Category Archives: Boardgames

Ctheckers: The simple board game of cosmic insignificance

 

It started as a joke. It still is, really, But I wrote up the rules for Ctheckers! (Which is even sillier than Golem Chess!)

Gameplay is as standard checkers, with the following changes.

On the bottom of the checkers of each side, make the following notations:
Cth: This is the Cthecker. Ia! Ia! Each side has a single Cthecker.
Cu: Cultist. Each side has eight cultists.
Ny: Nyarlathotep. You’ll also need chess pieces for this piece – a pawn, bishop, king, knight, queen, and rook. And a d6. It’s an elder god, things can get complicated. Each side has one Nyarlathotep.
R.C.: Randolf Carter. Each side has one Randolf Carter.
Nec: Necronomicon.

Once all checkers are marked, flip them so the markings are concealed and shuffle them. Once you no longer know which of your checkers is which, place them on the checker board as normal.

When a checker is captured, and when it reaches the far row of the board to be promoted, reveal what the checker is by flipping it over. Then follow the rules for each checker as noted below.

Cthecker: If the Cthecker of either player is revealed, either by being captured or by being flipped over as a promotion when it reaches the far row of squares, the game ends and both players lose. The coming of the Cthecker is bad for everyone, and nothing else you insignificant humans has done matters at all.

Cultist: If you reveal a cultist by capturing it nothing special happens – it is captured and removed from the board. If you reveal a cultist as a promotion when it reaches the far row of squares, you stack one previously taken cultists from your side, and one from your opponents side, under it. The top cultist in this stack now acts as a king from checkers. However, as soon as it moves, the next top cultist also acts as a king, and you can move it independently. But if you do, you reveal your opponent’s cultist, and IT now acts as a king which your opponent can move normally on his turn.

If you or your opponent do not have enough previously captured cultists to stack the correct number under a promoted cultist, place however many you can and proceed normally.

If all eight of your cultists are captured, you lose the game.

Cultists think they are working toward a goal, but mostly they just spawn more powerful cults, not all of which are working toward the same goal.

Nyarlathotep: If Nyarlathotep is revealed by being captured or reaching the far row and being promoted, it is not actually captured. Instead, it assumes one of its many forms. Roll 1d6. One a 1 it becomes a chess pawn, 2 a bishop, 3 a king, 4 a knight, 5 a queen, and 6 a rook.

Unless Nyarlathotep is in its king form, no piece can take it except another revealed Nyarlathotep. If Nyarlathotep is in king form it can be taken by being jumped or by having an opposing Nyarlathotep land in its space. Unlike other pieces in Ctheckers, Nyarlathotep can capture your own pieces (but is not required to if it has the opportunity). If your Nyarlathotep is taken you lose the game.

When your Nyarlathotep is revealed, place the chess piece it becomes on top of the original Nyarlathotep checker. While it is on your checker you can move it as the corresponding chess piece. You capture any piece you land on the space of (ending your turn) or jump over (as a knight). At the end of your move, roll 1d6 to determine the new chess piece Nyarlathotep acts as, and place any captured checker of your opponent under it. This is still considered your piece, but only your opponent can move it, as his turn, if he wishes, and he can capture your pieces when he does so. Once your opponent moves Nyarlathotep, roll the d6 to determine its form again, and place your original checker under it. You can now move it again. Repeat as each of your moves the piece.

If your opponent has not had a piece captured, he cannot move Nyarlathotep until he does have a piece, and it remains stationary until your opponent has a piece captured or the game ends.

Nyarlathotep has many forms, and his plans are impossible for mortal minds to comprehend.

Randolph Carter: If Carter is revealed as a result of being captured, flip him like a coin. If the checker lands top-up, promote him. If it lands bottom-up, he goes mad and is replaced by a captured cultist from your opponent, which your opponent now controls. (If your opponent does not have a captured cultist, nothing else happens).

When promoted, Carter moves like a king. Also, when he is promoted, you may look under one checker of your opponent. This is not considered to be revealing that checker, and you do not have to tell your opponent what you learn. You can even lie about what you learn. The rules specifically say that is okay. After being promoted Carter is allowed to look under a checker of yours as a move on your turn, but if he does so he goes mad (as if coming up bottoms-up in the case of being captured).

Carter is a human scholar and traveler through dreams. Maybe a madman.

Necronomicon: If your Necronomicon is revealed, it remains in play, but you can no longer move it, and it cannot be captured by your opponent. It can be captured by you (and if you can capture it you must, unless you can capture a different piece in the same turn). If you capture you own Necronomicon you look inside and are torn apart by invisible demons. Also, you lose the game.

Either you or your opponent may sacrifice a promoted cultist, removing it from the game, to move a revealed Necronomicon. If you have revealed Randolph Carter, you may sacrifice him to remove your own revealed Necronomicon from the game. Either of these actions counts as your move.

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GOLEM CHESS (1.1)

Since almost no game design is perfect with just ten minutes of work:

GOLEM CHESS (1.1)

A chess variant with 20 minutes of design time. (Traditionally played on a black-and-purple checkerboard)

Each side has one golem, one hero, and one wizard. These are determined randomly, and have special powers. Other than that, the game is played as normal chess.

Each player should do the following:

Number you rooks, bishops, and knights each, 1-2.

Create a deck of cards (index cards work). This is your “court deck” that has two rook cards (1, 2), two bishop cards (1, 2) and two knight cards (1, 2).

Before play, shuffle the court deck. Then, without looking, deal one card each in the golem slot, hero slot, and wizard slot. Remove the remainder of the court deck from play without anyone looking at it.

You may now look at the cards in each slot. Do not reveal them to your opponent.

Golem: The top card in the golem slot determines which of your pieces is a golem. A golem can only be permanently captured by specific opposing pieces. When a golem is captured by most pieces, it is removed temporarily from play. You may, as your entire turn on any turn thereafter, return it to a space on your back row. The space must be one from which no opposing piece can immediately capture the golem, and from which the golem could not capture a piece if it were to move immediately. Also, the golem cannot be placed in a space that would prevent the king from being in check.

A pawn can never permanently capture the golem. The king, queen, and hero automatically permanently capture the golem if they are used to capture it. For any other piece, the golem is captured only temporarily unless a piece of the same type (bishop, knight, or rook) has previously captured it.

Hero: Once per game, before or after its normal move (or in place of its normal move), a hero may move as a knight. If a hero captures a piece, its turn ends with no further movement. Each time a hero captures an enemy piece, it gains the ability to move as a knight in this way one additional time during the game.

Wizard: A wizard may do do one of the following things during the game.

Fireball: The wizard captures one adjacent enemy piece. This cannot be used to capture the king, and the threat of this ability does not place a king in check. This counts as the wizard’s move.

Polymorph: The wizard becomes any one normal chess piece, and then moves as that piece. It captures as that piece. After moving (and capturing, if appropriate), the wizard goes back to being its normal piece. This counts as the wizard’s move.

Summon: The wizard summons a pawn into any adjacent space. This counts as the wizard’s move. The pawn can move, capture, and be captured normally (but cannot move two forward on its first move). You must have lost a pawn to use this ability. If the pawn reaches the row that allows it to be promoted, it can only choose to be a bishop, knight, or rook.

IN PLAY

You do not have to reveal that a piece is a golem, hero, or wizard until it does something a normal piece of the same type could not. When a pawn is promoted, it cannot choose to be a golem, hero, or wizard.

Patreon

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Golem Chess!

Since a bunch of people asked me for the rules after an offhanded comment this morning:

GOLEM CHESS

A chess variant written on a 10-minute break. (Traditionally played on a black-and-purple checkerboard)

Each side has one golem, one noble, and one wizard. These are determined randomly, and have special powers. Other than that, the game is played as normal chess.

Each player should do the following:

Number you pawns 1-8, your rooks, bishops, and knights 1-2.

Create a deck of cards that has 8 pawn cards, numbered 1-8. (Index cards work)
Create a second “court deck” that has two rook cards (1, 2), two bishop cards (1, 2) two knight cards (1, 2) and a queen card.

Before play, shuffle the pawn deck. Place one pawn card at random in your court deck. Do not look at which pawn it is. Remove the remainder of the pawn deck from play without anyone looking at it.

Shuffle the court deck. Then, without looking, deal two cards in the golem slot (the one on bottom upside-down), one in the noble slot, and one in the wizard slot. Remove the remainder of the court deck from play without anyone looking at it.

You may now look at the cards in each slot. Do not reveal them to your opponent.

Golem: The top card in the golem slot determines which of your pieces is a golem. A golem can only be captured by one specific opposing piece. When any other piece attempts to capture a golem, the piece fails (and shares the same square as the golem until one of the two pieces moves). The first time this happens, the player of the golem must reveal both that this piece is a golem, and which piece can actually take it (by reveals the upside down card in the golem slot). A golem must move into an enemy piece’s space to capture it – it cannot capture a piece that moved into the golem’s space on the opposing piece’s move.

Noble: A noble may move as its normal movement, or as a knight. Each round it can only move one of these two ways.
Exception: If your knight is the noble, it may take two knight moves in a single turn. If its first move captures a piece, it cannot make a second move.

Wizard: A wizard may do each of the following things once per game.

Fireball: The wizard captures one adjacent enemy piece. This cannot be used to capture the king, and the threat of this ability does not place a king in check. This counts as the wizard’s move.

Polymorph: The wizard becomes any one normal chess piece, and then moves as that piece. It captures as that piece. After moving (and capturing, if appropriate), the wizard goes back to being its normal piece. This counts as the wizard’s move.

Summon: The wizard summons a pawn into any adjacent space. This counts as the wizard’s move. The pawn can move, capture, and be captured normally (but cannot move two forward on its first move). You must have lost a pawn to use this ability.

IN PLAY

You do not have to reveal that a piece is a golem, noble, or wizard until it does something a normal piece of the same type could not. When a pawn is promoted, it cannot choose to be a golem, noble, or wizard.

 

 

 

I Love Games

I love games.
I love to play a lot of SPECIFIC games and types of games, but that isn’t even what I mean here.
I mean I love the idea of games. The existence of them. Their ability to bring people together, to bend minds to fun rather than fear, to be a venue for learning and exploration and fellowship.
As a result, I love games other people love, even if I do not enjoy playing them.
Pokemon GO doesn’t sound like my thing, but I am thrilled as heck so many people are enjoying it.
The same is true of rugby. And GURPS. And Monopoly.
I’m glad there are games I don’t want to play, because that means there are a broad range of games that can appeal to a broad and diverse group of people.

Dungeon! Classes

There are only 4 classes in the new Dungeon! Boardgame, but there are SO many more fantasy character tropes. Below are 10 additional classes for Dungeon!, each with its own special rules and victory conditions. Adding these classes allows more characters to be questing at different levels ,and each requires different tactics, which can increase the replay value of Dungeon! As with the original classes, you can’t have more than 2 of the same class in a game of Dungeon!

Bard
The bard uses the green dagger (rogue) attack numbers.
If a bard fails to defeat a monster, before the monster gets to make a Monster Strikes Back roll, the bard may attempt to lull the monster to sleep with a song. The bard makes a second attack roll. (This roll gains no bonuses from magic swords or, if they are in use, feats.) If this roll is successful, the monster falls asleep and the bard moves out of the room (back into the bard’s previous space). The monster then does not make a Monster Strikes Back check.
The black pudding, gelatinous cube, and green slime are immune to this
The bard needs 10,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 1-3.

Barbarian
The barbarian uses the better of the blue mace (priest) or green dagger (rogue) attack numbers. If the barbarian fails to defeats a monster, he goes into Rage, and gains a +4 bonus to attack rolls on his next turn.
The barbarian needs 20,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 2-4.

Death Knight
The death knight uses the purple sword (fighter) attack numbers. If a death knight kills a monster in a chamber, it receives treasure equal to the level of the monster x500 gp. (No treasure card is drawn for this, just note it on an index card.) The death knight never loses a turn as a result of a Monster Strikes Back roll.
The death knight needs 30,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 3-5.

Druid
The druid uses the blue mace (priest) attack numbers. The druid has an animal companion. When the druid’s animal companion is healthy the druid attacks with the purple sword (fighter) attack numbers. If the druid takes any effect from a Monster Strikes Back roll, his animal companion is injured (but the druid suffers no other effect). When the druid’s animal companion is injured the druid uses his own blue mace attack numbers and suffers normal effects from Monster Strikes Back checks. The druid must spend a full round in the Great Hall to heal his animal companion.
The druid needs 30,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 4-6.

Monk
The monk uses the green dagger (rogue) attack numbers. The monk has a move of 6 (rather than the normal 5) (and, if feats are in use, a move of 7 if it takes the Fleet feat). If a monk is the first character to attack a monster, he may use Flurry of Blows, and make a second attack roll if his first attack roll fails. (A monk may not use this ability the second time he attacks a monster, even if no one else has attacked it).
The monk needs 20,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 2-4.

Ninja
The ninja uses the green dagger (rogue) attack numbers. The ninja gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls against monsters that were revealed before the ninja’s current turn. A ninja may attempt to sneak past chambers without encountering any monster. Roll 1d6. On a 1-4, the ninja sneaks past. On a 5-6, the ninja must face monsters in the chamber normally. This decision is made before the ninja enters the chamber.
The ninja needs 20,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 2-4.

Peasant
The peasant uses the worst attack number on any monster card. The peasant never rolls to see if a magic sword is +2.
The peasant needs 5,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 1-2.

Ranger
The ranger uses the better of the blue mace (priest) or green dagger (rogue) attack numbers.  The ranger may make a Ranged Attack 1d6+6 times during the game. On a ranged attack if the ranger fails to defeat the monster the monster cannot make a Monster Strikes Back check, as the ranger is too far away. Ranged attacks do not gain bonuses from magic swords. A ranger must declare an attack is a ranged attack before rolling it. A ranger may restore his arrows the same way a wizard restores his spells, which allows him to reroll his 1d6+6 to see how many ranged attacks he can now make. (This is the total ranged attacks after he restores, this is not added to any previous remaining ranged attacks.)
The ranger needs 20,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 3-5.

Paladin
The paladin uses the purple sword (fighter) attack numbers. The paladin always gets a +2 bonus from a magic sword, and can Smite Evil (gaining a +1 bonus to attacks against Evil characters, undead, and dragons). The paladin may take feats as a cleric, if feats are in use.
The paladin needs 30,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 4-6.

Sorcerer
The sorcerer uses the red book (wizard) base attack numbers. The sorcerer selects one spell (fireball, lightning bolt, or teleport) and may cast it 2d6+6 times. The sorcerer may restore spells as a wizard does, and unlike a wizard may use the magic sword.
The sorcerer needs 30,000 gp of treasure to win, and is safest on levels 4-6.

Feats for the Dungeon! Boardgame

For people unfamiliar with the last few versions of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game (and for that matter its stepchild the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game), feats are special abilities players can select to customize and improve their heroes. The Dungeon! boardgame doesn’t have anything like feats in its core rules – but there’s no reason they can’t be added! While there could easily be dozens of feats in the game, I started with a fairly basic set of eight.

Adding Feats

Prior to play, each player may select one of more feats to add to his heroes abilities. Feats are entirely optional, even in a game using feats a player is not required to add feats.  Each feat a character adds increases the amount of treasure that hero needs to escape with by 5,000 gp. Clerics and rogues may select a maximum of 2 feats, while fighters and wizards may select a maximum of 4.

The Feats

Cleric Spells
Only a cleric may take cleric spells. The cleric gets 1d6 spells. (You can use index cards to track a cleric’s spells). The cleric may choose any number of the following spells, up to the limit rolled. Like a wizard’s spells these can be used only once. Unlike a wizard, a cleric cannot replace spells by spending a round in the Great hall.
Cure Wounds: When the cleric is seriously wounded or wounded as a result of a Monster Strikes Back roll, he may use this spell to instead only be stunned (drop 1 treasure card).
Divine Might: The cleric may use the wizard’s attack number to fight a monster. (This is only a good option for one of the monsters that wizards have lower numbers against.)

Die Hard
Only a hero who has Toughness may take Die Hard. The hero beings with 1d6 Die Hard tokens (you can use anything to track these). When the hero suffers a Monster Strikes Back result, he may spend one Die Hard token to force the monster to reroll. The hero is stuck with the second result, even if it is worse.

Evasion
The hero does not lose a turn when a trap says to lose a turn.

Fleet
The hero may move up to 6 spaces, instead of the normal 5.

Spell Focus
Select one spell (fireball or lightning bolt if a wizard, divine might if a cleric with the Cleric Spells feat). When fighting a monster with this spell, add 1 to the die roll.

Toughness
The hero does not drop a treasure if stunned by a Monster Strikes Back roll.

Weapon Focus
If the hero rolls doubles on a die roll to fight a monster, the hero may add +1 to the result. This does not apply to spells.

Weapon Specialization
Only a fighter may take Weapon Specialization, and the fighter must also have taken Weapon Focus. The fighter adds 1 to all die rolls to fight monsters.