Tower War

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Tower War
Designed by Robert Dudley
Draft a deck, then try to wage a war without making the tower collapse.
:Players Players: 2 - 2
:Time Length: Medium?
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 2
Number of colors: 2
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 2
Five-color sets: 2
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
playing cards
Setup time: 2 minutes
Playing time: 15 minutes
0.25 Hr
- 30 minutes
0.5 Hr
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: Some
Game mechanics: Drafting, Dexterity
Theme: none
BGG Link: 164519
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987


Requirements

Tower War is a strategic card drafting and dexterity game for two players. You need one deck of playing cards including two jokers and two stashes of pyramids to play. The colors of the pyramids do not matter.

Setup

Give each player one stash of pyramids (5 large, 5 medium, and 5 small) and shuffle the deck of cards. Choose a player to be player one using a method of your choice.

Drafting

Player one will create the first piles for the draft. The player creating the piles will alternate after this.

Deal five cards from the deck face up. The player creating the piles divides these cards into two piles containing at least one card each. The other player then takes one pile of cards. The player who created the piles takes the remaining pile. All cards that a player drafts are placed in a single stack face down next to that player. Players cannot look at these cards again until the draft is finished.

Continue drafting until only four cards are left in the deck. Place one of these cards in the middle of the table to serve as the base level of the tower. Set aside the last three undrafted cards. They will no longer be needed.

Advanced Drafting Rules

Once players are familiar with the game and have a better understanding of how to evaluate the power level of cards during the draft, it is recommended that you use the advanced drafting rules. These rules require a third stash of pyramids. At the beginning of the draft, place the third stash in an area accessible to both players.

Each time a new set of cards is separated into piles, the player creating the piles may add any number of pyramids from the third stash to one of the piles. The player who takes that pile gets all of the cards and pyramids in that pile. Pyramids that you draft are added to your starting stash of pyramids. At the end of the draft, set aside any undrafted pyramids from the third stash. They will no longer be needed.

Deck Building

When the draft is finished, each player builds a deck containing 15 cards. Any unused cards are set aside. The unused cards will no longer be needed, but should remain hidden during the war.

The War

At the start of the war, both players shuffle their decks.

The war consists of a number of small battles, which are, in turn, divided into three skirmishes each. At the start of a battle, each player draws three cards. If a player needs to draw a card and cannot, his discard pile is shuffled and becomes his new deck.

Player one will lead in the first battle of the game. After this, the leading player will alternate with each new battle. Players continue fighting battles until one player loses the war.

Skirmishes

Each skirmish consists of the leading player playing one of the three cards drawn this battle, followed by the other player playing a card. The player who plays the higher valued card wins the skirmish.

The loser of a skirmish places a pyramid from his stash on the top level of the tower. If there are no pyramids on the top level, the loser can add a pyramid of any size. If any pyramids are already there, the pyramid added to the tower must be of the same size as the pyramids that are already there. No one adds a pyramid to the tower if there is a tie.

While adding pyramids or cards to the tower, a player may adjust any pyramids already stacked on the tower. Pyramids on the tower can only be adjusted until a card has been stacked on top of them.

Numbered cards are valued at the number printed on them. Face cards and aces are all valued at 10 points, though they still follow the standard hierarchy when checking for superiority (lowest to highest: 10, jack, queen, king, ace).

Example: A jack (10 points) is played against an ace (also 10 points). Though they have the same point value, the ace is superior in the hierarchy and wins the skirmish.

Shared Suits - Instead of being worth its printed value, a card that shares a suit with a card you played in an earlier skirmish this battle is worth its point value times the other card's point value. The other cards of that suit you played in earlier skirmishes this battle are no longer worth any points (this is only relevant when determining which player wins the overall battle). The shared suit value is cumulative.

Example: In the first skirmish you follow with a 9 of hearts against your opponent's ace of clubs. In the second skirmish your opponent leads with a king of diamonds. You follow with a 2 of hearts. Your 2 is worth 18 points (its own 2 points times the value of your 9), so you win the skirmish.
Example 2: You played three clubs this turn - a 10 first, then an 8, then a 5. The value of the 5 when you play it is 400 (10 * 8 * 5), while the 10 and 8 are no longer worth any points.

Doubles - If a player plays a card that shares a name or number with a card that he played earlier in the battle, he does not add a pyramid to the tower even if he loses this skirmish.

Example: You played a 10 in both the first and second skirmishes. Your opponent played a 9 of hearts in the first skirmish and a 5 of hearts in the second. Even though you lose the second skirmish, you do not have to add a pyramid to the tower.

Jokers - Jokers are played as an exact copy of a card you played in an earlier skirmish in the battle. Jokers cannot be played as the first card of a battle.

Winning a Battle

Compare the total point value of all cards played by each side. Ignore card hierarchy. The player with the lowest point value adds pyramids of the appropriate size to the tower until the top level has three pyramids, then stacks one of his cards from the battle on top of the tower.

Example: You played an ace of hearts, a 10 of clubs, and a 6 of clubs this battle. Your opponent played a 9 spades, a 4 of spades, and a 2 of spades. You have 70 points (10 from the ace + 60 from the clubs), while your opponent has 72 points (9 * 4 * 2). Your opponent wins, so you place pyramids on top of the tower if there are less than three, then add either your ace, 10, or 6 to the tower.

In case of a tie at the end of a battle, all pyramids placed this turn are returned to their owners and no card is added to the tower. Move on to the next round as normal. The player who led this turn removes all pyramids he placed, then the other player removes all pyramids he placed.

At the end of a battle, place all cards you played this battle that were not added to the tower into your discard pile. The cards in either player's discard pile may be viewed by either player at any time.

Losing the War

A player who causes at least one pyramid or card to fall from the tower loses the war. A player who is forced to add a pyramid to the tower and cannot loses the war. Any player who loses the war loses the game.