Crownfall – Sieze the Throne!

This week has been spent doing almost anything except game design. Taking a break is good, but it does mean that when it came time for this week’s blog, I really didn’t know what I was going to talk about.

I guess it’s a good thing there’s so many ideas floating about in my head! So let’s introduce a new project and leave you with a complete-enough-to-play-but-not-necessarily-final set of rules, all in one go.

 

The King has fallen, and left no clear line of succession. Outmanoeuvre and capture your rival Regent, and take the Crown for yourself.

Crownfall is a project that I started thinking about quite some time ago, but have not yet written anything down for, either here on the blog, or in my notes. Good thing it’s pretty simple.

It was born as a concept when I was looking for a game-in-the-game to play during Pathfinder sessions. I’d recently played Attila, in which you create a variable shaped board, move your pawns (horses) around and raze the countryside, preventing your opponent’s horses from moving. It’s pretty straightfoward and has a good foundation, but didn’t really fit what I was looking for.

Instead, I made the game a little more similar to Chess, albeit only about 1/50th as complex.

Background

The King has been away on crusade for many years, leaving his two trusted advisors to rule as joint Regents in his absence.  One day word is returned that the King has fallen in battle, leaving no clear line of succession. When the Regents cannot reach agreement on the future of the Kingdom, the land is plunged into civil war. The only way to bring peace to the land is to rely on your own trusted Knights to capture your rival in their hiding place.

Outline & Setup

Crownfall is played between two players on a 5×5 board, each with two Knights and a Regent. A handful of Militia tokens is shared between players. The game is over when a player can not move their Regent at the start of their turn. When this happens, they have lost their bid for the crown, and the opponent (who trapped the Regent) wins.

Place each Regent in the center back line of the board, flanked by their Knights.

Game Setup

On Your Turn

1. Check if you are captured

Check that there is an open square adjacent to your Regent into which it could move (Note that it is not required that your Regent actually move – only that they could move). If your Regent cannot move, it is captured by the Militia, and your opponent wins the game.

2. Move

You may now make one of three different moves. Either:

a) Your Knight moves (as per chess) to an empty square, placing a Militia token into the space they just left.
b) Your Regent removes a Militia token from an adjacent space.
c) Your Regent moves in a straight line as far as they like (as a Queen in Chess), into an empty space.

You must make one move, and one move only, on your turn. If your Knights have been backed into a position where they cannot move, then you must use your Regent to either move, or to remove a Militia token instead. Sometimes, this may not be to your benefit. Pay attention to the state of the board!

Example Gameplay

The board image below is several moves into a game. Each step is outlined below. Remember that every time a Knight moves, a Militia token is left behind in the space they just vacated.

  1. White Knight moves from B5 to C3 (a Militia token is left in B5 but has been removed by a move later in the game)
  2. Black Knight moves from D1 to B2
  3. White Knight moves from C3 to A2
  4. Black Regent moves from C1 to E3
  5. White Knight moves from D5 to B4
  6. Black Knight moves from B2 to C4
  7. White realises that if the Black Regent moves to D4 then they will lose the game on their next turn (as the White Regent will have no space to move to). To counteract this, White Regent removes the Militia token from B5.

Closing Thoughts

The (admittedly limited) playtesting that has gone into this so far has shown a common issue – when a Regent has the ability to remove a Militia unit turn after turn after turn, games have a habit of becoming a bit of a stalemate. One potential solution is to place a limit on the number of times per game that the Regent can remove a Militia unit. Keep in mind, that this change hasn’t yet been tested.

However – the components are so simple you could easily recreate this at home. A sheet of paper and pen to draw the board, some coins for Militia tokens, and most of us have a Chess set lying around somewhere for the Regents and Knights (if you don’t, then army figurines, miniatures from RPGs, or even Meeples from various boardgames would work just fine).

And so I implore you – try playing yourself. Give me some feedback. Be brutally honest – I promise you won’t hurt my feelings. Maybe. You can comment right here, send a message to my Facebook page, or even send an email if you really want to go into detail. I really do look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time.

Yours in Adventure,

Shane

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