Ambush

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Ambush
Designed by Jason Spears & Erik Oosterwal
A capture game for 2 players with 2 stashes and 4 Martian Coasters.
:Players Players: 2
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 2
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 2
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Martian Coasters
Setup time: 1 minute or less
Playing time:
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics:
Theme: Abstract
BGG Link: Ambush
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2008


Ambush is an abstract strategy game for 2 players. Two stashes, one per player and 4 Martian Coasters are needed. Players will either play one of their 15 pyramids on the board or set a pyramid aside to rotate a coaster. Either action may allow them to capture a pyramid belonging to their opponent. The winner is the player who has captured the most pips' worth of opposing pyramids.

Components

Player 1 ::SML::SML::SML::SML::SML
Player 2 ::SML::SML::SML::SML::SML
:Ludo:Ludo:Ludo:Ludo

The game requires four Martian Coasters (or four plain 3×3 grids) plus one stash in a unique color for each player.

Setup

Lay four Martian Coasters out in a 2×2 grid. Players arrange their pyramids into 5 trees.

::SML::SML::SML::SML::SML
:Ludo:Ludo
:Ludo:Ludo
::SML::SML::SML::SML::SML

Playing

Choose a player to go first. That player may take one of two actions:

  • Play a pyramid to the board, or
  • Rotate one of the coasters.

Rules for Placement Players can only pick a pyramid from the top of their trees. (So on the first turn a player can only choose a small pyramid, then turn after a small or a medium, and so on.) Players can play a pyramid onto any space on the board, so long as it is empty or contains a piece of their color. If a player plays a pyramid in square occupied by his color, the new pyramid stacks on top of any pyramid(s) already there and the strength of the stack changes.

Strength of Stacks Attack/defense strength is determined by the visible pips in any stack. So a 2-pip pyramid will cover a 1-pip and be worth only two points of attack. A 1-pip pyramid played on top of a 2-pip pyramid will add to the strength of a 3-pip pyramid.

::S ::MS ::LMS
one point two points three points
::S ::SM ::SML
one point three points six points

The stacks in each of these columns contain the same number of pyramids, but they are worth different attack values because they differ in visible pips.

::SMS ::SSM
3 points 4 points
Although both of these stacks contain the same total number of pips and pyramids, the pyramid on the left has only three pips visible (the bottom small is covered up) while the pyramid on the right has all four pips visible.

Coaster Rotation

A player may choose to rotate a single coaster instead of placing a pyramid. 90°, 180° or 270° rotations are allowed, but the player may not rotate a coaster that was rotated on the previous turn. Rotation has a cost of one pyramid. To pay the cost, the player removes a pyramid from their stash places it out of the game. The player will never be able to play this pyramid to the board, but neither will their opponent be able to earn points for capturing it at game-end.

The rotation of a coaster may cause a piece to become captured. In a case where both players might have a piece of theirs captured, the active player chooses which resolves first. This may remove the other possible capture situation from the board.

AmbushRotationEx04.jpg
In the example above, Black would spend a pyramid to rotate the coaster in the upper right corner 90° counterclockwise. Now White's 2 pip pyramid is captured.

Capture

If the board has changed at the end of a player's turn such that the active player's pieces surround an opponent's piece(s) on two sides, there is the possibility of a capture. (This includes when a the active player adds to the strength of one of his existing stacks.) If the total number of pips of the surrounding pyramids is greater than those of the opponent's surrounded pyramid(s), then the active player successfully captures. He removes the piece (or, if there is a stack of pieces in that square, the top piece of the stack) and keeps it nearby to count as victory points.

Capturing Examples

A B C
::MPU Here if Black places a ::M or ::L pyramid on B3, Black will capture Red's ::L. A ::S would result in a tie, which is not sufficient to cause a capture.
::LPU


A B C
::MPU ::SPU Here if Red places a ::M or ::L on C3, Red will capture Black's ::L. On A3, only a ::L will cause the capture. A ::S pyramid cannot cause a capture right now.
::LPU


A B C
::LPU Here it is Red's turn. If Red places a ::S, ::M, or ::L at A3, Red will capture both of Black's pieces.
::MPU
::SPU ::MPU


A B C
::MPU Black's turn. Placing a ::M or ::L on B3 will capture the red pyramid. A ::L on A2 would also capture the red ::L.
::LPU ::SPU


A B C
::MPU Black's turn. Playing a ::S at A3 will not result in any captures. But playing a ::M or ::L there will allow Black to capture the top-most red pyramid ::S. The remaining red pyramid (::M) will stay in place until Black plays another pyramid on A1 or A3.
::SLPU


A B C
::MPU ::SPU Black may safely play a ::S or ::M at B1: even though it would be outnumbered, that piece would not be captured at the end of his turn because capturing needs to be initiated by the attacking player. However, if Red were to play an additional pyramid at A1 or C1, the black piece would be captured.

Game End

The game ends when the second player plays or spends their last (15th) pyramid. The winner is the player who has captured the most pips' worth of pieces.


Version 0.6 of the rules are available. This represents a simplification of the capture rules from previous versions.

Other Languages

Ambush (French)

License

http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/88x31.png
This work is distributed by Jason Spears & Erik Oosterwal under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Summer 2008
Winner: Ambush 2nd: Logger 3rd: Albiorix 4th: Virus_Fight 5th: Atom_Smasher
6th: Dog_Eat_Dog & Martian_BattleSpires 8th: Pass_The_Pyramids 9th: T-Minus 10th: Tresurion