An Icehouse game by Nate Straight.
The classic board game of global domination enters the Icehouse world. In this version, the players assume the roles of opposing Martian armies as they attempt to invade Earth.
The object is to eliminate all of your opponents' armies from the game through conquest.
1 stash of Icehouse pieces per player, preferably in one of the transparent colors
2 four-sided dice per player, matching each player's color of Icehouse pieces
25 colored rocks or tokens per player, matching each player's color of Icehouse pieces
1 extra large map (of any location, though U.S. works best), or 1 Risk game board
3 or more players and approximately 1 hour (more players will require a larger map)
Fold the map such that the total number of regions (countries, states, etc) that are showing is approximately equal to seven times the number of players. You will probably have to decide which partial regions will be used and which will be considered out of play. The best way to do so is usually to see which regions' names are still visible. You also need to make sure that every region you are using can fit at least five of the colored rocks or tokens that will serve as each player's armies for the game. This is why the map of the U.S. (particularly the west and mid-west) works best for this game, since so many of the regions in the U.S. (again, particularly in the west and mid-west) are very large. If you use a different map, simply combine some regions into larger areas (Central America makes a good choice for this sort of combination, for example) and note the new regions.
If the map you are using is colored reasonably well, you may choose to use a variant (which is actually more like a default) rule which allows players to add more armies or towers during the reinforcement phase of their turn if they occupy all of the regions of any given color at the beginning of that turn. These groups of like colored regions are called "unions," and their make-up (some colorings are iffy) should be predetermined.
Each player should form 1 tree with their stash of Icehouse pieces and place it in front of them ready to be placed onto the map as a "tower" the other pieces should be placed on the side of the map within the player's reach. Each player should also form a pile of 10 of their colored rocks and a pile of the remaining 15 colored rocks; the pile of 10 will be placed onto the map as "armies," the pile of 15 should be placed on the side of the map.
After rolling the dice to decide which player will place their tower and armies first, the player who won that right will place their tower (their tree of Icehouse pieces) into any unoccupied region on the map (which, at this moment, is any region in play), and will also place one army from their pile of 10 colored rocks into whatever region they chose to place their tower in. After doing so, the next player will place their tower and first army, and so on until all players have had a chance to place their tower and first army.
After all the towers have been placed and the play returns to the player who won the initial dice roll, that player will begin the second phase of placement by placing one army from their pile of 10 (which is now a pile of 9) into any unoccupied region on the map. After doing so, the next player will place one army into any unoccupied region, and so on until all the regions on the map have had one army placed into them.
After all the regions on the map have had one army placed into them, whoever the next player in line is will begin the third phase of placement by placing one army from whatever is left of their initial pile of 10 into any region that is currently occupied by at least one of their own armies. After doing so, the next player will place one army into any region occupied by their own armies, and so on until all the armies have been placed.
The setup is complete, and the player who won the initial dice roll will begin the game.
On each player's turn, they will have the option of doing each of three different things in the following order: 1) Reinforce regions; 2) Attack opposing armies; 3) Fortify forces.
To reinforce their regions, a player may roll one (and only one) of their dice at the very beginning of their turn and then place that many armies or that many points worth of additional towers into any region(s) that is currently occupied by at least one of their own armies. If the player fully occupies one or more unions, they may place one additional army or point worth of additional towers for each and every union that they fully occupy.
Each army placed onto the map counts as one point away from the number rolled at the beginning of a player's turn, but each section of a tower counts as a different number of points based on its size. The lower section of a tower (the large piece) counts as three points, the middle section counts as two points, and the upper section counts as one point. A player must roll at least a 3, therefore, in order to begin construction of any additional towers during the reinforcement phase of their turn, and must, then, fully occupy at least 2 unions in order to construct a full tower during the reinforcement phase. Towers must be built from the bottom up and consist of one large, one medium, and one small piece.
To attack opposing armies, a player must declare both the region that will be doing the attacking and the region that will be attacked. The region that will be doing the attacking must be occupied by at least two of the attacking player's own armies, and the region that will be attacked must be occupied by any opposing player's armies and must be adjacent (intersections of region corners do not count as adjacencies; the sides must touch) to the region that will be doing the attacking. "Mississippi will attack Alabama" and "I will attack California from Nevada" are examples of legitimate attack declarations.
Upon declaring an attack, the attacking player and the player whose armies occupy the region to be attacked (the defending player, that is) will roll both of their four-sided dice and note the total of their dice. The player with the highest total on their dice after the roll wins that battle of the attack and the opposing player must remove one of their armies from their region that is involved in the attack. If the players roll a tie, the defending player wins that battle and the attacking player must remove one of their armies from their region that is involved in the attack. If the attacking player loses all but one of their armies from their region that is involved in the attack, they must end the attack at that time; otherwise, the attacking player has the option to continue the attack through as many battles as they like, until either the defending player is completely defeated (loses all of their armies from their region that is involved in the attack), the attacking player loses all but one of their armies, or the attacking player decides to end the attack.
If there is a tower or a portion of a tower in either region that is involved in an attack, the player whose tower it is will add the height of the tower in pieces (either 1, 2, or 3) to the total of their dice after each roll in any attack that involves the region in which the tower is located. Both the attacking and the defending player may receive this bonus for having a tower involved in an attack, and both players may receive the bonus in the same attack.
If the defending player is completely defeated, the attacking player must move at least one army (and up to as many as one less than the total number of armies left in their region after the attack) from their region that is involved in the attack into the region that the defending player's defeat left vacant. Any towers in the defeated region are removed and given back to the defending player, and may be placed again later in other regions.
To fortify their forces, a player may split any one of the towers that they control (leaving only the large bottom piece behind, and taking all other pieces) and place the split-off miniature tower into a region that they occupy that is adjacent to the region that the tower was originally in. If the player splits off two pieces (a medium and a small) from their tower, they may place the medium piece into a region that is adjacent to the region that the tower was originally in and the small piece into a region that is adjacent to the region that they placed the medium piece in. Miniature towers may be built upon, but only from the bottom up (so the only possibility is to place a small piece on top of a medium piece).
The game ends when only one player has armies left on the map. That player wins.