By: Jorge Arroyo
Maps: Player's Choice
The powerful empire has a problem. With all its power it can't seem to capture this one skilled thief that's raiding city after city on one of the farther provinces. With its forces already spread thin to maintain its power, getting rid of this problem is not going to be easy, especially since the population seems to be helping the thief hide and escape.
How much gold will the thief manage to make for their cause before being captured?
In this scenario, decoy blocks are used to hide the tracks of the thief, which has to be careful when raiding cities so he's not caught by Empire units that are nearby. Decoy blocks are useful because the pin enemy blocks (think of the locals making trouble and confusing the troops, making them think the thief should be nearby), and also hide the identity of the thief.
Each player rolls a die, winner chooses a map. Loser chooses sides (Thief or Empire). The thief then chooses a hero from any army. The Empire then chooses another army and selects 10g worth of units and places them in the map as they see fit.
The map should have many cities and as few water hexes as possible, to give the hero more freedom of movement. Also, the more mountains, the easier it will be for the thief…
The Empire player cannot choose mountain units, nor flying units. Also, no heroes, clerics or wizards.
|Note: I'm still playtesting the scenario… experienced players should modify the gold amount if they think it's necessary to make for a fun (not too easy, not too hard) experience. Also, feel free to use two maps and more gold for the Empire player.|
The thief chooses one side of the map. The hero will enter the map on that side. The player places the hero block (thief) plus 3 other units (spread as wide as possible on hexes close to the edge of the map on the chosen side. These 3 units are decoys, used for hidden movement (use blank blocks or any block, but keep in mind they're not real units).
The Empire player has to set up their units on cities, covering as many as they can. Only if there are more units than cities, can they place more than one unit on a single city.
Special Production Phase
The Thief player never gets gold from cities the regular way. Also, the thief player can't spend gold to produce new units.
|Note: I'm thinking of allowing the thief player to purchase extra decoy blocks at 2g or 3g to be placed on their hex. This way safety can be bought at the cost of final score, which adds an interesting decision. In this case, no more than 4 decoy blocks should be allowed on the map at any one time.|
The Empire player only gets gold from unmarked cities (see below). They can't purchase new units with that gold, and can only use it to heal units on the map (defeated units are out of the game).
The "Raid" Phase
Before the production phase of each turn, a new phase is added: "Raid". If after the combat phase, the thief player is on a City hex or on a hex with enemy units, the player may choose to make a raid.
First, the player states whether they'll be raiding the City (if available) or an Empire block (choosing just one if there are more available).
- If the player raids a City, then they automatically get as much gold as the city has stored with a minimum of the city value (if it has less gold than its value). After the raid, the thief player marks the City (each City can only be raided once) and regroups the hero block to any adjacent empty hex (if no empty hex is available, they can move to any adjacent hex).
- If the player raids a block, then they must make a normal attack roll against that block. If successful (at least one hit) then the Empire unit loses one step and the thief player wins as much gold as one step for that unit is worth. Then the thief may regroup to any adjacent empty hex. If the roll fails the thief is forced to retreat by the same hex-side they entered from. If unable to, the thief dies and the game is over.
If the thief player chooses not to make a raid, but the hero block had been revealed on the combat phase, the player may choose to regroup to any empty adjacent hex.
Note that if the block was not revealed, and the player decides not to make a raid, then no regrouping is possible (just as it is not possible with the decoy blocks), but the block remains hidden, and next turn moves normally.
After the special phase, the turn ends normally
Thief's hidden movement
The thief always moves first. Each time the thief moves, the thief player also moves all the decoy blocks on the map (with the same movement rating as the hero block).
Remember, hero blocks can cross mountains and rivers unhindered. In this scenario they can also cross forests even if they don't have the ability.
If the thief moves one of their blocks to an hex with one or more Empire units, they place the block on top of the Empire units. This effectively pins all the enemy blocks on that hex (the troops think they've seen signs of the thief and must stop to search). In the combat phase, In order for the Empire player to be able to reveal the block and attack it (only if it turns out to be the thief), they must roll one die and get a number less or equal than the number of Empire units on the hex.
|Note: I'm thinking that maybe, to make things easier for the thief, the empire should roll one die for each unit on the hex, and reveals the block if they get at least a one|
If the Empire player moves a unit to an hex occupied by one of the thief's blocks, it is revealed at the end of the movement phase (unless the block is on top of an empire block in which case the procedure above is followed). If it is a decoy, then it is removed from the board and nothing else happens (they'll have an increased chance to find the correct block next time). If it is the hero block, then players conduct the combat phase.
Note that the combat phase has some modifications:
- Combat lasts one round.
- If after one round, units of both sides have survived then no unit retreats or regroups (all the units stay on the hex).
- If the thief dies, the game is over.
- If the Empire units are eliminated, then nothing unusual happens.
If during a turn, the hero block is revealed for any reason (and has survived the turn), before starting the next turn, all the decoy blocks are removed from the board. Then, the thief player places as many decoy blocks on the same hex with the thief block as the distance to the closest enemy block (to a maximum of four). Next time the thief moves, the new decoy blocks will be moved normally to hide the tracks again.
Also note that if the hero is on the same hex as an enemy unit, but was not revealed (because the empire player failed the detection roll), the hero player can choose to either remain hidden and take no action, start regular combat vs. the enemy units and/or raid an enemy block or city. If the hero decides to start regular combat, then follow the procedure above (just as if the hero had been detected). If the hero survives, then he can raid a block/city. This may be useful if the hero wants to eliminate a 2 step enemy unit, as it gives 2 attack chances, but with a risk…
The game can end in two ways: When the thief is captured (the hero block is defeated in combat) or when all the cities on the map have been raided. Also a turn limit can be set if desired (and it is recommended if players want to play a short game).
The thief player gets as many points as gold owned (including the value of the Hero block if the thief survived).
After one game is played, the players should switch sides (using the same armies, hero and map) and play a second game. The player that earns more points when playing the thief, wins.
This scenario is being playtested right now (we've played 3-4 times) and rules are being revised and modifyed as we test it. Any feedback is welcomed.
I like the fact that the thief has to think well when and where to raid (and reveal their identity) because how they do it will determine how well they'll hide next turn. It's not easy to raid far enough from the enemy units so that the thief can hide batter next turn, and most times, he'll be getting just one decoy block or two..
A number of variants would be possible like for example, giving the thief some gold at the beginning to purchase some extra blocks. Those blocks would behave normally, and would serve as distraction/defense for the thief. It would change the scenario a lot, but it might be interesting. Also, if the thief is having a hard time, maybe they could get one artifact (the opponent would get the same artifact when it's their turn to play the thief). The artifact would be left outside the table so the hidden movement system doesn't break, but then could be used in combat normally. At the end of the game, the value of the starting artifact would be deducted from the score…
Feel free to post suggestions/comments and feedback if you try it.