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Subject: Cell: Prime Beta - Playtest me! rss

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It is the Year 14 Post-Democracy.

The Sprawl cities exist as corporate forts. Towering arcology Cells built by blood and money are shelter for the masses and a warground for gangsoldier armies of the Mass Corporations. Food is scarce and violence is cheap. Many young people desperate in an economy that rewards only the CEO join the hover-bike gangs, hack the neuronet, or become the shadowy combat operatives known as Corporate Samurai. These are the minions of the Mass Corporate.

Corporations compete to control the Sprawl market and the profitable information neuronet known as the Matrix. As the Sprawl grows so will the market network and the Mass Corporation with the longest and stronger of Cell networks will be victor.

Those of us who remember how it used to be weep as we watch from our fortified and hidden apartments. I'm tired of junk food.

Lord save us from our future.

- Report of the Free


Cellrime was designed and illustrated by Delmer Esau.

My heart-felt thanks go to every BGG member that commented or even looked on the discussion of Cell's design. It is fitting that a game that comments on corporate dystopia and criminal hackers be hashed out on a discussion board in a corner of the internet. It is posted here first because this is where good advice is to be had, and to give you guys first crack at it. This is the first Beta vesion, with much more to follow. I am sure this game has many faults so let me know. In the short term I plan to create a rulebook and files formatted as PDFs. Symbols for color blind people will be forthcoming.

Specific thanks and acknowledgement go to: Gwen Dons, Robert Wesley, Colleen, Christen, Scott Alden, Melissa, Nathan Trimmer, Liumas, Doug, Gilad, Kwanchai, Ryan Laukat, Kevin Barkan, Nicholas Vitek, Paul Carmouche, Thunder Moose, Nigel Buckle, Johnathan Fashena, Lawrence Spode, Chapel, Orlando Ramirez, James Stubbs, Werner Chritiaens, Tiger Wiccan, Beowulf, Hyian, Sean McQ, Robert Wilson, Runehardt, all the Geek Chatters and my family for putting up with the gamer.


Cell is a strategy card game for 2 to 4 players. It is set in a dark and violent future. Players control a Mass Corporation.


The game is seperated into three phases:

Phase 1: Set-up

Phase 2: Play

Phase 3: Endgame


Phase 1: To set up the game:

Components not supplied are 16 color markers for each player in color of orange, grey, green, and red that represent their Mass Corporation (in a 4 player game). Blocks work well for this. As well each player needs a 6 sided die of their color which represents their Neurohackers. A seperate Event die is needed as well.

Each player picks a color and takes the 7 Hover-biker and 7 Corporate Samurai cards of that color. This is his Held Army. Each player takes 16 color markers of their color.

Each player takes 7 red Commercial Cells and 7 blue Residential Cells. These are marked with a "C" and an "R" respectivly.

Set aside 4 Residential Cells and 4 Commercial Cells. This is the Core.

Place the China Town card in the center of the table. Set the Matrix card away from the main play area. Each player places his Neurohacker die near the Matrix card set at a value of "1".

A player shuffles the Core without looking at the cards. Then face down he randomly draws 2 cards on each of the 4 sides of the China Town card. The Core should look like a 4 x 4 cross with the China Town card in the center.

Each player takes a Barrens Cell.

Each player takes a "1" Tactics card and a "3" Tactics card and places them in front of him making up his Combat Hand. That player puts a seperate "1" Tactics card and a "3" Tactics card nearby to his right. This is his Arsenal.

Set-up is now complete.

Phase 2: To play:

Game-play is broken up into Turns made up of Rounds. After 2 Turns have passed the Event Check becomes active. Ignore this Round on Turn 1 and Turn 2.

The player who owns the largest hard-drive on a single computer goes first with other players following clock-wise around the table. When the last player to play his turn plays his turn he then plays again and play resumes counter-clockwise to the player who played first. Continue in this manner throughout the game.

Turns have 4 Rounds all of which a player can perform in his Turn (although they must be played in the following order):


Round 1: Build Sprawl

Round 2: Combat

Round 3: Cell Conversion

Round 4: Event Check


Round 1: Building the Sprawl:

During his first Turn a player will place a Residential Cell anywhere laterally (not diagonally) connecting on the outside of the map created by previously placed Cells. Then on his next Turn he places a Commercial Cell, alternating each Turn. He can place a Cell in a space occupied by his Biker or his Samurai and if so will move his Biker or Samurai to the edge of that Cell, horizontally or vertically.

If the player placed a Residential Cell he can take a Biker from his Held Army and place it on the edge of that Cell placed.

If the player placed a Commercial Cell he can deploy a Samurai as above or choose instead to hire a Neurohacker by adding a value of "1" to his Neurohacker die.

At any build play a player may choose to instead play a Barrens Cell. No Army unit is deployed and Commercial or Residential Cell play continues as it would on his next Build Round.

If a player has no more Cells to place then immediately go to the Endgame.

The deployment limit is 7 Samurai, 7 Bikers, and 6 Neurohackers.

Round 2: Combat:


During the Combat Round a player can move and or attack with 2 units of his deployed Army. A unit does not have to attack with a unit if he moves it.

A Samurai can move 2 places around the edge of the Cell map. It moves from card side to card side as 1 movement point cost. If it ends its movement on an enemy Army unit Combat happens.

A Biker can move 4 places and has the Flight ability, meaning it can pass over a card with 1 movement point cost. It must land and or attack on the edge of the map. It may not stop to rest on a Cell card. If it ends its movement on an enemy Army unit Combat happens.

Any combined movements (like 2 Samurai) ending on 1 enemy Army unit are Combined in Combat.

With 2 Army movements there may be 1 to 2 Combats occuring. Combat is settled after both 2 movements of the player are finished.


Each Samurai in Combat has 3 Combat points for the owning player. Each Biker in Combat has 1 Combat point for the owning player.

Each player in Combat chooses a card from his Combat Hand and places it face down. Players add that Tactics value to their total Combat points so far. As well the player who has the most Neurohackers in the Matrix adds 2 Combat points to his total. Tied number of Neurohackers goes to the defender (he gets the +2 Combat points). 1 tactics card is drawn for a Combined attack.

The person with the lowest Combat Points total loses an Army unit in that Combat (of his choice) and puts it back in his Held Army. Ties go to the defender. Combat is over.

If a player played a "1" from his Combat Hand he draws a "3" from his Arsenal. If he played a "3" he draws a "1". Please note that players do not have to divulge which Tactics card they will use and each player plays this card simutaneously.

If the defender loses the attacker may place his attacking unit on the defenders vacated space and if 2 Army units attacked the extra attacker returns to its starting point (where it moved from).

Round 3: Cell Conversion:

During every Conversion Round 1 Samurai may be used with his Control ability to Convert a Cell. In the spot the Samurai is, in a line across the Cell map Cell by Cell, if the opposite Cell is of his color, he may put his color marker on those cards in that line. This color marker replaces whatever marker was there before. If the opposite Cell is not of his color then the Samurai mearly replaces the Cell at his end if he wishes. These markers represent that player's Market Network. Please note that Commercial Cell color of red is not related to the red player color.

A Cell line is ended by either the map edge, China Town or a Barren.

When any player has 16 Cells in his Market Network, after the deciding Conversion Round all players' go to Endgame.

Round 4: Event Check:

Roll 1d6. If a roll of 6 occurs an Event happens. If an Event happens it is the only Event; discontinue Event Checks.

Place the Event cards face down and shuffle. Draw a card randomly.

Event Reference Card - The following automatically occurs for each Event:

Terrorist Nuke - Place this card on China Town. All 8 cards connected (edges and diagonals) are flipped over and count as Barrens as far as Cell Conversion lines are considered.

Nemesis Mecha - The player with the most Neurohackers gains control of the Nemesis God Mecha (if a tie between players' occurs decide by adding and comparing Samurai, if another tie occurs Nemesis is not acquired by either player and another Event card is drawn). This Army unit has a Combat of 3 and a Movement of 4, with Flight and Control Abilities. It starts play where owning player wishes. Use this card as Army unit.

Mass Rioting - Place this card on China town. All Samurai are replaced with the same color Biker. If more than 7 Biker's would be deployed this way stop at deploying Bikers but eliminate Samurai anyways.

Net Plague - Place this card on the Matrix. Reset all Neurohacker dice to 1.

Phase 3: Endgame:

Endgame starts when a player places a total of 16 or more markers in his Market Network or runs out of Cells.

Victory points are determined now:

1 point for each color marker in your Market Network.

1 point for each Neurohacker you own.

20 points for longest chain of Residential Cells (connected laterally not diagonally).

The game is won by he with the most victory points. He is declared Sole CEO.

Last edit: July 14 - several endgame and conversion details

The following are the cards needed to play:

These Commercial Cells get you points for lay-down and produce Samurai and Hackers:

These Residential Cells produce Hover-bikers:

The Barrens Cells create penalties depending on where they are laid:

Hover-bikers move far and fly. Can fight:

Corporate Samurai are deadly and can convert Cells for points:

An event card is drawn randomly around 2-8 rounds into the game time and has an effect:

China Town is the center starting Cell:

[b]The Matrix is where each player places his Neurohacker die:

[b]Tactics cards are used in combat. When played a 1 is traded for a 3 and vice versa:

All graphics created by Delmer Esau. Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved.


Fist illo used under open license.
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