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Subject: About dwarves elves and humans facing orc invasion, not playtested. rss

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Johnny Dee
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For those who are looking for a new way of play for this wonderful board and who would be interested in a few ideas for a variant, I offer these concepts that came out of a short (1hour) brainstorming above the game board. This is just a sketch, not playtested at all. I have no idea how it plays, I post it just as a possible inspiration for more developement.

Me and a 7 and 9 year old were trying to come with a variant of the game that day starting with no idea and making ideas as we played.
First we chose colors for oureslves and took all the pawns. I started in the corner of the Big Town with purple army, my nephew with green in the Woodlands and my niece with golden army in the town in the corner that has all the river and mountains, wood and river next to it. Came it to be that the purple ended up being dwarves, the golden the elves (my niece and the little greens the hobbits.
It fits well, because the hobbits will start from the corner with a lot of woods and meadows with herbs, the dwarves in their huge town by the Mountain far across the golden river and foggy lands and the elves in their splendid town with an easy way to the Central Town around which legendary swords are forged.
All the races in the story are basically splitted in separate clans or families that are not united and need a leader/hero with a legendary sword that can do that. Although there is a candidate for a king of each race (marked with a cube of his/her colour). The land is threatened by an orc army, that soon starts to appear. The king of the river has surely something to do with it.

To cut the story short, here are the ideas in a structured way:

There are four races: elves, hobbits, dwarves and humans, that are basically separate clans(units) that need to unite to fully cooperate. There are ten clans in each race and with one of the clans there is future "king" travelling (represented by the little cube). Each race starts in its corner of the board.
Each clan (unit) must move separately (cannot make groups) one space per turn, not diagonally. The king can move diagonally.
Some herbs and gold are placed on the board in their respective terrain types.
Around the Central Town are placed the legendary swords (seven of them for three players) on spaces E,F,G 5 and 6 and F4. This means that the elves have it easiest to grab some of them (they are more prone to cooperation), the hobbits have the mountains that slow them down and the dwarves the river, where the king of the river reigns.
The king of the river is placed on the left most end of the river.

The turn can go like this:

1) The king of the river (kotr) moves (rolls one die). If he lands on a gold, he takes it and the next turn moves minus one space. If the KOTR encounters a unit, he destroys it completely (oh, poor dwarves minig gold from the river . When the king reaches the other end of the river, I don't know what he will do, but one thing is sure: the orcs start comming (see next).
2) The cards are drawn. One card for each player. If it is a forest card, herbs appear, if river card, gold appears, if it is a town card, I don't know yet . The mountain and fog cards are more interesting:
If the KOTR is still lurking in the river, these cards tell what spot is hit by a snow storm or dense fog. When the storm hits a mountain space, all units in that spot and around it have to make a camp (the pawn is layed on its side) and next turn they are slowed down (pawns stand up), the same with the fog. Moreover, the spaces where the storm or fog hit stay in place and moving through them means one turn delay.
If the KOTR reached the end of the river, those cards show spots, where the orcs appear (one unit each card?).
3) Players move all their units.

The legendary swords and the reunion of the races.
When the clans of the different races approach the central region, they can grab some of the swords. Once a clan has a sword, they have a leader and can unite (make groups) with other clans (units). Each sword can just be grabbed by a separate clan. When there is a conflict, the sword goes to the race, that throws even number (if there is a tie, the value of the number counts).
One more sword can be earned by the king of each race when he kills his/her first orc.
The number of swords determines the number of groups, that can be made (and gives some bonus to the leader?). How useful is that for the game mechanics, though?
Reunion: After a group of no less then four clans of each race meets in the Central Town, there can be no reunion of races to face the threat of the orc invasion. After those groups are in the town (though there is no place for the fourth player one of them must roll a six (one roll for a turn each). When the council is succesfull, the players can fully cooperate and mix.

Movement of orcs: Each orc unit has strength of 2. It moves according to these priorities: 1) Kill everything in the neighbouring space if it has the same or lesser strength, else move away from it 2) Make a group 3) Grab anything in the neighbouring space (herbs, gold, etc) 4) Head to the towns and seize them. The orc units move the same way as other units, but are not affected by storms and fog?

Fight: When two enemy units or groups end up at the same space, they must fight. Both parties throw a die and it adds or subtracts from their basic strength (number of units) - even result subtracts 1, odd result adds 1. Orc unit is twice as strong. Gold can be used before the roll to add points, herbs after the roll. When defeated, the player looses one unit. The orc unit regroups into a unit of a strength of 1 (lies on its side).

When in the town: Units in town can move up to four spaces. Units that try to siege the town must do that in minimum groups of two and have strength divided by two (half of the fighters erect the ladders etc).

For each destroyed unit there is a funeral and the player gets one gold (gift of consolation).

Special powers of each race:
Elves: Can destroy an orc unit at once.
Dwarves: Can use gold after a roll? Have endurance: When their unit is about to die after battle, they regroup (lie at the side)
Hobbits: Have strength of 0.5, must attack in groups at least of 2. Have two more swords somewhere left. When attacking roll: if 1,2,3 then add this number, when 4,5,6 subtract 1. When orcs attack, they must roll odd number to do that.
Humans: can cheat?

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