Ways of the Towering Tribesmen

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Ways of the Towering Tribesmen
Designed by Jonah Ostroff
Two barbaric tribes at war
:Players Players: 2
:Time Length: Medium
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 2
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 2
Five-color sets: 5
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Volcano board
Setup time: 1 minute
Playing time: 10 minutes - 30 minutes
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics: interposition
Theme: The wikipage input value is empty (e.g. <code>SomeProperty::, [[]]</code>) and therefore it cannot be used as a name or as part of a query condition.
BGG Link:
Status: Not Specified (v1.0), Year released: 2003

This game appears to have descended into deep obscurity, but it has an unusual mechanic.

The Story[edit | edit source]

In a land far, far away, two very barbaric tribes are preparing for the fight of their lives. Interestingly, both sides are pacifists; as much as they want to destroy the other tribe, nobody can bring himself to harm another being. This fight, as one would imagine, would go on forever if the tribesmen weren’t so stupid...

The Setup[edit | edit source]

In this game, you’ll need two players, a 5x5 grid (quite the trend, eh?) and two Icehouse sets. Setting aside four small pyramids from each set, form one tree and four semi-trees (a drone atop a queen). Set these five stacks in the row nearest you (your opponent should be doing the same), with the full tree in the middle space. Keep in mind, though these pieces are all arranged in stacks, that each piece is a man. All medium and large pieces are essentially the same in ability, but the small piece is each tribe's leader (king, queen, master, wazir, whatever).

The Ways of the Towering Tribesmen[edit | edit source]

The ancient way of fighting in these tribes is not entirely clear at the moment. The common battle strategy, it would appear, is for tribesmen to stand on each other’s shoulders to form towers, making them appear much taller than they are (If you are a cartoon character under the age of 8 who wants to sneak into a scary amusement park ride, take careful note of this technique). The reason behind this is only explained in the tribesmen’s curious and almost laughable logic. These barbarians, for some reason, are all under the impression that if they can’t see something, it doesn’t exist. Thus, at any point in the game, if any stack is unable to see the king, all members of that stack will believe that the king is dead and kill themselves out of woe.

The Three Demands[edit | edit source]

There are some things, however, that the tribesmen are very adamant about keeping constant. At no point will any stack contain two tribesmen of different tribes. At no point will any tribesman be on top of any tribesman smaller than it is. Finally, tribesmen will never lie down. In Icehouse terms, there are no multicolored towers, no nests, and no flat pieces.

The Turn[edit | edit source]

On your turn, you have three options, all of them pretty much the same: Move, trip, or push. Movement is pretty simple. Any number of pieces from the top of one of your stacks may move to any adjacent square (including diagonals, like a king in Chess). A stack may trip another stack, as long as the trippee has at least two pieces more than the tripper. To trip, a stack moves into the spot of its victim and then places all tribesmen that occupied that spot in any of the 8 surrounding spaces. Finally, any stack may push any smaller, opposing stack into the next space (in a straight line). Above all, however, it is imperative that each move, trip or push will meet all of the 3 Demands. Also note you may only split your stack or merge with another when you are moving. Therefore, a two piece stack cannot split into two singletons in order to trip a three-piece stack.

Vision[edit | edit source]

Finally, and most importantly, is the matter of vision. At the end of any player’s turn, it is important to check whether each stack can see the king. The way to do this is to draw an imaginary line from this stack (we’ll call it Stack A) to the king’s stack (Stack B). All spaces this line passes through, when traveling from A to B, are in question. If the height of any stacks in these spaces is greater than the height of Stack A or Stack B, the vision is blocked. If the vision is blocked, all pieces in Stack A will kill themselves out of woe. A player loses if he has four or fewer pieces left (that is, seven captured pieces).

Some Notes[edit | edit source]

Playing this game involves making some tough decisions. A tower that is too high can easily be tripped. A tower that is too short can be pushed out of the way and, most importantly, is in great danger of dying, as its shortness can cause many problems where vision is concerned. Therefore, a balance must be reached. This balance, arguably, is a stack of two pieces. However, it will become very obvious very quickly that in order to kill opponents pieces, more risks are going to be taken. Don’t be afraid to move your king along with the action. This game sort of goes by the assumption that no player will wall himself up in an impenetrable fort (which is possible) simply because he wishes to cause a stalemate, but then again, so does Pikemen.

Variants[edit | edit source]

For four players, use a 7x7 grid with four different stacks, placing the pieces in the same configuration, using the five center spaces of the row closest to each player.

Recap[edit | edit source]

Three Demands[edit | edit source]

  • No multicolored stacks
  • No nesting of any kind
  • No flat pieces

Three Turn Options[edit | edit source]

  • Move: Move any number of pieces in a stack into any adjacent space.
  • Trip: Move any stack into the space of another player’s stack which has at least two pieces in it, then redistribute all pieces of the victim’s stack in any of the 8 adjacent spaces.
  • Push: Push any stack with fewer pieces one space.

Note: all actions must meet the 3 Demands.

Vision[edit | edit source]

Check for each stack after every turn. Draw imaginary line from stack (Stack A) to that of king (Stack B). If any stacks in any intervening squares are taller than A or B, the vision is blocked. If any stack cannot see the king, the entire stack perishes.

Winning[edit | edit source]

Cut your opponent down to four tribesmen (including king).

External Links[edit | edit source]

An archive of the rules may be found here:[1]