Martian BattleSpires

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Martian BattleSpires
Martian BattleSpires is a game of domination by advantage.
:Players Players: 2
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 5
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes:
Five-color sets: 5
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
A volcano board would be handy but not required.
Setup time: about 2 to 3 minutes
Playing time:
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: None
Game mechanics:
Theme: ???
BGG Link:
Status: Playtesting (v1.0), Year released: 2008

Status[edit | edit source]

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.

Martian BattleSpires[edit | edit source]

In one of the stratospheric mountain ranges of Mars a battle rages between warring clans of Rock Monsters. Their clashing battle sounds can be heard from miles away as they leap amongst the Spires to gain advantage and drop onto their enemies like pyramidal boulders hurled from God. There are only two questions that remain: Who will prevail, and will the beautiful landscape survive the battles?

Setup[edit | edit source]

Each player selects a color. Arrange all pyramids into monochrome trees. Assuming that the players are Blue and Red, arrange the trees into a volcano style setup like this:

Object[edit | edit source]

To win! See "Winning" below.

Some Special Game Concepts and Terminology[edit | edit source]

  • Piece: A single pyramid or combination of pyramids with a pip value of no more than 3. A piece may contain your opponent's pyramids.
  • Attacker: This is a piece that moves onto the space occupied by a defender. Attackers can consist of any pyramids equal to 3 pips in value. This could be:
one large
one medium and one small
up to 3 smalls.
  • Defender: This is ALWAYS a single pyramid receiving an attack. The Spires, even though they can be captured during a Breakthrough, are not considered Defenders.
  • Spires These are all the trees that do not belong to either player.
  • Power: This represents the capturing ability of the piece making an attack. The power of a piece is equal to it's total pip value.
  • Breakthrough: When a capturing piece's power exceeds the value of the defender being captured and the attacker has advantage then the defender is captured and breakthrough occurs. The power of the attacking piece is reduced by the value of the defender. If there is enough power remaining, then the piece below the target piece will be captured as well. This is the case even if the piece below the target is either your own piece or a piece of one of the neutral colors.
  • Advantage: An attacker must have a higher advantage than a defending piece in order to capture it. Use the actual height of the total stack (including the piece you intend to use). If the total stack of the attacker is taller than the defender's stack, then the attacker has advantage. Any stack higher than another is said to have advantage over any lower stack.
  • Spire Altitude Limit: No Spire may have more than 13 pyramids in it including the original neutral spire. This reduces the possibility of a Spire Catastrophe.
  • Spire Catastrophe: This is what you call it when a Spire is toppled. If this happens, try to reconstruct it as best you can. If no one can remember (or can't agree on) how it was arranged, then simply remove it from play entirely. If the spire was Crashed (someone knocked it over) then assess that player a -5 point penalty. If the Spire just toppled on it's own, then no one should be penalized.

Game Play[edit | edit source]

  • Decide who goes first: The tallest player goes first (or optionally, have a tree-climbing contest. However gets the highest can go first!)
  • Movement: Each player has 3 movement points to spend on moving 3 pips worth of pyramids. A player need not use all of his/her movement points but, a player must move at least one pyramid if there is a move available. Each piece may only move one space and the bottom pyramid of the piece must be your color. Moves can be made orthogonally or diagonally. A piece can move onto any spire.
Movement Costs: A piece must factor all the pips within it, even from opposing pyramids, into it's movement cost (i.e. if you move your small blue pyramid with a small red on top, it still costs you 2 of your movement points to move). Additionally, all pyramids in a piece contribute to the power of that piece.
Along for the Ride: Only the bottom pyramid in a piece is considered to have been moved. The others are just along for the ride. If there are still movement points left, a pyramid along for the ride can also make a move.
Empty Spaces: Empty spaces are off limits for play.
Imprisoned: If you cannot move any pieces during your turn, you are considered to be "Imprisoned" and the game immediately ends. See "winning" for how to determine the winner...
  • Attacking: In order for a piece to successfully attack and capture another piece, the attacking piece must have a higher advantage than the defender, and the attacking piece's power must equal or exceed that of the defending piece. Both of these conditions must be met for the move to be considered an attack.

Winning[edit | edit source]

Before the Game starts choose one of the following methods to determine the winner.

  • Genocide: This method awards the game only to the player who deals complete destruction to his foe by capturing all 15 of his pyramids.
  • Points: In this method you rack up points for each pyramid captured (Including the neutral ones.) Each of your opponent's pyramids is worth its pip value in points. If you capture neutral pyramids, they are worth their pip value +1. If you capture your own pyramid(s) they are worth 0 points. The first player to collect 20 pips worth of pyramids wins!
Winning by Imprisonment: If the game is forced to end because of imprisonment, use the following method to determine the winner regardless of the the winning condition chosen at the beginning of the game. Each player should tally up all their captured pyramids. The player causing the imprisonment gets a bonus 5 points. Whoever has the highest total wins. Remember: The point value of a captured Spire piece is It's Pip count + 1.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Keep the smalls free: In my opinion, the small pieces are the most powerful in Martian BattleSpires. They are a major tactical asset for a number of reasons.

#1. They are the cheapest pieces to move.
#2. They have the greatest range given the fact that they can be carried to an advantageous position and still be able to move
#3. They achieve the same height as a larger piece with less cost(see #1).
#4. They are the hardest pieces to imprison.
Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Summer 2008
Winner: Ambush 2nd: Logger 3rd: Albiorix 4th: Virus_Fight 5th: Atom_Smasher
6th: Dog_Eat_Dog & Martian_BattleSpires 8th: Pass_The_Pyramids 9th: T-Minus 10th: Tresurion