D. Talks On Games

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My Un-Authorized Expansion of The Ankh Morkpork Boardgame.

I'm a big fan of the Ankh Morpork Boardgame. It has a lot going for it: combos, semi-predictable random events, secret goals. Like I said, I'm a fan. It does however have a major flaw from my perspective. The cards in the game are mostlly characters from the Discworld Novels (and a few locations) but they are missing my favorite ones! Out of all the characters in the Discworld I like the witches the best and there aren't any in the game. 


This immediately had me asking why, and the reason actually makes pretty good sense. The game is based around characters who spend most of their time in the City of Ankh Morpork and are basically locals. The witches are all to some degree foreigners, as are pretty much all the characters missing from the game. Thinking about it I realized that even though there are over 100 cards in the game you could easily add that many cards just from the Discworld characters that weren't included. Another small flaw in the game is that it only works with 2-4 players. How to fix this? 

Expansion!


If I added a second board representing the map of the whole disc and more cards and events the game could be expanded out to cover 2-8 players and include the missing characters (and the witches!)


For now these notes are just a mental playground, but I may print up a test copy for personal use at some point. I may send this off to treefrog games at some point once things are more finalized.


Note: What follows won't make a lot of sense if you haven't played the game or at least read the rules.  If you are new to the game you can check out the publishers websites here: Tree Frog Games: Ankh Morpork  The rules show up lower down on that page.


A) The Map


Discworld Map


As you can see from the map there are a lot of countries. Far too many to include. I decided to only focus on countries that play a part in the novels. That actually works out to be a pretty good list of 13 places (1 more than the locations in the board game which actually allows for an interesting mechanic). On the board they'd have to be connected by dotted lines or something similar.


Here are the Locations and the benefits from having a building (embassy) on them. Each of the countries would have a number of neutral minions representing local interests and armies. 



Locations : 

1 -Djelibeybi => 1 Neutral Minion. 6 Cost. Once per turn Spend 2 money and draw the bottom card of the discard pile.  

(This space is adjacent to klatch, and ephebe)

2 - Klatch => 3 Neutral Minions, Add a minion on or adjacent to klatch.

(This space is adjacent to Krull, Djelibeybi, omnia, ephebe and Ankh morpork except when Leshp is on the map)

3 - Omnia => 2 Neutral Minions, 12 Cost, Spend 3 Dollars to add a minion next to a minion you already have but not on a spot where you already have a minion.

(This space is next to Klatch, Ephebe, Ankh Morpork and the Sto Plains)

4 - Borogravia => 2 Neutral Minion, 6 Cost, Spend 3 Money. Start a war in borogravia or in any adjacent space. 

(this space is next to the sto plains uberwald and genua)

5 - Uberwald => 3 Neutral Minions, 12 Cost, Remove a Minion from Uberwald. The affected player may give you 2 dollars to prevent the loss. 

(This space is next to Lamedos, genua, borogravia, the sto plains, and XXXX)

6 - Genua => 2 Neutral Minion, 12 Cost, Produce 2 Dollars once per turn.

(This space is next to borogravia, uberwald, krull and XXXX)

7 - Ephebe =>  1 Neutral Minion, 12 Cost. All players may draw a card, if they do they must give you 1 dollar.

(This space is adjacent to Omnia, Ephebe, ankh morpork and Klatch)

8 - Llamedos (Octarine Plains Region) => 1 Neutral Minion, 6 Cost, Produce 1 Money Per turn

(This space is next to the sto plains, The Agatean Empire, Uberwald and Krull)

9 - Sto Plains => 2 Neutral Minion, 12 cost, Produce 2 MOney.

(This space is next to ankh morpork, omnia, llamedos, lancre and borogravia)

10 - The Agatean Empire => 5 Neutral Minions, 18 Cost, Produce 5 dollars a turn. 

(This space is next to krull, xxxx and Llamedos)

11 - Krull => 1 Neutral Minion, 6 Cost, Whenever a Player discards a card you may spend 2 dollars to Retrieve it.

(this space is adjacent to klatch, the agatean empire, xxxx, llamedos and genua)

12 - XXXX => 1 Neutral Minions , 18 Cost, Once per turn, spend 5 Dollars and return a card you just played to your hand.

(This space is adjacent to krull, the agatean empire and genua) 

0 - Lancre => 1 Neutral Minion, 6 Money, Spend 3 Money to Draw a Magic Event. Pieces in Lancre are not effected. Lancre doesn't have a number on the dice.

(This space is adjacent to sto plains, llamedos and uberwald) 

0 - Leshp => 0 Neutral minions: Cost 6 Dollars. On your turn, if there is no trouble on Leshp, you can add a trouble to Leshp.  (This building is lost if leshp disappears).
Note:: For map purposes all river neighborhoods of Ankh Morpork are connected to Klatch (except when Leshp is on the board in which case they are next to Leshp), Ephebe and Omnia. All neighborhoods with a gate on the outside wall are connected to the Sto Plains.



B) New Mechanics:


1) Headology:


After playing the original game quite a few times I think that the weakest mechanic is the "Shield" which removes trouble. With the notable exception of Sergeant Angua almost all the cards that use it are pretty weak. The three main uses of the shield are: 


- Open a neighborhood for building. (Which usually helps someone else build there, with the notable exception of Sgt Angua).

- Protect minions in an area from assassins (less useful than it sounds. There's usually another good target.)

- Prevent a Dragon King of Arms victory. (Vital when it comes up, but you'd rather assassinate and the conditions are relatively rare on a given turn.)


 I admit that the game partly thrives on the idea of some cards being notably better than others (for instance it is fun to pass a weak card to an opponent or cycle bad cards out of your had.) That said, I wasn't looking forward to adding a bunch more cards with a mechanic I don't love and the witches especially suggest the need for a new symbol. 


Thus:


 Headology (a little witches hat symbol):  In a spot where you have a minion you may add a trouble marker, remove one or move a trouble marker to an adjacent spot that doesn't have one.


This clearly needs playtesting, but I like the added strategy and it fits the flavor of headology pretty well.


2) Battle

The Next mechanic comes from the worldwide flavor of the expansion and the plots of a number of the more international Discworld novels. For someone as anti-war as Sir Pterry seems to be, there are a lot of battles and the threat of battles in the Discworld.


Battle (Symbol is a two sided battle axe): Choose a country or neighborhood where you have a minion and there is trouble marker. Remove another players minion from the board. Then going in clockwise order each other player with a minion there can choose a minion to remove from the board. If a players last minion on that spot has been removed they do not get to remove a minon. After all players have gone, if there are any non-player minions 1 minion will be removed from the player with the most minions. (Or if there is a tie the minion will be removed from the player who played the battle symbol. If that player has already lost their  last minion in this spot they may choose who loses the minion).  The player who played the battle symbol may then repeat this process if they still have a minion. If they choose not to repeat the process and there are still minions belonging to other players on the space, add a trouble marker to this space.


Things I like about this mechanic (even though its a bit long winded): You do have some advantage, but especially when there are multiple players vying for the same spot you could end up greatly regretting making this move. Second, it allows for removing a lot of minions at once in a somewhat democratic way.  For just a moment an alliance of players can form to take on someone who is in the lead.  Finally, a troublemaker who has no way to come out on top can still unleash chaos on a spot where there is a buildup of minions. As Sir Pterry says, "If you seek war, prepare for war."  Fun!


For Reference: All buildings in countries outside Ankh Morpork are "Embassies".


Optional Rules Needing Playtest: I when you have control of a country you may also use the power provided by the building. (Problem: should a person who has both get to do the power twice? That seems off). Alternatively, when you have control of a country you get the power of the embassy instead of the person who controls the building. (Don't love this either).



C) New Events: (Triggered by Magic Symbol on Cards): 


Leshp: Add Leshp to the board between Ankh Morpork and Klatch. They are no longer adjacent.  All players may choose to place a minion on Leshp. (Add a trouble marker if there are more than 1) Every turn roll a dice. If the roll is an 8 Leshp Disappears and all minions on Leshp must be moved to Klatch or Ankmorpork.


Koom Valley: All players, starting with the player who played the magic symbol, may move a minion of their choice from anywhere on the board to Uberwald. Add 2 locals. Then Start a battle (with the player who played the magic symbol going first).


Hogfather: All players may draw a card. The player/s with the most money draws another card.


Embassy Attack: Roll a dice to select a country. Remove an embassy from that spot. The player who lost the embassy may choose to start a battle.


Fairies: Roll a dice for a country. Add a fairy to that country. At the beginning of every turn if there is a fairy in the country roll a dice.  If the roll is 8 or higher add a fairy to the country. If there are 4 fairies in a country then on a roll or 8 or higher instead add a fairy to all adjacent countries.  Each of these countries starts to roll at the beginning of each turn. 

(Alternative to playtest: every time there is a magic symbol. More controllable/ more interesting. Less book keeping)


Holy Wood: Roll the die to choose a country. Add a demon to that country and all countries adjacent to it.


Fairy Godmother: Roll the dice twice to choose countries. (Reroll doubles).  Swap all minions, buildings and trouble markers between the two locations. This does swap control of embassies.


Music with Rocks In! : Roll for a Neighborhood (Alternative for playtest: or country. Your choice?) All players may move as many minions as they like from adjacent neighborhoods (or countries) to that country or neighborhood. 


Sourceror: From now on during this game every magic symbol is doubled.


Major Time warp: Roll a dice. Add a time warp token to the country. That country is no longer accessible. Minions and trouble markers cannot be added or removed. Embassy powers are not usable. At the beginning of every turn roll a dice. On an 8 the time warp token is removed. The country still counts for victory conditions.


Revolution: Roll a dice. All players remove 1 minion in this country. The Player with the embassy loses the embassy. 


Foot the Ball: Each player starting with you may start a battle in a neighborhood of Ankh Morpork that has a trouble marker. 


Prewar Buildup: Roll the die to choose a country. Double the number of Locals in that spot. If there are no locals add 1. 


D) New Personalities:

The major goal here is to add personalities who have to interact with the expansion map to do well. The new personalities should only be played in a 5-8 player game. 


Lady Margolotta: Instead of taking a turn you may reveal your personality and spend 10 dollars to end the game and have everyone count points. 
Notes: Plays somewhat like Chrysophase in that she likes income producing buildings, but also likes minions for their point value. Nice and subtle.

Prince Heinrich: You control countries equal to x minus 2 where x is the number of spaces a lord needs to control. 
Notes: Seems fair considering countries are so much harder to take than neighborhood spaces. Not very subtle, but a nice variant on Lords. 
(Needs Playtesting: Might be too easy in 8 player?)

Deacon Vorbis: You have minions in x -2 places where either you or no-one controls the space. (X = how many Vetinari needs). 
Notes: This seems nice and sneaky while still looking a bit lordly. Fits the theme of head of a Major Religion. Also, adds one more player that plays like Vetinari. 

Lilith Weatherwax: You control a country, have an embassy there and none of the spaces where you have minions or buildings have a trouble marker. 
Notes: Polar opposite of Dragon King. Want's to divest herself of most of her starting pieces and run away from Ankh Morpork. Encourages players to avoid a zero trouble board or letting players go rule faraway places without interference. Thematically can be nicely countered by Witches.  Again, this one might be too easy? Need to test.


Also, necessary are edits to the Lords and the Patrician (Lord Vetinari): In an expansion game the goal for lords and Vetinari will correspond to 5 and 6 players is the same as 2, 7 Players is the same as 3 and 8 Players is the same at 4.  Countries count the same as neighborhoods for Lords, Vetinari and Dragon King of Arms.


E) New Cards: 

To properly expand the game while getting the play time right we will need to double the 101 cards in the original game. This might make things tougher for Vimes? Also, all expansion cards (including events and personalities) will need a little symbol at the bottom to make them easy to separate from the original decks (since they will be mixed in. )