A relic hunt by Jeff Warrender and Steve Sisk

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gearing up for v10 playtest at Spielbany

I think this new framework has solidified enough in my mind that it's worth giving it a try at Spielbany. Here's my attempt at a succinct summary of how it works: On your turn, you do three things.
  1. Resupply
  2. Actions
  3. Draw chips from the cup and resolve
That's it! 

Slightly more detail: 

1. Resupply: Outside the temple, receive 3/2/1 adventure cards if in a circle/pentagon/triangle city. Inside the temple, receive 1 card if on a treasure chest. Also receive 4 white chips, and 3 black chips (add the latter to the cup)

2.  Actions: Take actions, each time spending a white chip. Actions include

(a) Move (inside/outside), and add a cube to the city (outside)
(b) Face an encounter (outside)
(c) Dig for temple/test a feature (outside/inside)
(d) Attempt to steal (inside)

(a) Move -- Outside is the same as v7. Inside the temple, if you enter a room with a colored icon, add a chip of the same color to the cup. If you enter a room with an Enemy Operative pawn, add a black chip to the cup. If you enter a room with an Item icon matching an Item card you hold, add a white chip to that card.

(b) Face an encounter means you identify the "encouter deck" for the city shape you're in, and draw the top card, or pay AP go deeper into the deck (each card shows, on its back-printing, one of three "sub-locations", eg a castle, a museum, etc). The card shows a challenge category and difficulty. If you fail the challenge, add a black chip to the cup. If you pass, you get the reward shown on the card (e.g. a check mark, an Item card, capture an enemy, etc). Then, if there is a Theme Card that matches the location you're in, you may visit it (if it's already on the board) or bring it onto the board and visit it (if it's in the queue of face-up cards). If you add a theme card to the board, add an enemy cube to the city.

"Visit" a card means receive check marks in the category and amount shown on the theme card. If you have an Item card that is requested by the theme card, you may discard it to receive extra check marks, as indicated on the theme card.

If you exceed 3,6, or 9 check marks in a category, you may read the level 1, 2, or 3 clue for that category. Add an enemy cube to the city. If at any time the # of enemy in the city exceeds 5, activate the first deactivated (face-down) Enemy Operative card in the Operative card row. (c) "Dig" and "Test a feature", and (d) Attempt to Steal, are basically the same as previous versions 3. Draw chips: Toss any remaining white chips into the cup, as well as the colored chips for any active Enemy Operatives (if outside). Draw chips equal to number of enemy cubes in the city (outside)/number of enemy operatives in the temple(inside), and resolve each chip: 
Black: reduce the Enemy progress track by 1 White: nothing happens ("safe") Red (inside): Noise! Move all operatives one space closer to you Blue (inside): Trap! Draw a temple challenge and face it Enemy Operative's color (outside): Execute the Operative's special power, as stated on his card End of Game: The game ends when the scenario's objective is achieved or the enemy progress reaches zero. Players receive points for:
- Achieving the objective(s) - Finding the lost temple - Most captured enemy - Most white chips on Item cards There's an additional element to (b): Each encounter card shows, in its artwork, one or more types of special feature. The first player to notice such a feature announces it to the group, and executes a special action:
  • "Operative": If you notice an Enemy Operative who is currently activated, you may face him in a fight challenge (difficulty=total number of activated operatives), and if you win, he is deactivated. 
  • "Phobia": Each player has a phobia; if the active player's phobia is noticed by another player, the difficulty of the challenge is +2.
  • "Item": If you notice an item (eg a book, a map) for which you hold the Item card, add a white chip to the Item.
And one final detail about enemy Operatives: each Operative has a symbol that matches one of the six "reward" symbols on the encounters. If you face an encounter with a reward that matches one of the activated Operatives, and you pass, you add a black chip to the cup. If you fail, you execute the special power indicated on the Operative's card.

Things that I like:

  • Same turn structure inside and outside temple
  • Temple rooms have some detail and variety, but common framework (add chips to cup) will keep the action brisk
  • Multi-step nature of missions (eg "get the grail and bring it to a font") permits some route planning in temple, which is more important with icons in rooms
  • All players involved in each player's turn through encounters
  • More tangible and thematic role for enemy
  • Preserves the essence of v7 (which worked really well), but removes some clutter, rules, and components

Things I'm not sure about
  • The idea of theme cards being associated with "sub-locations"; but this is easy to change if it doesn't work. (The "sub-locations" themselves simply allow a given city to pay out different rewards for facing an encounter there, and for you to know what the benefit will be before the encounter).
  • "Steal", while important, may be too prone to cherry picking. May need to replace with a way, via chips, that you can be forced to "drop" the artifact, giving others a chance to grab it.

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