom Row effect on the bottom of the card.

After both Commanders have deployed their Troops, the Troop cards are flipped face-up and their effects resolved in the Combat phase.

In the Combat phase, Troops will attack one another based on their location in the grid.

Front Row: Deals 1 Wound to Front Row enemy Troop in column.
Back Row: Gives one adjacent troop the First Strike effect.

Front Row: First Strike – Deals 1 Wound to Front Row enemy Troop in column.
Back Row: Deals 1 Wound to Front Row enemy Troop in column.

Front Row: Deals 1 Wound to either enemy Troop in column.
Back Row: Deals 1 Wound to Front Row enemy Troop in Column.

Front Row: Grants column immunity to Archer and Spearman
Back Row: May sacrifice self to prevent one wound to an adjacent Troop.

Front or Back Row: At end of Combat, may recover one adjacent Wounded Troop.

Adjacent is defined as any unit one square away in any non-diagonal direction.

Combat is resolved in the following order, with all eligible troops acting simultaneously:
First Strike Troops resolve first (regardless of Row), then
Any unwounded Front Row Troops, then
Any unwounded Back Row Troops.

A Back Row Shieldbearer may be activated at any time if an adjacent Troop would suffer a Wound. A Back Row Swordsman applies his effect at the start of combat.

If a Troop takes a Wound, rotate it 90 degrees in either direction to indicate the wound. A Wounded Troop cannot act this combat. If a Troop takes two Wounds during the Combat phase, then they are immediately removed from the game. After Wounds have been inflicted, the Combat phase ends.

During the Recovery phase, the Medic (if unwounded) may choose one adjacent Troop and heal their wound. Any other Wounded Troops are removed from the game. After the Recovery phase has ended, the cycle will start again at the Deployment phase, with the Commanders placing their remaining Troops.

Endgame: If a commander no longer has any combat Troops (Swordsman, Spearman, Archer), then their army is routed and the opposing player wins! If both players are routed simultaneously, then the player with more remaining Troops is the winner. If both players have the same amount of remaining Troops, then the game ends in a draw.

Gameplay variant – Battalion mode: For longer Play-Breaks, this variant can be used. In the Battalion variant, each commander has 2-4 squads of troops. Gameplay is identical to that of the standard mode, with the following exceptions:

The Battalion card is used, and each Commander rotates the card so that the starting number of squads is facing them.

When a squad has been routed, the routed Commander rotates the card to one number lower, and starts with a fresh squad of 5 Troops.

The victorious Commander may choose to reinforce their current squad with one defeated Troop card. Play then continues.

The game ends once a Commander has had their last squad routed.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#21 Micro Play-Break: JOUST


14 – two-sided Jousting Cards (1in x 1in)

1- Tournament Board (10in x 10in)


As in the olden days of jousting a Knight gains points by unseating or out-performing his opponent. Knights (players) gain one point for every Adjust Lance Card they play that is not countered by an opponents Adjust Shield card. The first Knight to score 3 points is said to have won the tournament having unhorsed his noble opponent.


Place the Tournament Board between both players, shuffle the Jousting Cards, and place the cards in two separate equal draw decks in the designated Royal Pavilion and Peasant Crowd areas of the Tournament Board.

Game Play:

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, m’ Lords, Ladies, Peasant Folk and Children of all ages! This glorious tournament shall unfold swiftly before your eyes in rounds as each Knight simultaneously plays his chosen Jousting Cards progressively down the Tilt Track towards their inevitable meeting and the resolution of the pass. If a score of three is not reached by either Knight additional passes may commence until such an event.

Rounds shall be taken in two simple phases: a draw phase and a play phase.

The first round shall begin with the Knight of most senior age selecting one* Jousting Card from either draw deck and placing it in his hand whilst keeping the underside of the card hidden where only he may see. The younger Knight then does likewise. Once both Knights have drawn they must then simultaneously take part in the play phase. At the same time both Knights must either play a single* card on his end of the Tilt Track (see Tournament Board) or abstain from playing. All rounds shall continue likewise except that the right to draw first shall alternate between the brave Knights.

A pass immediately ends when one or more Knights are unable to draw and has no reserve cards to play. At the end of a pass, Knights calculate their points by subtracting the number of their opponent’s Adjust-Shield cards from their own Adjust-Lance cards. If both Knights score 3 or more points it is a draw. If both Knights score fewer than 3 points another pass may be undertaken adding points to their score to win the match.

*Card rules may affect this.

Tournament Board:

We witness from above a medieval jousting tournament about to take place. In two opposing corners of the board our chivalrous knights pose mounted and ready to charge. Diagonally between them runs the Tilt Track with spaces for players to play up to fourteen Jousting Cards. On either side of the track we see cheering spectators with nobility in one corner in colorfully constructed royal pavilions and the raucous peasantry rabble in the other. In each spectator section there is a space designated for a draw deck of Jousting Cards.

Jousting Cards:

Jousting Cards are two sided with various combinations of effects on each side. Card’s effects will either be resolved at the time indicated by the card.

Effects include:

  • Adjust Lance – Contributes to final score.
  • Adjust Shield – Negates an opponent’s lance card.
  • Horsemanship – Play two cards next round.
  • Crowd’s Favor – Draw two cards next round.
  • Brace for Impact – Triple the effect of the next shield or lance card played.
  • Feign Move – Play this hiding another card to be revealed and take effect on any round you chose.

Example Round:

Lancelot and Arthur wish to play a quick game of JOUST.

Arthur is older so he draws first. On the peasant crowd side there is an Adjust Shield card face up and on the noble crowd side a Crowd’s Favor card face up. He draws the Crowd’s Favor card revealing an Adjust Lance card below it. Lancelot is left with a choice between Adjust Shield and Adjust Lance. He chooses Adjust Lance. (Draw Phase is done)

The two Knights take a second to view the hidden side of their respective cards.

“Ready set go.”

They each quickly play a card down on the Tilt Track in the vacant track space closest to them.

Arthur has played his Crowd’s Favor card and Lancelot played Brace for Impact, which was on the hidden side of his card. The round is over.

In the next round Lancelot will have first choice during the draw phase. They will continue to place their respective cards on the vacant spaces closest to them on the tilt track progressing down the track towards each other.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#22 mini Life

Mini Game of Life

  • this game is inspired by Conway's Game of Life, 2 players;


  • 36 square "Cell" pieces (each one sixths business card)
  • 1 "board" with 6*6 squares The cell pieces are two-sided with a red cell on one side and a blue cell on the other. The cells are formed such that they point in one direction.

How to win

You win when all cells of the opponent's color are eliminated

Initial Placement phase

Each player places 3 three cells on the board. This happens in alternating order. More precisely: BRRBRB (with B being player Blue and R player red).

After the placement phase the next phase starts:

Decision phase

The decision phase consists of three identical turns. The players alternate in making their moves in the same pattern as above. In each turn, each player has to choose one of the following options: - move: move one cell, movement is allowed in horizontal or vertical direction - turn: turn the direction of one cell (can point in any direction, horizontal, vertical, diagonal) - raise: when two or more cells point at the same free adjacent field (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) you can put a new cell of your color in this field pointing in the direction of your choice.

After the 3 turns are over the next phase starts:

Growth phase

In this phase all the cells grow or decease. Follow the order for both subjects simultaneously. 1. Dying (loneliness): Each cell without a (vertical or horizontal) neighbour of the same color dies (remove it from the board) 2. Dying (crowding): Each cell with 3 or more neighbors (vertical or horizontal) dies simultaneously. 3. Growing: Place a cell in front of each cell (of the same color). If both players could place a cell at the same field, only the player who has more cells pointing at this field can place a cell. If there is a tie, no cell will be placed 4. Killing: Each cell kills an enemy cell in front of it (in the direction it faces). This does not happen if that cell points in the opposite direction (i.e. if both would kill each other). The killing also happens simultaneously

Repeat the decision and growth phase until the game ends. After each growth phase the alternating pattern switches.


This variant might be quite tricky to play correctly but could lead also to some very fast rounds. In principal the material of this game allows for different sets of rules giving you potentially many games in one.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#23 Hazardous Waste

2 players, 5 minutes

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it! Can you clean up against your opponent? There’s no time to waste.


1 full card with rules
12 half size cards (two-sided)
Each card represents some sort of hazardous waste. There are three types of waste in the game: explosive, corrosive, and radioactive. There are four cards of each type. Each card has a spill side and a clean side.


Decide who will go first. Both players receive two cards of each type. Place one of each type in front of you, spill side up. The other set is your hand. Place the rule card between the players. It serves as a point of reference to show where cards are played. There are six spaces around it where a card can be played (two on each long side and one on each short side). Each of the six spaces has an arrow to allocate it as belonging to one of the players, so that each player has three spaces in an alternating pattern. Either player can play cards to any space, but both players are trying to manipulate the play area so that you have a card of each type on the clean side in the spaces that belong to you.


On your turn you choose one of five options:
1) Play a card to any empty space (either side up, your choice).
2) Flip over one of the played cards.
3) Move a card to an adjacent open space.
4) Switch the spaces of 2 adjacent cards.
5) Clean up your mess - based on the cards at your spaces, flip the cards in front of you to match.

Important: You may not immediately undo the move made by your opponent.

Clarification of Clean up your mess. You are trying to get the cards in front of you flipped to the clean side. In order to flip them you need to pick “Clean up your mess” with a card of the same type in one of the spaces in the play area showing the clean side. When you choose “Clean up your mess” you will have 1, 2, or 3 cards at your spaces in the play area. It is possible that you could have two cards of the same waste type at your spaces. You are trying to out maneuver your opponent, so that you can get cards in your spaces on the clean side. As an example, if you choose “Clean up your mess” and you have a radioactive waste card at one of your spaces on the clean side, you get to flip the radioactive waste card in front of you to the clean side to match. However, if you have any cards at your spaces on the spill side you also have to flip the corresponding cards in front of you to the spill side. If you have two cards in your spaces of the same type with one on the spill side and one on the clean side you would not flip your card at all.

Game End

Once the last space in the play area is filled, each player gets one more turn and the game ends. The player with the most waste cleaned wins. Tie goes to the player who played the last card. However, if anyone gets all three of their messes cleaned up all at once beforehand they win!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#24 Common Cold War

Common Cold War

A quick 2 player tile laying game about fighting off a mutating strain of common cold.

it would be much easier to explain the rules with simple graphic

Components consist of the seven “business cards” cut into two pieces to create seven 2x1 tiles and seven 2x2 tiles. The tiles are further divided, so each tile is created from 1x1 squares (two squares for 2x1 tile and four for 2x2). On top of each tile there is a graphic representing a vrius (maybe in a cartoon style, to keep the theme lighthearted). Tiles are two sided, representing the cold virus on one side (red) and the antibodies on the other (blue). Each tile has a action symbol on each side (giving each tile 4 symbols). Apart from the color and graphics (slight variation on the same picture, so it is more accessible to those who are colorblind), the tiles are the same on both sides and have exactly the same action symbols.

Gameplay starts by dealing out 7 tiles to each player at random. The disease player (red) starts by placing one tile on the table his side up. The antibodies player (blue) needs to place a tile so it connects fully to at least one of the 1x1 square of the tile present on the table. Once the tile is placed, execute any action symbol that touches the tile already laying on the table. The players alternate turns by placing a tile and following the rules of each action symbol that touches any of the tiles already on the table. Game ends when both players are out of tiles. The player with most tiles of his color present at the table is the winner.

Action symbols are icons that represent the gameplay effects that affect the tiles present on the table. When a new tiles enters the table, it will flip, remove or otherwise affect the tiles it touches. Each tile has 4 symbols, one on each side. They can be any combination from the ones below: Flip - most common symbol, if the side with this symbol touches any tiles on the table, flip those tiles so they show the other colored side. Destroy - remove any tile from the game that touches the side with this symbol. Return - remove the tile and give it to the player whose side is visible (red or blue). Protection - This symbol does not have effect on its own, but when a new tile touches the side with a protection symbol, it does not affect it. Overtake - treat the tiles that are touched by this symbol as they just entered the table, execute each action symbol of this tile that are touching any other tile, including the one you just placed.

Other rules: The 1x1 squares on each tile exist solely, so it is easier for players to distinguish what can be played and where without the need of 1x1 gridded board. Players can place their tiles anywhere as long as their tile is touching at least one 1x1 square with a 1x1 square of a tile on the table. The 1x1 squares need to touch entirely. You can place tiles this way, so they touch more than one 1x1 square of one or more tiles already present on the board. Tiles can not be placed on top of one another, if you cannot fit a tile inside the pattern on the table you need to choose a different tile or different spot on the “board”. If you can’t do any of those, you need to discard one of your tiles in hand. The replayability comes from the emerging pattern on the board and how different tiles will change it during the game. While each game should only take couple minutes, some players might spend extra time trying to decide what and where to play, hence the analogy to cold war - the waiting game. One tile can have more than one of the same action symbol. We can have a tile that is a flipper (flip icon on each side) etc.

The 10x10 grid “board” is an extra. To keep with the theme of fighting off a cold, it could be an old timey handkerchief. It can be used as a board so it limits the amount of space available for gameplay. It can be used as a “container” for the tiles, so the players blindly draw one tile per turn.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
#25 Arm Up!

Arm Up!

The two-player battle game of picking the right weapon!

Welcome to the Arena!

You and your opponent will send out great fighters to battle each other for glory. Arm them with the best weapons to win the game!


6 Battle Cards (3 Fighter Cards, 3 Weapon Cards) 3 Victory Tokens (⅓ Business card)


Simple! Place the 3 Victory Tokens in the center of the table and have one player take all 6 Battle Cards (this player will start the game).

Playing the Game

Gameplay can be broken down into 5 simple steps.

1) The starting player selects and plays one of the 6 Battle Card facedown in front of him and discards another Battle Card facedown in the center of the table.

2) The other player takes the remaining 4 Battle Cards, plays one facedown in front of him, and discards another facedown in the center of the table.

3) The starting player takes the remaining 2 Battle Cards, plays one facedown, and hands the one remaining Battlecard to the other player.

  • You have to build a fighter+weapon combo! If the starting player played a weapon card in step 1, he must play a fighter card if able. Similarly, if he played a fighter card in step 1, he must play a weapon card if able.

4) Both players reveal their two Battle Cards and determine who wins the battle by comparing the combat score of each player’s fighter+weapon combo.

  • Weapons can’t fight by themselves! If a player has two weapons and no fighter, he automatically loses combat.

  • The Arena is for 1-on-1 combat only! If a player has two fighters and no weapon, he selects only one of these fighters and compares that fighter’s combat score with his opponents combined fighter+weapon score.

  • Tiebreaker: If combat scores are tied, the Swordsman wins all ties and the Brawler loses all ties (see Battle Card section below).

5) The winner of combat takes one Victory Token. If he now has 2 Victory Tokens, he wins the game! If not, the starting player picks up all 6 Battle Cards and hands them to the other player (making him the new starting player). Repeat steps 1-4.

Battle Cards

The Battle Cards are divided into 3 Fighter Cards and 3 Weapon Cards, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Fighter Cards

The Archer (Combat Score: +1): Completely untrained in melee combat, the Archer struggles in close-up fights, but can not lose if he gets his bow.

The Swordsman (Combat Score: +2): With his sword, he can win any close-up fight, and without it, his natural strength makes him capable of winning in hand-to-hand combat. The Swordsman wins all ties.

The Brawler (Combat Score: +3): A monster of a man, the Brawler doesn't necessarily need a weapon to defeat his foes, but can still benefit from a sword or brass knuckles. The Brawler loses all ties.

Weapon Cards

The Legendary Longbow (Combat Score: +9 for the Archer): This bow requires tremendous skill to use effectively. A fighter with no training in archery will get no benefit from it.

The Sword (Combat Score: +3 for the Swordsman. Otherwise +2): Anyone can benefit from a sword, but practice makes for a much deadlier weapon.

Brass Knuckles (Combat Score: +1): Resorting to hand-to-hand combat? These Brass Knuckles will help anyone.

Designer Notes

Arm Up! takes the one-on-one combat theme of Micro Play Break’s Duel and creates a different setting and a very different mechanical framework. The heart of this game is the hidden play-discard mechanic. This mechanic creates interesting decisions for players where they have to try and guess which of the two missing cards was played, and smart play-discard choices can force opponents to draw a second fighter or, even worse, a second weapon (e.g. player 1 plays Sword, discards Archer; player 2 plays Brawler, discards Swordsman; player 1 has to either play bow or brass knuckles). The weapon & fighter combo system was designed after the play-discard mechanic as a simple component-light method to play with this core feature. The card balance is designed so that there are 18 different possible fighter+weapon combos, and each fighter wins 6 of these 18.

On card design: To ease combo associations, suggested combo cards can have the same background color: The Longbow and the Archer could have a green background; the Sword and the Swordsman could have a blue background; the Brass Knuckles and the Brawler could have a red background.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009



20 color counters:

• 4 cavalry (2 each)
• 4 infantry (2 each)
• 4 archers (2 each)
• 2 heroes (1 each)
• 2 “1/2 build” counters
• 4 cave cards (1 dragon, 1 goblin horde, 1 burrowing horror, & 1 artifact)

Game board 5x5 square grid, featuring:

• 4 caves (1 in each corner square)
• 1 lake (center square)
• 4 villages (1 in each starting area)
• 4 keeps (1 in each starting area)


3 ways to win:
• Occupy opponents starting keep
• Eliminate all opponent’s troops from board
• Force opponent to submit


Each player begins with 1 counter of each troop type, including hero.

Board has 4 starting areas, consisting of middle 3 squares along each edge, plus the center square of the second row (creating a triangle of three bottom squares and a single top square containing unique keep and village configuration).

Losing player of previous game, or game’s owner if there no previous game, chooses starting area and distributes his 4 counters between keep and village of chosen starting area. His opponent must place his troops in opposite starting area, but takes first turn.



Each occupied village generates 1/2 of a troop build (1 village = 1/2 build, 2 villages = 1 full build, 3 villages = 1 1/2 build, and all 4 villages = 2 full troop builds).

Unspent builds are lost, but 1/2 of build may be retained between turns (flip “1/2 build” counter face up).

Any troop type may be built, but player must have chosen troop in reserve. Chosen troop(s) are held aside in build queue to be placed during the reinforcement phase.


Each troop may move 1 square, including diagonally. Cavalry may move 2 spaces, however they must stop movement if they enter a square occupied by enemy forces. The hero must always remain stacked with other troop types; if the hero is ever alone in a square, he is automatically removed from the board.

If stacks of opposing counters occupy the same square, then conflict resolution must take place after all other movement has been completed. Multiple stacks may be moved into an enemy occupied square temporarily exceeding the stack limit, but after conflict resolution any excess troops must be discarded.

If the player has a hero in a cave square, then he may choose to explore the cave during conflict resolution.

No troops may enter the lake square.


The players compare opposing stacks. If multiple stacks move into an occupied square (from different squares) they fight separate battles with the defender choosing which stack to resolve conflict with first.

Each troop will inflict 1 kill on an opposing troop, with the following exceptions:

Cavalry: immune to archers
Infantry: immune to cavalry
Archer: immune to infantry
Hero: immune to all, except another hero

All kills are resolved simultaneously, so any troops eliminated still inflict 1 kill. Each player chooses which of his opponent’s forces are lost, subject to the above restrictions.


Red’s stack contains 1 cavalry and 1 archer.
Black’s stack contains the hero and 2 infantry.

Red decides archer kills 1 black infantry. Red cavalry is ineffective against the black hero and second infantry.

Black chooses to kill red cavalry with 1 infantry, but second black infantry is ineffective against red archer, so black hero kills red archer.

Result: Red has no troops remaining, and black controls the square with his hero and 1 infantry.


A hero on a cave may explore. Turn card cave face up. If it is the artifact, the hero may take it.

Artifact grants the hero the ability of First Strike: he may use his kill before any other conflict is resolved, preventing one opposing troop from acting.

If it is a monster, the hero and his stack must fight. Each monster acts as a stack of troops:

Dragon: 2 archers, 1 cavalry
Goblin Horde: 2 infantry, 1 archer
Burrowing Horror: 2 cavalry, 1 infantry

Monster is removed from the board if all 3 “troops” are killed.


A keep grants a free automatic First Strike kill before any other conflict is resolved. This kill may be any troop type other than a hero. A keep attacked by a hero with the artifact loses this free kill.


Any troops in the players build queue may now be place on the board. Reinforcements may be placed in any occupied village, occupied keep, or the players starting keep. Remember the stacking limit of 3 non-hero troops.

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