CORE SET 5: Ghouls of Pnath against the Gugs of Koth
Happy Halloween, and welcome to the Fourth Edition of Pocket-Tactics, the modular, 3d-printable strategy board game that goes wherever you do!
This new edition represents years of streamlining, and we're excited to be ready to present this to you. These factions are pulled straight from the pages of H. P. Lovecraft's Dream Cycle stories (specifically The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath). Stay tuned for more sets and pieces, as well as updated rules for all of the previous edition's pieces.
We've set up a Patreon page for anyone who's interested in helping to fund us so we can keep making free and open sourced games like Pocket-Tactics, Wayfarer Tactics. and others, not to mention the growing catalog of gaming miniatures that you can use for whatever you want! (Psst... we take requests and commissions...)
For a standard core set, you'll want to print the following:
Creeping Ghoul x1, Feasting Ghoul x1, Fighting Ghoul x1, Priest of Mordiggian x1, Intrepid Dreamer x1, Charnel God x1, Gug Prisoner x1, Gug Sorcerer x1, Stonework tiles x9, Water tiles x3, Ruins x2, Tower of Koth x1
In addition, each player will need six dice (three red, and three blue).
Inverted-color images of the rules cards are available here, here. and here if you want something a little less ink-intensive.
To begin, each player builds a force by selecting a number of units that total 50 points or less. For a larger game, you and your opponent could agree on a higher point total.
Next, each player chooses 6 tiles and all of the tiles are dropped into a bag and shuffled. Then, players agree (randomly, if you choose) on a “central feature” tile and then each choose a feature for themselves. (features are the 3-dimensional tiles such as Forest, Highlands, Villages, et cetera). Draw a single tile from the bag and place the central feature into that tile. Rolling off to see who goes first, players take turns drawing tiles from the bag and placing them adjacent to one another in whatever configuration they wish. Once all of the tiles have been placed, each player (in turn order decided by the roll-off) places their chosen feature so that it is both as many tiles away from the center and from one another as possible.
Once the map has been generated, players place up to three units of their choice (as many as they can fit) either in or adjacent to their chosen feature using the rolled-off turn order. You may only ever have a single unit occupy a tile or feature. Once this is finished, game play begins starting with the last player to place their units.
PLAYING THE GAME
Each turn, a player may either move one of their units, use one of their units to assault an enemy unit, or deploy a new unit onto the map.
MOVING: When activating a unit to move, they may do so into any unoccupied tile adjacent to them. If an allied unit is in an adjacent tile, the moving unit may “hop” over that unit to get to an open tile adjacent to their ally. A unit may only hop a single ally per move. Some features (Forests, Highlands, Villages, et cetera) have special movement considerations that will be listed on their rules card. Spaces that do not contain a tile may not be moved into.
SWIFT UNITS: Units with this symbol on their rules card may perform a number of bonus moves equal to the numeric value listed to the side when they are activated to move.
FLYING UNITS: Units with this symbol on their rules card may perform a number of bonus moves equal to the numeric value listed to the side when they are activated to move and may hop over enemy units as though they were allies when doing so.
ASSAULTS: When activating a unit to assault an adjacent enemy, each player tests their units Offense (OFF) by rolling their red dice and defense (DEF) by rolling their blue dice. A unit will have between zero and three of each kind of dice as shown on their rules cards. The assault occurs in three phases:
Roll Phase- All dice are rolled simultaneously.
Bump Phase- Some units have “bumps,” a numeric value with a + listed under either their OFF or DEF dice. Starting with the player initiating the assault, each player may take turns using a single bump. Each bump may adjust a single die result (either OFF or DEF) up by its value (though a single die may not go higher than 6). Some units may have multiple bump values listed under their dice or granted by special abilities or terrain effects.
Re-Roll Phase- Starting with the player initiating the assault, each player takes turns using any re-rolls they are afforded, either by special abilities or terrain/unit placement. Each re-roll allows the player to re-roll one of their die results (OFF or DEF). A unit that has adjacent allies is benefiting from “support” and gains one re-roll per ally. A unit also gains a single re-roll when occupying their “favored terrain” (a terrain tile or feature that is shown on their rules card).
Tally Phase- Each player checks their OFF results and checks them against the opponent's DEF results. Starting with the highest OFF die, compare it to the highest enemy DEF die. If the results are a tie, move on to the next highest. If a single OFF die can't be matched or beat by value from the enemy's DEF, that enemy is “defeated” and is removed from the map and placed in the victorious player's captures (a space to the side of the map on that player's side). If the OFF cannot beat the enemy DEF values, that unit is safe. Note that, because all dice are rolled at once, it is possible for both units to defeat one another simultaneously.
RANGED ATTACKS: Units with this symbol on their rules card may make assaults against units that are an extra number of tiles away equal to the numeric value listed to the side. Count through the closest route to get to the target before making a ranged assault. Features and enemy units block line of sight (except when a Flying unit is targeted or is making the assault) and empty spaces (spaces without a tile) always block line of sight. If a unit being assaulted is not capable of meeting the range requirements to the attacker, they may not roll their OFF dice for that assault.
DEPLOYMENT: In place of activating one of your units already on the map, you may choose a unit from your reserves (any of the units you didn't put on the map at the start of the game that haven't been captured by enemies) and place them adjacent to any feature on the map that you control (provided the space is unoccupied). If no such tile exists, you may not deploy a unit until one opens up.
Any player may, in place of performing a regular move action, move a piece into an occupied feature tile to return that unit to reserves. Similarly, a unit that is occupying a feature may move into that feature to return to reserves, though you then cede control of the feature by doing so.
Listed directly beneath a unit's name are a number of “types” (Human, Elf, Robot, et cetera). These types have no effect on their own, though are referenced by certain abilities and terrain effects that may either be beneficial or detrimental to the unit.
Some terrain tiles and features contain hazards. These are special effects that occur when a unit is moved into that tile. Units that are deployed into a tile with hazard effects ignore them, as do units that have that tile type as their favored terrain.
WATER: A unit moving into a Water tile must succeed at a DV 5 DEF test or be defeated immediately after doing so.
If a feature is placed in a terrain tile, the tile counts as that feature rather than the terrain type, and therefore negates any hazard effects native to the terrain type.
A player achieves victory as soon as their opponent (or opponents) cannot activate or deploy any units. Alternately, victory is secured the moment any single player controls all features on the map.