Martian Colonists

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Martian Colonists
Chris Johnson
A resource gathering race, vaguely inspired by Settlers of Catan and a set of dice that match the colours of Icehouse pyramids
:Players Players:
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: High
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: One stash per player, plus one stash of any other colours you have handy
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: One stash per player, plus one stash of any other colours you have handy
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Piecepack: 1-3 sets. Some coloured dice, see rules. Aquarius. Opaque bag.
Setup time: 10 minutes
Playing time:
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: Heaps
Game mechanics:
Theme: Martiany Colonisingy
BGG Link:
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987


Under development


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

Possible Design

Requirements

  • Icehouse stashes, no more than one of each colour
  • Piecepack sets, preferably at least two.
  • Coloured dice that match the Icehouse colours you're using.
  • A deck of Aquarius cards. (The action and goal cards are not used.)
  • An opaque bag from which you can randomly draw tiles.

You can mix and match the above but;

  • You can have no more than one Icehouse stash of each colour
  • You need a piecepack suit and matching Icehouse stash for each player
  • You need a matching die for each Icehouse stash you intend to use

Examples

You have an original four-colour Icehouse box set; red, yellow, green, and blue. You have a basic Piecepack set; red, yellow, blue and black. You can only play a three player game. You won't be using the green 1-pip and 2-pip pyramids, or the black piecepack coins or pawns. You will use all four dice from the piecepack set.

You have five Xeno Treehouse sets, giving you stashes of; white, clear, light blue, orange and purple. You have Mesomorph's basic piecepack set and 4 Seasons Expansion. You can play a four player game. You can only include the clear pyramids if you have a matching clear die. You won't be using the clear 1-pip and 2-pip pyramids, or any of the coins or pawns from the basic piecepack set.

You're an incurable collector, like the author of this game. You have all three of Mesomorph's piecepack sets (basic, 4 Seasons and Playing Cards). You have all 11 Icehouse stashes. First up, toss out the grey stash and all the non-tiles from the Playing Cards piecepack set, you won't need them. You can play an eight-player game. In addition to the dice from the piecepack sets you will need a clear die and a yellow die. You won't need the 1-pip and 2-pip clear and yellow pyramids either.

Setup

Start by laying out half of your piecepack tiles in a neat-ish rectangular shape, suit side up, with a fairly random distribution. It's better if numbers aren't clumped. Colours and suits are not important, just the numbers. Toss the remaining tiles into the bag.

Each player then takes all the 1-pip and 2-pip pyramids of a single colour. This is the colour they're playing. Left over 1-pip and 2-pip pyramids are set aside, they won't be used during the game. All the 3-pip pieces a placed in a central pool, even those of a colour nobody is playing.

Each player also takes six coins and a pawn of the colour they're playing. Left over pawns and coins are set aside, they won't be used during the game.

Remove all the action cards and goals from the Aquarius deck. Each player is dealt a card from the remaining Aquarius cards. The pile is then placed somewhere handy for players to draw from.

Initial Play

Roll to see who goes first. In a clockwise manner, each player places a 3-pip pyramid of any available colour on any empty tile. Pyramids are placed neatly in one corner of the tile. They then cap that pyramid with a 1-pip pyramid of their colour (this marks ownership and creates a "tower") and place their pawn neatly in another quadrent of the same tile.

Once the last player places their tower and pawn, they also place a coin (representing a "dome") neatly in a quadrant of an adjoining (any one of the eight tiles touching either on a side or at the corner) tile and play returns in an anti-clockwise manner with each player placing a coin on any tile adjoining their original tower until the first player has placed their coin.

The game then continues in the original clockwise direction.

Play

At the beginning of their turn the player rolls all the dice. For each tower each player owns where the dice the same colour rolled the number of the tile its sitting on they draw one resource card for a basic Tower or two resource cards for an upgraded Tower.

If half (rounding up) or more dice roll the same number, the player(s) with the least number of cards get to draw one card and the player(s) with the most number of cards must discard a card of their choice. If everyone has the same number of cards ignore this.

During their turn, each player may:

  • Move their pawn one tile, to any of the (at most) eight tiles touching its current location, if there is room.
  • Build on any tile adjoining tiles they already have buildings on, so long as they have the required resources and there is room.
  • Upgrade their towers
  • Discover a new territory (place a new tile)

You can trade cards with anyone at any time, but the current player is under no obligation to draw your attention to the dice roll or anything else. You have until the end of the turn to draw the resource cards you are entitled to. You may not suddenly declare that you missed out last turn and reach for the draw pile. (The current player should not, however, rush their turn specifically to cause other players to miss out on drawing cards. Play nice.)

Limits

  • There can be at most three buildings, total, on any tile.
  • There can be at most three pawns on any tile.
  • If a tile is full (eg; two buildings and two pawns) you can not build on it or move onto it.
  • A player can hold in their hand no more than (the number of Aquarius cards in the game divided by the number of players -- look this up) cards. If given the opportunity to draw more cards than this limit they must *first* discard enough cards to make room for the new cards they intend to draw.

Building requirements

Building requires particular resources. The Aquarius cards represent resources. Each quarter of each card is one resource. A card with four elements on it has one resource of each, a card with two elements on it has two resources of each, a card with one element on it has four resources of that element.

When you spend resources you do not get change.

  • Building a dome requires two of any one resource, which can be paid using one or two cards. You may only build one dome in a turn.
  • Building a tower requires two of each of two specific resources as listed below;
    • Red Tower: two fire and two air
    • Blue Tower: two water and two air
    • Green Tower: two earth and two water
    • Yellow Tower: two fire and two water
    • Black Tower: two earth and two ether
    • Light Blue Tower: two water and two either
    • Orange Tower: two fire and two earth
    • Purple Tower: two either and two fire
    • Clear Tower: two air and two either
    • White Tower: two earth and two air
  • Placing a new tile requires four of any one resource, which can be paid using one to four cards.

Purchasing of Domes, Towers and Territories can NOT be combined. Each purchase is a separate transaction from which you do not get change.

A Tower capped with a 1-pip pyramid is a "Basic Tower". A Tower capped with a 2-pip pyramid is an "Upgraded Tower". You upgrade by paying the same cost as for building the initial tower. You can not upgrade a tower on the turn it was played.

Placing New Territories

You can only place a new territory adjacent to a property on which you have a tower. The new tile must touch at least three tiles, including the one that you're nominally building "from". You can not just build some big long narrow row of tiles.

Buy the territory by spending four of any one resource (remember, no change), then randomly draw it from the bag and place it in your desired location. You do not have to commit to a spot before you draw the tile, but you must place it according to the rules above and you must pay for it before drawing it from the bag.

The Resource Deck

Discarded resource cards, including ones used to pay for stuff, go face up into a discard pile beside the draw pile. When the draw pile is empty, shuffle the discard pile and turn it into the draw pile. Repeat as often as necessary.

Winning

Martian Colonists uses a victory points system similar to Settlers of Catan. You get one point for a Basic Tower and two points for an Upgraded Tower. The maximum anyone can get is 18. 10 should be a quick game. 13 points is probably about right.

Pending Design Decisions

Should the tiles be layed out in a basic square grid pattern with straight rows and columns, or should it be layed out house-brick style to emulate hex tiles? It's currently being written up assuming the former.