|Try to build stacks that match your secret goal stacks.|
|Trios per color:||3|
|Number of colors:||5|
|- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -|
|a stash pad, a bag to draw pyramids from, shields|
|Setup time:||5 minutes|
|Game mechanics:||Stacking, Hidden information|
|Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987|
ThreeStone is a tactical game for two players, requiring three Treehouse sets to play. Players take turns building and manipulating six stacks of pyramids, one piece at a time. Each player is trying to build stacks which match their secret goal stack, while trying to guess the other player's goal stack and prevent them from winning.
What you need
- 3 Treehouse sets of the same color scheme (all Xeno or all Rainbow).
- An opaque cloth bag of some kind, large enough to hold 12 small pyramids.
- One shield or screen for each player. These screens need to be large enough to hide a stack of 4 small pieces.
- 2 players.
- A Stash pad (optional, but handy).
Place all of the Small pieces except for the white or black ones in the opaque cloth bag. Place the Medium pieces and Large pieces except for the white or black ones on the Stash pad or off to the side of the playing area. Arranging them by color and size is strongly recommended. Add two of the three small white or black pieces to the collection of colored Mediums and Larges, and put all of the other black or white pieces aside as they will not be used during the game.
At this point, there should be 2 small white or black pieces and a total of 12 colored Medium pieces and 12 colored Large pieces on the Stash pad or off to the side of the playing area.
Each player draws 4 Small pieces from the cloth bag, and secretly arranges them in a single stack, behind a shield so they are concealed from the other player. This stack is the player's goal stack, and should remain hidden from the opposing player until the end of the game. The player can stack the drawn pieces in any desired order, but once the game has started, the stack cannot be altered in any way.
If any player draws 3 pieces of the same color for their goal stack, they must immediately return all the pieces to the bag and re-draw. A goal stack may contain at most 2 pieces of any color.
Imagine a 3x2 grid of squares. Each of these squares contains a stack of pieces. Three of the 6 stacks contain only Large pieces, while the other three contain only Medium pieces. When playing the game, the stacks should be kept in two lines for ease of play. It may also help to actually use a 3x2 section of a Volcano board or chess board.
At the beginning of the game, each of the 6 stacks contains 0 pieces.
Throughout the game, players are continually adding to and changing the 6 stacks of pieces. Large pieces are always stacked on other Large pieces, and Medium pieces are always stacked on other Medium pieces. Remember, there are only 3 stacks of each size.
Play begins with the player who drew the pieces for their goal stack last, and alternates.
On each turn, a player must take a large or medium piece from the Stash pad or side of the playing area and place it on one of the 6 stacks. If there are fewer than three stacks of a given size, this piece may begin a new stack. Otherwise, it must be placed on an existing stack. Placing a new piece is never optional, and is always the first thing done on each turn.
After placing this piece, the player may optionally move a single piece from the top of one stack to the top of another stack. There is no obligation to do this.
Placement and movement of pieces are subject to several restrictions - see the Valid Moves section below for details.
If the current player does opt to move a piece from one stack to another, he must also move one of the two small white or black pieces (the capstones). If the capstone being moved is currently on the Stash pad, it must be placed on top of one of the stacks (possibly an empty stack). If it is not on the stash pad, it must be moved to the top of a different stack. Moving the cap is not optional if a piece was moved between stacks.
To sum up, each turn has the following three steps:
- A new medium or large piece is added to one of the 3 stacks for its size.
- Optionally, a piece is moved from the top of one stack to the top of another.
- If a piece was moved in Step 2, then a small piece (capstone) must also be moved, and placed on a different one of the six stacks.
When placing a new piece from the Stash pad, the following restrictions apply:
- The piece can only be played on one of the stacks of the appropriate size; large pieces can only be played on other large pieces, and medium pieces on other medium pieces. There are 3 stacks of each size.
- The piece may not be played on a stack that already contains 4 pieces of its size.
- The piece may not be played on a stack that has a capstone on top.
When moving a piece between two stacks, the restrictions are similar:
- The piece being moved cannot be the one you just placed.
- The piece must be moved to a stack of the same size pieces. You can't put a medium piece on a stack of larges, nor can you put a large piece on a stack of mediums.
- The piece must be on top of the stack it is being moved from.
- The piece may not be played on a stack that already contains four pieces of its size.
- The piece may not be moved from a stack that has a capstone on top.
- The piece may not be moved to a stack that has a capstone on top.
Just remember that a stack can have at most 4 non-capstone pieces, that they must all be the same size, and that capstones block all movement to and from the stacks they cap.
When moving a capstone, the only restriction is that the destination stack must not already have a capstone. Once moved off the Stash pad and into play, the capstones may never leave play. It is perfectly legal to move a capstone to the top of a zero-piece stack. This would prevent any pieces from being played on that stack until the capstone is moved elsewhere.
Ending the Game
The game ends immediately when a player cannot make a legal move on his turn. This could be because all possible destinations for a new piece have capstones or are already four pieces tall, or because there are no more pieces left to place (and all six stacks have four pieces each).
At this time, the players reveal their goal stacks, and the scores are calculated.
First, both capstones are removed from the stacks. Then, any stacks which do not have 4 pieces are removed from the game. The scoring is based on the remaining stacks. Note that there will always be at least 4 stacks remaining that count in the scoring phase, and possibly as many as 6.
Scores are then calculated as follows:
- Players get 1 point for each pyramid in a stack which is the same color as the corresponding pyramid in your goal stack.
- Players get an additional 3 points for each stack which perfectly matches their goal stack.
Points are totaled for all the stacks. The player with the most points wins.
In case of a tie, the player with the most perfectly-matching stacks wins.
Scoring example, for two stacks:
- Suppose Alice's goal stack is Blue, Green, Blue, Yellow (from top to bottom) and Bob's goal stack is Red, Green, Yellow, Blue (from top to bottom). One of the large stacks is Red, Green, Blue, Yellow (from top to bottom). Alice scores 3 points for this stack, which Bob scores only 2. One of the medium stacks is Red, Green, Yellow, Blue (from top to bottom). This is a perfect match for Bob, so he, scores a total of 7 points for that stack (one point for each matching piece, and a 3 point bonus). Alice only gets 1 point for that stack, because the Green piece was in the correct position.