Alheimur

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Under development


This game is currently under development, in the Playtesting stage. Feedback is strongly encouraged! Feel free to give comments on game design or structure on the talk page.

Alheimur
Designed by Glenn Overby
An Icehouse space exploration game that uses an Aquarius deck.
:Players Players: 2 - 8
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: unknown
Trios per color: 5 Rainbow or Xeno Stashes
Number of colors: 2
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 2
Five-color sets: 5 Rainbow or Xeno Stashes
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Aquarius deck, 3d6
Setup time: unknown
Playing time: unknown
"unknown" is not a number.
- unknown
"unknown" is not a number.
Strategy depth: unknown
Random chance: unknown
Game mechanics: none, none
Theme: Space
BGG Link:
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987


Equipment

You need one Icehouse stash per player, three six sided dice and one deck of Aquarius cards. Only the 40 Element cards from the Aquarius deck will be used.

Overview

Each player starts out with a world of their own, and three colonists on it. Players grow the civilization on their world, eventually developing spaceports and ships to expand to other worlds. (Sometimes this means fights over the same real estate.)

The object of play is to develop an interplanetary empire which is widespread, supported by a fleet of ships, and rich in all five classic elements: air, earth, fire, water, and ether.

Glossary

Pyramids on a world:

  • Upright pyramids are colonists.
  • Three-pip colonists are also known as spaceports.
  • Sideways pyramids are invaders.

Pyramids off-world:

  • Upright pyramids are transports.
  • Pyramids stacked on transports are marines.
  • Sideways pyramids are fighters.
  • Both transports and fighters are also called ships.

Worlds (built with Aquarius cards):

  • A territory is one printed zone of an element on one card. Cards may have one, two, or four territories.
  • There are five elements: air, earth, ether, fire, and water.
  • A region consists of two or more territories of the same element, which touch each other along edges. (A lone territory with no neighbor of the same element is also a region.)
  • A tile is one-fourth of a card. Each territory can be one, two, or four tiles in size.
  • Territories are adjacent if they touch each other at either an edge or a point. Note that adjacent territories of the same element are not necessarily in the same region, unless they touch along an edge.

Off-world zones (used only by ships):

  • Each world has an orbit, represented by a face-down card next to the world.
  • Space is a single infinite zone, adjacent to all orbits.

Setup

Deal out the 40 cards into eight face-down piles of five cards each. Each player receives one pile. Unless eight are playing, one pile will be designated as a neutral pile. Extra piles are set aside, out of play.

Players each build a world, using their pile of five cards and the World-Building rules which follow. A neutral world is also built from the neutral pile, by consensus. If no consensus can be reached concerning two or more legal card placements for the neutral world, decide by lot.

Each player then places a colonist on each of three territories of their world. The youngest player will then take the first turn. Other players take turns in order of increasing age.

World-Building

  1. Turn over the first card of the pile.
  2. Turn over each of the next three cards, one at a time, and place it next to the card(s) already in this world.
    • Cards must be positioned long edge to long edge, or short edge to short edge.
    • The third and fourth cards must be placed in relation to the first two to form a 2 card by 2 card rectangle.
    • If it is possible to place the card so that an element on it forms a region with a territory already on the board, the card must be so placed.
  3. The fifth card remains face down. Put it next to the world to represent that world's orbit space.

If this world belongs to a player, and it is impossible to build a spaceport on it (no territory is adjacent to four or more others), turn the orbit card face up, and replace one card now in the world with the orbit card, following the usual rules. (The replaced card is turned face-down as the new orbit card.) If the world is still not playable, the player must take one of the extra piles to build a different world, and set these cards aside out of play. Should no extra piles be available for this, gather up all cards and re-deal.

The Turn Cycle

There are four parts to each player's turn: Expansion, Survival, Movement, and Fleet Battle.

Expansion

Take one action on each world where the current player has pyramids. The two possible actions are Expand (place a pyramid) or Civilize (change a pyramid's size).

  • Expand: Place any size pyramid available in the stash upright in any unoccupied territory on the world. Be warned that while it is legal to expand in any open territory, the new pyramid may not survive in a given location. However, it will survive long enough to have an effect. In other words, sacrifices are allowed.
  • Civilize: Replace a pyramid of the current player with a pyramid from their stash one size bigger or smaller. If the desired size is not available, the civilize action is not possible. A pyramid may not change size from one pip to three, or vice versa, in one action.

Survival

Check each world where the current player has pyramids, to see what pyramids survive. All pyramids on the world are checked, regardless of ownership.

Colonists survive or die based on how much support or pressure they get from their neighbors.

  • Small pyramids need at least two neighbor pyramids, but can't stand more than three.
  • Medium pyramids need at least three neighbors, but can't stand more than four.
  • Large pyramids need at least four neighbors, but can't stand more than five.
  • The size, color, and status (colonist/invader) of the neighbors do not matter.
  • Neighbors include all adjacent territories, both at edges and at points.

Knock over all unhappy colonists. Leave them in their territories as they are dying, not yet dead. (They don't become invaders; knocking them over is a convenience for checking.) They count as present while evaluating their neighbors on this round. Do not remove dying colonists until all pyramids on the world have been evaluated. After a pyramid dies and is removed, their former neighbors may be left with too few neighbors, but they will not die before the next Survival check on this world.

Invaders survive or die based on off-world support.

  • An invader survives if a transport of its color, large enough to transport that invader, is in orbit to support it.
  • If a player has two or more pyramids on the world, they are no longer invaders. Turn any sideways pyramids upright and check them for Survival as colonists instead.

Once every pyramid on a world is checked, remove all dying pyramids simultaneously. Remember that only worlds where the current player has pyramids are checked!

Last Round: If the current player has 13 or more pyramids in play after all Survival checks, the Last Round begins. Finish the turn. Each player, including the current player, then gets one more turn, after which the game ends.

Movement

The current player may move all, some, or none of their pyramids in the following strict order.

  1. Each one- or two-pip colonist may migrate to an adjacent empty territory.
  2. Each spaceport (three-pip colonist) may perform one launch or return. A launch moves a colonist from a territory to that world's orbit. The colonist may become a transport or fighter, or may become a marine by boarding an empty transport of the same size or larger. A return moves a ship or marine from orbit to an empty territory on that world's surface to become a colonist.
  3. Each fighter or transport in orbit and not carrying a marine may change its status. Fighters may turn upright to become transports; transports may lie down and become fighters.
  4. Each transport in orbit carrying a marine may land that marine, placing it into any empty territory on that world. The marine becomes an invader or colonist, according to the type of the current player's other pyramids on the world. If the world now has two or more invaders of that color, all turn up and become colonists.
  5. Each invader may move from a world's surface to board an empty transport of its color in orbit. The invader becomes a marine. A transport may only hold one marine, which must be of the same size or less.
  6. Each transport or fighter may move from any orbit to Space, or from Space to any orbit. Any number of ships of any colors may occupy Space or any orbit.

Fleet Battle

In any orbit where the current player and one or more other players have ships, fleet battle takes place. (Fleet battles never take place in Space, which is too vast.) The current player determines the order in which the various worlds have their battles. At each fleet battle site, the following steps take place.

  1. The owner of the world may fire each of their ships once, at a ship of another color. (If this is the neutral world, there is no owner.)
  2. The owners of the ships just fired upon may fire each of their ships once (not just the ships that were attacked) at a ship of the world's owner.
  3. The current player, if not the world's owner, may fire each of their ships once, at a ship of another color.
  4. The owners of the ships just fired upon may fire each of their ships once (not just the ships that were attacked) at a ship of the current player.
  5. Any other player with a spaceport on the world and ships in that orbit may fire each of their ships once, at a ship of another color. (If there are two or more such players, each takes a turn in ordinary turn order counting from the current player.)
  6. The owners of the ships just fired upon may fire each of their ships once (not just the ships that were attacked) at a ship of the attacker.
  7. No ship or player is ever required to fire.

To fire a ship, name a target for the ship, and roll a number of dice equal to the firing ship's pip-count. A transport may not be a target if that player also has a fighter present.

A transport scores a hit for each 6 rolled. A fighter shooting at a fighter scores a hit for each 5 or 6 rolled. A fighter shooting at a transport scores a hit for each 4, 5, or 6 rolled.

Hit ships immediately roll defensive dice equal to their pip-count. Each 6 rolled cancels one hit. Any hits not cancelled reduce the size of the hit ship by one size per hit. If the proper size pyramid is not available in the player's stash, reduce the hit ship by another size. A ship reduced below one pip is destroyed.

A transport which is reduced to the point where it is too small to carry any marine now on it also removes the marine.

After each world's battle is resolved, take up another world until all battles are resolved. When all fleet battles are finished, it becomes the next player's turn.

Scoring

After the Last Round has ended, each player receives six scores: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Ether, and Progress. Each element score is the score of the highest-scoring region of that element occupied by the player. If the player occupies no territories of an element, that element score is 0.5. The Progress score is 1 point per ship, plus 3 points per world on which the player has pyramids.

A region's score equals the pip-count of your largest pyramid in that region, multiplied by the number of tiles in the region. Two or more players may score for the same region, and these scores may differ.

Multiply the highest element score, the lowest element score, and the Progress score together. Add the other three scores to this product to get a player's final total. The player with the most points wins.

Notes

Version 1.1

Designed by Glenn Overby

Expansion and Survival mechanics modified from Protozoa by Kerin Scheisser

Aquarius designed by Andy Looney

Playtesters still wanted! The major issues right now are: 1) The interaction between colonists and invaders. 2) The die rolls in space combat (Too bloody? Not bloody enough?). 3) The timing for the start of the Last Round.

External Links

  • The rules to Alheimur are archived online at this page.