Almost three months after the first thoughts on this, here’s the final version. Well, Final.V1, at least…
This game is about clearing land of debris, planting trees and other greenery, maintaining the land against bad weather, and introducing wildlife.
This is a solo game, but players could print off individual copies and see who does best.
What do you need?
You need four dice. (The most common, six-sided variety.) If you have another couple of dice then that’s also useful. You also need different coloured pens or crayons: a blue, a green, and a yellow/pink works best.
What’s on the paper?
The bottom half of your sheet of paper is a five-by-five grid. It shows four different types of habitats and wildlife: squirrels and pine trees on the hills, snakes and heather on the moors, lilies and fish in the river, and bullrushes and kingfishers on the banks. Your objective is to colour in as many as possible of these plants and wildlife. There are two plants and two animals/birds/fish (aka the “wildlife”) per square, and you’ll get one point for each full square.
The grid also has numbers next to the columns and rows, and each number is flanked by two little squares. Some of these squares are already filled in with blue. These squares show whether the column/row has been cleared, or whether it is still full of rubbish. If both squares are blue, it’s clear and you can plant in that column/row. Over the course of the game you’ll clear more columns and rows, and so be able to plant in more squares.
Above the grid is a selection panel. This is where you put your dice! It’s covered in the section about how to play below.
On the far left of the selection panel is a box which says “save” and above that four dice symbols. These are your chances to change what the dice say! From top, they are:
- Mirror — change one die to match another die
- Flip — turn one die over completely, so 5 becomes 2, 1 becomes 6, 4 becomes 3
- Re-roll — roll as many dice as you like again
- Plus or minus 1 — add or subtract 1 from the number on one die
You’ll notice that next to these four change symbols are little squares, some of which have been pre-filled blue. The filled in squares mean that you have one of these abilities. Once you have used it, you cross off the square (just scribble over it with black or another colour). The “save” space underneath allows you to fill in the next square, so you can use the ability again. That’ll be covered later.
To the right of the four change symbols are the words “Fire”, “Drought”, “Storms”, and “Flood”, each with five little square. Again, some are pre-filled. These are your protection squares and represent you maintaining the land to protect it against weather damage. Weather happens during the year end phase of the game.
Underneath that is a line saying “clean up resources” and eight squares, with two pre-filled. This is also something which happens at the year end.
In the top right corner there is a calendar showing ten squares. This is how you mark how many turns you’ve taken. Underneath this are the three parts of the year end phase: hunger, weather, and contamination. These will all be covered in the year end explanation after the section on how to play.
How do you play?
There are ten turns. Each turn represents a year. At the end of each turn, there is a year end, in which the game reacts to your actions.
You start your turn by rolling four dice. You then place the dice on one of six options, depending on the score of the dice.
Score 1: “Protect”. This score is a single die with one pip.
Place here to fill in one protection square next to “Fire”, “Drought”, “Storms”, or “Flood”.
Score 2-3: “Clear”. This score could be two dice adding up to 2 or 3, or a single die of either 2 or 3.
Place here to fill in one square next to the column/row numbers on your grid, or one square of the clean up resources.
Score 4-5: “Plant”. This score could be multiple dice totaling 4 or 5, or a single die of either 4 or 5.
Place here to plant. For the plant action, take two dice (this is why it’s good to have some extras handy) and roll. Using those rolls as column and row numbers, colour in one of the two plants in a square. Six is wild, and you may use any of your re-rolls, flips, plus/minus ones, or mirror abilities to get a square you can use. The square you choose must have been cleared, so both column and row must have both little squares filled in.
Score 6-9: “Introduce”. This score could be multiple dice totaling 6, 7, 8, or 9, or a single die of 6.
Place here to colour in one of the wildlife (that’s the squirrels, snakes, fish and kingfishers) outlines. It can be any one, but it must be a single shape, not all the shapes of that type. The individual wildlife outline chosen must be beneath a plant outline which has already been coloured in.
Score 10-12: “Grow” or “Breed”. This score is multiple dice totaling 10, 11, or 12.
Place here to either grow one of the plant types or breed one of the wildlife types. The same rules apply for both growing and breeding — a square with one plant/wildlife outline coloured in becomes both plant/wildlife outlines filled in, while a square which already has both outlines filled in grows/breeds out of the square on to all neighbouring squares of the same type. This means that all same type squares adjacent and diagonal to a completely coloured in square get one of their plants/wildlife coloured in. If the plants or wildlife happen to be spreading from two directions at once, it’s possible for a previously empty square to become completely filled in — one growth/breeding from one side, and one from the other. Outlines can be coloured in even if the column or row has not been cleared.
The sixth option for placing a die is to “save” it. Rather than saving the number, this means you fill in an extra square against one of the dice chances (mirror, flip, re-roll, and plus/minus 1). Essentially, you would be sacrificing a die now in order to change a die later.
Your turn is rolling your dice, placing then on the selection panel, and resolving them from left to right.
What happens at the end of each year?
After your turn then it’s the end of the year. (Remember, there are ten years to the game.) There are three things to check and resolve.
Hunger. Count how many you have of the different wildlife. If there are more snakes than squirrels, fill in one of the little boxes next to that symbol under “hunger”. It will probably help to fill this in with a colour other than blue, probably red, pink, or yellow. If there are more kingfishers than fish, fill in one little square next to that symbol. If there are more squirrels than the number of snakes plus two (ie, there are 5 squirrels and 2 snakes) then fill in that square. If there are more fish than the number of kingfishers plus two, fill in that square. These numbers are later deducted from your score.
Weather. Roll two dice. The action taken depends of the score. (From Year 2 onwards include in your score the number from the calendar.)
- 2-3: Fire. Cross off one filled in square next to “fire”. If there are no filled in squares available, cross off (or colour in with black) one of the heather outlines and one of the snake outlines in the square in the grid which says “fire”. If fire or contamination has already struck that square, follow the arrow to the next square.
- 4-6: Possible drought AND breeding. First, roll one die, and if the number is equal to or less than the number of filled in squares next to “drought”, then do nothing. If it’s greater, then cross off one filled in square next to “drought”. If there are no filled in squares available, cross off (or colour in with black) one of the lily outlines and one of the fish outlines in the square in the grid which says “drought”. If drought or contamination has already struck that square, follow the arrow to the next square. THEN breed all wildlife.
- 7: Perfect weather conditions! Breed all wildlife and grow all plants.
- 8-10: Possible storms AND growing. First, roll one die, and if the number is equal to or less than the number of filled in squares next to “storms”, then do nothing. If it’s greater, then cross off one filled in square next to “storms”. If there are no filled in squares available, cross off (or colour in with black) one of the pine outlines and one of the squirrel outlines in the square in the grid which says “storms”. If storm or contamination has already struck that square, follow the arrow to the next square. THEN grow all plants.
- 11-12: Flood. Cross off one filled in square next to “flood”. If there are no filled in squares available, cross off (or colour in with black) one of the bullrush outlines and one of the kingfisher outlines in the square in the grid which says “flood”. If flood or contamination has already struck that square, follow the arrow to the next square.
One final action on weather. If you rolled 6 or below then write in “+1” in the completed year in the calendar. If you rolled 7, write “0” in the calendar. If you rolled 8 or above, write “-1” in the calendar. Next time you roll for weather, add the previous year’s +/- to your score. However, if you roll 7 on weather, you don’t need to add it. This has the effect of making it slightly easier to roll a 7. Remember that you may also use your extra abilities such as mirroring or flipping dice at any time, including when rolling for the weather.
Filling in the calendar also means that you can remember how many turns you have taken.
The third action at the year end is contamination. (This happens until there are no more rows or columns left to clear.) Simply cross off one of the filled in squares of clean up resources. If there are no more filled in squares (and the grid has not yet been cleared) then one plant and one wildlife outline is crossed off or filled in with black pen. Six of the squares in the grid are marked with small numbers in the lower right corner. Start with the lowest available number where both row and column are still uncleared.
How do you score?
After ten turns, it’s time to score. There are positive points, and negative points.
Positive points are the number of squares on the grid containing:
- Two coloured in plants (not coloured black or crossed out)
- Two coloured in wildlife (not coloured black or crossed out)
Negative points are:
- Plant/wildlife sets which have been crossed out or coloured black (there shouldn’t be any plants crossed out without the corresponding wildlife, and vice versa)
- Squares on the grid which are completely untouched and empty
- Hunger points, which are -1 point for every two filled in squares
Add up the positive points and the negative points, take one away from the other, and see what you’re left with!
- Fewer than 10 points — not good at all
- 10-20 points — success, but could do better
- More than 20 points — well done!