This game came to me in a dream about a month ago. Since then, the members of Trollhalla and I have played it 4 times, improving it with each iteration. Today I’m starting the 5th playtest, and it’s getting pretty complicated.
I thought it might be fun to put the rules online and open it up to wider commentary. I’m also going to put the press that I got for game 4 online here. But first, let’s put up a troll to show people whose game this really is–a trollhalla game for trollhallans with trollhallans by trollhallans.
copyright 2013 by Ken St. Andre, all rights reserved (All earlier versions of the rules are also copyrighted by Ken St. Andre for 2013.)
Please read carefully as some of the rules have changed. The rob order has changed into a plunder order and is processed differently.
Introduction: You play the leader of an ethnic group striving for local dominance. There is only one win condition–a combined total score of 20 or greater. Multiple winners are possible.
Power comes from victory in combat, or from Wealth. Every 2 Wealth points generates 1 Power point. Having money allows you to hire mercenaries to help defend yourself or attack others.
Wealth comes from working or from victory in combat. One turn of Working generates 2 points of Wealth. Either attacking a worker successfully generates 1 Wealth (you stole it), or defending a worker successfully generates 1 Wealth (you were paid for your defense).
Happiness comes from partying and from winning fights. A party generates 2 points of Happiness if not attacked, 4 points if attacked and successfully defended–3 of those points go to the Partier and one to the Defender. Attacking and beating a defender generates 1 point of Happiness, as does defending against an attack successfully.
Possible orders are: Attack, Defend, Work, Party, Plunder, Hire, and Fortify
Plunder rules: Plunder attempts happen first. A player who attempts to plunder another player has a secret attack of Power vs. Power against the player who has the greatest wealth in the game. No dice are rolled. In the event (highly likely) that more than one target has the same amount of wealth, the plundering player goes after the one with the least amount of Power. If it is still a tie, the target is chosen randomly from all possible targets. Plundering bypasses forts and is not technically an attack. Plunder is a high risk order. Power cancels Power and all Wealth goes to the victor in the struggle. A successful Plunder attempt also generates 1 Happiness for the victor and subtracts 1 Happiness from the loser.
Hire rules: Hiring is a way to spend Wealth to generate Power. The order takes the form of the word Hire followed by a number–the number being the amount of Wealth that the player wishes to spend. Each point of Wealth spent in this fashion generates 2 points of Power and is used up completely. For example: Brrrennt has 2 Power and 4 Wealth at the beginning of his turn. He turns in an order of Hire 2. He loses 2 points of Wealth and goes to 6 Power and 2 Wealth. If on the following turn Brrrennt chose to work and was not attacked, he would gain 2 points of Wealth and 1 point of Power (from that Wealth) bringing his total points to 7 Power and 4 Wealth. All hiring takes place after all Plunder attempts have been resolved.
Attack rules: Attacks go first against Partiers, then Workers, then Fortifiers, then other Attackers.
A successful attack vs. a Partier gains 1 point of Power and 1 point of Happiness.
A successful attack vs. a Worker gains 1 point of Power and 1 point of Wealth.
A successful attack vs. a Fortifier gains 1 point of Power, and it destroys the Fortifications being built that turn.
Attacks must overcome and nullify any forts the target owns before they can succeed. 1 point of Power cancels 1 point of Fortifications.
A successful attack vs. another Attacker gains 1 point of Power.
Any successful attack involving a battle against a defender also gains 1 point of Happiness.
A tie score is considered a loss for both fighters but a successful turn for the target of the attack.
Defense rules: Defenses go first to Partiers, second to Workers, third to Fortifiers. Defenders do not defend other Attackers, and will never be attacked directly.
A successful defense of a Partier gains 1 point of Power and 2 points of Happiness.
A successful defense of a Worker gains 1 point of Power and 1 point of Wealth and 1 point of Happiness.
A successful defense of a Fortifier gains 1 point of Power and 1 point of Happiness.
When a defender is defeated, his client loses, and he loses 1 point of Power.
Defenders get to use their own Power plus the Power of their clients as part of the Defense roll (whether that Power is positive or negative).
Workers gain 2 points of Wealth for each turn of Working.
If workers are attacked and not defended, they lose the 2 points of Wealth that they would have gained on that turn, but do not lose any stored Wealth.
If workers are attacked and successfully defended they gain 1 point of Wealth and give 1 point to the Defender.
Fortifying is a form of working. A successful Fortify turn gains 1 point of fortifications and 1 point of Wealth. An unsuccessful fortification turn gains no fortifications and loses 1 point of Happiness.
Each 2 points of Wealth accumulated gives 1 point of Power. This power generation only happens once per 2 points of Wealth.
Parties cost 1 point of Wealth to pay for them. That 1 point of Wealth goes away.
Parties generate 2 points of Happiness if not attacked–like that will ever happen.
Parties generate 3 points of Happiness for the Partier and 2 points of Happiness for the Defender on a successful defense.
Parties generate 1 point of Happiness for the Attacker only on a successful Attack.
A party that is not defended will lose 1 point of Happiness, even if that causes Happiness to go negative.
Combat: The attacker rolls 1D-ken (7-12) and adds his/her own Power rating to the attack to get a combat total. The Defender rolls 1D-ken and adds his/her own Power and the Power rating of the target of the attack. High combat total wins. In the event of a tie, it is considered a loss for both combatants, but the target of the attack has a successful turn.
Fortifications must be destroyed before a player can be attacked. It costs 1 point of Power to destroy 1 Point of Forts. Example: Tzhett with 0 points of Power attacks Corencio who has 1 fort. The attack fails. Corencio does not need a defender; his fort defeated the attack attempt. Tzhett loses 1 point of Power for an unsuccesful attack; Corencio gains whatever benefit he was attempting to gain that turn. Example, Khenn with Power of 3 attacks G’noll with Power of 2, Forts of 2, who is Fortifying this turn. First Khenn’s Power is compared to G’noll’s Forts. It is greater, so the Forts are destroyed, but Khenn’s Power is used up in doing so. After the Forts are destroyed we have Khenn with Power of 1 attacking G’noll with Power of 2 who is fortifying. If G’noll has a defender there is a battle. If not, then Khenn gains 1 point of Power for looting G’noll and stopping the fortification. G’noll loses 1 point of Happiness because he was thwarted. If G’noll has a defender and is victorious, then the defender gains 1 point of Power and 1 point of Happiness. G’noll gets 1 points of Fortifications and 1 point of Wealth. Forts can be both lost and gained on the same turn–lost at the beginning, and gained at the end.
Example: Rrrakk who has 2 points of Power goes up against Freeend who has 3 points of Forts. Rrrakk loses 2 points of Power. Freeend loses 2 points of
Forts. Freeend still has 1 point of Forts left that Rrrakk cannot get through. There is no attack and no battle. Whatever Freeend was doing that turn (Partying, Working, or Fortifying) is successful.
Example: Cromarr who has 2 points of Power goes up against Grishnak who has 2 points of forts. The Power and the forts cancel and go away. Cromarr then attacks Grishnak. If Grishnak has a defender there is a battle. If Grishnak does not have a defender, then Cromarr automatically wins the fight. This is considered to be an attack, but not a battle worthy of gaining Happiness if there is no defender to be overcome.
Standing Orders are not allowed. If you can’t send me an email with a 1 word order in it when you get my email, then this is not a game for you.
If you have any questions, ask me. To participate in Dominance 5, send in your first turn. Remember to always sign with your trollish name. Unsigned orders will be ignored. All moves are due before 9 a.m. Arizona time on the following day. All orders need to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New rule: no player may give the same order more than 3 times in a row.
Minions get stale if they are told to do the same thing all the time and lose efficiency. Failure to follow this rule will convert the illegal order into a Work order, or if it is a Work order, will convert it into a Fortify order.
New option: players are encouraged to send press–i.e. comments on the last turn, current turn, or future plans. Please limit it to a single paragraph of 100 words or less. Press will help entertain the other players and garner tvp awards for those who write it.
Dominance 5 is now open. You enter the game by sending your one word order to me in email.
Players: you cannot choose your targets to attack or defend. Targets are chosen by the sequence of orders received. The last person to get a Party order in is the first partier to be attacked by the first person to declare an attack. The last person to get a Work order in is the first to be attacked when the Work attacks start, and so on up the list in reverse sequence. The last person to get a Fortify order in is the first to be attacked in that group. The first person to declare an Attack or a Defense is the first person to attack or defend in any given situation. No player participates in more than 1 combat per turn.
I am looking for art for the game. We need pix of trolls attacking, defending, working, partying, robbing, or fortifying.
H’aaarrrggghhh! Get those turns in if you want to try the playtest for Dominance 5.
My thanks to Taran Dracon for the idea of the Hire order. My thanks to all our playtesters for helping evolve the game.
Dominance Report v4.1
Meet the Skulltossers, led by Mhegrrrim.
Wild untamed lands lay before the meager troll community, Skulltossers. Our tribe is named for our favorite sport. Three of our smallest venture forth exploring this new region. Our oldest and wisest begin to dig in. We will call home, the Digs. Here we watch the night skies and praise our oldest ancestors, the star givers. From here we explore our lands.
The People of Tzhett
CREEK – Descendants of early mound builders, they consider themselves the only natives of this region, and all others to be invaders/explorers from unknown lands. The region is best described as a collection of moderately-sized native chiefdoms, cooperating under “Big Chief” for mutual protection. Hunter-gatherers, they have in the past four generations developed as skilled farmers and weapons makers. Despite their distrust of the invaders, they have learned tech (esp metallurgy) and magic from them.
Early contact with the Invaders have become legendary with retelling, and the city-state, while as well developed as any, retains its undercurrent of paranoid belligerence.
The Despotic Inland Cohort of Khagh, known as DICK to the unwise, assures its neighbours that the tactical manouevres of its forces resulting in the unleashing of military might in the presence of non-aligned political unions is merely educational in purpose – ATTACK!
The Despotic Inland Cohort of Khagh is a group of about 300 ethnically cleansable throwbacks to a time when men were men but only just. The military forces largely consist of trollettes armed with weighty cylindrical clubs known as rolling pins who wear food-smeared aprons taking a large number of hits (the smeared food is normally of human origin).
Leaders gather after sun down and roll dice to decide where the Cohort will go next and what they will do. The elders, all of whom are drooling, gibbering seers, possess sacred loaded dice, weighted with bias towards 1s and 2s.
The Khaghists are known to throw good parties but only when they can get credit. They spend much of the day wishing they had the ability to enslave others, as they are work-shy and not very good at robbing.
They carry with them two small rocks, said to be all that remains of the eponymous Khagh.
Tmuwo’s Town of T’ubst, home of the mighty forest trolls, is in need of fine goods, fine wenches, and fine spirits. Woe to any who should attempt to get in our raiding party’s way! (Ascii art does not copy and paste well, so you don’t get to see the illo Tmuwo put in with his message.)
Dominance Report v4.2
Vhennrronnn reports that The nymphs of the forest are tired of being carried off by Trolls and are building forts for protection.
Pleased with the success of their aggressive venture and enjoying the sound of rolling pins cracking down hard on crania, the Despotic Inland Cohort attacks again, this time attempting to stuff the two little sacred relics of Khagh up the nostrils of the enemy chieftain.
Quick report from Choark – Leader of the Strawfairy Kingdom.
“Butterkiss reports that the operation Cheeky Pinch had a sunshiney smile end but lacked any fun lumps and bumbs as no team came to oppose them in a fun game of gutsey outey. Instead of returning back to the land, Butterkiss has started operation Forehead Slappy, in a hope to find other people to play with and simply sent a small team with the coins back home. We wish them all love and kisses.”
Press release: Taran is the chief of a cave dwelling of orcs, orclings, orc wives, and only very few elf maiden wench love slaves. Only a few, not really many at all, ok, maybe a dozen or so, probably more like 2 dozen, and those are only the ones we know about. There are depths of the caverns which could be literally crawling with naked elf maidens, but really it isn’t anything to worry about, they willingly live there because of the pure awesomeness and well endowed nature of the orc chief, Taran Dracon, the ORC.
The dismal and swampy realm of Drreww will fortify again this round
Dominance Report 4.3
Mhegrrrim said: Someone ate our last messengers sent into the wilds. Sad day. Elders push us deeper underground. We will morn our losses and fill our bellies next.
Khaghbbooomm said: Retrieving the sacred relics from their temporary abode in Dhonn’s nostrils, the Despotic Inland Cohort took the auspices – small traces of mucus on the relics – and felt it was time to party once more. Fairy cakes were baked and tinsel festooned from every available hanging place. Invitations to friends would have been sent but the Cohort had neglected to make any friends.
Drrew said: The swampy realm of Drreww will rebuild it’s forts! This turn we’re fortifying again.
Dominance Report 4.4
Vhennrronnn said: The Woodland Nymphs, feeling safe with their fancy fortifications, decide to work for a better future.
Trrebmahl said: It’s looking like a bad year for the Trrebmahlians. Trrebmahl fortifies this turn.
The Creeks, having Fortifried twiceness, wonder why they still have only one point of wallness. “IT IZ BAD TRIKK!!” whispered Tzhett’s peepL at the top of their lunch. ATTAKKK”
So we Attack.
—–Tzhett, the wonder troll
Tmuwo said: Twice defeated in battle, the forest trolls have decided to retreat to T’ubst and raise their spirits by throwing a big festival celebration. All in Trollword are invited to join in the fun.
Khaghbbooomm said: Pleased with the fighting at their party, the Cohort throw another, this time hiring witches on broomsticks to advertise it with lurid sky-writing. The price of admission is simply coming dressed as Michael Jackson on rollerskates and bringing a snerg tucked under each arm to snack on.
Drreww said: The dismal and swampy realm of Drreww will be working hard this turn – it’s that time of year when the the Bog-bloaties need to be harvested and smoked.
Grishnak said: Grishnak has Wealth and Happiness. It is time to Party!
Mhegrrrim said: we send out gatherers to pick up crunchy things. Yum! Yum! Time to eat something good. Elders say, “Get lots of colors. More nutritious.”
Dominance Report 4.5.
“The trebmahlians look at the wealth and power around them with mounting despair. Time for a desperate move. Time to rob. With luck, they can get for free what others have worked hard for.”
Kelson, leader of a vicious group of human brigands and magic users who are troll friends of the Fell Marshes, decides to rob the first settlement he can encounter.
Mhegrrrim said: Youngest troll, Rrrrokkk excitedly reports on lurid witches doing stuff in the sky. Elders sing songs of rock crushing in deep thought.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch-flavored Creek village-state, Tzhettverlord’s people lament the rudeness of the goddesses and surrender to Fate.
“Eat, drink, and see Mary, for tomorrow we diet! ” they sing, awaiting the inevitable.”All is predestined, all responsibility is removed” chant the priestcraft. “Pass the roast beast!”
–Tzhett the dancing bore.
Spurred on by the success of their festival, the forest trolls of T’ubst have been inspired by the songs from the festival’s playlist. It is now time to “Raise the Roof,” and put “Another Brick in the Wall” of Tmuwo’s new “Brick House.”
Grishnak is very happy. Time to build to protect happiness. Grishnak put
all the little Grishes to work building a fort.
Khagh said: The Despotics hated that lousy party – no snergs meant they became so hungry they stomped about turning rock to mud until they were so wound up they just had to take it out on someone they took to be smaller and weaker than themselves, hoping to identify some points of difference they could then use to justify their agression.
Things are really dismal in the swampy realm of Drreww. Our forts are all gone, so are our Bog-bloaties. Frankly, we’ve had enough. It’s time to go and rob someone.