|A push-and-shove race around and up the sides of a pyramid.|
|Players:||2 - 4|
|Trios per color:||3|
|Number of colors:||4|
|- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -|
|A Chessboard or Ziggurat board; two d8 or one d6|
|Setup time:||2 min|
|Playing time:|| 20 min|
0.333 Hr- 45 min
|Game mechanics:||Roll and move, Blocking|
|Status: Playtesting (v), Year released: 2009|
|Created in 2009|
There are legends that in their primitive days, when they only had step-sided ziggurats rather than smooth-sided pyramids, the early Martians would have races up the sides of their structures. A different team would start at each corner, and the team that assembled at the top first won the honors. They could be vicious affairs, with a lot of blocking, pushing and pulling, but this made it all the more entertaining for the crowds that cheered them on.
Ziggurat is a re-creation of those early races, and is playable by 2-4 players. The rules describe the 4-player game, with differences for 2 or 3 players described at the end.
- 3 Treehouse sets
- 1 Chessboard, or alternate board as described below
- 1 Movement Die: 8-sided is preferred, but 6-sided is OK
- 1 Action Die; the regular Treehouse_die is OK, but a D8 of different color from the Movement Die is preferred
- 1 or more copies of the following Action Die Table, if you use the D8 action die:
The board is imagined to be a ziggurat of 4 levels: the 4 center squares are Level 4, the next rings of squares around them form Level 3 and Level 2, and the outermost squares are Level 1. The table outside the board, where the pieces all start, is Level 0. The squares along the main diagonals are the corners of each Level, and the row or column of squares joining two corners is a line. Two squares are adjacent if they are touching, orthogonally or diagonally.
See Figure 1 for the game's initial setup. If you find it hard to visualize the levels of the Ziggurat on a regular chessboard, it shows two options. Fig. 1B) shows a custom board that you can download here and print out. This board distinguishes the levels with borders and degrees of shading, as well as silhouettes for placing the stations and walls. Fig. 1C) shows a 3D board I made out of 1/2" foamboard. This is the most enjoyable board to play on, and it takes only a small amount of money and time to make it.
Players choose the color of pieces they wish to use, and take all 9 pyramids of their color. Some of the pyramids are used to mark the board, and the others are the pieces actually moved around the board. Players choose their starting corners by any means they agree to, and set up their pieces as described below.
|Figure 1. An opening setup for Ziggurat.|
Two large pyramids are used to form the stations: the Start Station on Level 0, and the Goal Station on Level 4. (One large pyramid is not used, but see the Queen variation below.) The 3 small pyramids are placed on their sides as shown to make the walls; they show where the pieces of that color may move up to the next Level. The stations and walls are part of the board, and are not moved throughout the game. The 3 medium pyramids are the pieces the players move around the board; they begin stacked on the Start Station, and try to end up stacked on the Goal Station.
Any pieces on the same square must form a stack; a piece by itself on a square is a singleton. Pieces on top of their stack are top pieces; pieces touching the board are bottom pieces. A singleton is both a top piece and an bottom piece.
The player who first gets all their pieces onto their Goal Station wins the game.
Choose a first player by any means. Turns rotate clockwise around the board.
To take a turn, a player rolls both the dice. The Movement Die enables one piece to move, and the Action Die either enhances the movement or allows one other action. If the action is not a movement enhancement, then the action and movement may be done by the same piece or different pieces, and may be done in any order. Both dice are optional: a player is not forced to use either the movement or the action roll.
If you use a D6 for the Movement Die, always add 1 to its result, so the movement ranges from 2 to 7. If you use a D8 for the Action Die, convert its number to an action using the table above.
Pieces move around the board as shown in Fig. 3: they move counterclockwise on the level, and go to the next level when reaching the wall of their color on the current level. A player may use his movement die for any of his top pieces that are not on the Goal Station.
When a piece is moved, it is moved in the forward direction as many spaces as the movement die shows (adding 1 for D6). A piece must move as far as possible with the roll; however, normal movement must stop: a) at a corner; b) at a wall of its own color; or c) just in front of a stack. Any unused spaces from the movement die are lost, and may not be used by a different piece or saved for another turn.
If a piece ends its move on a square with other pieces, it stacks on top of them. Pieces on top of a stack may move, Leap, and Tip or Swap with neighbors; all pieces in a stack may Tip the stack or Swap within it; pieces at the bottom of a stack may Dig out.
Other moving pieces must stop just before a stack unless they are Hopping. Stacks may be formed through normal movement, but can only be made larger as a result of Hop, Tip or Dig actions.
The effects of the Action Die are described here; illustrated examples follow. Note that if you use the traditional Treehouse Die, the Leap and Redo actions are not available.
- Add 1 to the movement die. (For a D6, add 2.) While moving, a piece is not stopped at corners or walls, but continues moving until the count is used up or until blocked by a stack.
- Add 1 to the movement die. (For a D6, add 2.) While moving, a piece Hops over any occupied squares, even stacks; several occupied squares in a row count as 1 Hop in the movement count. Pieces must still stop at a corner or wall of their color, and if that square has occupants they stack on top of them.
- A bottom piece may move to any adjacent square of the same level or lower. This does allow Digging backwards or sideways. If the target square is occupied, the Digging piece ends up at the bottom of the stack. Digging may not be done into or out of a Start or Goal Station.
- A piece may move in its line over as many blank squares are in front of it, stopping at a corner, wall of its color, or just in front of the next occupied square.
- A) A top piece may switch places with any adjacent top piece, at any level, that is not on a Start or Goal Station. B) Or, a piece in a stack may switch places with any other piece in its stack.
- A) A top piece may push an adjacent singleton or stack straight away from it; or B) any piece in a stack may Tip the stack it's in toward any allowed direction; or C) a singleton may Tip itself in the forward direction if allowed. To Tip, pick up the piece(s) Tipped, and place the lowest piece on the next square in the given direction, and the next lowest piece in the square after that, etc. Pieces that end up on occupied squares stack on top of them; pieces that end up off the board (ie. Level 0) are returned to their Start Stations. Pieces may be Tipped only in directions that are on the same Level or lower, not uphill. A stack on the Start Station may Tip itself off; pieces on the Start or Goal Stations may Tip their neighbors away from them.
- A) After carrying out the movement, roll the Movement Die again and use it as desired, by any of your pieces. B) Or, reroll the Action Die and use it as desired, except that a Redo on the 2nd roll counts as a blank.
- Use any of the other special actions.
On the Start Station, top pieces may Move, Aim, Hop, Leap and Tip (themselves or their neighbors). Bottom or inner pieces on the Start Station my Swap within the stack or Tip the stack forward. The only thing pieces on the Goal Station may do is to Tip their neighbors.
Examples of Movement and Action
Click on the images for larger versions of them.
Omit one of the colors in the setup. Choose your seating by any means you wish.
Omit two of the colors in the setup, and have the 2 colors used start at opposite corners.
Or, use all 4 colors, and have each player control two colors at opposite corners; the first player to get all the pieces of either one of their colors to its Goal Station wins.
Play with two 2-player teams, with partners sitting opposite each other. The team which has all of its players' pieces on their Goal Stations wins the game.
When the first player in a team gets all their pieces on the Goal, they need only roll the Action die for their turn; if there is no opposing piece next to the Goal that they might want to Tip, they can pass their turn entirely.
Add the unused large pyramid, called the Queen, to your medium pyramids (or Drones) and use these additional rules:
- The Queen starts on the Goal Station stacked with the 3 Drones. The owner may stack them in any position the owner desires, but that order cannot be changed without a Swap action.
- Each space moved by the Queen takes 2 movement points from the movement die. Therefore, it cannot be moved with a 1 unless an Aim or Hop is rolled with it.
- Queens block Drones as if they were stacks. Also like stacks, they may be Hopped over.
- Queens are not blocked by stacks or other Queens, but must move over them and may stop atop them.
- Queens may move if Drones of any color are stacked on them, carrying the Drones with them. They still may not Leap with Drones on them, nor Swap or Tip neighbors, and Queens may not move if other Queens are above them.
- Queens Aim, Dig, Hop, Leap, Swap and Tip just like Drones. Queens and Drones may Tip each other and Swap with each other.
- All 4 pieces must be at the goal to win.
http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/88x31.png Ziggurat is licensed by Bryan Stout under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.