Kai Bettzieche
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UPDATE:

Castle Siege is a game of trade an conquest (more conquest than trade), currently in open playtest.
For anyone interested, the link to the files is here:
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/C...
(Careful: ~50MB of data incoming)
Or step by step:
Armies: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/c...
Player Mats: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/c...
Resources: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/c...
Distance Cards: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/c...
Rules: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/r...
Rules Variant - Racial Traits: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/r...
Building instructions: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/b...

There is an ink saving version, too, in case you just want to try it but do not want to spend too much ink:
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18778135/Castle%20Siege/C...

Components are:
10 playmats
400 Army Tokens
144 Resource Tokens
24 Distance Cards
1 Centre Piece
1 Rulebook
1 Variant

Most of the components are squared, so crafting a quick and dirty build should not take longer than 3, maximum 4 hours.

If you go for it, please do drop me a line here and tell me, how it went


Thank you and kind regards,
Kai


=======================================================================


Original Text:

Howdy crowd,

An idea just jumped into my mind and I'd like to hear / read your opinion about it:

Castle Siege is a game about managing your armies, and eliminating other players while trading with them.
Goal is to be the last man standing.

Setup:
Each player chooses a colour.
He then gets a card depicting the castle of that colour.
Additionally he gets a couple of counters (like 30-40) in that colour representing his units/armies.
Now he gets from each other player one counter (so a player has got his own counters as well as one from each other player).
Those "foreign" counters are placed behind his screen (each player gets a screen, too)

Between the castle of a player and the castles of the players to his left and to his right, a "distance card" showing a number (maybe depicted as footprints in the mud) is placed - that's the number of turns it takes to cross that distance.

In the centre of the table, the "centre point" is placed, having no other function that to serve as the centre and requiring 1 turn to cross.
Between a player's castle and the centre point, another distance card is placed.

Those distance cards show numbers between 1-3 and are drawn and placed randomly.

Now each player places 15 of his own armies on his castle.
All the other tokens are put aside into a stash.
Each player may remove up to 5 armies from the castle to an empty spot next to it to have it gather resources.
Resources are represented by resource cards, each one having a value between 1 and 3.
The armies gathering resources give a player 1 resource card per army at the beginning of the turn (not so during setup).
A player may hold up to 3 resource cards at a time.



Gameplay:

A turn is divided into the following 6 phases:
1.) Gather resources
2.) Trade
3.) Buy armies
4.) Plan armies
5.) Move armies
6.) Combat
Each phase is played simultaneously

1.) Each player having at least one army placed next to his castle gains 1 resource card per army placed there.

2.) Players now may trade their resources. Resources are traded in terms of "packages": A player must not name the value of a resource card.
1 package may be traded for:
- another package
- a maneuver (such as: "I'll give you 1 package now, and you recall your armies attacking me", or "I'll give you 1 package now, and you send this and that many troops to player X in this and that many turns")
Whether or not such a contract is binding is up to the individual player. Betraying another player and breaking a contract is optional - whether it is wise is a completely different story, though!
If a player receives a package from another player, he may look at the value, but the package received is not put in his hand. Instead it is placed in front of the castle.

3.) Buy armies
Each player whose castle is not under siege (see below) may use the resources in front of his castle to buy new armies at an exchange rate of 1 army per resource (not per package, per resource!)

4.) Plan armies
Each player removes all of his armies from his castle as well as from gathering resources to behind his screen.
There he stacks the counters in piles and decides which armies will gather resources, which ones defend his castle and which ones will attack other castles.
A stack of armies intended to attack another castle gets the counter of the player that is intended to be attacked on top.
One player may only launch one attack at another player, but may attack any number of players.
When everyone is done, players put their stacks back onto their castle or next to it, if intended to gather resources.

5.) Move armies
For each army stack intended to attack another player, each player picks the shortest path (from player to player, across the centre point, or some combination thereof) and send the stack on the way.
Each turn, a stack is moved 1 step further towards its destination.
A castle lying on the way requires 1 step (1 turn) to cross.
At any time while not in combat, an army may be recalled:
The counter on top (the one from the opposing player) gets removed and the army moves towards the owning player's castle.
Once recalled an army must not receive new orders unless it is back in the owning player's castle.

6.) Combat
If any number of army stacks arrive at their destination, combat ensues.
Each player having an attacking army stack at a castle removes at first the top token from the player attacked. Then he removes one army into his stash.
Now attackers and defender remove tokens one by one:
For each 1 token the defender removes, the attackers have to remove 1 token as well. If there are more than 1 players attacking, it is up to the attacking players to determine who removes his token.
This process continues until either the attacking player(s) or the defending player have run out of tokens.
If the attacker(s) run out of tokens first, then the defender is victorious and may live to see another day.
If the defender runs out of tokens first, the castle is crushed. Armies belonging to the defeated player that have been sent out to attack other players will follow that command through, but will not return.
If more than one player has been involved in the victorious attack, the attacking players battle it out among each other:
Each player removes 1 token from his stack. Repeat as long as there are more than 1 players at the defending castle.
With the next turn, the army of the remaining player moves towards its home castle (see 5. Army Movement). Once it arrives, the player puts all resource cards from the defeated player (those from his hand as well as those that might have been in front of the castle) either on his hand or in front of his own castle.



The game has been won by the last player remaining.

=================================================

Soooooo ...

Braindump over ...

As said in the title: This is just a game idea; it hasn't been playtested at all.
Since the concept is fairly abstract, the theme is variable at will:
Fantasy, 40k, medieval, steampunk - basically anything goes ..
(As usual, I'm just lacking an artist to do the "shiny" stuff for me ..)

What do you say?
Sounds cool?
Sounds stupid?
Sounds too complicated?
You like? Dislike?



As usual: Thanks for reading and posting opinions

Kind regards,
Kai
 
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
Sounds cool, I like the distance cards idea.

I am confused by the resource gathering, you say up to 5 armies can go, and each army can collect a card, but the player can only ever have 3 cards so I am not sure why you would send more armies...

I am concerned the combat gives a massive disadvantage to the defender if multiple armies arrive at once, but I like the simplicity. Lack of luck might be a factor. Perhaps the defender can use one packet of resources infront of their castle to remove that many attacking armies (if it needs balancing like that).

I personally don't like player elimination games, but it does sound rather fun.
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
HuggableHamster wrote:
I am confused by the resource gathering, you say up to 5 armies can go, and each army can collect a card, but the player can only ever have 3 cards so I am not sure why you would send more armies...


This happens, when I type stuff on the fly ..

You are right, of course: 3 cards don't make sense when you could gather 5 instead ..
So, the hand limit has to be raised to 5, of course.

If lots of armies arrive at once, then the defender is at disadvantage. That's true. And the whole point of it: Attacks will have to be coordinated in order to be successful.
And yet the question remains: will all armies arrive at the same time, or will the defender bribe one or more attackers into retreating, to survive the onslaught and to remain able to fight back..
Defending with a resource card is what a player basically does in the "buy armies" step: he buys troops in order to assign them to defence..

But thanks for the feedback
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
Attached: Graphics for the "distance cards"

1 Step


2 Steps


3 Steps
 
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Greg
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
I can see the game grinding to a standstill when two attacking armies hit together. The rules call for the players to agree on who loses a unit. The rules also call for them to immediately fight once the battle is over. I don't see them ever agreeing on who should lose the unit.
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
I like the idea. In fact I'd been thinking about some similar ideas (either medieval theme or space with planets instead of castles). When I was thinking about it my concerns were that it could be difficult to make an aggressive strategy good, and being a turtle would be the best way to win (which obviously ruins the game if everyone realizes that)

x_equals_speed wrote:
I can see the game grinding to a standstill when two attacking armies hit together. The rules call for the players to agree on who loses a unit. The rules also call for them to immediately fight once the battle is over. I don't see them ever agreeing on who should lose the unit.


Maybe, but I suspect some conventions would emerge. Take it in turns to lose armies might be the norm, but maybe I'd ask you to send 10 armies to support me eliminating Bob (who is really annoying me, but hasn't attacked you) with the condition that I lose all my armies first so you'll get the loot if we're successful. It allows another thing to negotiate over... Though maybe it should be more formalized. A playtest would check.
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
I can imagine situations in which players could negotiate something they both agreed on, but I think they'd be outnumbered by situations in which everyone involved would want to minimise their losses. The rules need to cover what happens if an agreement can't be reached (maybe both should lose one to encourage negotiations).

I'm not sure how effective turtling would be, as I read it you can't meaningfully accumulate units by hiding away, you can only get them by engaging in trade (Cards gained with the gather resources action are in your hand rather than in front of your castle.) I suppose two people could form a mutual turtle in which they trade each other five cards every turn, that'd be pretty unstoppable and pretty much guarnatee that one or the other of them would win.
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
No one can bail out once a battle is underway can they? At which point you'd have two scenarios where I'm the defender and there are two or more people attacking there are two scenarios:

1. Win the battle, I lose 20 troops & all attacking armies die.
2. I'm out of the game - you guys lose 20 troops between you, you sort it out between you. Anyone want another beer? [I leave the table to get more beers]

In scenario 1 it doesn't really matter what order people take their armies off - the result is always the same.

In scenario 2 you'd effectively be negotiating who gets to keep the spoils and how may troops they end up with which does seem like it could be messy. If defender has 20 and attackers A & B had 21 & 31 then best case for B is that all A's troops die in the initial attack and they'd be left with 30 troops. Best case for A is that 21 of B's troops die in the initial attack, then A & B both lose 10 in the post attack carnage, A is left with 10 troops and the spoils.

Which leads me to conclude that a good tactic would be to form an alliance and agree to launch multiple attacks and alternate who's armies die if the attack is going to be successful. That combined with your suggestion of trading 5 cards per turn would make for a potent alliance. Obviously at some point someone would betray the trust (probably just after it has been their turn to have the surviving armies)
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
Thanks for the input ..

I see your points ..

So, basically negotiating on who loses armies could become a drag ..

Ok ..

Maybe the rule for attacking a castle should be changed into:

For each 1 token the defender removes, the attackers have to remove 1 token as well. If there are more than 1 players attacking, it is up to the attacking players to determine who removes his token. he selects 1 token from the attacking army/armies to be removed. If more than 1 army is attacking, only 1 token from 1 army may be removed that way.

(After all, it is the defender's choice, whose armies he is defending against.)



The other concern has been turtling in ..

whoa .. nice one .. actually, I thought, the trading mechanism would prevent stuff like this .. But a turtle alliance .. hmm ..

This almost screams for making the game not a player elimination game, but a game, where you score points for successfully raiding other players .. Hmm ..
As in: For each castle you defeat, you score 1 point if you had allies and 2 points if you did it all by yourself.
First player to score 5 points or so wins ..
If a castle is defeated, the defeated player uses his current hand to buy new units ..

Or something like that ..

Sounds good?



As always: Thanks for reading/feedback and kind regards,
Kai
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
First draft of a playmat:



In the centre: The faction's castle (here: the angels' fortress). Place all your defending armies here

From top left clockwise:

- Faction's symbol: place stash of your armies here
- Mine: Move up to 5 armies here
- Resources: Place your resources you have received from trades here
- Victory: Place tokens from victoriously raided castles here

I'm a little bit annoyed at how it turned out:
Even though I didn't use different filters for the Faction's symbol and the Resources (just different textures), the Faction's symbol won't come out as good as the Resources' symbol ..
Hmm ..
Looks like I need a different texture ..



A different thought just came to my mind:
What about giving each faction a unique trait that could be used at some place in the game?
Factions so far:
Angels - Flight: Upon starting a battle, you ignore the initial step of removing 1 army into your stash.
Barbarians - Militia: after being defeated, return to game with 1 unit for free.
Devils - ???
Dragons - Air superiority: When your troops arrive at a battle, you decide instead of the defender, who loses an army each turn.
Dwarves - Defender: Upon combat each attacking player initially removes 2 armies into his stash.
Knights - ???
Lizards - Ferocious: Lizards may attack any opposing army they move across, even if it is not in its home castle.
Pixies - Illusions: Pixies may decide to withdraw from a battle before one side is defeated. The battle is over, there is no victor and the pixies have to return to their castle the next turn.
Vampires - Blood drain: For each X (5?) armies defeated, restore 1 Vampire army at the current battle.
Wizards - Combat Magic: Is an army of wizards 1 step away from a hostile castle, they begin their attack. The attacked player has to remove immediately 1 army from this castle to his stash. Next turn the wizards arrive and combat continues as explained in the rules.

Anyone any ideas / inspiration for the Knights and the Devils?

Apart from that: This idea was just a braindump now .. neither tested nor balanced ..

Thoughts?



Thanks for your feedback and kind regards,
Kai
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a player elimination siege game for 4-10 players
Meanwhile, some more eyecandy:

Angels, Devils and Barbarians


Dragons, Dwarves and Knights


Lizards, Pixies, Vampires
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a siege game for 4-10 players [playtest phase]
schattentanz wrote:

What about giving each faction a unique trait that could be used at some place in the game?

I like that idea, though I think that kind of thing is fairly difficult to balance. Of your suggestions I think I'd pick Dwarves (because people are less likely to attack me) or Angels or Wizards (because they have an advantage attacking). Dragons sound good but no one is going to want to help me attack. The Pixies power also sounds like it could be good, if an attack is doomed to failure you can withdraw , or if your home is being attacked you can withdraw to recall troops, however I suspect the defender would always kill pixies first to encourage them to withdraw and end the battle so I suspect they wouldn't be that good.

Nice artwork, though I have to admit your theme isn't really to my taste.
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a siege game for 4-10 players [playtest phase]
Very pretty

Be careful not to fall into the "too pretty to change" trap though! How many playtests have you done? What've the outcomes been?
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a siege game for 4-10 players [playtest phase]
schattentanz wrote:

As in: For each castle you defeat, you score 1 point if you had allies and 2 points if you did it all by yourself.
First player to score 5 points or so wins ..
If a castle is defeated, the defeated player uses his current hand to buy new units ..


I quite liked the player elimination idea (it feels more war like), but I suspect a non-player elimination game would get more plays - it sounds like it'd be a shorter game (and the length could be varied by changing the number of points required to win)

One question on your proposed rules - if A, B & C attack player D and win, but C loses all their units who gets 1 point? A, B & C or just A & B (or just whoever out of A & B has the most troops). I can see disadvantages of both - if it's A, B & C then C might have joined the attack with a single unit to get the point, if it's A & B then the defender will kill the troops of whoever currently has the most points first, so it could be that C attacked with 20 troops, A & B with 5 each, but since C was already on 4 points the defender killed all C's troops first to stop them winning the game. Both could lead to scenarios which feel odd thematically, but I think A & B getting points feels much less.

Oh, actually another question - am I allowed to attack and defeat the same person repeatedly and still get points for it? If my nearest neighbour is weak then attacking them repeatedly would seem like the quickest and easiest way to win.

schattentanz wrote:

If a castle is defeated, the defeated player uses his current hand to buy new units ..

If they don't have a hand do they get eliminated? If so then that would encourage people to hold at least one card to avoid that possibility (in fact if you were being attacked and had a few cards in hand then the logical thing to do is probably to hold them and spend them after you are defeated then counter attack, rather than spend them to defend yourself). Actually it seems that getting defeated might not be that much of an inconvenience and if so it might make sense to go all out and attack people and not really bother with defense (or maybe go for the minimum defense to stop me being a really easy target).
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a siege game for 4-10 players [playtest phase]
Oh - hey

Thanks for the feedback

I made one playtest - but without the traits and .. well .. it worked ..
Didn't have a chance to present the traits, though (since two factions are still missing theirs ..)
And, yes, balancing traits always is a pain in the ass - I'm very aware of this ..

Regarding the questions:

Who wins a battle?

There is only 1 winner at a battle:
Quote:
If more than one player has been involved in the victorious attack, the attacking players battle it out among each other:
Each player removes 1 token from his stack. Repeat as long as there are more than 1 players at the defending castle.

Combat continues until only 1 player's army is left - that army scores the point.



Can I attack repeatedly the same player?

Repeatedly attacking the same weak neighbour (in online games known as "bashing", btw) is permitted. However you will only score points once for defeating him. (Will have to include this into the rules as well!)
The player elimination/last man standing could be an option for the "true" warmongers among the players ..



What if the defender doesn't have a hand upon elimination?

That was a good one ..
In that case I'd say, a player gets 6 units (7 if you are a barbarian), so he can continue .. (in the player elimination variant, you're out upon defeat, of course)
Hmm .. you're right, though: there should be some kind of inconvenience upon defeat; such as: your armies disband (instead of following their commands through) ..
Hmm ..



Thanks for the input and kind regards,
Kai
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a siege game for 4-10 players [playtest phase]
I should have remembered the thing about only one player winning a battle.

Regarding bashing someone, what I meant to ask was would you get points again - it's much less attractive since you don't get points. The fact that you always lose some armies when you attack means people are less likely to bash someone (or at least they're likely to hurt themselves by doing so).

If you only get a point from defeating a player's castle once then it might be a good plan to have a way of keeping track of that. Maybe each player could have 5 tokens and when they successfully raid a castle they put one of two tokens in that castle, the first person to lose all their tokens has 5 points and wins.

schattentanz wrote:

Hmm .. you're right, though: there should be some kind of inconvenience upon defeat; such as: your armies disband (instead of following their commands through) ..


What happens to the armies that are gathering resources in/after combat? Losing them all after a successful attack on your castle would seem reasonable and thematic inconvenience. Actually I suppose you're likely to redeploy them to defend your castle in the turn you are going to be attacked so it wouldn't be an issue.

Sorry - another rules query, the rules say:

3.) Buy armies
Each player whose castle is not under siege (see below) may use the resources in front of his castle to buy new armies

I assume siege = phase 6 combat? I was assuming that a combat phase would be resolved before the next turn started, but I can't see how you'd ever be under siege. Is this not the case that the combat is totally resolved - do you just lose one army per turn at which point combat lasts a few turns (and that allows other armies to turn up during the battle)?
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Re: Game idea: Castle Siege - a siege game for 4-10 players [playtest phase]
Good questions:

Bashing someone: I've adjusted the rules, so you gain your Victory Point from successfully looting someone just once. You may attack another player further, but won't get any benefits from that.
Also I've adjusted the number of Victory Points you need to win and put it in direct relation to the number of players playing.

Armies gathering resources get lost (poor civilians get slaughtered). So, yea, redeploying them might actually be a very good idea.

Buy armies: Yes, this part of the "braindump" has been written with the intention of battles lasting more than one turn. This however would drag everything way too far, so I dropped that idea in the maintime.
Just disregard this sentence.

Also: rules and components are finished for open playtesting.
To download, please refer to the initial posting.



Thanks and kind regards,
Kai
 
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Derek Carpenter
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Link doesn't seem to work for me... Is it working for everyone else?
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*sigh*

Network here is causing trouble uploading that file

I'm on it .. stay tuned ..
 
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Now it is working ..

Thanks for the feedback
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Listening to a suggestion by

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I created an ink saving version in case you just want to try the game prototype-style
 
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