Defenders of the Stone Circle, A Stonehenge Adventure Game by Glaucio Reis
In a time long past, the mystical energies of Stonehenge were incredibly strong. The concentrated magic attracted demons from another plane of existence. The priests of an ancient people wished to protect their sacred place and devised a way to create a barrier that, once completed, would keep the demons at large. They also summoned spirits of Nature to help in their fight. The priest who worked best to protect Stonehenge was destined to rule.
Number of players: 3–4
Object of the game: Score the most points by defeating demons and surrounding Stonehenge with a magical barrier.
Equipment: The board, the trilithons, the card deck, the neutral figure (dark priest), the player figures (priests), disks and bars. Required extra material: six spirits of Nature in each player color, twelve demons in a neutral color, and six demon appearance markers (use pawns and wooden cubes from other games, for example).
Setup: Place the trilithons on their designated spaces on the board, each with a disk of a different color on its capstone. Each player takes the remaining pieces of a chosen color but white. They also take white bars (magic rifts) according to the number of players: three bars with three players, two bars with four players. Place the priests of the players in the center of the board. Put the demons in a common supply near the board. With three players, put also the disks of the unchosen color in a common supply.
A randomly chosen player takes the white priest. In a four-player game, the second next player takes the dark priest. In a three-player game, the player on the left takes the dark priest, and the other takes the priest of the unchosen color. The players put those priests in front of them.
Shuffle the deck and trilithon cards separately. Reveal cards from the deck one by one and place white disks on small stones, according to card numbers and phases. Only place a disk if there will be at least two empty stones between it and any previously placed disks. Keep revealing cards until all disks are placed. Deal three cards from the deck to each player and lay three cards face-up on the table.
Reshuffle the deck, including the used cards. Set fifteen cards aside. Divide the rest into five roughly equal stacks and shuffle one trilithon card into each stack. Pile the stacks and place the cards previously set aside on the top. Place the deck face-down next to the face-up cards.
Playing the Game
Along the game, the players enchant stones and summon spirits of Nature to protect Stonehenge. Disks and bars represent magical energy. The Circle of Defense is formed by four concentric tracks: the sixty small rocks that are charged with disks, the numbered spaces for summoned spirits, the colored rocks that spirits turn into enchanted walls, and the outside spaces where demons appear. The circle is divided into sectors, each consisting of all five spaces associated to a given number. An area of power consists of a single space or any number of connected occupied spaces. Spaces touching only at a corner are not connected. Only one piece may occupy each space. You control a space when you have one of your pieces on it.
The player with the white priest starts the game. Players take turns in clockwise order. On your turn, you:
1. must play a card from your hand;
2. may place a magic rift;
3. refill your hand to three cards;
4. move demons.
Steps 1 and 2 may be taken in either order.
1. Play one card (may be more when fighting a demon), choosing one of the following options:
a) Place a disk on the stone designated by the card number and phase. If the stone contains a disk of an opponent, replace it with one of your disks from another stone, not from your reserve. You may never replace a white disk.
b) Place a disk on an empty stone designated just by the card phase. The stone must be adjacent to another space you control and not adjacent to any space controlled by another player.
c) Place a spirit on a numbered empty space corresponding to the card color, not adjacent to another of your spirits. You must control at least one space in the same sector, and both small stones must contain disks.
d) Move a spirit up to two spaces to an empty numbered space corresponding to the card color. The spirit may move across a magic rift and another spirit.
e) Place a bar as a magic wall segment on an empty colored space corresponding to the card color. You must have a spirit in the same sector or extend a wall that touches at least one of your spirits (the wall may be made of bars of other players). A wall cannot be extended across a magic rift.
f) Fight a demon on the Circle of Defense. Place one of your pieces on a space occupied by a demon to defeat it, using all above card playing and piece placement rules, as if the space was empty. The only difference is that you may need to play more than one card. Because the demon gets stronger as it advances toward the center, you must play one card if it is on a colored space, two on a numbered space, and three on a small stone. If you play a card with the number of that sector (and corresponding phase if the demon is on a small stone), no other cards are required, but you may still play them to increase your score.
g) Fight a demon at a trilithon or the altar stone. Play cards of the trilithon color (or black for the altar stone) to defeat the demon. The minimum number of cards is four minus the number of spirits next to the site. (Note: The only way to place a spirit next to these sites is via scoring.)
h) Pass (play a card to no effect).
Additional rules: Unless stated otherwise, pieces must come from your reserve. If you do not have the proper piece in your reserve, you may move one on the board, but never from the same sector of a demon.
In a three-player game, if you move a disk just for their lack in your reserve, place a disk of the unused color (unless the supply is empty) on the stone where your disk was. That color counts as a player color for all purposes, except that its score is not registered.
2. Place one of your magic rifts if you want. Place it on a line between two numbered spaces. The rift separates all spaces along that line (including stones), and they are no longer considered adjacent for any purposes. You cannot place a rift so that it breaks the connection between any already placed disks. Rifts remain in place until the end of the game.
3. Discard any played cards to a face-up discard pile and refill your hand to three cards, one at a time, taking them from the open display or the top of the deck. If you take a card from the display, replace it immediately with a card from the top of the deck.
4. Demons in sectors of your color move, one at a time, in numeric order. Demons in sectors of neutral colors also move, if you have the corresponding priest in front of you. If a duel is required, resolve it before moving the next demon.
When a demon moves, it advances one space toward the center of Stonehenge, in the following order: colored stone, numbered space, night stone, day stone and trilithon or altar stone. If a demon moves into a space containing a bar or a disk, that piece is removed. If the space is occupied by a spirit, a duel occurs (see below).
From the day stone, the demon moves to the trilithon of the sector color, or to the altar stone if the color is black. Then there is a battle in which all players may participate, but they may not discuss how many cards they will play. Starting with the active player and going clockwise once, each player may play one or more cards of the proper color. If a total of four or more cards are played, the demon is defeated. Each spirit next to the attacked site reduces the required total by one, but at least one card must be played. If the players lose the battle, the demon remains on the site. Players do not take cards afterwards, and if they play all three cards, they will not play a card on their next turn.
Special rule for three players: In a battle, cards of the proper color on the open display count as played cards and are discarded afterwards, being replaced immediately.
Duels: When the demon moves onto a space occupied by a spirit, the owner of the spirit (not necessarily the active player) may play one or two cards matching the color of the sector. In doing so, the demon is fended off and moves to an adjacent empty numbered space. If both spaces are empty, the dueling player chooses the direction. If both spaces are occupied or rifts block the way, the demon is defeated. If the owner of the spirit plays no card, that player takes the spirit off the board and loses 3 points (but never below zero). The player does not take cards after the duel.
Appearance of demons: A demon appears whenever a trilithon card is revealed. Never take a trilithon card into your hand: if you draw one from the deck, reveal it immediately. The player whose color matches the card takes a demon from the supply and places it on an empty space of the outmost track, next to a colored space of the card color. In a three-player game, the player holding the priest of the unchosen color places the demon for the corresponding trilithon card, and then passes the priest to the player on the right.
If the card is white, the player with the white priest places the demon, then passes the priest to the player on the right. The player with the dark priest places a second demon in a black sector, and also passes the priest to the right.
For the first six demons, place also an appearance marker on the same space. A demon may not be placed in a sector that contains another demon or an appearance marker.
The trilithon card is put aside face-up, so that players may check at any time which colors have already appeared. Then the active player finishes the refill step of the turn and moves demons if appropriate.
When the fifth trilithon card is revealed, reshuffle the deck and prepare it in a similar manner as during setup. This time, however, make five stacks of exactly five cards before adding the trilithon card, and place the remaining cards on the bottom of the combined stack.
Scoring: Each card played to fend off a demon in a duel scores 1 point for the player.
Each card played to defeat a demon scores 2 points for the respective player. If a single player played cards, that player keeps the demon for the final scoring. Otherwise, it is removed from the game (only possible in a battle at a trilithon or the altar stone).
Whenever a demon is defeated in the Circle of Defense, that area of power is scored. The player who controls most spaces scores as many points as the number of sectors of the area. The player with second most spaces scores half that value. In case of ties, the tied players split the points for their position. If they tie for first place or if the area contains only one sector, there is no scoring for second place. Round fractions up. If a single player controls most spaces, that player also scores 1 point per white disk in the area. Lastly, each player scores 1 point per spirit that they have in the area (this also applies to trilithons and the altar stone).
Record all points by moving the priests along the track of bluestones. If you go past the last bluestone, go back to the start and continue from there. In that case, put one of your spirits (either from your reserve or the board) as a reminder next to any trilithon or the altar stone. If the player loses points and moves the priest back to the previous lap, that spirit is removed.
Ending the Game
The game ends when the last moving demon is defeated or successfully attacks a trilithon or the altar stone. A final scoring takes place. First, each player loses 3 points per demon at their respective trilithons. The single player with most defeated demons scores 3 points. Each wall segment on the board is worth 1 point for the respective players. The player with most points wins. If there is a tie, the winner is the tied player with most spirits on the board.
Gláucio Reis has designed the games Zagorgs and Kingdom of Heroes, but neither has been commercially published so far. That does not prevent him from having several other game design projects in various stages of development.
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