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[GDS] NOVEMBER 2014 "Empires in autumn"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

We have a winner: Geoengineering 101 by firstcultural

It was a close race this month, with 2nd and 3rd tying only 2 points behind. Congratulations go to those entries and designers

Mystic Fog and Dynasty by anthiasgames and Ruy343, respectively.

Now head on over to the critiques thread to check out the feedback schedule!

Like some numpty I missed two of the entries in the google spreadsheet. My apologies; To compensate, I've posted the entry and deleted the four votes submitted so far. It's the only fair action I figure I can see and continue with the challenge this month.

Please revote, if you have already.

Lots of new participants this month; as you'll see when designer names are released after the vote. I'm impressed by the amount of quality in this month's entries - designers rose to the challenge of an Empire in decline.

When you're ready to vote, use this voting form.

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

Voting continues through the 16th

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

Continuing a trend on the BGDF design challenge, we're going to challenge ourselves by flipping a familiar concept on its head.

Empire building games, in particular 4X games, follow a cycle of growth. Start small, eXplore new lands, eXpand by eXploiting resources and eXterminating opponents. Great fun; a feeling of growth helps engage players, building that engine of an empire with your choices. Hard not be engaged.

Seems that for a challenge I can't just ask you talented folks to "make a 4x game." Where's the twist? Here it is: See, it's autumn up in the northern hemisphere, which other than harvests also means the approach of winter. The end of the year; a 'death' in the symbolic lifecycle.

For November your challenge will be to design an empire-scale game about the decline of these empires. To strengthen the 4X feel, your design must include at least two clear elements of 4Xs. - Expand - Exterminate - Explore - Exploit For a more thorough description of a 4X game, look it up on wikipedia..


Theme: A game about empires in decline. Mechanic restriction: Nothing specific, but should incorporate two elements of 4X games

Now the details:

Word Limit: Standard 500 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: Sunday the 2nd through to Sunday 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
Entry #1 - Geoengineering 101

Geoengineering 101: A 30-minute card game for 2-6 Players

*It's 2050. Efforts to limit carbon emissions have fallen short, putting geoengineering on the table as a last chance to keep the world habitable. As a world leader, try to save your regions with untested geoengineering programs such as artificial clouds, orbital sun shields, ocean fertilization, and maybe even setting off a volcano or two.

Your rivals are doing the same, and you'll have to try to anticipate their moves, because it's 2 rounds down the road from when you initiate a secret program to when the results happen. In geoengineering, things can be hard to stop once they're started and, 2+2 can equal 3, or 5, or even 10! That sun shield that saves one region from the heat might turn another into a frozen wasteland – while triggering a super hurricane in a third. Who will be the last to fall?*

Game Contents:

  • 24 Region Cards
  • 88 Program Cards
  • 1 Board with pieces to keep track of temperature, rainfall, and storm strength. There are separate tracks for Tropical, Subtropical, and Temperate regions.

Game Setup:

Each player is dealt 4 Region cards. Each region shows the conditions at which they become uninhabitable. For example, the Eastern US is toast when temperatures hit 6, while the Southern US floods when a storm reach a strength of 10.

Each player also draws a starting hand of six Programs. These are things you can do to change the weather. For example, Artificial Clouds drops the temperature by 3 and adds one die roll to storm strength – two rolls if another Artificial Cloud has already been played. In general, the bigger the impact, the bigger the side effect or uncertainty.

Setup Turns:

  1. Each player picks on of their Programs and places it in the center face down. Shuffle these cards. Each player then draws a new card to replace the one they played.
  2. Repeat the process, placing the new set of cards beneath the first set.

Subsequent Turns:

1.Flip over the top card on the center pile, and carry out the actions on it.
2. Insert another Program at the bottom of the center pile.
3. Draw a new card to your hand.
4. Raise the Temperature by 1.

Winner is the last player to have any regions remaining.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #2 - Avalanche Empires

Avalanche Empires

The long winter is here. The first avalanches came down. The empire will end. Everybody is on his own now. Go out with your villagers and find which villages are still out there, still holding on and protect them.

The Board and setup:
The board features a hex grid. It shows many villages, all connected through narrow mountain paths (1-3 hexes wide). There are different “danger zones” from no danger to high danger marked with numbers 1-10. Each player starts with 3 villagers in 3 villages on the board. Hextiles are placed face down on the mountain paths. These will determine at which places avalanches already block the way.

Players use their villagers to either build stronghouses in their villages (which require resources) which will withstand the avalanches. Or to venture out to find out whether the passes are still open. The problem is: whenever a movement ends in a danger zone there is a chance of an avalanche (determined by the number on the hex). While the avalanche not necessarily kills your villager (but it can) it narrows down the paths even further. When you come to the face-down hextiles you will discover whether there is a pass left at all. The villages supply you with valuable resources. The richer villages provide more resources but are connected by narrower mountain paths and are in danger to be commpletely consumed by avalanches. At some point your villagers might be stuck in one region needing to work with all the resources they have left. Also transferring resources between villages might end in disaster but is necessary if you want to build a bigger empire. Additionally every few rounds another avalanche comes down at some random place on the board. The later the game the more people converge to the safer areas on the board which might lead to costly fights about the last bits of space.

The game ends when all the danger zones are covered in snow. The winner is the player with the largest cities. Here the number of stronghouses count with larger collections of strong houses in one area counting more than scattered ones.

Avalanches are drawn from a pile and are big enough such that they cover multiple hexes. The mountains on the map determine in which direction the avalanche goes down (marked on the mountains). Each avalanche tile has an indicator to show where the next avalanche in this direction will continue.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #3 - The Last Age of Kings

The Last Age of Kings

“Kings built tombs more splendid than the houses of the living and counted the names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry or in high cold towers asking questions of the stars.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

In The Last Age of Kings, players take the reins of a failing empire at the cusp of the industrial revolution. Their task is not to save their kingdom, but to cement its place in history by: - Constructing great works (cards bought from a market which offer flat (but substantial) bonus) - Tracking its storied lineage (building sets of family members from your deck) - Solving a mystery of nature (moving up a technology track with a non-linear value increase) - Simply writing themselves into lore (adds a minor number of points)

The converse of a deck-builder, The Last Age of Kings is a deck de-constructor. Players each start with an Empire deck of roughly 36 cards, which can be pre-set, semi-randomized or built by players. These cards include: - Territories, which produce resources (Exploit) - Family Members, used as ancestors (points) or heirs (abilities) - Other important figures like Historians and Scientists, who perform specialized actions - Buildings, which improve actions On their turn, a player draws a new hand of cards. At turn’s end, however, they must choose one of the cards they played or all of the cards they did not play and remove them from the game (Inverse Expansion). The former eliminates a presumably valuable card; the latter depletes the deck faster.

During their turn, players use cards from their hand to build their empire’s legacy.

For example, a player might use coal from a Mine card to fuel a Steam Power Plant, assisting a Professor of Engineering, moving that empire up the technology track.

Or, a player might use a Historian to add one of their Family Members to their Lineage, while playing a Library to prevent one unused card from being removed.

Cards played during a turn stay on the table until their next turn. These cards can be taken by other players. Taking a card is costly – it usually requires a player to spend one or two cards from their hand, but the card goes directly into their hand to use, which may create a better combo for their turn. This also removes a card from the opponent’s empire (Exterminate). For this reason, it might be more strategic to remove a valuable played card rather than all unplayed cards at turn’s end.

Once a player’s empire is depleted (i.e., cannot draw to 5 cards even after re-shuffling), the game ends immediately. Remaining cards in each player’s deck add to their final score, except for the player with the most cards, whose cards subtract from their score. Players tally up the rest of their points from great works, technology and lineage. The highest total wins.

Exploration intentionally left blank.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #4 - Doomed Realm

The oracle has foretold that the time of warring empires will come to an end this autumn. People thought she prophesied peace, but autumn brought doom to us all.

Players take role of emperors during the time of great change on their continent. Gods have cursed the realm. Colonists from far away lands came to conquer these “uncivlized” lands. There’s war and disease everywhere. Empires crumble before your eyes. Will your civilization survive?


  • Cards:

    • Fate Cards (Plagues, colonists, disasters etc.) have rules targeting particular players based on their current resources (least, most, more/less than X) and often affect more than one player. If you meet those requirements at the end of turn, you lose empire card as per Fate Card’s rules. Fate Cards can be removed from play by fulfilling their requirements (spend X resources, dice total value of X etc.).
    • Empire Cards (Technologies, buildings, special units) have special abilities that are activated by placing dice of certain value and/or spending resources. They give you extra resources or manipulate the dice you rolled.
  • Dice (5 d6s per player)

  • Board and counters showing each empire’s current resources (food/population/faith/etc)


Roll dice, use them for cool effects, manipulate your resources and try not loose any of your empire by attracting the colonists or angering the gods.

Game starts by establishing players' empires through drafting. At the end of this phase, each player will have 10 cards in front of them. These Empire Cards represent special technologies/buildings and establish your starting resources.

On beginning of turn a Fate Card is drawn. Players roll their dice (representing “manpower”) and place them one at a time to:

  • Your Empire Card to activate special ability (exploit). They take effect immediately after your die is placed.
  • Enemy empire card to try to claim a part of their empire (exterminate and expand).
    • If there is an enemy die on your card, you can’t exploit it, but you can protect yourself from losing it by playing a die of equal or higher value.
  • Fate card to try to prevent from bad things happening.

After placing one die, play proceeds clockwise until each player used 5 dice. This starts the "resolve phase":

  • Fate cards end as per their rules
  • Remaining Fate Cards activate (target players lose cards).
  • Territory is claimed (Player will highest total value of dice on the card claims it.).
  • New turn starts by drawing another Fate Card.

As game progresses, players will lose empire cards. Once you are out of them, you are eliminated. The last player with cards in play is the winner.
Gameplay variety and theme (Sword&Sorcery) comes from special rules on empire/fate cards. Players try to avoid losing cards by manipulating their current resources trough special ability combos. Sub-optimal choices can be beneficial, if they let you avoid Fate Cards. Players are encouraged to collaborate and form alliances to defeat Fate Cards. You can make any kinds of deals, but they are never binding.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #5 - Autumn Empires

Welcome to the autumn of civilization, a time of high hopes, expanding borders, technological advancement, and warmongering. This is a game about the inevitable fall of civilization.

Autumn Empires is an abstract 4X game for 2 – 4 players where each player spends his dwindling resources to explore the world, expand their empire’s borders, exploit what new resources they can find, and attempt to exterminate everyone else...before the end of the world.

Components: 1 deck of 54 cards
11x World cards represent exploration of the world.
11x Military Action cards represent armies and allow players to attack one another.
11x Resource cards provide the necessary materials to build things and sustain food supplies.
11x Expansion cards allow a player to add food collection, defense, and manufacturing to their civilization.
10x Catastrophe cards cause players to discard cards.

How to win: A player wins the game when he controls the last or strongest surviving civilization after four catastrophes have hit everyone.

Starting the game:
Separate and shuffle each card type into its own deck then draw the top card of each deck. Each player chooses one card for himself and the rest (if there are any cards remaining) are removed from the game.

First player: After everyone has a card, each player reveals their cards. The player with the lowest value goes first. Play continues clockwise around the table. Each player draws one card from the Catastrophe deck, face down. These cards are added to each of the decks, third from the last card in the deck. There can only be one Catastrophe per deck. The remaining Catastrophe cards are not used.

Note: When a player discards a card, it is added to the top of the deck it belongs to and that deck is shuffled.

Each of the cards has one or more instructions on them and some may provide other benefits.

Playing the game: Each turn, players may perform up to two actions: Draw, Play, Attack, Recycle, or Pass.

Draw: A player may draw only from stacks that his current tableau allows.
• World cards can always be drawn.
• Resource cards may be drawn only if the player controls World cards or Expansion cards.
• Military cards can only be drawn if the player controls Resource cards.
• Expansion cards can only be drawn if the player controls at least one Military card and one World card.

Play: Play a card from your hand to your tableau.

Attack: You attack another player by comparing the total face value of your Military cards to the total face value of the opponent’s Defensive cards. If you win, you choose whether the opponent discards one card from his tableau or his hand. If you lose, discard one-half of your Military (round up).

Recycle: A player discards a card from his tableau or hand.

Pass: Pass the turn.

Play continues until all four Catastrophes have been revealed and the effects applied to everyone who is affected. The strongest surviving civilization is the winner!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #6 - Mystic Fog

After a series of meteor showers, green fog creeps across the land, killing all in it's path. It seeps through almost anything. Some of the meteorites contain strange, workable stone that blocks the creeping fog. A wall 10 foot high stops its advance, until it finds a way around.

Each player begins with a bore well in a devastated city where the stone is found. They must go out into the the ruins of empire, establish new farms to support their descendants as the empire crumbles, and collect the stone. Some of the city's inhabitants will fight you for the land, so you must be careful! As the holding expands, they must enclose it in walls built of the mystic stone. Each turn, the fog advances. If you fail to complete your walls, you are doomed. If you do not claim enough of the ruined landscape for farming, you are doomed. You must rebuild a town, while your city crumbles before the green fog.

Search deck
Play deck
4 well tokens
20 explorer tokens
50 farm tokens
200 wall pieces (one hex side each)
100 heavy fog tokens
25 mild fog tokens

Turn sequence:
1) Move explorer tokens one hex, draw a search card for each. These give materials (stone, wood, artefacts), recruits (additional explorers, farmers), or locals who attack. If your last explorer dies, sacrifice a farm to recruit a new explorer. If your last farm is gone, skip this step until you draw an explorer from the play deck. You can not lose your well except to the fog.

2) Draw play cards for each established farm and for the central well. These will give you materials to build and stockpile food, and action cards. These cards form your “hand”.

3) Utilise materials to build (stone and wood). You need storage (take up one hex) to stockpile food, and farms. You may build as many walls as you possess stone to build.

4) Play any action cards you have in your hand. With these you may trade with other players, steal from them, knock down their walls, or bolster your defences against the fog.

5) if you have cards in hand, discard one. This ends your turn.

6) if every player has played this turn, it is the fog's turn. Roll two dice, one determines the direction the fog rolls, the other determines the severity of the spread. If it is mild, it encroaches for one turn then the wind blows it clear. If it is heavy, it claims the territory. If can not pass through walls of the mystic stone, but may wrap around them. The fog begins the game as a single hex in the centre of the board.

When the fog can not expand any more, the game is over. The winner is the player who has claimed the most land and resources, or the last player with a safe well should the fog claim those spaces.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #7 - ARC


ARC is a game for 2-4 players about survival in the harshness of space. You command an ARC (Artificial Reclamation Craft), a titanic space colony sent out from a dying earth to colonize the stars. Your supplies are almost depleted and your ARC is slowly breaking apart. You are forced to either take your chances with the exploring space or to take what you need from the other ARCs that were launched alongside you.

Set Up

Players begin with an ARC that is made up of 9 tiles, set up in a 3x3 grid, with the bridge tile in the center.

Players take 4 crew and place one on each housing tile.

Shuffle the remaining tiles and placed in face-down in the exploration deck.

Players draws 4 tiles from the exploration deck, ignoring hazard tiles. They place those four tiles adjacent to any tile on their ARC.

Players take 12 supply tokens and 12 energy tokens.

Randomly determine who goes first.

The Turn

Designation Phase:

Starting with the first player, each player may move their crew to any tile on their ARC.

Orders Phase:

In order, players may choose to resolve an event on a tile a number of times equal to the amount of crew located on it.

Maintenance Phase:

Players remove one structure tile from their ARC and place it in the exploration tile discard pile. If there is a crew on this tile, it is removed as well.

Players remove 1 supply from their supply pile. If a player cannot remove the required supply they can instead remove a single crew. Players then add 1 energy to their energy pile.

If a player runs out of crew or has no more structure tiles on their ARC, they are eliminated from the game.

The first player rotates clock-wise.

Winning the Game

You win the game when your ARC is the last one left intact, with crew aboard.


Structure tiles have 4 components:

Name Capacity –The max number of crew that can be on this tile Usage –Number of supplies and/or energy used by each crew member that on this tile\ Event –A description of what occurs in the orders phase for each crew the structure tile has on it

**Hazard tiles have 3 components: **

Name Damage – Number of supplies and/or energy removed by the player whom reveals this tile Event – Any further effects that occur when this tile is revealed

Example Structure Tiles:

HangerCapacity: 2, Usage: 1 energy. Draw the top card of the exploration deck, if it is a structure tile attach it.

Missile BatteryCapacity: 1, Usage: 4 energy. Force another player to remove any structure tile of their choice on their ARC.

Deep Space ScannerCapacity: 1, Usage: 2 energy. Look at the top 3 cards of the exploration deck and remove one.

Example Hazard Tile:

AsteroidDamage: 1 energy or 1 supply. Instead of paying the damage you may remove a structure tile from your ARC.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #8 - Dynasty

At the start of every great empire, is a great leader; and from great leaders come a great bloodline. To conserve purity, royal families are often separated, taking on the practice of inbreeding, and indulging in lascivious practices that take their toll on these rulers’ sanity. Inevitably, these unwise practices bring their empire to its knees. The question is: will your empire suffer the same fate?

On their turns, players explore new territories, construct structures, trade with their neighbors, and conquer the lands of their enemies. However, unlike traditional games, in Dynasty, players aren’t the emperor: they just run the empire for their distracted overlords. The emperor always has a say in how you play, but they don’t care how their will is done, so long as it’s done. Throughout the game, each player will draw emperor cards, which detail how their emperor wishes to rule during the three turns they are alive. At first, you will draw wise rulers, who help the empire to flourish when you accomplish their wise objectives. Later emperors can be bloodthirsty, offensive, base, insane, or downright stupid, forcing players to perform actions they do not wish to take in order to appease their emperor.

The game ends after 15 turns: 3 turns for each of the 5 emperors you obtain. Once your first emperor has died (after 3 turns), you draw from the second stack, and so on until the fifth. This way, bad emperors are always obtained last, and you never know what you will get, so planning ahead is not possible. Each player draws emperors for themselves, and it is not shared among players.

Examples of emperors:
• A wise emperor from early in the game will reward you for building three farms by granting your empire more workers, and will not punish you for failing to accomplish this goal.
• A great general will reward you with a combat bonus if you construct many extra military buildings, but a permanent penalty should you fail to do so.
• A xenophobic ruler might require you to destroy any roads leading to other empires, forcing you to take no income from trade during his life, unless you would rather sacrifice several soldiers to make him feel safe in his palace.
• A glutton comes to power and demands that 10 resources of every type are contributed to him to build an even more lavish palace, or he will destroy half your civilian structures!
• A tyrant takes the throne and requires that each turn you produce 10 soldiers, but only makes 3 of them available for you to use per turn. Failure to do so results in the loss of a worker for every soldier that was lacking (max 3).

Points are obtained for civilian and military structures, with various ones having different value. Additionally, buildings can be upgraded over time, allowing one to save space. However, your emperor may run your coffers dry faster than you could ever expect.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #9 - A hex on both your houses

A hex on both your houses

Two mining dynasties House Castle and House Maine vie for control of the interstellar spice mining trade. After initial rapid expansion both houses fall prey to decay where all mines stop producing. Then a bitter fight of mutual extermination ensues. Only one house can survive.


24 space hex tiles
1 decay hex tile
25 House Castle mine markers
25 House Maine mine markers
100 Spice resource markers
1 House Castle battleship
1 House Maine battleship


Place two hexes beside each other.
Place the House Castle battleship on one hex and the House Maine on the other.
Split the space hex tiles into 3 roughly even piles.
Shuffle the decay hex tile into one pile and place that pile beneath the other two piles to create a draw pile.
Give each player 3 of their own mines.
Place one mine on the hex with that player's battleship.
The player who last saw a star at night goes first.


Exploit: For any mines on space hexes the player puts 1 spice resource marker on that hex tile.
Excise: To remain in control of his battleship the player pays 1 spice resource which is taken out of play.

A player chooses to either (a) explore and expand on this turn or to (b) exterminate instead.

Explore: the player draws the top hex tile and places it on any empty space next to the hex where his battleship stands.
Expand: the player moves their battleship to a neighboring empty tile and claims it by adding a mine from their stock.

Exterminate: the player moves his battleship to a neighboring hex with an opponent’s mine and potentially some resources. The battleship cannot move onto a hex where the enemy battleship is standing.
During the Exterminate step of one player the attacked player gets to choose the form of retreat. In a runaway retreat the attacked player gives up all resources on the attacked hex to the attacker and the attacked players mine is destroyed. In a slash and burn retreat the attacked player pays one of his resources, not from the attacked hex, and all of the resources are destroyed and the attacked players mine is destroyed.

When the decay hex tile is drawn all mines stop producing spice resources.


As decay sets in and the players inevitably turn to exterminate each other one battleship will eventually be unable to pay excise. If the other player can pay excise on his subsequent turn he wins. If he can't it is a draw.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #10 - The Emperor is Dead

The emperor is dead, the capital is in rebellion, barbarians are invading.

You play as nobles who rule the lands of a crumbling empire. You once collaborated to expand the Empire. Now you compete to gain the favor of the future rulers of the capital.

2-4 players


  • Board: a six sided, 37 space hex grid. Corners of the board are numbered 1-6.
  • 37 hex tiles (1 Capital, 30 Farms, 6 Mountains)
  • 48 Knight meeples (up to 12 per player)
  • 6 Barbarian Horde tokens (numbered 1-6)
  • 40 gold
  • 20 Barbarian favor tokens
  • 20 Rebel favor tokens
  • 24 Exploited peasant tokens (numbered 1-6)
  • 4 six sided dice (1 white, 1 black, 2 red)


  1. Place the Capital tile face up in the centre space. Place the remaining tiles face down.
  2. Place a Horde on each corner tile.
  3. Players take turns flipping a tile and occupying it with a Knight. A tile can only be flipped if next to a face up tile.
  4. Players may place Exploited tokens on any farms they occupy.

Player turn

1. Take up to three military actions:

  • Deploy a Knight from your reserve to a farm you occupy.
  • Move a Knight any distance. You can only move through farms not occupied by other players.
  • Attack an adjacent tile. Discard a Knight to either remove an opponent's Knight, flip up an unoccupied face down tile, or remove a token from the capital. (NB. You cannot attack a Horde)

2. Tax:
Place or remove up to 3 Exploited tokens on farms you occupy.
Collect gold equal to:

  • Farms you occupy;
  • Plus Exploited tokens on your farms;
  • Minus your Knights on the board.

3. Buy favor:

Pay 1 gold per Barbarian or Rebel favor token you secretly choose from the cup.

5. Roll the dice to activate Barbarians and Rebels


Move the Horde whose number matches white die one space toward the corner which matches black die:

  • If Horde is already next to Capital: do not activate; re-roll black and white.
  • If destination is a Mountain or facedown tile: re-roll black.
  • If destination is an unoccupied farm: flip it facedown and move Horde onto it.
  • If destination is an occupied farm: remove one Knight, do not move Horde.


Activate farms containing Exploited tokens matching either red dice:

  • If rebelling farm contains multiple Knights remove one Knight.
  • If only one Knight is present remove it, flip the tile, and move Exploited token to Capital.

Ending the game

Game ends when the Capital is conquered either by:

  • Rebels: 6 Exploited peasants in Capital
  • Barbarians: 3 Barbarians adjacent to Capital

Players may use their remaining gold to bid for one more favor token.


Players reveal their favor tokens. The player with the most of the conqueror's favor wins. Draws are won by player with most lands, and then the most gold.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #11 - Autumn Falls


Humans define Empire as a collective group of countries or planets, but for red squirrels it is the scattered store houses of food that will see them through the harsh winter.

Oak Acres is the only universe the red squirrels know and the players must (explore) it to locate the fallen acorns. By blowing the brown leaves around the players can cover the acorns of their opponents and limit the movement of their squirrels, while protecting their own acorns.

Components and Setup

The game has 72 leaf tokens with a green leaf and a flower in one of 6 colors (12 tokens for each color) on one side. The other side features a brown leaf with an icon.

The icons are distributed as follows

18 acorns in six colors
18 grey squirrels in six colors
24 wind
12 trees

A disc featuring a top down tree graphic with 6 colored starting points is placed in the centre of the table. The players put their squirrel pieces on the starting point of their color.

36 leaf tokens are scattered around the tree with their green leaves facing upwards. The remaining 36 leaf tokens are placed to one side, with their green leaves exposed. These tokens constitute the draw pile.

Player Actions

On their turn a player can do ONE of the following

1) Look at the leaf token their squirrel is on.

2) Move their squirrel to any exposed green leaf with a flower matching the color of their current leaf or move to the centre tree card. A squirrel on the centre tree can move to a flower of any color.

3) Turn over the green leaf token their squirrel is on and perform its icon action. After turning over any leaf the squirrel returns to the tree.

(Wind) The player can blow any brown leaf onto any other leaf or discard (exterminate) it. If the brown leaves are in a stack they can blow/discard the top leaf or all of them.

(Tree) The player can draw 3 new green leaves and place them around the tree.

(Acorn) Each player has 3 acorns of their color. When an acorn is revealed the player it belongs to can move onto it, on a subsequent turn, providing they move from a green leaf with a flower matching the color of the acorn. If a player does this they can return their squirrel to the centre tree, place the acorn tile back in the draw pile and shuffle it.

(Grey Squirrel) The grey squirrel token is discarded and the player can turn over any visible green leaf with a flower matching the colored outline of the grey squirrel. If the leaf token features an acorn it is discarded. Visible acorns make easy pickings for grey squirrels.

Ending the Game

After the green leaf pile is depleted all the green leaf tokens that aren’t obscured by brown leaves are turned over. The player with the most visible acorns is the winner.

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