Waiting for the Ragnarok, the immortals armies of Einherjer(1) unceasingly train for battle on the valleys and mountains which surround Valhalla.
For convenience, I'm going to break the rules on several entries.(1) Einherjer are the armies of the dead which on the Valhalla prepare themselves for the Ragnarok in the presence of Odin
Extended Decktet: Recommended pawns and corts ( and ), specially on games of 3 or 4 players. You can use up to two decktets, and by using two decktets you can extend the quantity of players up to six. Excuse is optional.
For 5 to 6 players: you should use a grill of up to 4x3 cards for Valhalla and Valhalla’s landscape. Valhalla’s landscape begins with a 2x3 grid.
Extra Material: Each player requires 12 tokens o game pieces (you can use decktet tokens or marble stones, or colored pieces of other game, etc) to represent their Einherjer (a Einherjer is a token). A method to keep track of points is required (pen and paper, or casino chips, or anything else). Optionally, you can use a method for each player to indicate the phase in the cycle in which he/she is playing. My favorite one is to use a token moving thought the control area as a clock (12 – Phase 1, 3 – phase 2, 6 – phase 3, 9 – phase 4).
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The players will first use ther Einherjer to influence on the Valhalla and get favors from the Valkyries (event cards) to materialize their armies of Einherjer on the landscape, recruit leaders (persons cards) to move their armies thought the battlefield, and even change the landscape of the battlefield with Odin’s favor (location cards). Then will use those cards to stablish dominium over the battlefield and get points at the end of each cycle. When one player achieves certain amount of victory points, the game ends.
During the game, all the info of each player is visible to every other player, you can’t hide data. The draw pile remains face down and can’t be consulted, neither can be the discard pile. Normally, you should place the discard pile face up under the draw pile, so you can save space, and also, keep everything hidden.
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Cycle of the game, and end of the game
Game is played on cycles, and each cycle contains four phases. On the first phase (Valhalla’s Phase) the players use their Einherjer armies to win influence on Valhalla and recruit for their cause Valkyries (event cards), leaders (person cards), and to win Odin’s favors (locations cards).
On second phase (recruit phase) the player take cards from the Valhalla and move them into their control area ready for battle.
In phase three (battle phase) they will use Valkyries (Event cards) to materialize Einherjer on the landscape, leaders (persons) to move the armies of Einherjer already on the landscape, and Odin’s favors (locations cards) to modify the landscape, all trying to get control of the most valuable terrains.
On the last phase (glory phase), players will earn points according to quantity and value of the terrains that it controls with their Einherjer on the Valhalla landscape, and their armies on the Valhalla return to their reserve.
The order of the phases is always the same for each player (it’s not possible, as example, to return to the recruit phase once you are on the battle phase), but each player can be on a different phase. This happens because inside each phase, each player on his turn can only do one action and then will be the next player turn, and when a player wish it can do an action on the next phase (that will put that player on the next phase), and the next player can continue doing action on his current phase, until him decides to do an action of the next phase.
The game ends when a player reaches 100 or more points of glory (skirmish), or 200 points (battle), or 300 points (conflict) or over 500 point (epic), depending on which number is agreed upon at the beginning of game (a good number is 50 points for each player). The winner is the player with more glory points, in the event of a tie, you must keep playing until the phase of glory when you can declare only one winner.
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Recommended play area distribution
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Decide the amount of glory points to declare a winner. Shuffle the decktet (with or without the extended decktet). Create the Valhalla dealing cards face up on a 3x3 grid leaving between the cards enough space to accommodate the tokens used (Einherjer). During this process, location cards discovered are to be moved to Valhalla landscape, to create an initial 2x2 grid of cards. If you complete the landscape, the following location cards are left on Valhalla. If you complete Valhalla and don’t have yet the landscape fully formed, keep dealing cards to find enough locations cards to form Valhalla’s landscape. Shuffle all the cards not on Valhalla or Valhalla’s landscape to form the draw pile.
Ending the setup, determine by any mean the initial player and this player begin his first cycle on the Valhalla phase.
Suggested method for choosing first player: Players compete to see who can end his pint of mead (beer is acceptable if mead isn’t available).
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Phase 1. Valhalla
A player on Valhalla Phase can move one army from his reserve (each token is an army) to Valhalla, placing it in the space between two cards (orthogonal cards, not corners). His army will then sing his prowess in an attempt to impress to leaders, Valkyries and Odin. The players take turns to move armies from their reserves to Valhalla, one at the time. It is mandatory that a player move at least one of his armies to Valhalla on each cycle, and because of that, on the first turn on each cycle, a player must move one of his armies from his reserve to Valhalla. After this first turn, a player may pass to avoid moving an army to Valhalla but remain on phase 1. However, if all other players pass too (no matter on which phase the other players may be), the player will be forced to move to the next phase, recruit.
Should a player be unable to realize the first mandatory move of one army from his reserve to Valhalla, he should state that, pass his turn, and on his next turn he will need to play his phase 2. Recruit action.
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Phase 2. Recruit
Any player, whom was on his Valhalla phase the last turn, can on his new turn recruit cards for his reserve from the Valhalla. Once he has done that, he can’t move more Einherjer armies from his reserve towards the Valhalla. Recruiting a card starts for that player the recruiting phase, so he can’t go back to Valhalla phase.
To claim a card is required that the player has at least two of his Einherjer surrounding the card. Those Einherjer doesn’t require to be on the same location.
If the card is at the same time surrounded by rival Einherjer, you must count the number of Einherjer from the player with the most armies surrounding the card. If the quantity of Einherjer surrounding the card from the player who takes the card are two more than the Einherjers from the rival player with the most armies surrounding it, you can just take the card, if it’s not, you will need to put on the card enough Einherjer to achieve this positive difference of two armies. Those armies will then stay on the card on your reserve zone. The armies can come from the reserve or from the Valhalla. If they come from the Valhalla, is needed that in the Valhalla must remain at least one army (a player can’t leave the Valhalla empty of his Einherjer by moving all of them to a card which has just been recruited).
Example: If a card is surrounded by four armies from player 1, three armies from player 2 and four armies from player 3; when the player 1 take (recruit) the card, he will need to put on this card two armies, which can come from the Valhalla (i.e. those surrounding the card or any others) or from his reserve.
Recruited cards are put on the reserve area of the player (on some cases with armies on them) face up, and on vertical orientation. Each player can only have up to four cards on their reserve zone, if a player recruits a fifth card, this will replace one of the actual four (players choice) which will go to the discard pile. If this card has armies on it, those armies return to the player’s reserve. (the only way for those armies on a card to return to the players reserve is when that card goes to the discard pile).
On each cycle, a player MUST recruit at least a card, if this is impossible (for example if all their armies are on the Valhalla’s landscape and located over the cards on reserve), he will need to announce he is unable to recruit, pass their turn, and on his next turn continue to the third phase of the cycle. Battle.
In a similar way to previous phases, a player can pass on his turn to don’t do recruiting in his turn without going to the next phase, and just as before, if all other players pass on their turns, it will force the player to go to the next phase on his next turn.
Note: if two decktets are used a player can’t have on control two identical cards.
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Phase 3. Battle
During his turn, a player can decide to stop recruiting, and begin using the cards on his control zone, which marks the beginning of the battle phase for him. The possible actions to do depend on the used card. Each card, can only be used once for cycle, so, when you use a card you move it from the starting line of cards, to a downward line (below the Einherjer line of reserve armies on the diagram for play area distribution) to allow keep track of which cards has been used on this cycle. This used cards can’t be used again until the next cycle.
The cards also can’t be used unlimited cycles, because of that they must pass from his upright vertical position to an landscape horizontal position the first time they are used. If a card is on landscape orientation (it was already been used on a past cycle) must be passed from face up to face down position (to indicate it has been used twice). In any case, a card keeps any armies it contains. A face down card can’t be used again, except for the use of refresh card action.
The use of the different cards is the following:
Valkyries (event cards): The Valkyries are the cards which allow Einherjer armies on the reserve (not on a card) to materialize on the battlefields of Valhalla’s landscape. When a player uses a Valkyrie can move armies from his reserve (exclusively armies from his reserve, not on a card or in any other location) to the Valhalla’s landscape. He can move as many armies as the rank of the used card, and can put those Einherjer armies freely on quantity and location on any places which shares a symbol with the card used. The rank of crown allows deployment of up to 10 armies on locations sharing his symbol. Extended decktet: the ranks of pawns and courts, allow deployments on just one location, on a quantity of up to the rank of the destiny card which must: a) have rank (2-9) b)share a symbol with the used card.
Leaders (Person cards): This cards allow to move the armies on the battlefield, from one location to other. The rank of the person card used equals the number of movements bestowed for the leader. A movement is the move of an army from a terrain to the adjacent terrain. An army of Einherjer can only move to an orthogonally adjacent location (not diagonal movement) which shares a symbol: a) with the current location b) with the leader used. The mobilized armies doesn’t require to be on the same territory or to move at the same territory, they are limited only on the quantity of movements and the rules of movement. The crown rank allow up to 10 movements, but all those armies must end on the same location, and it also eliminates one enemy army on that destination for free (to produce this casualty, the attacker must send to the battle at least one Einherjer). Extended Decktet: the ranks of pawns and corts allow one movement for all the armies on one location toward electable neighbors locations. The origin location must share a symbol with the card used.
Combat: On the same location of Valhalla’s landscape only can remain armies for one only player, so, when an enemy move armies to that locations, they mutually eliminate each other. Just remove the same number of armies from both players until only remains armies of one player, or if the numbers are equal, from none of them. When the invader army comes from another landscape location (not from Valkyries), you should compare the ranks of cards of origin and destiny (only look for the adjacent locations to battlefield from which the armies arrive) and if the battlefield has a higher rank, the invader loose an army thanks to terrain advantage for the defender. The crown rank is considered to be at the same level as any other. Attacking to a lower terrain doesn’t give any advantage. Extended decktet: The ranks of pawns and courts ( y ), are considered as lower than any other and equals among them.
Example: when an army uses a leader with crown rank to move towards a higher rank (a higher rank from the terrain from which attacking armies arrive) the defender loose an army because of the crown, and because of the rank of battlefield the attacker loose another army, all of that is considered to be simultaneously.
Eliminated armies on Valhalla’s landscape return to the reserve of his owner player, ready to come back to battle on the next turn a Valkyrie favors them, or to sing his combat prowess on Valhalla.
Odin’s favor (cards of location): the Odin’s favor allows to modify the landscape, adding places, or replacing them. A player on the battle phase can use a location card to add it the Valhalla’s landscape, or replace an existing card. To do that allows the player using Odin’s favor to get immediate glory points. If the card to be played has armies on them, those armies are moved to the Valhalla’s landscape with the card, those armies will be regular armies on Valhalla’s landscape, no longer bound to be on top of the card.
If on Valhalla’s landscape there are only four cards, it’s not possible to replace a location, only add. When you add a location to Valhalla’s landscape, the player get points immediately as if he controlled the just added location, and also get points for an orthogonally adjacent card which he controls (if he doesn’t control any adjacent card, only get points for the card just added). Valhalla’s landscape has a maximum form of a 3x3 grid, so, added cards can’t exceed that grid.
If Valhalla’s landscape has five or more cards, the cards to be added can replace an existing location, on that case, the player only points the card just added and only if on that location there are not enemy armies. If in the location there are enemy armies, the number are halved (rounded down), and if the card move armies with them (settled in there on the recruit phase), those armies battle with any surviving enemy armies. If in the location there are friendly armies, just replace the location and the armies are moved to the new card without change in number.
Fresh a card: a card which has been used twice on past cycles, will be horizontal and face down. If this card is on the upper line (not been used this cycle) it’s possible to return it to his original status (upright and face up) by moving two armies from the reserve to them and passing this card to the lower row (as it has been used on this cycle).
Use of aces: During his turn, a player can use an ace card to immediately get points for one location that it controls and share a symbol with the used ace, this use of ace doesn’t count as an action, it’s instead a free use of the card.
The excuse: if included, can be used on two different ways.
1. During a battle turn from a rival player, you can use this card to avoid a rival player to use a card, which will be moved to the used card of that player (it will be moved on the same initial characteristics, without any turns). The player who uses the excuse doesn’t use his turn, rather than interrupt the turn of the affected player, who loses his turn. The excuse can be announced to be used at any time before next player turn, even after a player has announced what card is using and with which purpose (where to materialize or move armies, or where to add a location card).
2. During the excuse controlling player turn, he can use the excuse to force a player to discard a card from his control zone. Any armies on top of the card are set on the reserve.
In any case, the excuse is of one only use, and is immediately taken to the discard pile after use.
End of phase. In a similar way to other phases, a player can pass during his turn on the battle phase, and on his next turn to stay on this phase, but if all other player pass during his turn the player will need to pass to glory phase on his next turn. If a player can’t, o doesn’t want to use cards on battle phase, he can pass and on his next turn to do his glory phase (more explicitly, on his next turn could do an action of battle phase, or do his glory phase, or even pass again).
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Phase 4. Glory
During his turn, no matter if is because a player has used all his controlled cards, or doesn’t want to use any more cards, he can execute his glory phase. This phase, unlike others, is just one turn, which must always be done (no passing). On the next turn, the player will be on the next cycle and on the first turn of Valhalla phase.
On the phase of glory of each player, all players get glory points according to their controlling terrains. Exception: on the first glory phase of each player, only count the points of their own armies.
A player controls the locations in which he has armies. The locations give the following points.
Cards with rank (2-9): Give as much glory as his rank. Plus, if the player on his phase of glory has a ace card on his row of unused cards, can use it now to get twice the glory points he gets for rank cards which share a symbol with the ace.
Cards with crown rank: you must count the locations which being mutually orthogonally adjacent conform a continuous territory sharing the symbol of the crown card (including the crown card) and multiply the number of locations by 2. It doesn’t matter who controls the locations conforming the terrain.
Cards with pawn rank: They give a point for each army on this card.
Cards with court rank: They give a point for each army of the same player on this card and the cards orthogonally adjacent.
Note: if you are using two decktets a player can’t get points for two identical cards on Valhalla’s landscape. He can choose which card to use to get glory points.
When all the players have got his glory points, the current player do the next actions in order.
• Check for game end. The game ends when any player reach the pre stablished set of glory points.
• Pass all used cards to the row of controlled cards, so they will be ready to use on the next cycle.
• At will, he can take some, none, or all of his armies from the Valhalla and put them on his reserve. Remember, on each cycle you will must move at least one army to Valhalla, and will need to recruit at least one card.
• Move the cards on Valhalla which has no armies surrounding them to the discard pile.
• Fill again Valhalla with random cards. The cards are deal in order on Valhalla, the player can’t choose where are they located or look at them before deciding his location on Valhalla. If the draw pile is exhausted, shuffle the discard pile to make a new draw pile and keep dealing.
Ending this actions, the player finish his turn on Glory phase, and his next turn will be a new cycle, on the first turn of Valhalla phase.
¡Good luck, happy fighting, and sweet mead!
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- Keith Smith(Skeith27)
- Well, that's quite an epic sounding game! I'm intrigued by the theme but it'll take me a some time to read up on all these rules. However, I completely intend to try this out soon.
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Thanks for reading!
I know rules are quite long and complex for a decktet game, but my aim was to pack a complex game in such a beautiful, portable and accessible system as the decktet.
Not sure about epic (beyond the theme) because the feel and flow of the game is more like “I want to get that valuable spot and point it before someone take it from me” or “I need to get points and also invade that terrain to avoid my opponent from pointing”. But the mechanics of fast killing of armies and fast reentering of armies to battle again and again, doesn’t feel much as epic to me (you know, there is not a hero or long term purpose) it’s more like, “I love to do battle for battle sake and hold positions just for a moment before someone wipes me out”.
In that sense, it reminds me the feeling of multiplayers first person shooters on king of the hill mode, where you know you are going to get shoot, but you want to shoot as many enemies as you can before you die, and hold valuable positions as long as you can. And, surely, to wipe out as fast as you can the enemy positions.
The close fighting terrain of the small grid of Valhalla’s landscape certainly heightens this sense of urgency, and the low quantity of armies makes turtling almost impossible. Actually the fact that you get points each time any player makes a glory phase (except the first glory phase of each player), will make almost a necessity to wipe out the armies of the leading player for the other players, or they will lose really fast to that player.
Well, I hope you enjoy this game! and please, let me know your impressions of it.
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- Andrei Ivushkin(wil_low)Ukraine
- I've added your game to Decktet wiki, hope you don't mind... http://wiki.decktet.com/game:valhalla
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