Here are the rules applicable to all scenarios. The specific rules to a scenario will be found in the Counselor's turn files.
- The game in a nutshell...
- The game mechanics are easy to learn, but hard to master.
- You will receive you turn results as a file. You use the Counselor program to open the file and review your results. Then, after consulting with potential allies, you use the Counselor to define your nation’s next set of actions. Basically, you give orders to your nations through your PCs, cities and armies (depending on the scenario’s features). When you are ready, just send your orders to the Judge program. The Judge will process all actions from all nations and distribute the new turn results. Turn can be weekly, daily, even hourly… as long as all players are in agreement.
- Please, be warned, the Judge has no tolerance for delays and will not wait for a player… the actions will be processed and sent as scheduled.
- You hone your Player Character (PC)s’ skills, administer your nation, perform spy missions, raise and command armies and navies to battle. Sometimes you remove an opponent character by duel or assassination, even magic. Improve your cities and win through economic strength… or just destroy your opponents.
Your characters take actions. Common actions include moving, attacking, casting spells recruiting troops etc, It is through character actions that you play the game. A full list of available actions is available in the Counselor help and as a PDF file that can be downloaded.
- Basic information
Turn 0 shows all the positions of other players but subsequent turns won't.
- Types of games
- DM - Death Match
It essentially means its every player for him or her self. In this type of game you are free to do pretty much whatever you want and the diplomacy is always locked into sworn enemies for everyone.
Communication between players is not forbidden and it's possible for nations to collaborate towards short term goals against a common foe. Armies from different nations always engage in combat even if they had no orders to do so. But don't be fooled, in the end, there can be only one. Players cannot play with two nations in this variant. Nations cannot be transferred to other players.
- FFA - Free For All
It essentially means its every player for him or her self. In this type of game you are free to do pretty much whatever you want as there are no locked team alliances. Some variants may have a alliances that can be broken, some games start with no alliances at all. In all cases, a nation can break former alliances and create new ones. Nations cannot be transferred to other players.
- GB - Gun Boat
Usually a specialization of the FFA or DM types where the players have no information on the other players, even who they are. It is impossible for the system to enforce the no-communication, no-information rules but we count on players to respect and enforce this rule. Players that are denounced of breaching the no-communication rule may be put on timeout until the GM team hears an explanation. Players in this timeout will only be allowed to sign up for team or private games. Players cannot play with two nations in this variant. Nations cannot be transferred to other players.
- LT - Locked Teams
Most common type where the nations are locked into pre-determined teams at the beginning of the game. It's not possible to change alliances/teams. In some cases, diplomatic orders may be available to fine tune relationships. Nations can be transferred to other players.
- No Players Info
No information on which player is active or owning which nations will be given. Can be combined with any of the above. Obviously, mandatory for GB games.
- Players controlling multiple nations or fake accounts
A player can play as many games as desired, even play with more than one nation in team games. So there's no need to create fake accounts. The rule is one player (real person) = one account. Players cannot control more than one nation in FFA, GB or DM games. Exceptions can be made for private games. If our systems flag a player having two accounts, both will be suspended until the GM Team receives some good explanation. All account must belong to a real person, no fake accounts or aliases, use your real name. Use your real name.
- Casting spells
There are no limits on how many spells a wizard can cast in a given turn other than the number of orders he/she has available. Please, don't forget that all magic is paid in blood. Meaning that the PC casting the spell will suffer some damage, based on how many spells and how powerful they are (Spell's difficult level). Casting damage also depends on how many spells cast. That is the second spell cast costs twice the normal amount of health and a third cast still more. The wizard can die casting too many difficult spells in a single turn, in particular if he/she suffers any other damage from a different source.
- Learning new spells
A character with wizard skill can learn a new spell if he/she has the proper skills, or depending on certain magical items or NSP. Also, it's possible that a NPC will teach a spell to a PC.
To learn a new spell list, the PC must always start with an easy spell. If the PC knows any easy spell from a given list, he/she can learn a spell from the same list. Knowing an average spell enables the PC to learn a hard one from the same list...
Some NSP or magical items may grant the PC the ability to learn a particular spell regardless of the list pre-requirements. Sometimes, they may grant the ability to cast a particular spell even without the proper class or skills.
- These are your main pieces in the game. Through your characters you take most of your game actions. It is your characters that raise troops, lead armies into battle, cast spells, buy and sell on the market, and do so much more. They will accomplish all your goals. Each turn you give each characters 2 or 3 actions to attempt. This is how you take your turns in the game.
- Characters have a number of attributes. The basic attributes are skills - Military, Magical, and Solo. In each category they'll have a rank from 0 to 100 indicating how proficient in those types of activities. One character might be a great general - with a high military rank. Another character might be good at solo actions but not military actions. Some characters are able to do more than one type of action.
The market buy and sells products from all nations. It has a limited amount of gold to buy and products to sell. Every turn, these limits are recalculated based on too many factors to list, including the amount of buys/sells, total available gold for nations, current turn, is winter in effect, etc.
The market available gold to buy products is split according to 4 tiers, each tier will define the min/max values for each action.
All sells actions are queued by sorting by order type, then random. (yes, local sells enter before nation sells)
Then the marker proceeds buying from the queue The maximum value paid in a single transaction is adjusted according to the current tier. When the gold available for one tier is exhausted, then the market moves to the next tier which is about 50% of the previous maximum value. This is applicable for the first 3 tiers. When market reaches tier 4, then there is no gold left, no products will be bought.
The market has limits on how much gold it can buy globally, from a given nation, of a given resource. When any of these limits is reached, the sell order will result in zero gold, regardless of tier. I.e. If too much food is being sold, then after a point, all food sales will return no profit even if on tier 1.
- An army is a group of troops under an army, navy or garrison. An army without a commander is a garrison, regardless if composed by land or naval troops. In the rules, anytime it refers to army, it means any of the sub-types.
- In a simple way, if there is an army icon, it is an army.
- A platoon is a group of troops organized by type. They fight as a unit and their stats are consolidated to get the army’s stats and upkeep.
- Here are some examples of the platoon types available at the Arzhog scenario. Be careful to check the help for the recruit order as they may vary by scenario.
- - Heavy Cavalry is the ultimate striking force on open field. Not as much on mountains, forests and swamps.
- For each cavalry unit to be recruited, the city needs to have in its stores 2 units of leather and one unit of mounts. The upkeep for these troops is 2 food units and 6 gold pieces per unit every turn.
- - Scouts are the eyes of the army, increasing the army’s visibility by one hex in each direction. Most effective in deserts and hills, lose some of its power on mountains and forests. For each scout unit to be recruited, the city needs to have in its stores one unit of leather and one unit of mounts. The upkeep for these troops is 2 food units and 3 gold pieces per unit every turn.
- - Heavy infantry is the backbone of any regular army. They perform quite well in almost any terrain. The disadvantage becomes more evident in rough terrains, like mountains, swamps and forests. The upkeep for these troops is 1 food unit and 4 gold pieces per unit every turn.
- - Regular Infantry shines in rough terrains like mountains, forests and swamps. Actually they can beat any other troops of similar size in these terrains. The upkeep for these troops is 1 food unit and 2 gold pieces per unit every turn.
- - Archers are great for defending cities. They receive an extra bonus when defending a city from their nation, or an allied city. Moreover, they receive one extra free attack at the beginning of any combat. Yes, if you have enough archers you can destroy an enemy army without suffering a single hit. On the downside, Archers only have half of regular defense strength. The upkeep for these troops is 1 food unit and 2 gold pieces per unit every turn.
- - Slaves are very lousy and poorly trained troops. But hey, they don’t ask for salaries! The upkeep for these troops is 1 food per unit every turn and they don’t demand gold.
- - Catapults are not the most effective troops against other troops, but they are the ultimate weapon against fortifications. Before any city attack, the catapults receive an extra free attack against the city’s fortification. If you have enough catapults, the fortifications would be reduced, or even removed, before the other troops charge thru the city’s gates. Please, be careful, as the catapults can be captured by the enemy in a regular combat. For each catapult to be built, the city needs to have in its stores 500 units of timber, but they are upkeep free as they don’t demand either food or gold.
- Attack and defense strength
To find out an army’s attack and defense strengths, you must add all platoons' attack and defense. The attack strength is modified by:
- Army’s moral
- Commander’s rank
- Chosen tactics on both sides (as they compare to each other and to the platton’s troop type)
- Diplomacy between nations. Please, note that in most scenarios, you cannot initiate an attack with a nation that you consider an ally, friend or neutral.
The formula to calculate a platoon attack is:
(Unit strength for the terrain) * ((weapons + training + 100)/3) * (# of troops)
A full table with the specific attack and defense base values can be found in the Counselor.
- Armies Combat
When the Judge reaches the combat milestone, it follows this sequence:
- First, all navy against navy battles takes place. A navy will keep fighting until there are no navies left to engage.
- Second, all army against army battles takes place. An army will keep fighting until there are no armies left to engage. Depending on the situation, a navy will drop anchor and disembark troops to battle as an army.
- Third, all army against city battles takes place. Army vs. city combat is defined in one single round of combat. At this point, the army must have an attacking strength greater than the city’s defense to be able to capture or destroy it.
The combat goes in rounds. Each round, the attack force is used to calculate the damage dealt to the opposing side, killing soldiers (reducing its defense force). Both sides’ attacks are considered to be simultaneous. It is possible that both sides eliminate themselves in a given round.
Some units have the first strike ability, like archers, allowing then one extra attack before the battle begins (Round 0).
The army’s attack and defense force is calculated by adding up all platoons’ attack and defense, respectively. The army’s strength can be affected by choosen tactics, by spells and by combat magic items in use by every character traveling with the army.
If the navy battle takes place over water as opposed to river bank or any land, all PCs in the losing side will drown (be killed) after the combat unless they have ways to prevent it. Some magic items or spells may grant this capability.
- Personal Combat
- Also known as duel, challenge or personal challenge. A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals; each will use the best available weapons with agreed-upon simple rules:
- - All duels are fought to the death;
- - Duels will be fought in a public and neutral area;
- - Once the duel starts, no one can interfere;
- - The possessions (magic items) will be transferred to someone traveling with the duelist on the event of his death. If traveling alone, the winner can have the spoils.
- This is how a duel will be executed by the Judge: The combat will take place in rounds. Each round, the Judge will compare the Challenge skill rank of both duelists. A luck factor is determined (roll the dice) for each duelist, and then added to the duelist’s challenge rank. The difference between both ranks will be applied as damage (life loss) to the duelist with smaller rank. So a duel when the duelists have a very small difference will last much longer and luck will be a much important factor. The bigger the difference between the challenge ranks, the shorter will be the fight, therefore less chance is involved.
- Combat Tactics
Each army commander can give orders to the army regarding which tactic to use while engaging the enemy on the battle field. All platoons will perform the same but casualties sequence will be assigned according to the tactics than another. If the commander doesn't specify the tactics, the army will engage all enemies in a standard formation.
- Victory Conditions
The active nation (non-eliminated) with the highest score is declared the winner at the end of the game in a free for all game. In a team game, the nation with the highest score on the winning side is declared the winner. If your team mate is eliminated, you lose, even if your nation has the highest score. Your team must win, if you want to win.
There are two types of victory conditions. General victory conditions (GVC) are valid for any game. Specific (or scenario) victory conditions (SVC) are valid only in some scenarios or games. Check the game tab in the Counselor to see which ones apply for each game.
There are 2 basic game types: teams and individual games. FFA and DM are individual games. Locked teams is a team game, such as Greek scenarios and GoT08.
When a team game ends due a GVC, then the team with more victory points wins the game. Only points from active nations are counted.
When an individual game ends due a GVC, then the active nation with more victory points wins the game.
SVC usually define the conditions of victory for a team or nation, in that case the first one to meet the SVC conditions is declared the winner (team or nation, depending on the type of game). If the SVC does not define a specific winner, then it’s treated as GVC.
Generic victory conditions:
- After the set number of turns is reached. The exact number of turns depends on the scenario and special requests. Examples: 20 for Greek Battles, 40 for some GoT, or unlimited.
- When none of the nations from an alliance received orders for the turn.
- When there is only one active (non-eliminated) nation.
- When all active nations are on the same team.
- Where there is no active nations.
Scenario specific victory conditions
- Elimination, game ends when first nation is eliminated. The victory goes to the team that still has all active nations. (Greek games, some team games)
- King of Kings, game ends when there is only one lord. (FFA and DM games)
- Supremacy, game ends when a team has twice as many active nations as the other teams combined. (GoT 275+)
- Score, game ends when a nation or a team has enough victory points. (GoT 275+)
In a team game, the team achieves a score victory when it owns 75% or more of all victory points from its active nations.
In a free for all game, a nation achieves a score victory when it owns 50% or more of victory points owned by all active nations.
- Conquest, game ends when someone has enough burghs and metropolis. (GoT 275+)
In a team game, the team achieves a conquest victory when it owns 75% or more of all burgh and metropolis still owned by active nations.
In a free for all game, a nation achieves a conquest victory when it owns 50% or more of all burgh and metropolis still owned by active nations.
- Domination, game ends when a nation or a team has enough key cities, usually the original capitals from turn 0. (GoT 275+)
In a team game, the team achieves a domination victory when it owns 75% or more of the starting capitals*.
In a free for all game, a nation achieves a domination victory when it owns 50% or more of the starting capitals*.
* Recamped cities on a capital hex count. Empty and razed hexes don't count.
A nation is eliminated at any time that one of the following conditions is met:
- When all PCs are dead or hold as hostages or unable to receive orders in any way.
- When taxes are raised above 100% to pay the nation upkeep costs.
- When the capital is lost and there is no other city that meets the minimum criteria to become a new capital. In most scenarios, this means burgh or metropolis size.
- When the player fails to send orders for two turns in a row.
- When the player fails to send orders for the first turn.
- Victory Points
There are five categories that one can collect points as listed below. Each category has a total of 1000 points to be distributed among all nations, active or otherwise. The points would be distributed following the same proportion as they have scored. i.e.: If a nation has twice as much cities than the other, then the nation will collect twice as many points.
Another example: In a game with four nations, one has no armies; the second has 15% of the armies, the third has 51% of the armies and the last will have the remaining. Then the respective points are: 0, 150, 510 and 340
The categories are structured as follows, with the key factors to weight:
- Cities: loyalty, size, docks, and fortifications;
- Armies: Recruiting cost, upkeep cost, morale, and training;
- Characters: sum of skills without magic items;
- Richness: treasury and resources potential profit;
- Magic items: power level.
So a nation that has it all can score a maximum of 5000 points if it had it all.
- Magic Items
- Dormant Powers
Magic Items’ dormant powers usually activate at “Market Adjustments and NPC Encounters” milestone. Exceptions when the power affects combats, or effects such as good luck, where it makes no sense to have them at the end of the turn. All others will take effect on the “Sort actions, healing, NPCs” milestone.
The dormant powers don’t require any orders to activate. As long as the owner and item meets the conditions, there is a chance that the power will be activated. These condition include, but are not limited to, being in an army, in a friendly city, having a certain skill, in an enemy city, etc.
The exact effect varies from item to item. Only experience will tell the precise results of each latent power.
A nation is the game basic faction. Usually, it’s owned by a single player. Buy a player can own more than one nation, depending on the scenario. A nation could have allies and definitely will have enemies.
Nations may have a list of Nation Special Powers (NSP) that will provide the particular nation with special bonus like getting higher skill ranks or not having to pay to build armies or learn a secret spell.
- Roads allow armies to move faster to cross the terrain, the cost will be cheaper. Usually, the roads will reduce the terrain costs by half. For a regular moving unit, round it up. For a fast moving unit, round it down.
- i.e.: for a 4 point terrain, they both would pay the same cost. But for a 3 point, fast would cost 1 and regular would cost 2.
- Fog of War
- Fog of war is placed on a particular hex outside the nation’s range of vision. There can be some basic information, like terrain and roads. Even if a major city is present. But updated information will not be available, like armies, characters or even army’s trails. Fog of war is recalculated every turn based on current conditions. The default is to have the fog of war on all discovered hexes.
- Here some of the conditions that may lift the fog of war in a particular hex for a particular nation:
- - If a character, army or city is present
- - If an army passed thru the hex
- - If an army have units with scout ability (usually light cavalry), it will make all adjacent hexes on that army’s path visible
- - A city will make all surrounding hexes visible accordign to its size. For the smallest available size (let’s say a camp in most scenarios) will make its own hex visible. Then add one to each step beyond the camp. Therefore a metropolis will provide a visibility range of 4 hexes in every direction. Moreover, if city’s loyalty is greater than 60, then it will increase its visibility range by one extra hex.
Armies and navies move from hex to adjacent hex. You plot their movement one hex at a time ne, nw, w .... Specifying the exact path the army will take. Armies and navies can usually move 14 points in most scenarios. Each unit type will have a movement cost per terrain. When the army is moving, the slowest unit will dictate the cost for each terrain.
For Fast and regular movement abilities, please refer to roads.
Mainly, it is used to define how to calculate movement points on roads.
Roads reduce the terrain's cost to half. Fast troops rounds it down. Regular troops rounds it up.
So, for a 4 point terrain, they both would pay the same cost.
But for a 3 point, fast would cost 1 and regular would cost 2.
And in general, fast troops have a better movement cost table...
There is the risk of overrun when armies are on the move. A too small army can be trampled by a larger one as part of the movement. But a big army will not be overrun by a much bigger army. i.e.: an army with 4000 troops will not be trampled by an army 100000 big. An army that's small enough to be overrun cannot overrun other even smaller armies. A 100 troops army can be trampled by a 1500.... But a 100 can't overrun another with 20 troops. For all purposes, the combined allied troops on each side are considered, when multiple armies are involved.
Where the exact numbers are is to be discovered in the course of the game... check the FAQ for a few more data points.
Using a stand and defend order increases the chances of an overrun if the army trying to block is not big enough.
Characters move from where they are now to the destination. The path that they take to get from one hex to another is not specified. They can move to any land hex in range (8 or 12 hexes) without regard to the intervening terrain.
Wizards can move by casting movement spells. This gives them a greater range of movement. In general, the higher the wizard rank the greater chance of a successful long range move.
It is also important to point that the game is all about fun.
Failing to submit your turn spoils the fun for other players. Therefore, not sending the first turn or failing to submit more than one turn in a week without an explanation to the GMs will put the player in a timeout status. This also can be motive for transferring the nations to other players or AI, depending on GMs judgment.