Hello, I have a board game I’m trying to make. I’m only in the rule stage, but I figured before I start making anything tangible I’d see if it was trash or not.
It’s an asymmetric competitive game called Lamplighters. There will be 1-3 thief players against 1 player as the government of a fictional victorian-esque city. Every night the city is beset with fog in varying degrees. Thieves gain actions in foggy areas, while the government is trying to light and patrol the city for you thieves.
Any feedback is welcome!
Here is the full ruleset I have made so far:
1-3 thieves will try to work their way up to rob the palace, while the Government tries to light and patrol the city well enough to last 7 nights without the palace being robbed.
The thing is, Graelor is a foggy city, and every night a certain amount of fog will roll in, which will give thieves easy access to the city. The government has invested in new oil lamps that prove effective in driving back the fog, but they are expensive. Not only that, but the four districts of the city want certain things, and don’t like being disappointed…
One round will consists of 1 day turn and 4 night turns. All players will take actions (if able) each turn.
- This is comprised of 1 turn where all players may effectively go at once, because all actions here are only to prepare for the night
- During the day, the government will collect money from the four districts of the city (peasant, worker, merchant and noble) based on where they stand with those factions (see popularity track), they will then use that money to hire Captains, light lamps and buy equipment for their constables.
- The thieves will sell their loot, and use that to buy equipment, jobs and potentially move to a new district. They may also give up any number of night stages to regain health (eg. If they have 2/3 health going into the night phase, they may skip round 1 to regain that HP. Otherwise each round will have 1 less action for that player)
- This phase is broken up into 4 turns where in each turn the government will move the constables and play 1 action card, then the thieves will take their actions, depending on who retired for the night first last round. (if starting the game, players go clockwise from the government player)
- Based on the Captains hired, they will have a certain amount of unit types to deploy (see Guard Units) They will start by placing these units across the board, not knowing where the thieves are starting.
- The government will then decide on what equipment card it wants to play this round (eg. Lamp poles: each street your constables enter will have 1 lamp lit, unless at max) these cards will last the entire night, but only 1 may be played per turn of the night phase
- They will then move each unit according to their action limit (eg. Constables have 1 action, while thief catchers have 3)
- Every turn of the night phase, thieves have a certain amount of actions they can use based on several factors: Base stats from the player card, amount of fog in a particular sector, certain equipment items, and their health
- For example, If a player starts with a base count of 5 actions, but they also have an equipment card that grants an extra action, then their new base is 6. This is the maximum actions they can take in a turn. Each Lamp lit in the sector they are in reduces their action count by 1 (each sector has a max lamp count. Usually it is 3.)
- If they are wounded at all, this will also reduce their action count by 1 per HP missing.
- Actions are spent on basic things (eg. Movement, robbing a location, putting out lamps) but they can also be spent on using a piece of equipment or ability.
- At the end of the 4 night turns, thieves will want to return to the district they started in. If they do not make it back, they will lose 1 night turn the following round per district they need to travel through to get back. (eg. Moving from an adjacent district to your home district costs 1 night turn)
- The thieves turn order will be determined by who made it back first. If two or more thieves were already in the district they started in when the night ends, their order will not change relative to each other (eg. 2nd turn thief returns home on the 3rd night phase so they start 1st next round, 1st and 4th turn thieves finish the last phase in their home district, so they move to 2nd and 3rd respectively. The 3rd turn thief finishes 1 district away, so they are 4th and miss out on the first night turn)
- There are four factions that make up the city’s geography: Peasant, worker, merchant and noble. The Popularity track shows how much they are willing to pay the government to secure the city, and each require certain things. For example, the merchant district needs a total of 8 lamps and 5 guards in their district at the beginning of the night, and no more than 1 burglary per night. If any of these are not met, the government will fall 1 point in their favour per item not met.
- Peasants: 1 lamp per block, 1 guard per block, no more than 6 Burglaries
- Workers: 6 lamps total, at least 1 per block, 6 guards total, no more than 3 burglaries
- Merchants: 9 lamps total, at least 2 guards per block, no more than 1 burglary
- Noble: streets fully lit at beginning of the night, start with 10 guards total, no less than 6 at any time of the night, no burglaries.
- Popularity with factions can be increased by hiring certain captains, or surpassing their need of lamps and guards by at least 30% (rounded up)
- If you can also keep any burglaries from happening, you may choose between increasing their favour and the faction below them by 1, or increase that district by 1 and remove all theft tokens
- Each time a burglary happens in a particular District, they will gain a token to indicate the theft. Once the maximum has been exceeded, the tokens are reset back to 0 (eg. The Worker district has had 3 burglaries so far in the game. When one more happens, the government will lose 1 favour with them and all the tokens will be removed. Not until the next burglary will a token be added)
- Move: crossing any line costs 1 action
- Swim: crossing river not on boat or bridge costs 3 actions
- Climb: 1 action per story
- Steal: 1 action per difficulty
- Snuff Lamp: 1 action per lamp
- Use Equipment/ability: Usually 1 action, but this can vary
Generic Thief: 3 health, 5 actions, 5 inventory (can be used for equipment or loot), special ability (eg. Can leap over streets for 3 actions)
Equipment is purchased during the day phase. In their turn order, thief players will draw 6 cards and purchase any number of them, putting the rest back on top of the deck.
Sometimes equipment can be found instead of loot.
Most equipment and abilities are able to be used multiple times, but some might be only available a certain amount of times per night, or might be consumed upon play.
- Grappling hook: scale any building for 1 action. No use limit
- Smoke bomb: Travel through area patrolled by guard. No Action cost. 1 use per round
- Leap: Jump across alley or street from one building to another for 1 action. 1 use per night turn
These are available in 3 levels of difficulty, costing 3, 6 and 10 gold respectively to pick up a job in that level. They will indicate on the card where to go to steal something, which story it is located on, which night(s) it will be available, what loot will be there and how many actions it will take to steal. The difficulty level will give you an idea of the difficulty, but this will vary slightly from card to card.
There will also be a picture of the location.
- Reach the docks (1st story) on night 3 or 6. There are two trinkets (1 act each) and 1 heirloom (2 act) available
- Reach the Roost (3rd story) on night 5. There is 1 treasure (4 act) there
Loot (trinkets, heirloom, treasure, artifact)
This is the reward for your thievin’ efforts. Each job will indicate how many of which card you pick up upon success. They will take up inventory spaces sometimes, but items like coins and gems will not.
They can be sold during the day for the amount specified. Sometimes, they must be sold in a particular district to gain it’s full value.
- Trinket: Tarnished silver ring. 0 weight. 8 gold, sold anywhere.
- Heirloom: Fine pocketwatch with gold chain. 0 weight. 14 gold. Sold in Worker district
- Treasure: Ebony cane with Carved gold handle. 1 weight 30 gold. Sold in Merchant district
- Artifact: Ornate Crown. 1 weight. 80 gold. Sold in Merchant district
You will start with a hand of 6-10 captains to choose from. At the beginning of the game, you will choose one to play as and they will become the commissioner of Graelor, staying with you the entire game. Whatever ability they have will activate once per round and whatever constables they provide will be available every round, just like the other Captains. They will also have Equipment slots that will allow you to augment your police force
For every thief that you will be playing against, you may hire that many captains every round. Some will have abilities that activate immediately, and some may have situational abilities. All of them will have an allotment of either constables, officers and/or thief catchers that they can deploy at the beginning of the night.
Generic Captain: 5 constables, 1 thiefcatcher, +1 standing in the working class, +2 constables if all constables stationed in working and peasant districts. 1 equipment slot. Cost: 15 gold
Equipment cards will have a secondary cost to your Captains, and are meant to act as bonuses to help your constables out. Some will be played from the beginning, some are single use cards. You will still be limited to the amount of Equipment slots your Captains have.
- Pistols: if thief ends actions in street adjacent to a constable, that thief takes 1 damage (10 gold)
- Informant: take top five jobs, look at one, then shuffle and place back on top of job deck (7 gold)
- Citizens arrest: play this card to cut 1 thieves actions in half (rounded up) if the district they are in has 4-5 standing with you. (10 gold) 1 use per night
This is a very rough draft of the map. The transparent colours represent the faction zones, and the individual coloured shapes represent areas that you can light. Eg. If you have 3 fog this round, then each section has that much fog and must be individual lit to drive the fog back. So if there are 3 lamps in a zone, then no fog is present, but if there is only 1 lamp, then 2 fog remains.
The light brown zones with yellow dots are streets and lamps respectively. The darkest brown shapes will be places that you can rob. The orange brown lines are alleys. There are two bridges crossing the river, and a wall with two entrances separating the Nobel district from everywhere else.
Brown is Peasant, green is workers, blue is merchant and purple is Nobel.