Crystal Wars

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Under development

This game is currently under development, in the Playtesting stage. Feedback is strongly encouraged! Feel free to give comments on game design or structure on the talk page.

Crystal Wars
Jeff Hammans
Wargame played on Martian Coasters
:Players Players: 2 - 4
:Time Length: Long
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 5
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 5
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Dice or Counters
Setup time: 30 to 60 seconds
Playing time: 15 minutes - 60 minutes
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: Some
Game mechanics: board
Theme: Wargames
BGG Link:
Status: Playtesting (v1.0), Year released: 2011

Crystal Wars is a strategy war-game of the future for 2-4 players using Icehouse pieces on a Martian coasters playing map. The game requires 5 matching treehouse sets.

What You Need[edit | edit source]

5 Treehouse stashes (preferably Rainbow)

At least one set of Martian Coasters

1 six sided dice

10-20 or more counters to track grain

2 players

Optional Equipment[edit | edit source]

Extra Martian Coasters allow for larger games

Black coasters add swamps or metropolises

Extra Treehouse stashes allow for larger armies.

Object[edit | edit source]

To be the first player to control all villages and cities.

Definitions[edit | edit source]

Coasters: Represent the terrain. A player's home terrain matches colors with his stash. A player's Infantry function better at home.

The Flow: Arrows on the coasters show the direction of "The Flow". Units moving with "The Flow" gain a movement bonus.

Vortexes: The center squares of a coaster. Any unit starting its turn on a vortex and is willing to spend its entire movement allow may teleport to any other unoccupied vortex.

Infantry: Small horizontal pieces, Attack: 1, Defense: 1, Move: 1

Hovers: Medium horizontal pieces, Attack: 2, Defense: 1, Move: 3

Tanks: Large horizontal pieces, Attack: 3, Defense: 3, Move: 2

Free Villages: Medium upright Black pieces that no player owns

Villages: Medium upright pieces, Creates Infantry and 2 Grain

Cities: Large upright pieces, Creates Hovers, Tanks, and 1 Grain

Mountains: Large Black upright pieces, makes a square impassable.

Setup[edit | edit source]

Arrange at least two martian coasters of the player's chosen stash color (not black). Players place 1 free village (black medium upright) in enemy's coaster (not on the center square). Player's may then place 1 mountain (a large Black upright piece) in their own coaster (not on the center square). If more coasters are being used than players, then one free village and one mountain should be placed in the unowned coaster.

Playing[edit | edit source]

Rounds[edit | edit source]

Roll the die to see who goes first, ties are re-rolled. Play proceeds clockwise. After all players have had a turn, initiative is rolled again.

Turns[edit | edit source]

On each player's turn, perform the following steps:

1) Grain Production

2) Starvation

3) Movement

4) Combat

5) Events

6) Creation

7) Spoilage

Grain Production[edit | edit source]

Each Village produces 2 grain per turn. Each City Produces 1 grain per turn.

Villages have a higher concentration of farms; cities are better at creating stronger units.

Starvation[edit | edit source]

Each unit a player controls requires grain each turn to keep it in the service of that player.

Infantry requires 1 grain. Hovers require 2 grain. Tanks requires 3 grain.

If a player does not have enough grain to pay for all units, then he will have to decide on which of his units will "starve" and be removed from the board.

Movement[edit | edit source]

Players may move all, some or none of their units. Movement may not be saved for a future turn. Horizontally and vertically movement only. Units may move through units, villages and cities of their own color but must end movement past the unit, village or city. Units may not through or stop on Mountain squares.

Infantry may move 1 space.

Hovers may move 3 spaces.

Tanks may move 2 spaces.

The Flow[edit | edit source]

Any unit "going with the flow", that is any unit that performs its complete movement in the direction of the coaster's arrows may move an extra space.

Vortexes[edit | edit source]

The center squares of a coaster. Any unit starting its turn on a vortex and is willing to spend its entire movement allow may teleport to any other unoccupied vortex.

Combat[edit | edit source]

Units are considered in combat if they are in adjacent squares. Horizontally and vertically only. Units in diagonal squares may add their attack power to a valid attacking unit. Any Infantry in a player's home coaster gets a +1 to their defense (for a total of 2).

Infantry 1 attack, 1 defense (2 defense on home color)

Hover 2 attack, 1 defense

Tanks 3 attack, 3 defense

Both players roll 1d6 and add the total attack number of all units involved. The higher total wins and the winner's attack number (before the die roll) is applied to one (and only one) of the loser's units. If it equals or exceeds the defense number of the unit, then remove the unit. If it does not, then nothing happens and all damage is removed.

Capturing Villages and Cities:

If a player has units next to a village or city and there are no defending units next to the attacker either horizontally, vertically or diagonally, then the player may attempt to capture the village or city.

Free Villages have a Defense of 1

Villages have an Attack of 1 and Defense of 2

Cities have an Attack of 2 and Defense of 3

Note: Villages and Cities may NOT attack units.

Events[edit | edit source]

Once a turn a player must roll one die for a random event.

1) Volcano (Randomly pick a mountain and remove all units, villages and cities next to it, vertically, horizontally and diagonally.)

2) Drought (lose all grain)

3) Militia Volunteers (gain one Infantry at a village of the player's choice)

4) Silo (player may save grain for next turn)

5) Bumper Crop (player gains 2 grain)

6) Riots (a player chosen city devolves to village)

Creation[edit | edit source]

Players may spend their grain building units, villages and upgrading to cities. If a particular piece is not available, then neither is the unit, village or city.

At a cost of 1 grain a village may place a new Infantry unit next to it in one of the 8 adjacent squares.

At a cost of 2 grain a city may place a new Hover unit next to it in one of the 4 adjacent squares horizontally or vertically.

At a cost of 3 grain a city may place a new Tank unit next to it in one of the 4 adjacent squares horizontally or vertically.

At a cost of 1 grain a player may place a new village next to an infantry unit horizontally or vertically. Villages may not be placed adjacent to villages, in any direction.

At a cost of 3 grain a village may be upgraded to a city.

Spoilage[edit | edit source]

All leftover grain is lost unless the Silo Event was rolled.

Play moves on to the next player, or the next round initiative is rolled if the player was the last for the round.

Scenarios[edit | edit source]

Gold Mountain

2-3 players

Use a black large piece, topped by a small one to represent Gold Mountain

2 player setup: Use 3 coasters (the players own colors and a third), place the third one so that half is touching the upper coaster and half the lower. There is no movement from the player's coasters to the middle square of the third coaster.

3 player setup: Use 4 coasters in a square. Place the gold mountain in the far corner of the unused coaster. The player of the diagonal coaster gets an extra village to start.

To win a player must be the only one with a 3 units adjacent to Gold Mountain for a round.

Black Coaster Scenarios[edit | edit source]

The Metropolis

4 players

Requires: Two sets of Martian Coasters and One Black Coaster.

Setup: Place the Black Coaster in the center and the place the other eight coasters around it in a green, red, yellow, blue, green, red, yellow, blue pattern.

The black coaster represents The Metropolis. It is the ultimate prize. Each square counts as a city square, and must be conquered separately. Once one one player has captured all squares of the metropolis they win.

For a shorter game: when all squares of the metropolis have been captured by any player, the player with the most city blocks wins.

Variants[edit | edit source]

Bandits[edit | edit source]

Instead of the Volcano event, when a 1 is rolled a Bandit (black) Infantry appears on a random coaster at its edge. The Bandit proceeds directly to the nearest village or city and attacks. If there are no defenders at the city it is reduced to a village. If there are no defenders at the village it is reduced to a free village, and the Bandit is removed.

Diplomats[edit | edit source]

At a cost of 3 grain a city may create a diplomat unit.

The unit is represented by an upright small piece.

Diplomats have a move of 1, attack of 0, and defense of 1.

Diplomats may not attack units or cities normally.

Diplomats may attempt to turn enemy units by engaging in battle and rolling a 1-3 on a six sided die.

Diplomats may attempt to sabotage enemy cities and villages by engaging them and rolling a one on a six sided die.

In both cases above the attacking player must have the correct replacement pieces in their stash to swap out with the enemy's piece if the attack is successful.

Swamps[edit | edit source]

Use the black coaster as a no-man's land. Swamp costs as extra movement point per square for hovers and tanks, but not infantry. The flow does not function in the swamp.

Strategies[edit | edit source]

Use "The Flow" whenever possible. It makes infantry much more powerful, especially on the owner's color.

Seriously consider leaving a unit on top of your home vortex to defend against other players "sneaking in through the back door."

Player Aids[edit | edit source]

Summary of Unit Properties
Name Piece Used Attack Strength Defense Strength Movement Range Grain Produced (+) or Consumed (-) per turn Build Location Cost in grain to build
Infantry 1 1; 2 on home color 1 -1 8 squares next to a Village 1
Hover 2 1 3 -2 4 squares adjacent to a City 2
Tank 3 3 2 -3 4 squares adjacent to a City 3
Free Village 0 1 0
Village 1; may support only 2 0 +2 4 squares adjacent to an Infantry, not next to any Village 1
City 2; may support only 3 0 +1 Replaces a Village 3
Mountain 0; impassible
Bandit 1 1 1 Along a random edge
Diplomat 0; converts unit on 1-3, City/Village on 1 1 1 4 squares adjacent to a City 3

Designer's Notes[edit | edit source]

Inspirations include OGRE/GEV by Steve Jackson, and Sid Meier's Civilization

Many balance items are in the small details, such as how units are placed next villages or cities when they are created.

Version 1.2a 28Mar2011 - Swapped Creation and Events in the turn order. Sorry about the mistake...

Version 1.2 01Apr2010 – cleaned up docs a little

Version 1.1 30Jan2010 - Cleaned up spelling and made garbled sentences read a bit more intelligibly.

Version 1.0 04Jan2010 - testing needed