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Another BoardGame (2-6 players)

ToDo: Needs a better name.


Unite the nomads, found a desert kingdom, fight off the encroaching barbarians.

Tile based road-building game.  This one will be short, honest!  (Absolute maximum of 64 turns, turn consists of choosing a space, taking a few tiles from the bag, choosing one, and totting up score.)

The imitation is multiple tribes (the players)  have joined up to make a civilisation.  They spread out from the known lands and claim bits of it in the name of each tribe, with occasional lone explorers going out to find entirely new lands.  They have to co-operate a bit, or the barbarians will get them, but not too much, or their tribe will lose out n the end.

Yeah yeah, they should be 'settlement' tiles, not cities.  All the players are gonna call them cities anyway, no matter what I call them, so go with the flow...



  1. Determine turn order.  (Pick someone to go first and a direction of play, usually works)
  2. Each player takes one 'barbarian' tile.
  3. Each player takes one 'city' tile.
  4. Shuffle the remaining tiles together, place in bag.
  5. Place the board somewhere handy.
  6. Remind yourself that 'adjacent' does not include diagonals, in this game.


  1. On your turn you can do one of four actions:
    1. Select an empty space on the board and: Discover a new tile.
    2. Select a filled space on the board and: Build a road.  (Doesn't matter who it belongs to)
    3. Select a filled space on the board and an empty space adjacent to it and: Activate an existing tile.  (Doesn't matter who it belongs to)
    4. Play your 'city' tile, if you still have it.  This is exactly like choosing the 'discover' action and drawing a city tile.  (Except you're, you know, guaranteed to get a city tile when you want it, once per game.)
  2. If there's still at least one free space on the board, pass on to the next player.
  3. Otherwise, it's time to end the game.  Barbarian attack!

Discover a new tile

ToDo: Consider making it so that you can't 'discover' a tile which is adjacent to an already discovered one.  You'd have to 'activate' into it.  I'm not sure this adds anything besides complexity though.
  1. Draw a tile from the bag.
    1. If it's a special tile, keep it and take another turn.
    2. Otherwise, place it in the selected space of the board.
      1. Mark it as 'yours'.
  2. Score it.

Activating a tile

The flavour here is that, from the "known" territory (the face-up tile you're activating), you're sending explorers out into the adjacent empty space.
  1. Draw a tile from the bag, and place it face down on the first empty space on the  board, starting at the 'barbarians enter here' space.
    1. Barbarians spiral around the edge of the board, coming ever closer to crushing your desert kingdom.  They don't overwrite any tile already placed, but they slowly fill the board, hastening the end of the game.
  2. The tile you are activating has a draw number on it.  This is the number of tiles you now draw from the bag.
  3. It also has some 'not this' marks on it.  If any of the tiles you drew were those, the toss them back into the bag.
  4. It may have some 'must take these' marks.  If any of the tiles you drew match, then toss back all those that don't match.
  5. If you've got no tiles left, bad luck, it's now the next player's turn.
  6. Otherwise, select one of your remaining tiles and replace the rest in the bag.
  7. Then use it - almost exactly the same as a discovered tile:
    1. If it's a special tile, keep it - but do not take another turn.
    2. Otherwise, place it in the selected empty space on the board.
      1. Mark it as 'yours'.
  8. Score it.

Building a road

  1. ToDo: I am almost certain that this overscores compared to the rest of the game.  I think that you probably should score less (2, maybe?) for cities on your network - making 'oh no, now he can place the last road' less of an insane disaster (minimum 10 points, more likely 20-30) than it currently is.  Yes, we'll do that.
  2. You can only select 'desert' and 'grass' to be built on.  'Mountains' and the various specials (cities, oasis, mines) cannot be built on.  Nor can it already have a road.
    1. For the sake of 'what is connected to my network' cities, oases and mines are considered to be roads.
  3. Draw a tile from the bag, and place it face down on the first empty space on the  board, starting at the 'barbarians enter here' space.
  4. Place a road token on the selected space.
  5. All roads connect to all four adjacent squares.
  6. If you've just linked to a new city not already connected to (or connected two networks together) then everything now connected to this network (and everything the network itself passes over) is scored again.
  7. The player who laid the road gets the points for the cities on the network.  Everyone else gets the points for the non-city terrain they own which is passed over or connected to.
    1. Yes, this means it's a good thing to link cities one at a time, because you get lots of chances to score them.
    2. Yes, this means it's good to build roads to nowhere on your own territory.
    3. Yes, this means that it's good to connect to oasis and mine tiles, although that won't trigger their scoring immediately.
    4. No, placing a city or a mine next to an existing road network (by discovering it, or activating something else) doesn't score the road network - you have to activate the road network by placing a road.
    5. The only downside to building a road is that it brings the end of the game that much closer, and someone else might complete the road.
    6. Even if you managed to connect to two cities with a single road (city at A1 and another at B2 for example) you don't get to trigger the scoring cycle twice.  If you want to do that, route your road in from another angle and connect them one at a time.
  8. Roads, like cities, do not have 'owners'.  The terrain they pass through does.
  9. For clarification:
    1. Oasis, score points for their owner whilst connected to the network.
    2. Cities, score points for current player when connected to the network.  Also trigger off the whole road scoring thing.
    3. Mines, score points for their owner whilst connected to the network.
    4. Grass, score points for their owner whilst passed through by the network.
    5. Desert, score points for their owner whilst passed through by the network.
    6. Mountains, never scores anyone any points ever.

Scoring a tile

  1. Most tiles are simply worth a number of points every time they are scored.
  2. In order of most to least points: Oasis, City, Mine, Grass, Desert, Mountain.
    1. Oasis: Eight points.  On activate: Draw three tiles.  Forced: Treasure.  Barbarian.
    2. City: Five points when placed, 2 when scored.  On activate: Draw four tiles.  Forced: Grass.  Special.  Forbidden: City.
    3. Mine: Three points.  On activate: Draw eight tiles.  Forced: Treasure.  Mountain.  Forbidden: Oasis, City, Grass.
    4. Grass: Two points.  On activate: Draw two tiles.  Forced: Grass.  City.  Forbidden: Mine.  Treasure.
    5. Desert: One point.  On activate: Draw two tiles.  Forbidden: Mine.  City.  Treasure.
    6. Mountain: No points.  On activate: Draw four tiles.  Forced: Mine.  Forbidden: City.  Oasis.  Treasure.
  3. Special tiles come in two forms:
    1. Treasures.  Worth twenty points at the end of the game - not when discovered.  (You may well be trading them in before then)  You keep them to one side.
    2. Barbarians.  Worth fifteen points, but make the end of the game harder and come sooner.  You keep them, but also place an additional face-down tile on the board.
      1. Note: You get treasures from cities, oases and (really easily) from mines. 
      2. Mountains are pretty much useless, except to block in your oponents and to find mines.

Game End (Barbarian attack)

  1. The game ends when the board is full.  (Or you run out of tiles, I think I made that impossible though.)  Score for the turn that ended the game, even if it involves a second tile which has nowhere to go you still get the points.
  2. The barbarians then attack. 
  3. There is one band of barbarians for each 'barbarian' tile any player holds.  Pool them.
  4. The barbarian starting point is the last face down tile placed.  (Or the barbarians enter here' space, in the unlikely event that none have been placed)
    1. When working out where they go next, 'Nearest' means 'in squares' - barbarians walk across mountains as easily as anything else and ignore roads.  (That is, the distance from A1 to B2 is 2, no matter what is in A2 and B1)
    2. If two destinations are equally distant then ties are first broken by which is nearest the square that the barbarians entered from.
      1. Break further ties by which is nearest the 'barbarians enter here' square.
        1. Any further ties pretty much have to be caused deliberately just to annoy the rules writer.  Break them (the ties, not the rules writer) with the absolute position.  (That is, the destination nearest the top of the board wins, then the destination nearest the left of it.) 
  5. If that player holds a treasure card, they can turn it in.  Placate (remove) one band of barbarians, and move on.  Place the barbarians in the city.
    1. ToDo: We also need to be able to spend some large (25?) number of points to placate barbs. Work out how many points.
    2. ToDo: That leads to nim.  Got to be careful there.
  6. Otherwise, remove that city from the board.  Placate the looting barbarians and move on.
  7. The barbarians move to the next nearest undestroyed-and-unoccupied city.  (Breaking ties by 'nearest the entry point' then position as before.)
  8. If you run out of cities to attack, remove the occupying barbarians and continue.
  9. If you really run out of cities (all destroyed) then it's game-over, no-one wins, you should have been more co-operative; shouldn't you?
  10. Otherwise, stop once you run out of barbarians.
  11. If you don't hold any cities, your score is zero.  You suck.
  12. Now score any remaining treasures, at twenty points each.
  13. Otherwise, the player with the highest score wins.  Yay you.
    1. Break ties by number of cities still held.
    2. Break further ties by number of road tiles on your terrain.  (No, you don't need to have built the roads)
    3. Break any remaining ties by duelling to the death with slices of stale pizza.
    4. Still tied?  Play another round.


I'm pretty sure that there's a problem with the first couple of turns - city in the bottom-right of the board is just plain better than doing anything else.

Additional things I thought about:  When you activate a mine or city (searching for treasure) then just draw tiles until you get something that can go there - allowing the city to destroy itself.  But then you'd destroy opponents cities that way.

Also, possibly, initial city placement can only be next to grassland.  But the 'which corner they enter from' being random seems a simpler fix than those.
Ok, I think I got this - stupid obvious me.  Barbarians enter from the last face-down tile, which could be anywhere on the board and is influenced by players during gameplay.  Much nicer.

Just a way to force the game to end.  They also stop you activating things, by taking up their free slots.
The intention is immediately, compensation for having just made the end-phase harder.  (And if you've got lots of treasure, you might deliberately activate things that are likely to attract barbarians)

I've got a notepad with a list of fixes for this game, but they're all tweaking around the edges.  Mechanically, the game works (well, modulo 'oases are too good and lucky cities too important'.)  Unfortunately, it's just not very much FUN.  Project probably abandoned.

CategoryGames.  It's a BoardGame (or it's going to be)

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Last edited February 7, 2008 10:38 am (viewing revision 14, which is the newest) (diff)