Timelock

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Timelock
Jason Darrah
A game of Timelock setup with two Xeno sets and one Gray stack
Someone's gone and broken the TimeLine again.
:Players Players:
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 2 (one rainbow one xeno is best, but not needed)
Number of colors: 5
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes:
Five-color sets: 2 (one rainbow one xeno is best, but not needed)
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Volcano board, 2 six-sided dice
Setup time: <1 minute
Playing time:
Strategy depth: Medium-Low
Random chance: Moderate
Game mechanics: Stacking
Theme: Abstract, Race
BGG Link: 34963
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987

Timelock.png

Timelock is a 2-player semi-abstract strategy game where players race to match Stacks of pyramids to their Goal... before their Goal changes, that is. Players will need two Treehouse sets (ideally one Rainbow set and one Xeno set), two 6-sided dice, one Treehouse die, and a Volcano board or other 5x5 square board.

The Story (Nanofictionally speaking)

Someone's gone and broken the TimeLine again.

An agent of the Time Repair Agency, you must create a Timelock to stop the TimeLine from arbitrarily changing. When everything went haywire, an alternate version of yourself was created. If your alter-ego sets their Timelock first, they will take your place in the TimeLine and vice-versa. Once it's done, who is the real you?

Rules

Setup

Arrange pieces of one color into a Nest and place it in the center square in the row closest to you. This is your Goal. Then build 4 single color Trees and place them in the empty squares in the row closest to you. These are your Time Stacks. Your opponent does the same.

Opposing trees in the same column should not be the same color. If you are using one Rainbow set and one Xeno set, this will not be an issue.

The board should now be set up as follows:

TimelockSetup.png

Goal

The object of the game is to rearrange your 4 Time Stacks to match the current arrangement of your Goal.

Play

Whoever has the Treehouse die gets to go first.

On your turn, roll 2 six-sided dice and a Treehouse die. The Treehouse die gives you a special Action (see below), while the 2 six-sided dice determine your Movement Points.

Moving

You have a number of Movement Points equal to the number rolled on each six-sided die to be used on pieces from one Time Stack. If you roll 5 on one die and 4 on the other, you get 5 Movement Points to move pieces from one Time Stack, and 4 Movement Points to move pieces from a different Time Stack.

You may only move pieces from your own Time Stacks, and your opponent's Goal (see below). You may not move any pieces from your opponent's Time Stacks or your own Goal!

Pawns (1 pip) cost 1 Movement Point to move one space, Drones (2 pips) cost 2 Movement Points to move one space, and Queens (3 pips) cost 3 movement points to move one space. You may move pieces forward or backward in the column that it is in, up to the Center Row. Both players may have pieces in the Center Row, but may not move beyond that square.

You may not move pieces sideways or diagonally.

A piece may not be moved if another piece is sitting on top of it, but a piece may “DIG” to the top of the Stack it is in by spending enough Movement Points to move it (so 1 point to dig a Pawn, 2 points for a Drone, and 3 points for a Queen). You may only DIG a piece if it is in the center row!

You may divide Movement Points up among any number of pieces of the same color in any order. So you can move a piece 1 space, move another piece into that space, and move the first piece back to land on top of that piece, for example.

Any Movement Points not used are lost. They may not be used on a different Time Stack, or combined with Movement Points from the second die except as noted below.

Special Movement Rules

If both six-sided dice roll 3 or less, those numbers may be added together and used on one Time Stack. (So essentially, you only get to move one Time Stack on that turn instead of two).

You may move any size piece in your opponent's Goal one space by spending 6 movement points. These movement points may not come from more than one die unless both dice rolled 3 or less, as detailed above. You may not move a Goal piece if there is another piece on top of it. However, you can DIG an opponent's Goal piece if it is in the Center Row to the top of the stack it is in by spending 6 movement points.

Treehouse Die Actions

You may take your Action at any time during your turn, before, during, or after using all your Movement Points. You may use your Action on any of your Time Stacks (but not your opponent's Goal, unless specified otherwise in the Action's description!) Using an Action is always optional.

  • TIP: Totally Increase Points! Both of your movement die rolls are increased to 6! Set both d6's on the number 6 before moving to reflect this!
  • SWAP: Two of your pieces from the same Time Stack that are in different squares are swapped.
  • HOP: Whenever you move pieces this turn, they HOP to any legal square that your piece could normally move to- not just adjacent squares (so you can HOP a piece from your First row to the Center Row, for example). All other movement rules apply. You may HOP pieces from your opponent's Goal for the usual cost of 6 movement points.
  • DIG: One of your pieces DIGs to the top of the stack it is in. Pieces do not have to be in the center row to DIG in this way.
  • AIM: You may move pieces in your opponent's Goal at a reduced cost for this turn. The cost for moving pieces in your opponent's Goal is the same as moving pieces from your Time Stacks this turn (Pawn: 1 MP, Drone: 2 MP, Queen: 3 MP). All other movement rules still apply as normal.
  • WILD: You may combine movement points from both of your dice and use them on pieces from any of your Time Stacks this turn. (This allows you to move more than 2 Time Stacks in one turn, or combine two high rolls for use on one stack, including your opponent's Goal, this turn)

Winning

When all 4 of your Time Stacks are in the same configuration as your Goal, you win.

EXAMPLE: Your goal currently has the Queen in your 1st Row with the Pawn on top of the Queen, and the Drone in your Second Row. You win if your Queens are in the Row closest to you with your Pawns on top of them, and your Drones in your Second Row. See image.

TimelockWinning.png

Pieces from your opponent's Time Stacks do not count when determining whether you win or not. The only thing that matters is the square that your pieces are in, and their relative position to your other pieces. So if your goal has any pieces in the Center Row, it doesn't matter if you have an opponent's piece above, below, or between your pieces. As long as your 4 Time Stacks match your Goal, you win.

Scoring (Optional)

In a single game of Timelock, the player that matches all 4 of their Time Stacks to their Goal wins. However, the scoring system can be used to facilitate a series of multiple games or tournament play.

When the game ends, the losing player removes from the board every piece in their Time Stacks that do not match up to their Goal. The winner receives points equal to the combined pip value of those pieces. Pawns are worth 1 point, Drones are worth 2 points, and Queens are worth 3 points.

If the losing player does not have ANY pieces in their Time Stacks that match their Goal, the winner receives points for the losing player's Goal as a bonus in addition to the normal points received for winning (an extra 6 points). This will give the winner a perfect score of 30 points!

Multiple Games

Players agree to play to a certain point total. 20-50 points may be a good total to start with. After each round, add the number of points that the winning player received to their score. First to reach the total wins it all!

Tournament Play

Players play a predetermined number of rounds based on the number of players participating. After that many rounds have been played by all players, the person with the highest score wins the tournament. In the event of a tie, the tied players play one another until a clear winner emerges.

Variations/Notes

The following are suggestions to change the game up a bit, and general tidbits of a miscellaneous nature.

Shorter Games

  • For a shorter game, try matching 2 or 3 Time Stacks to your Goal instead of 4. Or...
  • When one of your Time Stacks matches your Goal, remove it from the board. You win when you remove your final Time Stack!

Notes on Pieces

  • This game was designed to be played with one Rainbow set and one Xeno set. If you only have pieces from one color scheme, just arrange the pieces so that your Time Stacks and Goal are a different color than your opponent's Time Stacks and Goal.
  • For old-school Icehouse players, this game can be played with 2 Icehouse Stashes. Set up the game as normal, and swap the nest with your opponent. This way, the Goal can be identified more easily.
  • For really old-school Icehouse players who don't have stackable pieces... Wow. I guess you're out of luck. Grab a couple of Treehouse sets. ;)

More Variations

  • Solitaire Variant: Set the board up as normal. Play proceeds as usual, with the following exceptions. Whenever your roll a 5 or a 6, remove a pyramid from one of the opposing side's Stacks. So if you roll a 5 and a 6, or two 5's or 6's (TIP counts for this), remove two pyramids. You lose when all opposing pyramids have been removed from the board. You may replace a pyramid by spending 6 movement points, as you would when moving an opponent's Goal.
    • If you roll AIM on the Treehouse Die, you may replace one pyramid without spending movement points.
    • For more of a challenge try removing pyramids on a roll of 4, 5, or 6 (or even 3, 4, 5, or 6 if those are too easy).
      • OR remove one opposing pyramid from the board every turn in addition to those removed by rolling a 5 or 6.
    • You can even keep score by adding up the point value of all of the opposing pieces that remain on the board when you have won. Remember to include the bonus 6 points if all opposing pieces are still on the board for a perfect score of 30!
  • For a 4 player variant try playing with partners. Partners sit across from one another on opposite corners of the board and control the two pieces on their side of the Goal on their side, as well as the Goal itself. This means that your partner can manipulate your Goal, and your opponent's partner can manipulate your opponent's Goal. Your team wins when your 2 Time Stacks match your Goal, AND your partner's 2 Time Stacks match your opponent's Goal.
  • For an even more abstract twist, you can try playing the game without a board. Only relative positions matter. You can move pieces forward or backward, but never beyond an opponent's piece. The Center Row is an abstract area between both players' pieces. If pieces from both players' Time Stacks or Goal are on top of one another, that is the center row for that column. Have fun playtesting this if you decide to try it.


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Timelock by Jason Darrah is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Winter 2008
Winner: Martian 12s - Runners-Up: WreckTangle, Timelock
Other Entries (in alphabetical order): Chicken Run, Hunt, Martian Gunslinger, Timberland, Virus Fight