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Subject: Very long and detailed explanation of the game rss

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Paul Grogan
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As promised a while back, I said I would give more information about this game, following a number of demos. The prototype versions of the game have now been played at various places in the UK, Europe and America, so quite a few people have played this already. There are still some final tweaks being made, but most of what is listed here is probably how it will be.

Dungeon Petz is not an expansion to Dungeon Lords - it also isnt a sequel as such. It is a very different game set in the same universe.
The game is for 2-4 players. There are 2 main game boards, each of which will be 2-sided. One side is used with 2-3 players - this game has 6 rounds. The other side of the board is for 4 players and the game lasts 5 rounds. The rest of these rules describe a 4 player game.

In addition, each player has 2 of their own player boards. One of them has space for 4 cages, the other has the space to place the players imps, gold, meat, veg and magic items. Each player also has a player screen which is used in the secret bidding round.
Each player has 10 imps of their own colour - 6 of which start in the players own supply, 4 of them are placed in the relevant sections of one of the central game boards.

Each round contains 6 phases. These are as follows:

1. Setup
2. Bidding and Imp Placement
3. Drawing and Playing cards
4. Caring of Pets and Contest
5. Buyers, Discard cards and use spare imps
6. Clean-up


The phases in more detail

Phase 1.Setup.

Fill the central game board so that there are 3 cages, 2 cage upgrades, a number of petz, magic items, and various amounts of meat and veg. The players also get either 1 or 2 gold.

Phase 2. Bidding and Imp Placement.

Each player uses their screen to cover up their player board and then uses their imps and gold to place up to 6 bids. Each bid has to contain at least 1 imp but may also include any number of gold. Imps and gold both count for the same, so a bid of 2 imps and 3 gold is actually a bid of 5.
You do not have to use all of your imps or gold, but it is often best to place all of your imps, since when you win a bid, you may choose to not place the imps and just put them back in your supply.
Once all players have bid, the screens are revealed. The next part of the game is the worker placement part of the game. On the main board, there are various areas where you can place your Imps to do certain things. The order in which people place their imps onto the board is decided by the bids. First of all, look at which player placed the single highest bid. They get to place first (using the imps that they bid with). If more than one player bid the highest, bid order is determined by start player having priority and then going clockwise. Once all bids of that amount have been placed, look at the next highest bid and repeat.

So, for example, in a 4 player game, here are the secret bids the players make. For the purposes of this example, I have just included the total value of the bid and not listed the breakdown of imps / gold. Green is the start player

Green: 5,3,3,1
Red: 4,4,3,2,2,1
Blue: 5,2,2
Yellow: 3,3,3,2
The highest bid is 5, so green plays first with his bid of 5, then Blue with his bid of 5. The next bid is 4, which is only Red, so Red places his bid of 4. Then, because nobody else has a bid of 4, Red places his second bid of 4. Then, onto the bids of 3. Green plays first, then Red, then Yellow. Then back to Green, followed by Yellow and Yellow again. The bids of 2 are processed as follows: Red, Blue, Yellow, Red, Blue. And finally the bids of 1: Green, Red.
Each time you win a bid, you use the imps that were part of that bid to place onto the board OR you may choose not to place them and just move them back into your supply.
When placing your bid onto the board, you take that action immediately.

The areas on the board are as follows:
Cages: There are 2 spaces where you may take a cage. So, whilst 3 cages are on display, only 2 may be taken per turn. A bid to take a cage must include at least 2 imps (since cages are heavy)
Cage Upgrades: There are 2 upgrades on display, but only 1 space. Place a bid on this space and choose one of the available upgrades.
Petz: At the start of the game, there are 3 Petz which are ‘size 2’ and one older pet (size 3). There are actually 3 spaces for size 2 petz, and 3 spaces for size 3 petz. However, there are only 2 places for bids on the smaller petz and 1 space on the large pet. This means that only 3 petz can be bought each turn. A bid to take a pet must include at least 1 gold coin.
Food: There are 3 spaces to take food. One of them is just meat, one is just veg, the other is a bit of both. Place your bid on your chosen space to take that amount of food.
Magic Items: 2 items enter the game each turn, but there is only 1 space to place a bid. However, that placement gets you BOTH magic items.
Contest Judge: If you place your bid here, you have bribed the person who is judging the contest for that turn, giving you an advantage.
Recruit Imps: If you place your bid here, you get more Imps. Remember at the start of the game, you start with 6 imps, and your other 4 are placed on the central board – well, this is how you get them. How many you get depends on how far you are through the game. If you go there on round 1, you will only get 1 new imp. If you go there on round 2, you will get 2 new imps.
Hospital & Alchemist. This is 2 spaces in one. If you go there, you may take one of your injured imps back from the hospital and also take a sleeping potion from the alchemist.
Advertising Stand. This is a special space, and the most complex to explain, so I always leave it until the end. The main difference is that unlike all the other spaces, any imps that you place here are stuck here and are not returned to your supply at the end of the round. Whilst here, they are doing ‘marketing’, putting up posters and flyers around town telling people how great you are. In future turns, when you sell a pet to a buyer, you may remove an imp from this area to get more VP for it.
Like most worker placement games, once one player has gone on a space, nobody else may go there in the same round.

Phase 3. Drawing and playing cards

At the start of this phase, everything you bought in that turn is placed onto your board. You may also move everything around at this point, you may move petz between cages, swap upgrades around, etc.
Then comes the drawing of cards. This is the part of the game I really like as to me, it is a new mechanic which works extremely well. But before I go on, I need to explain how the cards work.
If you look at the pictures of the petz, you will see a series of coloured boxes. The amount of boxes showing is the size of the pet, and at the end of each round, they grow. The colours on the boxes show what cards need to be played on that pet each round. There are cards of 4 main colours (Red, Green, Purple and Yellow) but there are also White cards (the sleeping potions).
The card indicates what the pet needs for that turn. However, it is not the colour of the card that indicates what the pet needs, but the symbol on the card. Look at the middle section on the player screen. This shows a complete breakdown of all the cards in the game and how many of each type of symbol are on what colour of cards.
Half of the green cards in the game have a bowl symbol on. This bowl means the pet is hungry and needs to eat. Half of the red cards in the game have a growl symbol on; this means the pet is angry and tries to break out of his cage.
So – if you have a pet which is made up of red and green colours, you know that he is probably going to get hungry and angry a lot. However, there are other symbols on the cards which means different things.
Take a look at Yellow cards. Only 2 yellow cards have the bowl symbol on. Now look at the purple cards – none of them have the bowl symbol on. So, if you have a pet purely with yellow and purple boxes on, there is actually a fairly small chance that he’s going to get hungry at all during the game.
At the start of the game, each player starts with 1 card of each colour (not white). Then, in Phase 3, you draw cards depending upon what petz you have. For each colour showing, you draw the appropriate card. So, If I have 2 petz in play – One of them showing 2 red and a green, and the other showing 1 green, 2 yellow and a purple, then I will draw 2 red, 2 green, 2 yellow and 1 purple. I will add them to my hand, giving me now 3 red, 3 green, 3 yellow, 2 purple.
Now, I need to play cards on my petz. And I need to play exactly the same number and colour of cards which I drew. So, on my first pet, I need to play 2 red and a green, and on my 2nd pet, I need to play 1 green, 2 yellow and a purple. After I have played cards, I will still be left with 1 card of each colour in hand.
What this means is that you have some choice over what your petz are actually going to need for that turn.

Phase 4: Caring of petz and Contests

When you play the cards on your petz, you play them face down. In this phase, each player in order chooses one of their petz, turns the cards over and describes what happens. We normally play it that the players should tell a little story about what happens – this adds to the atmosphere of the game. The symbols are supposed to be processed in a specific order, but the only symbols that matter are that the sickness symbol is processed after the ‘poo’ symbol.
Food bowl: The pet gets hungry and needs to eat. Some petz eat meat, some eat veg, some will eat either. If you can feed your pet, remove one food for each food bowl. If you don’t, the pet gains one of the grey cubes. These are currently described as ‘suffering’ counters, but also sometimes referred to as depression counters – I’m not sure which will be used. These counters are placed on the pet.
Poo: For each poo symbol, take a poo counter and place it in the cage with the pet.
Play: For each ball of string symbol, the pet needs to be entertained. There are a few ways to do this, some cages have toys in them, some upgrades have toys on. Failing that, you can use a spare imp to keep a pet entertained. For each unfulfilled play symbol, the pet gains a suffering counter.
Magic: For each purple start, the pet is using some strange magical ability. Compare this to the magic defence strength of the cage (purple number). If the number of symbols exceeds it, you gain 1 mutation counter for each point it exceeds. One mutation counter means your pet is less valuable. If your pet ever gets 2 mutation counters, it fades to another dimension and you lose the pet.
Anger: Similar to magic, compare the number of anger icons to the physical strength of the cage. If it is exceeded, the pet breaks out of the cage and you lose it. However, you may use any spare imps to help keep the cage closed. Each pet you use boosts the cage by 1 physical strength for the turn, but any imps used in this way go to hospital.
Sickness: On its own it does nothing. However, if the total number of sickness icons played in the turn + the number of poo in the cage (not poo cards played) is more than 2, then the pet gains 1 suffering counter for each AND the pet will not grow that turn.
So, what do these grey suffering counters do? Well, 2 things. First of all, they reduce the value of the pet to buyers, meaning you will get less VP for any pet with these counters on. But also, if a pet ever gets the same (or more) number of suffering counters on it that its size… Well, the pet decides that life is simply too tough and it decides to end it all. This is the explanation I have used when describing the game to people (which is why I call the grey cubes depression) – it normally gets a lot of laughs. However, I’m not sure how this will be worded in the final version of the game.

Sleeping potions. These are awesome. At the point where you turn your cards over and you are describing what happens, you may discard any one of the cards and replace it with a sleeping potion from your hand. So, these potions are one use only, but can get you out of a bad position just when you really need it.
All cards that you played are left on the table next to the petz because they are needed to work out the Contests and the Buyers.

The Contest:
Starting in Round 2, there is a contest each round. At the start of the game, 4 of the 8 that come with the game are chosen at random and placed on the central board, and the first one is revealed. Then at the start of each round, the next one is revealed. This means you have some advance knowledge of what the future contests will be. There will be optional rules which include revealing more of these at the start of the game, including one option which reveals ALL of them.
Each contest is different. Most allow the players to enter one chosen pet but some of them, the players enter all of their petz. Each contest has things that it wants and things it doesn’t want. You work out how many “contest points” you have based on these icons matching the symbols on the cards you played that turn. So for example, one of the contests is ‘The Arena’. It awards contest points based on how many anger symbols you played on a pet this turn. It doesn’t matter how angry the pet was last turn, or how many red blocks are on the pet, it is purely how angry it was that turn. Most contests also have negative points for things like suffering counters, or other icons.
So, basically you have to plan ahead, you know next turns contest is one which gives points for magic and play but negative points for pets which ate that turn, so you can keep the right cards for the right time.
Contest points are recorded on the contest track, and VP are awarded based on your position on this track. You can only score the 4th place VP if your contest points were above zero. Ties are broken in player order.

Phase 5: Buyers, Discard cards and use spare imps

Buyers are resolved in a similar way to contests. There will be 4 buyers in the game (out of 8). One is in round 3, one in round 4 and two in round 5. Again, one is revealed at the start of the game, and then one more is revealed each round (unless you use the optional rule)
Unlike contests, the players are not competing with each other. Each player may sell one pet to each buyer, but only in the round the buyer appears. And this is done independently of the other players. If one player sells his pet for 16VP, you can still sell yours too.
Each buyer has things they want, and things they don’t like. You work out the ‘value’ of the pet by matching symbols on the buyer card to the cards you played this turn and then modifying it by the other icons. All buyers have the grey suffering/depression counters as a negative symbol, meaning they always reduce the value of the pet.
Once you have the value, you then double this and that’s how many VP you get. Unless, you have an imp in the advertising booth, in which case you get triple. Petz also get you some gold when you sell them, depending upon their size, but this is not modified by any icons.

Once you have done the buyer, all cards you played are discarded.
At this stage, any spare imps you have may either earn you one gold or clearing 2 poo from a cage that does not have a pet in it.

Phase 6: Clean-up
All petz grow by either 1 step or 2 (depending on their current size), All food decays by 1 step (Veg lasts 3 turns, Meat lasts 2 turns). Then your imps come home.

Turn order passes clockwise until round 5. Vlaada is always keen to make the game as fair as possible, so in the last round of the game, turn order is determined by current VP.
At the end of the game, there are 2 final contests, rewarding the players for certain things they have left at the end of the game. This final game scoring can be important, but is just a little bit extra compared to the scores gained during the game.

I haven’t explained the Magic items. There are quite a few in the game. A lot of them are ‘Books of Knowledge’, they come in a variety of colours. When you get one of these, you simply draw a card of the colour on the book. Not one per round, just one in total. However, what that means is that you permanently have one extra card in your hand, giving you a good advantage. The magic shovel allows imps to clear poo from a cage even though there is a pet in it, the Imp armour allows your imps to hold angry petz in without going to hospital, the cool box allows you to keep food from decaying, the whip gives you an advantage in contests.
I hope I haven’t missed anything. I have to go now as the food that was being cooked for me is now ready. And I haven’t even touched on the advanced rules……

Game will be out for Essen 2011. I cant wait!




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Marco Wong
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Thanks for the post!
I need to take care of the poo... That reminds me of Digimon!
 
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Henri Bendelac
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I just discover this post about the next game of my favorite author !
Thanks a lot, Paul.

I provide a french translation of your long description in the frenc forum trictrac.net :

http://www.trictrac.net/jeux/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1428861#1...

Hoping it'll help french players.
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PaulGrogan wrote:
Look at the middle section on the player screen.

Can we have an enlarged/focused version?
 
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Paul Grogan
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I will get this image asap and upload it as soon as it is finsished. It all has to go to print in the next couple of days, so final tweaks are being made.
 
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Chris J Davis
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Touch on the advanced rules! Touch on the advanced rules! meeple
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Paul Grogan
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Since its you Chris, I'll do this tomorrow.
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Chris J Davis
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PaulGrogan wrote:
Since its you Chris, I'll do this tomorrow.


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Paul Grogan
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Advanced Rules.

Dont use these for your first game or when teaching...
Hardened gamers will want to use these rules all the time once they got the basics under their belt.
Some of these might not make much sense without knowing the game in full first.

You may have spotted on some of the cards there is more than 1 symbol. All cards have only 1 big symbol in the middle, but then a lot of the card have an additional symbol in the corner.

In the basic rules, you just use the big symbol in the middle. However, with the advanced rules, you may play a card rotated by 180 degrees, showing the edge of the card that has the extra symbols on.


What this means is that you have to take care of both symbols. So, if you play a green card which has the 'hungy' and 'poo' symbol on then the pet wants to eat and then it produces 1 brown trash token.

Or, you could just play the card the normal way up, which just has the hunger symbol on it.

Since all the symbols are bad, why would you ever want to do this?

Well, have another look at the contests and the buyers. These reward you for the number of symbols you played THAT turn.

So if the contest rewards you for pets that have eaten and done a poo in the turn, then you may want to play the card upside down to score more points.


This rule can also help out some players who feel they got unlucky with card draws. For example, you know there is an eating competition coming up in 2 rounds time. You have the perfect pet - lots of green colours on him. It comes to the turn of the contest and you draw the following green cards: Anger, Anger, Play, Poo, Poo. So despite all your planning, you got screwed on cards and this guy isnt going to want to eat at all this turn.

With the advanced rules, every green card has the hunger symbol on. 15 of the 30 cards, the hunger is the only symbol on the card. The other 15 have a different main symbol, but the hunger is there as a second symbol.


Also note that if you want to prevent the above situation happening, you should have another pet, also with green showing, so you get to draw more green cards, giving you more chances of drawing just the ones you need.


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