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Subject: [WIP] The Hero's Journey rss

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Mike Everett-Lane
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In a recent blog post, Mr. Magnus mused on the meaning (and game value) of the Location and Event aspect of the Decktet cards. I thought about some games that might use the distinction in a meaningful way, and came up with The Hero’s Journey. Very much a Work In Progress, any input will be much appreciated!

Update: 2/25/14
After playtesting, I’ve more or less completely re-written the rules. I’m keeping the most recent version in this first post. The changes are outlined in the Design Notes at the bottom of this post.

The Hero’s Journey (v8)


Every Hero has a Journey.

From your humble origin you will travel far, through deserts and forests, to castles across the sea. Betrayals and pacts, discoveries and chance meetings, the clash of battle and the hum of the marketplace lie before you. Helping you meet the challenges of the journey will be your mentors -- soldiers and sailors, bards and lunatics, merchants and savages.

Will the Journey end in Windfall or Calamity? Your story is yet to be written....



Setup

2-4 players
Extended Deck
72 Suit tokens
1 Pawn for each Player

The Stages of the Journey
Place the Events in order from The Origin to The Pact in a single file. These are the Stages of the Hero’s Journey. Put The Rite and The Harvest in a T before The Origin. Shuffle the three Crown Events (The End, The Calamity, The Windfall) face down in a stack at the end of that line. These are the possible Endings of the Journey. Each Hero places a pawn on either The Rite or The Harvest.

Heroes will move through each Event leading to one of three Endings. The rank of the Event card your pawn is currently on is the Stage of your Hero’s Journey. The Rite and The Harvest are Stage 1.

Resource Tokens
Make a bank of the suit tokens. Give each Hero 6 tokens, one of each suit.

The Deck of Challenges
Shuffle the Aces and the Excuse together, and deal 1 to each Hero. Place the rest in a face-down pile.

The Encounters
Separate the 14 personality cards (including the Consul, the Watchman, and the Lightkeeper) into one face-down pile as the Mentor deck. In another face-down pile, put the remaining 11 locations (including The Island, The Window, and The Borderland) as the Place deck. Shuffle the two decks separately. These are the Encounter decks. Each Encounter consists of a pair of cards (one Mentor and one Place.) Turn over three Encounter pairs, in three rows above the Encounter decks.

Becoming A Hero


Your tokens represent your own strengths, skills, and resources -- in Wisdom, Power, Nature, Violence, and Craft. You will need them to move forward in your Journey and to face the Challenges that lie ahead.

If you begin on The Rite, you are a Novice of The Order, sent forth from the monastery to save the land from Calamity. Draw 2 additional Moon tokens from their Wisdom. For the rest of the game, when you draw a Moon token, you may choose any other token to draw instead. You also receive a Prophecy: either look at the bottom of the 3 Ending cards, or pay all three of your Moon tokens to look at the top Ending card. You may not speak of The Prophecy.

If you begin on The Harvest, you are the youngest child of a farming family, off to seek a Windfall. For the rest of the game, when you draw a Leaf token, you may draw an additional non-Leaf token.

Whenever you must pay a resource, your personal skills and resources are required. Spend one token (back to the bank, unless the rules say otherwise.)

As your Journey progresses, you’ll also have Encounter cards in front of you. These are the Mentors that are currently with you, and the Place where you currently are. You can have more than one Mentor with you, but you can only be in one Place at a time, generally speaking. If you discard one of these cards, put it face down at the bottom of the appropriate Encounter Deck.

In addition to your own resources, your Mentors and the Place you’re in are also resources according to the rank of the card. So, for instance, if you have The Savage (3) with you and 2 Wyrm tokens, you have a total of 5 Wyrms resources available. Crown cards have a rank of 10, and Pawn and Court cards have a rank of 1.

Whenever you must expend a certain number of resources, you can draw on your own skills and resources, and also those of your allies and your surroundings, by using a combination of tokens and Encounter cards. Pay the tokens to the bank, and/or discard the Encounter card(s). No change is given. For example, if you had to expend 4 Suns, you could discard The Bard (worth 10), or The Desert and 1 Sun token.

If you draw resources, you gain in skills, strengths, and resources. Take the appropriate tokens from the bank. If the bank is out of that resource, the Hero at the lowest Stage will choose what substitute resources the bank will give you. (In case of a tie, the lowest Hero who is closest to your left will choose. If you're the lowest Hero, you choose.)

If the bank ever runs out of all its resources in all 6 suits, there is a Curse Upon the Land that affects all Heroes. Every Hero must select the suit in which they have the most tokens, and pay half of those tokens to the bank, rounding up. If you have a tie for which suit you have the most of, you can pick which suit to discard half of.

At any time during your turn, you can trade resource tokens with another Hero, at any mutually agreeable rate. At the end of your turn, you’ll also be able to trade with the bank.

Finally, the Challenge cards are the obstacles and tests you must overcome to move forward in your Journey. The Challenge card in your hand is your ability to influence the Fates’ decision over what sort of obstacles you will face. But beware -- the other Heroes seeking to outstrip you in glory can also wield their influence against you! You have a hand limit of one Challenge card.

The Play


The player closest to his or her own origin goes first.

Turn Order

On your turn, do one of the following actions:
A) Travel
B) Rest
C) Attempt The Next Stage

After taking an action, you may Trade Resources.


A) Travel: A New Encounter?
Should you stay where you are, or travel further down the road, in search of new places and allies? You may find what you seek, but the seeking will cost you....

Traveling gives you the opportunity to get new Encounter cards. If you Travel, first decide who is coming with you -- you may keep up to one Mentor when you travel. Any Mentors you leave behind will give you a parting gift or lesson. Draw one token from any suit on that Mentor’s card.

Then you may travel to one of three Encounters: the Wanderer’s Encounter (the top pair of cards), the Traveler’s Encounter (the second pair), and the Seeker’s Encounter (the third pair).

You can take The Wanderer’s Encounter, and all the resource tokens on those cards, by paying one resource to the bank.

To take The Traveler’s Encounter (and any resources on them), you must pay 3 resources: one onto each card (Mentor and Place) in the Wanderer’s Encounter, and a third to the bank.

Likewise, to take the Seeker’s Encounter, you must pay 5 resources: one onto each of the cards in The Wanderer’s Encounter, one onto each of the cards in The Traveler’s Encounter, and a fifth to the bank.

After taking the Encounter, place the two cards in front of you. Move the other Encounter cards up one position, and reveal a new pair of Encounter Cards in the Seeker’s Encounter position. You must discard your old Place card if you had one.

B) Rest: Learn and Gather Strength
If you choose to rest, you may learn from your Mentors, or gain resources from your current Place, and learn from your current Stage in the Hero's Journey.

You may choose an Encounter card that is at an equal rank or less than your current Stage, and draw 3 resources for it: 2 for one of the suits on the card, and 1 for the other (or 1 for each suit on a Pawn or a Court). You can also take 1 token from a suit that is on your current Stage card.

If you have no Encounter cards, or none that aren’t higher than your current Stage, you can draw 2 resources, one from each suit that’s on your current Stage card. If you Rest at Stage 1, pick 2 of the three resources on the card.


C) Attempt The Next Stage of the Journey
From your Origin to the end – whatever that may be – the way will not be easy. But what choice does a Hero have but to press onward?

There are two ways to move your Hero to the next Stage of the Journey: with a Matching Encounter card, or by Meeting a Challenge.

Matching Encounter Card
Some Mentors and Places are ideally suited for the next Stage of your Journey. For instance, The Soldier can take you to The Battle, and The Forest is rife with Chance Meetings.

If one of your Encounter cards bears both suits of the next Stage card, you may discard that Encounter card and move forward. Pawns and Courts may be used for Matching Encounter cards. Rank doesn’t matter when playing a Matching Encounter card.

Most Stages have two Matching Encounter cards (The Origin has three, and The Chance Meeting has one.) Fourteen of the Encounter cards can be used for Matching Encounters, and control of these can be critical to succeeding in your Journey.

Meeting a Challenge
How will the Fates test you? A force of Nature? A riddle of Wisdom? A clash of Violence? A display of Craft? A test of Power? You can try to influence their decision -- but beware of other Heroes who might do the same!

To move to the next Stage by Meeting a Challenge, first put one token of each of the next Stage's suits on that Stage card. Then, check if you still have enough resources to reach the next Stage. You must have resources in both suits of the next Stage, and the total number of those two resources must meet or exceed the rank of the next Stage.

For instance, you have the Savage (3 Wyrms), 1 Wyrm token, and 2 Knot tokens, and are attempting to get to the Battle (Stage 4). After placing 1 Wyrm and 1 Knot token on the Battle, you have 3 Wyrms and 1 Knot left, so you have enough to attempt a Challenge. Or, after placing 1 Sun and 1 Moon token on The Pact, if you had The Bard (10 Suns) you would need at least 1 Moon token to try for The Pact, since you will need 9 resources in both Suns and Moons.

A Challenge Is Issued
First, draw the top card from the Deck of Challenges, and play either of your Challenge cards. If no one else plays a Challenge card, that card is the Issued Challenge.

Any Hero who isn't at a higher Stage than yours can be a Challenger and attempt to change the nature of the Challenge you're about to face. All Challengers must also meet whatever Challenge is Issued. Starting on your left, each Hero has the option to play their Challenge card, face down. After playing their Challenge, the Challenger must bid at least one token, placing it on that card. The next Challenger, if there is one, must exceed the last bid. Proceed until the highest bidder is determined. You may also bid, and any Challenger may increase her bid until no one outbids her. The winner of the bid reveals the Challenge card and makes their sacrifice to the Fates by paying their bid to the bank. All other Challengers take their bid tokens back, and can either discard their Challenge card or take it back into their hand.

The Excuse is wild, and the Challenger who plays it names its suit when revealing it.


Meeting The Challenge
In addition to you, all Challengers must meet the Issued Challenge. You meet the Challenge first, followed by the Challenger on your left.

To meet the Challenge, a Hero counts the number of his resources (including Encounter cards and tokens) in the Challenge suit. If the Hero has as many as his Stage, he successfully met the Challenge and draws 1 token of that suit.

If a Hero doesn't have enough resources in that suit, he failed the Challenge, and must subtract his current Stage from the number of resources he has in the Challenge suit. He must either expend at least that many resources (in any suit), or lay down his pawn and lose his next turn.

For example, you are at The Market. Your Mentors are The Sailor (4 Leaves) and The Author (2 Moons), and you're in The Desert. After placing 1 Moon and 1 Leaf token on The Chance Meeting, you have 4 Moon tokens and 1 Leaf token left, so with your Mentors you have 11 Moons and Leaves, more than enough to attempt Stage 7. You play the Challenge of Moons, but are outbid by another Hero who issues the Challenge of Waves. Since you’re at Stage 6, you need to have 6 Waves to meet this Challenge. The Sailor has 4, but you have no Wave tokens, so you fail the Challenge and don't get to move to the next Stage. You must also expend 2 resources (Stage 6 - 4 Waves = 2), so you discard the Author. Then you take your Moon and Leaf tokens back from the Chance Meeting card. The other Challenger is at The Discovery, and has The Sea. She needs 4 Waves, and has 10, so she meets the Challenge and draws 1 Wave token from the bank.

After all the Challengers have dealt with the Challenge, you may move forward to the next Stage if you met the Challenge. (If you spent tokens to bid on Issuing the Challenge, you still move forward to the next Stage even if you no longer have matching resources that meet or exceed that Stage's rank.) Pay the tokens you placed on that Stage to the bank. If you didn't, stay on your current Stage, and take those tokens back.

Put the Issued Challenge card back into the Deck of Challenges, shuffle it, and deal one new Challenge card to every Hero who needs one.

Events
After moving to a new Stage in either manner, you must apply that Stage’s Event.

The Origin: Chance Beginnings.
The Hero to your left secretly places 1 Leaf and 1 Wave token from the bank into a closed fist, with the other being empty. Choose a hand, and take the tokens if you chose correctly.

The Journey: A New Place.
Take the Place card from the Wanderer’s Encounter pair, along with any resources on it. Shift the other Places up, and reveal a new Place for the Seeker’s Encounter. While on The Journey, you can have two Place cards. If you take a new Encounter while on The Journey, and you already have two Places, discard one of your old ones.

The Battle: The Chances of War.
Since you are no longer on The Journey, you must immediately discard down to one Place. The Battle affects all Heroes. Each reveals a face-down Mentor or Place card from the Encounter deck, and adds its Rank to the number of Wyrm and Knot tokens she has. The one with the highest total draws 1 Wyrm and 1 Knot. The one with the lowest total must skip his next turn. If there's a tie, the one with the most Wyrm and Knot tokens wins. Discard those Encounter cards and reshuffle each Encounter deck.

The Discovery: What’s In The Chest?
Discard your Challenge card, and draw 2 of those resources (or 3 resources of any suits if you discard The Excuse). Then look through the remaining cards in the Deck of Challenges, and take any Challenge card. Reshuffle the Deck.

The Market: A Trading Place.
If you have at least 3 Knot tokens, draw 1 Knot token. While your Hero is on The Market, you may make 1:1 trades from the bank.

The Chance Meeting: A New Encounter
Take the top face-down cards from the Mentor and Place decks. Discard a Place if you have two.

The Betrayal: A Broken Oath.
You must give your highest-ranked Mentor card to another Hero. If you have no Mentor cards, you must give all your Wyrm and Knot tokens to the other Heroes, in any way you deem fit.

The Pact: Sealed Under The Sun and Moon.
If you are the first Hero to reach The Pact, reveal the Ending. Any Hero reaching The Pact may pay 2 Sun and 2 Moon tokens to trade any of your Mentors for any of the three face-up Mentor cards. Place those tokens on your old Mentor card. Take any resources that were on your new Mentor card.

Trade Resources
At the end of your turn, after taking one of the three actions, you can trade resources. Trade resources 2:1 from the bank, or from any Encounter card if the bank is out of that resource. The resources you trade need not match each other (so, if you needed a Moon token, you could pay a Wyrm and a Knot token for it). Trading a resource with the bank is not the same as drawing a resource, so a Harvest Hero will only get 1 token if he trades two tokens for a Leaf. If you’re on the Market, you can trade 1:1. You can make as many trades as you can afford.

You can also trade with any other Hero at any mutually agreeable rate. Trades between you and another Hero can happen any time during your turn.

After your turn, play proceeds to the left.

Game End and Scoring


The first Hero to reach The Pact reveals the top Ending card. This is the last Stage that all Heroes must reach -- there will only be one Ending. You can only reach the Ending by meeting a Challenge. You’ll only need to place one token on the Ending before making the attempt, and you will need to have 10 of that Ending’s suit (Wyrms, Knots, or Leaves).

Once the first Hero reaches the Ending, all other Heroes get one more turn. The first Hero to reach the Ending triggers one of these Events:

The Calamity: All Heroes must discard any Encounter cards that do not bear a Wyrm. Every Hero totals their non-Wyrm resource tokens, and must pay half that many tokens, rounding up.

The Windfall: Each Hero draws 2 non-Knot resources for each of their Encounter cards that bears a Knot, starting with the active Hero and proceeding to the left. When scoring, Knot tokens and Encounter cards with Knots count double for all Heroes.

The End: The first Hero to reach The End may draw 2 Moons, if they began on The Rite, or 1 Leaf (and the bonus token) if they began on The Harvest. When scoring, starting with that Hero, each Hero may either play their Challenge card, or reveal the top card from The Deck of Challenges. Encounter cards bearing that suit count double for that Hero. If it's the Excuse, all Encounter cards count double.

Scoring
Total the number of resource tokens. Add a bonus of 6 if you have at least one token of each suit.
Multiply that total by your current Stage (10, if you’re at an Ending).
Finally, add the total of the ranks of your Encounter cards (Crowns are worth 10, Pawns and Courts are worth 1.)

Good luck, Heroes!



Design Notes
v5: Still trying to balance resources -- in testing, we would run out of tokens a lot, since there were not many opportunities to spend tokens. So, now, more ways you have to spend tokens, including for taking any Encounter cards, and for attempting the next Stage. Also, turns are shorter since the player has a choice of 3 actions instead of doing all 3. Combat for The Battle was also redone.

v6: Redid the Challenge mechanic. It's now a sort of auction, with the lowest ranked player having the last option to trump whatever last Challenge was played. I've thought about making it increasingly expensive to replace the Challenge, but it's probably needlessly complicated. The payoff for Challenges is now 2 instead of 1 (additional trumping incentive), and it now costs 2 tokens to make the attempt, even if you fail.

v7: I was never happy with the Harvest and the Rite as the first stage, because it wasn't a meaningful decision. Now it is. Farmers get to double the value of Leaf tokens, and Monks get some extra Wisdom and a Prophecy. I also changed the effect of The End as an Ending.

v8: Tried to simplify the Challenge mechanic (again). It's now a real auction (limited to Heroes who aren't beating you). Since you now have the ability to out-bid the other Challengers, the "if you lose the Challenge you can still pay to move forward" mechanic has been dropped. It no longer costs 2 tokens if you have a Matching Encounter, and if you fail a Challenge you get your 2 tokens back to use in the next attempt.

Payout for resting was too high -- a potential of 6 tokens is 1/12 of the total supply. Now it's 2 or 4. I'm still concerned that a winning-but-broken strategy is to stay at an early stage with a low Encounter card, get 4 tokens, repeat until you have a whole bunch, and then buy your way to the top.

The End ending was tweaked (again). Both The Rite and The Harvest were simplified -- the Leaf being worth two resources was overly complex, so now you just get to draw an extra token if you draw a Leaf. Novices can look at the bottom Ending for free, or pay 3 Moon tokens to know what the Ending will be. They can also pick a different token instead of drawing a Moon.
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Mike Everett-Lane
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After some playtesting and playmusing,I've redone these rules. Simplified things, mostly, reduced some redundant language, and clarified some other things. The special events for Stages have been redone and added as "Advanced Rules".

The Hero's Journey


Every Hero has a Journey.

From your humble origin you will travel far, through deserts and forests, to castles across the sea. Betrayals and pacts, discoveries and chance meetings, the clash of battle and the hum of the marketplace lie before you. Helping you meet the challenges of the journey will be your mentors -- soldiers and sailors, bards and lunatics, merchants and savages.

Will the Journey end in Windfall or Calamity? Your story is yet to be written...


Setup

2-4 players
Extended Deck
72 Suit Chips
1 Pawn for each Player

The Journey
Place the Events in order from The Origin to The Pact in a single file. These are the Stages of the Hero’s Journey. Put the three Crown Events (The End, The Calamity, The Windfall) at the end of that line in a T. These are the possible Endings of the Journey. Each player places a pawn in the space before the Origin.

Your pawn will move through each Event leading to one of three Endings. The rank of the Event card your pawn is currently on is the "Stage" of your journey.

Resources
Make a bank of the suit coins. Give each player 6 coins, one of each suit.

The Deck of Challenges
The Aces and the Excuse go in a separate pile, shuffled and face down.

The Encounters
Separate the 14 personality cards (including the Consul, the Watchman, and the Lightkeeper) into one shuffled face-down pile as the Mentor deck. In another face-down pile, shuffle the remaining 11 locations (including The Island, The Window, and The Borderland) along with The Rite and The Harvest, as the Place deck. These are the Encounter decks. Each Encounter consists of a pair of cards (one Mentor and one Place.) Turn over three Encounter pairs, in three rows above the Encounter decks.

How Resources Work

In front of you are your coins. These represent your strengths and resources. Whenever you must pay a resource, you'll spend one of these coins (back to the bank, unless the rules say otherwise.)

As your Journey progresses, you'll also have Encounter cards in front of you. These are the Mentors that are currently with you, and the Place where you currently are. You can have more than one Mentor traveling with you, but you can only be in one Place at a time. If you discard one of these cards, put it face down at the bottom of the appropriate Encounter Deck.

In addition to your own coin resources, your Mentors and the Place you're in are also resources according to the rank of the card. So, for instance, if you have The Savage with you and 2 Wyrm coins, you have a total of 5 Wyrms resources available. Crown cards have a rank of 10, and Pawn and Court cards have a rank of 1.

Whenever you must expend a certain number of resources, you can use a combination of coins and Encounter cards. Pay the coins to the bank, and discard the Encounter card. No change is given. For example, if you had to expend 4 Suns, you could discard The Bard (worth 10), or The Desert and 1 Sun coin.

If you draw resources, take the appropriate coins from the bank. If the bank is out of that resource, the player to your right will choose what substitute resources the bank will give you. If there are no more resources in the bank, you don't get anything.

The Play

The player closest to his or her own origin goes first.

Turn Order
1) The Challenge
2) A New Encounter?
3) The Next Stage of the Journey
4) Resources

1) The Challenge

Will your Hero have the wherewithal to deal with the opportunities and challenges that arise along the journey? Perhaps your guide can be of help…

Reveal the top Challenge card. (If the Challenge draw pile has been exhausted, first shuffle the played Challenges and start a new pile). Every Hero is affected by Challenge, on every player’s turn (except Heroes that haven’t reached the Origin yet, or Heroes who have reached one of the three Endings.) The active player deals with The Challenge first, then the other players proceeding to the left.

If the Challenge is The Excuse, draw 2 resources of their choice. The 2 must be of different types.

If the Challenge is an Ace, count the number of resources you have before you in the suit of the Challenge. If you have as many as your Stage, you had the resources to deal with the challenge. Draw one coin of that suit.

If you lacked enough resources to deal with the Challenge, take your current Stage, divide it by two, and round up. You must expend that many resources of the Challenge suit.

If you lacked the resources to meet the Challenge, and you didn’t have enough to pay half, move back one Stage.

Example: You have The Savage (3) and The Forest (5), and are at The Battle (4). You have 5 Suns, and no other resource coins. The Challenge is the Ace of Wyrms, so you need to have 4 Wyrms to meet the challenge. You only have 3, with The Savage, so you’ve failed the challenge, and must pay 2 Wyrm resources (half of the Battle’s rank of 4.) You discard the Savage, who has nobly sacrificed himself so that you may continue. Your opponent is on The Journey (3), and has The Desert (2) and The Island (1) in front of her. She needs to have at least 3 Wyrms. The Desert is worth 2 Wyrms, and The Island is worth 1, so she has met the challenge, and takes 1 Wyrm coin from the bank as a reward.

2) A New Encounter?

Should you stay where you are, or travel further down the road, in search of new places and allies? Can you convince your mentor to come with you on the journey? You may find what you seek, but the seeking will cost you…

A) Your Companions

First, decide if you are keeping your current Mentors.

Mentor limit: In a 4 player game, you may have up to 2 Mentors at a time. In a 3 player game, you can have up to 3, and in a 2 player game you can have up to 4. If you have too many Mentors, you will need to discard.

If you want to keep any of your remaining current Mentors, pay one resource for each one. It doesn’t cost anything to stay where you are, so you can keep your current Place for free. If you don’t want to (or can’t afford to) keep a Mentor with you, discard it.

B) The Road Beckons
Next, you have the choice of remaining where you are. Take no cards and move on to the Stages step.

Or, you may go to one of three Encounters: the Wanderer's Encounter (the top pair of cards), the Traveler’s Encounter (the second pair), and the Seeker’s Encounter (the third pair).

You can take The Wanderer's Encounter, and all the resource coins on those cards, for free.

To take The Traveler’s Encounter (and any resources on them), you must pay resources to each card (Mentor and Place) in the Wanderer's Encounter. You must pay either one resource that matches one of the suits on that card, or two of any other resource.

Likewise, to take the Seeker’s Encounter, you must pay resources to the two cards in The Wanderer's Encounter and the two cards in The Traveler’s Encounter.

After taking the Encounter, place the two cards in front of you. Move the other Encounter cards up one position, and reveal a new pair of Encounter Cards in the Seeker’s Encounter position. You must discard your old Place card if you had one.

Example: You have The Bard and The Forest. You don't have any Sun coins, but you want to keep The Bard with you, so you pay 1 Wave. The Wanderer's Encounter is The Painter and The Mill. The Traveler’s Encounter is The Sailor and The Castle. The Seeker’s Encounter is The Lunatic and The Rite. You want to take the Traveler’s Encounter, so you place a Knot on the Painter. But you don’t have any Waves or Leaves resources, so you place a Moon and a Knot on The Mill. You then take The Sailor and The Castle, and place them in front of you. The Lunatic and The Rite move up to become the new Traveler’s Encounter, and two new cards are revealed for the Seeker’s Encounter. Since you've moved to The Castle, you discard The Forest.

On the next player’s turn, she decides to take The Painter and The Mill, which are still the Wanderer's Encounter. She also gets the 3 resources you put on them.

There are two Events that are also in the Encounter Place deck: The Rite and The Harvest. If you take one of these from an Encounter, you don't need to discard your Place. If you want to keep The Rite or The Harvest in future turns, you must pay for them like a Mentor card, but they don't count toward your Mentor limit.

3) The Next Stage of the Journey
From your Origin to the end – whatever that may be – the way will not be easy. But what choice does a Hero have but to press onward?

There are three ways to move your Hero to the next Stage of the Journey: with a Matching Encounter card, by Expending Resources, and with The Other Path. If you can’t (or don’t want to) move to the next Stage, skip to the Resources step.

A) Matching Encounter Card
If one of your Encounter cards bears both suits of the Stage card, you may discard that Encounter card and move forward. Take 4 resource coins as a bonus, 2 of each suit on the Matching Encounter card. One of the 4 resources may be from another player.

Example: Your Hero is at The Journey, and you have The Soldier and The Island. The Soldier and The Battle both have Wyrms and Knots, appropriately. Discard the Soldier. You take one Knot from an opposing player and one Knot and two from the bank, and two Wyrms. Keep the Island in front of you, and move to The Battle.

You can’t move to an Ending in this way. There are three Matching Encounter cards for The Origin, The Chance Meeting, and The Pact, and two for all the other Stages. Pawns and Courts may be used for Matching Encounter cards. Rank doesn't matter when playing a Matching Encounter card.

B) Expending Resources
You can also expend resources in the suits of the next Stage. The total of the resources must meet or exceed the rank of the next Stage, and at least one of each suit must be spent. You will need 10 of a resource to move to one of the three Endings.

Example: You have The Bard and The Mill, and are at The Origin. You keep both cards and spend 2 Moon coins and 1 Wave coin to move to The Journey. Onward!

Example: You have the Savage and The Mountain and are trying to get to The Battle. The Battle is rank 4, so you will need 4 resources in some combination of Knots and Wyrms. The Savage is worth 3 Wyrms, and you add 1 Knot resource coin. You discard The Savage, spend the Knot, and keep The Mountain in front of you. To Battle!

Example: You have The Author and The Mill, and need to get to The Market. Between them you have 8 Leaves and 2 Knots – more than enough. Discard both, and it’s off to the Market you go!

Example: You have The Sailor, The Watchman, and The Island, and need to get to The Chance Meeting. You discard The Sailor (worth 4 Leaves) and The Watchman (worth 1 Moon) and spend your last 2 Moon coins. What will The Chance Meeting on the Island bring?

Example: You are at The Pact, and have The Merchant and The Mill. Discard the Merchant and 1 Knot resource coin, and you can move to The Windfall. Or discard both cards, keep all your coins, and you can move to The End. The choice is yours!

C) The Other Path
The Rite and the Harvest represent alternate paths on the Hero’s Journey. If you have one as an Encounter card, you may place it parallel to the next Stage in your Journey, and move onto that card. You must expend 3 resources, from at least 2 suits on that card. From there you would move back onto the regular path as your next step. You may use The Other Path as any Stage, but not as an Ending. While on The Other Path, you're considered to be at the same Stage as the card above it.

Example: You have The Author and The Rite, and are trying to get to The Pact. The Rite is worth 1, so between the two Encounter cards you have 3 Moons. You would need 6 more Moon/Sun resources (at least one of them being a Sun) to get to The Pact. Instead, you discard The Author (worth 2 Moons) and 1 Leaf coin, place The Rite parallel to The Pact, and move your pawn onto it. While on The Rite, you are at Stage 9 for the purposes of meeting a Challenge. From there, you could move onto one of the three Endings on a future turn.

After your Hero leaves one of The Other Paths, discard it to the bottom of the Place deck.

4) Resources

A) Draw Resources
If you did not move to a new Stage this turn, you may draw new Resources from your Mentors and Places.

For each of the Encounter cards in front of you that is at an equal rank or less than your current Stage, you may draw 3 resources: 2 for one of the suits on the card, and 1 for the other (or 1 for each suit on a Pawn or a Court).

If an Encounter card is greater than your current Stage, pick one suit on that card and draw 1 resource from it.

If you have no Encounter cards, you can take 1 resource of any type that’s on your current Stage card.

Example: You have The Merchant (9) and The Forest (5) in front of you, and you are at The Discovery (5). The Merchant is higher than The Discovery, so you can draw 1 resource. You take 1 Knot. The Forest isn’t higher, so you also get 1 Moon and 2 Leaves.

Example: You are at The Chance Meeting (7), with The Consul in front of you, and no Place Encounter card. The Consul is worth 1, so you take 1 Moon and 1 Wave. There are no Knots left, so the player to your right chooses the substitute, and gives you 1 Wyrm from the bank.

Example: You are at The Discovery, but The Sailor led you through the Desert to get there, so you don’t have any Encounter cards. You take 1 Sun.

B) Trade Resources
You can trade resources, even if you moved to a new Stage this turn.
Trade resources 2:1 from the bank, or from any Encounter card if the bank is out of that resource. The resources you trade need not match each other. If you’re on the Market, you can trade 1:1.

You can also trade with any other Hero at any mutually agreeable rate. Trades between Heroes can happen any time during your turn.

Example: You are at The Betrayal, and need 3 Moons to get to the Pact next turn. You give 2 Leaves to the bank and take the last Moon from the bank. There’s a Moon on The Soldier in the Traveler’s Encounter, so you put 1 Wave and 1 Leaf on The Soldier and take the Moon. You offer to trade 1 Sun for 1 Moon from another player, but she demands 1 Sun and 2 Waves. You agree and make the trade.


Game End and Scoring

From The Pact (or The Rite or The Harvest, if you’ve used those as Other Paths instead of The Pact) you may move to any of three Endings. To move to an Ending, you must expend 10 of the matching resource (Leaves, Wyrms or Knots).

Once the first Hero reaches an Ending, each other player gets one more turn. A Hero who has reached an Ending does not have to meet a Challenge.

Scoring:
Double the rank of your current stage (10, if you have reached an Ending).
Add the number of resources coins you have.
Add a bonus of 6 if you have at least one of each type of resource.
Add the total of the ranks of your current Encounter cards. Crowns are worth 10, and Pawns and Courts are worth 1.

Advanced Rules

When you reach a Stage or an Ending, it triggers one of the following events. (If you go back a Stage because of a failed Challenge, the event doesn't trigger, except for The Market. Moving forward to a Stage a second time will trigger the event a second time.)

2. The Origin: Chance Beginnings.
Flip 1 Leaf coin and 1 Wave coin from the bank, and take whatever comes up Heads.

3. The Journey: A New Place.
Take the Place card from the Wanderer's Encounter pair, along with any resources on it. Shift the other two Places up, and reveal a new Place for the Seeker's Encounter. While on The Journey, you can have two Place cards. If you take a new Encounter, and you already have two Places, discard one of your old ones. If you move off The Journey, you must immediately discard down to one Place.

4. The Battle: The Chances of War. Shuffle all the Challenge cards into a new draw pile, and reveal the top card. If it’s a Wyrm, a Knot, or The Excuse, you can take another turn. Otherwise, lose your next turn. Lay down your pawn so you don’t forget.

5. The Discovery: What’s In The Chest? Flip one of each type of resource coin from the bank. If it’s heads, keep it.

6. The Market: A Trading Place. Nothing happens immediately, but while your Hero is on The Market, you may make 1:1 trades from the bank.

7. The Chance Meeting: A New Encounter
Take the top face-down cards from the Mentor and Place decks.

8. The Betrayal: Do Unto Others Before They Do Unto You.
If you have at least one Wyrm and one Knot resource left, each player must give you 2 coins. If you don't, lose a turn. Lay down your pawn so you don’t forget.

9. The Pact: Sealed Under The Sun and Moon.
Take any Mentor card from the three Encounter pairs. You must give any resources on it to the other players, in any way you deem fit. Shift the other two Mentors up, and reveal a new Mentor for the Seeker's Encounter.

When moving onto The Harvest or The Rite using The Other Path, the following Events occur:

The Harvest: Gifts from the Earth. You must expend 1 Sun and 1 Leaf. If you can, draw 4 resources, in any combination of Moons, Waves, Wyrms and Knots. If you can't, you lose your next turn.

The Rite: Demands a Sacrifice. You must expend at least 2 resources, in any combination of Moons, Wyrms, and Leaves. If you can, then every other player must give you either a Moon, a Wyrm, or a Leaf coin, if possible. If you can’t, you lose your next turn.

The Endings

Calamity: When counting your score, compare your Wrym resources with the player who has the most Wyrm resources. If yours is higher, add the difference to your score. If yours is lower, subtract the difference.

The End: When you reach The End, take all resources on the Encounter cards.

Windfall: When counting your score, all Knot resources above 6 count double. If you have no Knots, subtract 6 from your score.
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Mike Everett-Lane
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I've done a bit of playtesting with this, and I'm not all that happy with the game right now. It feels like a lot of resource management -- will I have enough resources to deal with a potential Challenge? Should I trade until I have filled my resource type gaps? Is it worth it to keep a powerful Mentor with me? Which is OK as a game, but doesn't feel like a "Hero's Journey". Yet.

There's not much interaction (although I wasn't playing with the Advanced Rules which have more opportunities for interaction) so in some ways it felt like simultaneous solitaire.

Some things I'm thinking about changing:

The Challenge. It actually gets easier to predict as the turns go on, since you know the previous Challenges, until the deck gets shuffled. This may be a good thing. I'm thinking that this is an opportunity for interaction -- two Heroes can combine resources to meet a challenge, if they do they're both rewarded. Somehow. And/or, put the Challenge cards into the player's hands, so you can play a challenge that you can meet but the other player can't.

The Encounters: reduce the number of face-up pairs from three to two, and have the option to pay coins to all four face-up cards and take the top face-down cards.

More to come...
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Max Pfennighaus
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Glad to hear the work is continuing. It's a neat idea that feels very unique for the Decktet.
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Mike Everett-Lane
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Thanks, Max!

I haven't tested these new rules, but I'm putting them here so I can test them later. The major change is The Challenge. You now have 1 in your hand (and can collect more) so you can mess with the other players if you see they won't be able to meet the Challenge. Or you can take the random option, if the card in your hand isn't good for you either. The more chances you take with Challenges, the more Challenges you can have in hand, which I like both thematically and gamewise. (I'm still considering a "cooperation" option, say if another Hero has excess resources in that suit they can help you for a price?)

I also reduced the number of face-up Encounter Pairs. I'm wondering though if anyone would pay 4 resources to take the "blind" option? Maybe you can pay 4 to reveal the face-down cards, and then take your pick of the three available pairs, or mix and match from all six cards? I'll have to see how that comes out in testing.

I simplified a few other things -- it doesn't matter what resources you use to pay your Mentor to stay with you, or to play on an Encounter.

The other change was around the resource draw at the end. If you had a powerful Encounter card, it would give you 1 resource, so a powerful Mentor would basically pay for himself to stay with you. Instead, if you have no weak cards (equal or less than your stage), you only get 1 resource total. So there's more of an incentive to keep weak Encounter cards with you for the resource draw. I'll have to see if this makes it too hard to get new resources....


The Hero’s Journey v3


Every Hero has a Journey.

From your humble origin you will travel far, through deserts and forests, to castles across the sea. Betrayals and pacts, discoveries and chance meetings, the clash of battle and the hum of the marketplace lie before you. Helping you meet the challenges of the journey will be your mentors -- soldiers and sailors, bards and lunatics, merchants and savages.

Will the Journey end in Windfall or Calamity? Your story is yet to be written...


Setup

2-4 players
Extended Deck
72 Suit Chips
1 Pawn for each Player

The Journey
Place the Events in order from The Origin to The Pact in a single file. These are the Stages of the Hero’s Journey. Put the three Crown Events (The End, The Calamity, The Windfall) at the end of that line in a T. These are the possible Endings of the Journey. Each player places a pawn in the space before the Origin.

Your pawn will move through each Event leading to one of three Endings. The rank of the Event card your pawn is currently on is the "Stage" of your journey.

Resources
Make a bank of the suit coins. Give each player 6 coins, one of each suit.

The Challenges
Shuffle the Aces and the Excuse together. Each player gets one Challenge card, with the remainder placed into a face-down draw pile.

The Encounters
Separate the 14 personality cards (including the Consul, the Watchman, and the Lightkeeper) into one shuffled face-down pile as the Mentor deck. In another face-down pile, shuffle the remaining 11 locations (including The Island, The Window, and The Borderland) along with The Rite and The Harvest, as the Place deck. These are the Encounter decks. Each Encounter consists of a pair of cards (one Mentor and one Place.) Turn over two Encounter pairs, in two rows above the Encounter decks.

How Resources Work

In front of you are your coins. These represent your strengths and resources. Whenever you must pay a resource, you’ll spend one of these coins (back to the bank, unless the rules say otherwise.)

As your Journey progresses, you’ll also have Encounter cards in front of you. These are the Mentors that are currently with you, and the Place where you currently are. You can have more than one Mentor traveling with you, but you can only be in one Place at a time. If you discard one of these cards, put it face down at the bottom of the appropriate Encounter Deck.

In addition to your own coin resources, your Mentors and the Place you’re in are also resources according to the rank of the card. So, for instance, if you have The Savage with you and 2 Wyrm coins, you have a total of 5 Wyrms resources available. Crown cards have a rank of 10, and Pawn and Court cards have a rank of 1.

Whenever you must expend a certain number of resources, you can use a combination of coins and Encounter cards. Pay the coins to the bank, and discard the Encounter card. No change is given. For Example:, if you had to expend 4 Suns, you could discard The Bard (worth 10), or The Desert and 1 Sun coin.

If you draw resources, take the appropriate coins from the bank. If the bank is out of that resource, the player to your right will choose what substitute resources the bank will give you. If there are no more resources in the bank, you don’t get anything.

The Play

The player closest to his or her own origin goes first.

Turn Order
1) The Challenge
2) A New Encounter?
3) The Next Stage of the Journey
4) Resources

1) The Challenge

Will your Hero have the wherewithal to deal with the opportunities and challenges that arise along the journey? Perhaps your guide can be of help…

At the start of your turn, you can either play a Challenge card from your hand, or reveal the top card from the Deck of Challenges. If you play the Challenge card in your hand, you must pay 1 resource of that suit (or any suit for The Excuse).

Every Hero is affected by The Challenge, on every player’s turn (except Heroes that haven’t reached the Origin yet, or Heroes who have reached one of the three Endings.) The active player deals with The Challenge first, then the other players proceeding to the left.

If the Challenge is The Excuse, draw 2 resources of your choice. The 2 must be of different types.

If the Challenge is an Ace, count the number of resources you have before you in the suit of the Challenge. If you have as many as your Stage, you had the resources to deal with the challenge. Draw one coin of that suit.

If you lacked enough resources to deal with the Challenge, take your current Stage, divide it by two, and round up. You must expend that many resources of the Challenge suit. If you can’t, move back one Stage.

Example: It’s your opponent’s turn, and she plays the Ace of Wyrms from her hand as the Challenge (paying 1 Wyrm coin to do so). She is on The Journey (3), and has The Desert (2) and The Island (1) in front of her. She needs to have at least 3 Wyrms since she’s at Stage 3. The Desert is worth 2 Wyrms, and The Island is worth 1, so she has met the challenge, and takes 1 Wyrm coin back from the bank. You have The Savage (3) and The Forest (5), and are at The Battle (4). You have 5 Suns, and no other resource coins. Since you’re at Stage 4, you need to have 4 Wyrms to meet the challenge. You only have 3, with The Savage, so you’ve failed the challenge, and must pay 2 Wyrm resources (half of the Battle’s rank of 4.) You discard the Savage, who has nobly sacrificed himself so that you may continue.

Shuffle any played Challenges back into the Deck. If you played a Challenge from the Deck of Challenges, you may draw a new Challenge for your hand if there are at least two Challenges in the Deck.

2) A New Encounter?

Should you stay where you are, or travel further down the road, in search of new places and allies? Can you convince your mentor to stay with you on the journey? You may find what you seek, but the seeking will cost you…

A) Your Companions

First, decide if you are keeping your current Mentors.

Mentor limit: In a 4 player game, you may have up to 2 Mentors at a time. In a 3 player game, you can have up to 3, and in a 2 player game you can have up to 4. If you have too many Mentors, you will need to discard.

If you want to keep any of your remaining current Mentors, pay one resource for each one. It doesn’t cost anything to stay where you are, so you can keep your current Place for free. If you don’t want to (or can’t afford to) keep a Mentor with you, discard it.

B) The Road Beckons
Next, you can remain where you are, or seek a new Encounter.

If you remain, take no cards and move on to the Stages step.

To travel onward, you may go to one of three Encounters: the Wanderer’s Encounter (the top pair of cards), the Traveler’s Encounter (the second pair), and the Seeker’s Encounter (the top face-down cards).

You can take The Wanderer’s Encounter, and any resource coins on those cards, for free.

To take The Traveler’s Encounter (and any resources on them), you must pay 1 resource to each card (Mentor and Place) in the Wanderer’s Encounter.

Likewise, to take the Seeker’s Encounter, you must pay 1 resources to each of the two cards in The Wanderer’s Encounter and the two cards in The Traveler’s Encounter.

After taking the Encounter, place the two cards in front of you. Move the other Encounter cards up one position, and reveal a new pair of Encounter Cards in the Traveler’s Encounter position. You must discard your old Place card if you had one.

Example: You have The Bard and The Forest. You want to keep The Bard with you, so you pay 1 Wave. The Wanderer’s Encounter is The Painter and The Mill. The Traveler’s Encounter is The Sailor and The Castle. You want to take the Traveler’s Encounter, so you place a Knot on the Painter and a Moon on The Mill. You then take The Sailor and The Castle, and place them in front of you. Two new cards are revealed for the Traveler’s Encounter. Since you’ve moved to The Castle, you discard The Forest.

On the next player’s turn, she decides to take The Painter and The Mill, which are still the Wanderer’s Encounter. She also gets the Knot and the Moon you put on them.

There are two Events that are also in the Encounter Place deck: The Rite and The Harvest. If you take one of these from an Encounter, you don’t need to discard your Place. If you want to keep The Rite or The Harvest in future turns, you must pay for them like a Mentor card, but they don’t count toward your Mentor limit.

3) The Next Stage of the Journey
From your Origin to the end – whatever that may be – the way will not be easy. But what choice does a Hero have but to press onward?

There are three ways to move your Hero to the next Stage of the Journey: with a Matching Encounter card, by Expending Resources, and with The Other Path. If you can’t (or don’t want to) move to the next Stage, skip to the Resources step.

A) Matching Encounter Card
If one of your Encounter cards bears both suits of the Stage card, you may discard that Encounter card and move forward. Take 4 resource coins as a bonus, 2 of each suit on the Matching Encounter card. One of the 4 resources may be from another player. (Strategy note: there are three Matching Encounter cards for The Origin, The Chance Meeting, and The Pact, and two for all the other Stages.)

Example: Your Hero is at The Journey, and you have The Soldier and The Island. The Soldier and The Battle both have Wyrms and Knots, appropriately. Discard the Soldier. You take one Knot from an opposing player, and one Knot and two Wyrms from the bank. Keep the Island in front of you, and move to The Battle.

You can’t move to an Ending in this way. Pawns and Courts may be used for Matching Encounter cards. Rank doesn’t matter when playing a Matching Encounter card.

B) Expending Resources
You can also expend resources in the suits of the next Stage. The total of the resources must meet or exceed the rank of the next Stage, and at least one of each suit must be spent. You will need 10 of a resource to move to one of the three Endings.

Example: You have The Bard and The Mill, and are at The Origin. You keep both cards and spend 2 Moon coins and 1 Wave coin to move to The Journey. Onward!

Example: You have the Savage and The Mountain and are trying to get to The Battle. The Battle is rank 4, so you will need 4 resources in some combination of Knots and Wyrms. The Savage is worth 3 Wyrms, and you add 1 Knot resource coin. You discard The Savage, spend the Knot, and keep The Mountain in front of you. To Battle!

Example: You have The Author and The Mill, and need to get to The Market. Between them you have 8 Leaves and 2 Knots – more than enough. Discard both, and it’s off to the Market you go!

Example: You have The Sailor, The Watchman, and The Island, and need to get to The Chance Meeting. You discard The Sailor (worth 4 Leaves) and The Watchman (worth 1 Moon) and spend your last 2 Moon coins. What will The Chance Meeting on the Island bring?

Example: You are at The Pact, and have The Merchant and The Mill. Discard the Merchant and 1 Knot resource coin, and you can move to The Windfall. Or discard both cards, keep all your coins, and you can move to The End. The choice is yours!

C) The Other Path
The Rite and the Harvest represent alternate paths on the Hero’s Journey. If you have one as an Encounter card, you may place it parallel to the next Stage in your Journey, and move onto that card. You must expend 3 resources, from at least 2 suits on that card. From there you would move back onto the regular path as your next step. You may use The Other Path as any Stage, but not as an Ending. While on The Other Path, you’re considered to be at the same Stage as the card above it.

Example: You have The Author and The Rite, and are trying to get to The Pact. The Rite is worth 1, so between the two Encounter cards you have 3 Moons. You would need 6 more Moon/Sun resources (at least one of them being a Sun) to get to The Pact. Instead, you discard The Author (worth 2 Moons) and 1 Leaf coin, place The Rite parallel to The Pact, and move your pawn onto it. While on The Rite, you are at Stage 9 for the purposes of meeting a Challenge. From there, you could move onto one of the three Endings on a future turn.

After your Hero leaves one of The Other Paths, discard it to the bottom of the Place deck.

4) Resources

A) Draw Resources
If you did not move forward to a new Stage this turn, you may draw new Resources from your Mentors and Places.

For each of the Encounter cards in front of you that is at an equal rank or less than your current Stage, you may draw 3 resources: 2 for one of the suits on the card, and 1 for the other (or 1 for each suit on a Pawn or a Court).

If you didn't have any Encounter cards that were equal or less than your current Stage, pick one suit from any of your Encounter cards or your current Stage, and take 1 resource of that suit.

Example: You have The Painter (3), the Lunatic (6), and The Forest (5), and you are at The Discovery (5). You get three resources each for The Painter and the Forest, but none for the Lunatic. You take 2 Suns, 2 Leaves, 1 Knot, and 1 Moon.

Example: You are at The Chance Meeting (7), with The Bard (10) and The Mill (8) in front of you. Since all your Encounter cards are higher than your current stage, you draw only 1 resource. You take 1 Leaf.

B) Trade Resources
You can trade resources, even if you moved to a new Stage this turn.

You can trade resources 2:1 from the bank, or from any Encounter card if the bank is out of that resource. The resources you trade need not match each other. If you’re on the Market, you can trade 1:1.

You can also trade with any other Hero at any mutually agreeable rate. Trades between Heroes can happen any time during your turn.

Example: You are at The Betrayal, and need 3 Moons to get to the Pact next turn. You give 2 Leaves to the bank and take the last Moon from the bank. There’s a Moon on The Soldier in the Traveler’s Encounter, so you put 1 Wave and 1 Leaf on The Soldier and take the Moon. You offer to trade 1 Sun for 1 Moon from another player, but she demands 1 Sun and 2 Waves. You agree and make the trade.


Game End and Scoring

From The Pact (or The Rite or The Harvest, if you’ve used those as Other Paths instead of The Pact) you may move to any of three Endings. To move to an Ending, you must expend 10 of the matching resource (Leaves, Wyrms or Knots).

Once the first Hero reaches an Ending, each other player gets one more turn. A Hero who has reached an Ending must discard all Challenge cards from her hand and shuffle them into the Deck of Challenges. A Hero on an Ending does not have to meet any Challenges for the rest of the game.

Scoring:
Double the rank of your current stage (10, if you have reached an Ending).
Add the number of resources coins you have.
Add a bonus of 6 if you have at least one of each type of resource.
Add the total of the ranks of your current Encounter cards. Crowns are worth 10, and Pawns and Courts are worth 1.

Advanced Rules

When you reach a Stage or an Ending, it triggers one of the following events. (If you go back a Stage because of a failed Challenge, the event doesn’t trigger, except for The Market. Moving forward to a Stage a second time will trigger the event a second time.)

2. The Origin: Chance Beginnings. The opponent to your left secretly places 1 Leaf and 1 Wave coin from the bank into a closed fist, with the other being empty. Choose a hand, and take the coins if you chose correctly.

3. The Journey: A New Place. Take the Place card from the Wanderer’s Encounter pair, along with any resources on it. Shift the Traveler's Place up, and reveal a new Place for the Travelers’s Encounter. While on The Journey, you can have two Place cards. If you take a new Encounter while on The Journey, and you already have two Places, discard one of your old ones. If you move off The Journey, you must immediately discard down to one Place.

4. The Battle: The Chances of War. Reveal the top card from the Deck of Challenges. If it’s a Wyrm, a Knot, or The Excuse, you can take another turn. Otherwise, lose your next turn. Lay down your pawn so you don’t forget.

5. The Discovery: What’s In The Chest? Flip one of each type of resource coin from the bank. If it’s heads, keep it.

6. The Market: A Trading Place. Nothing happens immediately, but while your Hero is on The Market, you may make 1:1 trades from the bank.

7. The Chance Meeting: A New Encounter. Take the top face-down cards from the Mentor and Place decks. After you meet your next Challenge, discard a Place if you have two.

8. The Betrayal: Do Unto Others Before They Do Unto You. If you have at least one Wyrm and one Knot resource left, each player must give you 2 coins. If you don’t, lose a turn. Lay down your pawn so you don’t forget.

9. The Pact: Sealed Under The Sun and Moon. Take any of the two face-up Mentor cards. You must give any resources on it to the other players, in any way you deem fit. Shift the other Mentors up, if necessary, and reveal a new Mentor for the Traveler’s Encounter.

When moving onto The Harvest or The Rite using The Other Path, the following Events occur:

The Harvest: Gifts from the Earth. In addition to spending 3 resources to move to The Harvest, you must also expend 1 Sun and 1 Leaf. If you can, draw 4 resources, in any combination of Moons, Waves, Wyrms and Knots. If you can’t, you lose your next turn.

The Rite: Demands a Sacrifice. In addition to spending 3 resources to move to The Rite, you must expend at least 2 resources, in any combination of Moons, Wyrms, and Leaves. If you can, then every other player must give you either a Moon, a Wyrm, or a Leaf coin, if possible. If you can’t, you lose your next turn.

The Endings

Calamity: When counting your final score, compare your Wyrm resources with the other player who has the most Wyrm resources. If yours is higher, add the difference to your score. If yours is lower, subtract the difference.

The End: When you reach The End, take all resources on the Encounter cards.

Windfall: When counting your score, all Knot resources above 6 count double. If you have no Knots, subtract 6 from your score.
 
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Mike Everett-Lane
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After playtesting, I've more or less completely re-written the rules. I'm keeping the most recent version in this first post up top.

The Challenge system now only triggers when a Hero is trying to get to the next Stage (but still affects all Heroes -- it's a challenging world out there.) There's an additional levelling element in that the Hero in last place has the first option to play a Challenge on the active player. If you fail a Challenge, you now have to pay the difference between your resources of that suit and your current Stage. The active player can still get to the next Stage if they fail a Challenge, but it costs.

Instead of "The Other Path," The Rite and the The Harvest are now "Stage 1" cards and give an initial bonus choice, which is simpler and more thematic, although there's not much difference in the initial choice.

You no longer pay for Mentors to stay with you (they're Mentors, after all) and they will give you a parting gift when you leave them behind. The Mentor limit is now 2, and I've gone back to the three-pair Encounters to have more meaningful choices.

There will be only one Ending now for all players, but which of the three possibilities won't be revealed until the end of the game. The Encounter cards now matter less for scoring, but your Stage and your resource tokens matter more (since it's more about your Hero's achievements than having collected powerful cards at the end). And the Events (formerly in the "advanced rules") are now part of the regular rules, as they strongly contribute to the feeling of the story. Most of the Events have been re-done to be more interesting and thematic.
 
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Yet another version posted up top.

Still trying to balance resources -- in testing, we would run out of tokens a lot, since there were not many opportunities to spend tokens. So, now, more ways you have to spend tokens, including for taking any Encounter cards, and for attempting the next Stage. Also, turns are shorter since the player has a choice of 3 actions instead of doing all 3. Combat for The Battle was also redone.
 
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Yet another rules rewrite!

I redid the Challenge mechanic. It's now a sort of auction, with the lowest ranked player having the last option to trump whatever last Challenge was played. I've thought about making it increasingly expensive to replace the Challenge, but it's probably needlessly complicated. The payoff for Challenges is now 2/3 instead of 1/2 (additional trumping incentive), and it now costs 2 tokens to make the attempt, even if you fail.

I think this will work better -- you have an interesting risk to take in playing a Challenge card if you're not in last place, since it may be trumped and you'll be out one token and you'll have to meet the new Challenge. The Excuse now has different rules, since otherwise it would always get trumped. A few other tweaks to the Events and minor wording fixes.
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Mike Everett-Lane
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Yet another update! I hope you all don't mind that I'm hashing out the rules as I go here.

I was never happy with the Harvest and the Rite as the first stage, because it wasn't a meaningful decision. Now it is. Farmers get to double the value of Leaf tokens, and Monks get some extra Wisdom and a Prophecy. I also changed the effect of The End as an Ending.
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Mike Everett-Lane
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Another set of rules tweaks -- mostly trying to simplify the Challenge mechanic, which is now an auction.
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