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Arms Race:WW1 (green)

Page history last edited by Dave Seidner 11 years ago

Arms Race: WW1

WW1 Game Challenge from Lesson 3

Summary

Pre World War 1, the major European powers had gone to great lengths to maintain a "balance of power" throughout Europe, resulting in a complex network of political and military alliances throughout the continent.  As tensions were mounting, a race to arm their militaries was rapidly snowballing as new technologies in warfare were emerging.

In this game, players represent one of the major powers during this pre-war period.  The powers will try to outbid each other for the different types of arms available.  Victory Points are awarded to powers that hold the majority of each type at the end of the game.   Each type has a different point value and quantity available.

Powers can form alliances with each other.  Each power offers a unique special bonus to their allies.  Bonus points will be given at the end game based on alliances, as well.  Just as easily as alliances are formed, they can be broken, too.  Who can you trust?  Alliances can be very powerful but always watch your back.

A game for 3 – 6 players

Components

100 Arms Cards (44 Small Arms deck, 38 Medium Arms deck, 18 Large Arms deck)

                Small Arms Deck:

                                17 Pistols Cards with a VP value of 3

                                14 Grenades Cards with a VP value of 4

                                13 Poison Gas Cards with a VP value of 5

                Medium Arms Deck:

                                11 Bolt Action Rifles Cards with a VP value of 6

                                10 Machine Guns Cards with a VP value of 7

                                9 Flame Throwers Cards with a VP value of 8

                                8 Trench Mortars Cards with a VP value of 9

                Large Arms Deck:

                                6 Warplanes Cards with a VP value of 10

                                5 Tanks Cards with a VP value of 11

                                4 Submarines Cards with a VP value of 12

                                3 Battleships Cards with a VP value of 13

6 European Powers cards (German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Italy, British Empire, France, Russia\Serbia)

120 Bills Cards worth 1000 each

30 Bills Cards worth 5000 each

Alliance Cards

36 “European Power Alliance” Cards – 6 decks (each player color) of 6 “European Power Alliance” Cards (German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Italy, British Empire, France, Russia\Serbia)

                Alliance Action Cards:

6 “Offer Alliance” Cards (one in each player color)

                6 “Break Alliance” Cards (one in each player color)

                6 “No Change” Cards (one in each player color)

Player Sheets

Turn Order Track

1 Start Player Token

6 Player Tokens (one of each European Power color)

Setup

The following rules will apply to a 6 player game.  The end of the rules will present rule modifications for 5, 4 and 3 player versions of the game.

Shuffle the 6 European Powers Cards and deal one to each player

Give each player an “Alliance Deck” of the Player Color corresponding to the “European Powers” Cards (Each deck consists of 6 “European Power Alliances” Cards: German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Italy, British Empire, France, Russia\Serbia and three “Alliance Action” cards: 1 “Offer Alliance” Card, 1 “Break Alliance” Card and 1 “No Change” Card).

Shuffle the small arms deck, medium arms deck and large arms deck and put them in three separate piles on the table

Each player starts with fifteen “1000 Bills” Cards and three “5000 Bills” Cards

Put the remaining Bills Cards in a stack of “1000 Bills” Cards and a stack of “5000 Bills” Cards.  This is the bank.

Each player gets a player sheet

Give the Start Player Token to the player who last got in a fight

Flow of Play

The game is played over 12 Rounds

Each round is played out as follows:

Arms Auction

Deal cards from the following decks to a shared space on the table we’ll refer to as “The Marketplace”

3 cards from the Small Arms deck, 2 cards from the Medium Arms deck and 1 card from the Large Arms deck.

The players see all Arms Cards available in the Marketplace.  Players will be bidding their Bills Cards for turn order to select Arms from the Marketplace.  The start player bids first.  The start player can bid a minimum of 1000, bid higher than 1000 or pass.  All players that do not pass lay their bid in Bills Cards out on the table in their play area. Each player can either outbid the current bid or pass.  The bidding will work like this:  The first person to pass takes whatever bidding cards they previously bid this turn back to their hand (They don’t pay anything) and they do not get to place their player marker on the turn order track (They will not get any Arms cards this turn).  The next player to pass takes half of their money (rounded down) back to their hand, pays the other half to the bank and puts their player marker on the last spot in the turn order track. The next player to pass also takes back half, pays the bank the other half and puts his player marker next to last on the turn track.  The final two in the bidding pay full price and go in the 2nd and 1st spots in the turn order track.  So, the final bidder and 5th out pay full price, the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd out pay half and the 1st out gets all money back but no Arms Cards. If a player bid nothing to begin with (besides the 1st to pass), he places his token on the track for free, if a player (besides the 1st to pass) only bid 1000 (lowest denomination) he pays the full 1000 to the bank and puts his player token on the turn order track. 

Once the bidding is complete, the player who paid the most is 1st in turn order and can select any card in the marketplace and add it to his hand.  The person who bid the second highest is next on the turn track and selects one card and so on.  The person who passed first is not on the turn order track and does not select a card.  After all players have selected a card, there will be one card left over.  The player who chose first (won the auction) will also get to take this card to his hand.

Make and Break Alliances

The next phase of the round, players will have an opportunity to form alliances with each other.  Also, in all rounds but the first, players will also be able to break current alliances.  Each player has a set of Alliance cards.  There is a card for each European Power represented in the game.  There are also three Alliance Action cards: Offer Alliance, Break Alliance and No Change.  Each player will secretly choose 2 cards and play them face down on the table.  They will play an Alliance Card representing a European Power and an Alliance Action card.  All players will simultaneously reveal the cards they played and all alliance actions will be resolved.

If a player wants to offer an alliance with another European Power, they will play the European Power Alliance Card that lists the European Power they want to form an alliance with and they play the Offer Alliance Action Card.  If the player who is playing the targeted Power also plays an Offer Alliance Action Card and they play a European Power Alliance card that lists the first players Power (mutual offer), then they will form an alliance.

Example:  Bob is playing as France and John is playing as Italy.  Bob (France) lays down Italy and Offer Alliance.  John (Italy) lays down France and Offer Alliance.  Since both players have chosen each other’s represented European Power (a mutual offer), when the cards are revealed they have successfully formed an alliance.  It takes (at least) two to form an alliance.

Example 2: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy and Sue is playing as German Empire.  Bob (France) lays down Italy and Offer Alliance.  John (Italy) lays down German Empire and Offer Alliance.  Sue (German Empire) lays down France and Offer Alliance.  Since there are no mutual offers when the cards were revealed, the result is no alliances were successful.

If a player wants to end a current alliance with a particular European Power, the player would play the targeted European Power Alliance Card and the Break Alliance Action Card.  It only takes one player to break an alliance.

If a player doesn’t want to change his alliance status, he plays his own European Power Card and the No Change Action Card.

Example: Bob is playing as France and John is playing as Italy.  France and Italy are currently in an alliance.  Bob wants to break the alliance.  John doesn’t.  Bob plays the Italy Card and the Break Alliance Action Card.  John plays the Italy Card and the No Change Action Card.  The result is the France-Italy Alliance is broken because Bob (France) broke the alliance.  Even though John (Italy) was happy with the alliance, it still ends.

No more than three European Powers can belong to one alliance.  If there is a current alliance of two and a third player plays a European Power Alliance Card of either of the two powers represented in that alliance (with the Offer Alliance Action Card) and either one of the two powers in the alliance play the European Power Alliance Card representing that third player’s European Power (with the Offer Alliance Action Card), then the third player joins the alliance; now making the alliance three powers strong.

Example: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy and Sue is playing as German Empire.  There is a current France-Italy alliance.  Bob (France) plays Offer Alliance and German Empire. John (Italy) plays Italy and No Change.  Sue (German Empire) plays France and Offer Alliance.  The German Empire now joins the France-Italy Alliance making it the France-Italy-German Empire Alliance.

Example 2: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy and Sue is playing as German Empire.  There is a current France-Italy alliance.  Bob (France) plays Offer Alliance and German Empire. John (Italy) plays Italy and No Change.  Sue (German Empire) plays Italy and Offer Alliance.  Even though The German Empire offered to Italy and France offered to The German Empire, the alliance still occurs because France and Italy were already in an alliance.  The German Empire now joins the France-Italy Alliance making it the France-Italy-German Empire Alliance.

Typically alliances cannot be broken and a new one formed in one turn.  A player needs to Break his current alliance in one turn and then offer a new alliance in the next.  There is one rare case where alliances can be broken and new ones formed in one turn.

Example: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy, Sue is playing as German Empire and Mike is playing as Russia/Serbia.  There is a current France-Italy alliance.  Bob (France) plays Offer Alliance and German Empire. John (Italy) plays Offer Alliance and Russia/Serbia.  Sue (German Empire) plays Offer Alliance and France. Mike (Russia/Serbia) plays Offer Alliance and Italy.  Since 3 is the maximum number of European Powers allowed in an alliance, the proposed France-Italy-German Empire-Russia/Serbia alliance needs to break up.  There are two new alliances formed from this play: The France-German Empire alliance and the Italy-Russia/Serbia alliance.

There are a couple other scenarios to point out with an alliance of three.  Rule:  It takes two to break with a third.  In the following examples assume France, Italy and German Empire are in a current three-way alliance at the beginning of the turn.

Example: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy and Sue is playing as German Empire. Bob (France) plays Break Alliance and Italy. John (Italy) plays No Change and Italy and Sue (German Empire) plays No Change and German Empire.  Guess what?  The alliance of three remains for one more turn.  France can’t kick Italy out and both remain allies with German Empire.

Example 2: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy and Sue is playing as German Empire. Bob (France) plays Break Alliance and Italy.  John (Italy) plays No Change and Italy and Sue (German Empire) plays Break Alliance and Italy.  France and German Empire just gave Italy the boot (no pun intended).

Example 3: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy and Sue is playing as German Empire. Bob (France) plays Break Alliance and Italy.  John (Italy) plays Break Alliance and German Empire and Sue (German Empire) plays No Change and German Empire.  Bye-bye Italy!  France severed ties with you, you severed ties with German Empire, France and German Empire are still allies.

Example 4: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy and Sue is playing as German Empire. Bob (France) plays Break Alliance and Italy.  John (Italy) plays Break Alliance and German Empire and Sue (German Empire) plays Break Alliance and France.  All three European Powers have just isolated themselves.  No more alliance of three or two.

If you are in an alliance of three and you want to break yourself out of the alliance you will need to play Break Alliance and your home European Power Alliance Card.

 Example: Bob is playing as France, John is playing as Italy and Sue is playing as German Empire. Bob (France) plays No Change and France. John (Italy) plays Break Alliance and Italy and Sue (German Empire) plays No Change and German Empire.  Italy has successfully quit the alliance.  France and German Empire are still allies.

Why would a player want to form alliances with other players in this game?  What are the benefits?  What is the impact?  Alliances are stronger.  For end game scoring, if you are not in an alliance you only have your Victory Points.  If you are a member of an alliance two powers strong you have your Victory Points plus you get to add a bonus that equals 1/3 of your allies Victory Point value (rounded down).  If you are in an alliance that is three strong you get your Victory Points, plus a bonus of 1/4 of both of your allies combined Victory Point value (rounded down).

As if bonus VPs aren’t enough, each power offers a special ability that the powers currently in an alliance with that power can use.

Here are the special abilities offered if you form an alliance with the following European Powers:

Powers

Special ability if allied with

German Empire

2000 income every turn

Austria-Hungary

free random large arms every fifth turn if still in alliance

Italy

free random small arms every turn

British Empire

free upkeep for two categories of arms (small, medium or large)

France

can trade up to 2 arms cards with France every turn (France has to agree) OR 1000 income if no trade. If France agrees to trade, France cannot use the bonus from the ally France is trading with (this turn)

Russia\Serbia

free random medium arms every third turn still in alliance

 

Just to make sure this is clear.  If you are playing as German Empire, you don’t get a 2000 income every turn.  If you are in an alliance with the German Empire you do get 2000 income every turn.

Activate Alliance powers

On your player sheet, you will be keeping track of your Alliance Status each round.  You will see a full history of which alliances you were members of and when throughout the game.  Keep this in mind as we activate our Alliance Powers.  Activate these powers in the following country order:

If you are allied with France this turn, you can offer France an arms trade.  You can offer France one or two arms card(s) for one or two of Frances arms card(s).  (This can be one for one, one for two, two for one, or two for two of any type combination) If France accepts, make the trade.  If France declines, take 1000 Bills from the bank.  If you decide not to offer France an arms trade, take 1000 Bills from the bank.  France cannot make trade offers, only accept them.  France cannot counter-offer.  If France’s ally is considering offering France a trade, the France player and the ally show each other their hand of arms, so they can consider a fair trade.

If you are allied with German Empire this turn you will now receive 2000 Bills from the bank unless you are France and accepted an arms trade with German Empire this turn.

If you are allied with Italy this turn, you will draw the top small arms card from the small arms deck and add it to your hand unless you are France and accepted an arms trade with Italy this turn.

If you are allied with Russia\Serbia this turn and it is your third, sixth, ninth or twelfth turn in a row (once every three turns) being allied with Russia\Serbia, then you take the top card of the medium arms deck to your hand of arms unless you are France and accepted an arms trade with Russia\Serbia this turn.

If you are allied with Austria-Hungary this turn and it is your fifth or tenth turn in a row in that alliance, you will now take the top card of the large arms deck to your hand of arms unless you are France and accepted an arms trade with Austria-Hungary this turn.

If you are allied with British Empire this turn and it is an upkeep round (even numbered round) you are exempt from paying the upkeep for two arms categories of your choice (small, medium or large) unless you are France and accepted an arms trade with British Empire this turn.

This brings us to…

Upkeep (every even numbered round)

On every even numbered round players calculate their current “Majority VP” value (detailed in Scoring section) as if the game was ending this turn.  Each player that would score VPs for at least one type of small arms pays the bank 1000 Bills for upkeep.  Each player that would score VPs for at least one type of medium arms pays the bank 2000 Bills for upkeep. Each player that would score VPs for at least one type of large arms pays the bank 3000 Bills for upkeep.  If the player is currently allied with British Empire, they are exempt from upkeep for two categories of their choice (small arms, medium arms or large arms upkeep).  Players allied with British Empire choose which upkeep they are exempt from after calculating current VPs.

If a player cannot afford upkeep, they will be forced to sell back some arms to raise the money for upkeep at the following rates:  1000 Bills for each small arms card of any type.  2000 Bills for each medium arms card of any type.  3000 Bills for each large arms card of any type.  If players can afford upkeep, they may not sell back arms to raise money.  If a player needs to sell back arms to raise upkeep money, he can choose to sell back cards from any category regardless of which category he owes upkeep for.  The player may sell back more than one card to pay upkeep, but the player may not sell more than one card to pay upkeep and get additional funds for the next round.  However, if the player chooses to sell one card from a higher category to pay upkeep for a lower category, he does receive change in Bills Cards.

Example:  Bob is playing as France.  We are in the upkeep phase of round 8.  Bob has the majority in Pistols and no other majorities.  He needs to pay the bank 1000 Bills for his small arms majority.  Bob is out of Bills.  Bob decides to sell a Tank card back to the bank.  Bob receives 3000 Bills for selling the Tank card (large arms).  Bob now pays his 1000 upkeep back to the bank.  Bob now has 2000 Bills he may use to bid on next turn if he chooses.  In this example, Bob would not be able to sell back 2 Tank cards or a Tank card plus another card.

Example 2: John is playing as Italy.  We are in the upkeep phase of round 8.  John has the majority of Battleships and Warplanes, so he has to pay a large arms upkeep of 3000 Bills.  John only has 1000 Bills.  John decides to sell a Pistol card back to the bank for 1000 Bills and a Grenades card back to the bank for 1000 Bills.  John now has enough to pay his upkeep for this turn.  Note: Even though John has two majorities in one category, he still only pays once for the large arms category upkeep.

At the end of the round, pass the start player token to the left.  That player begins bidding for this round.

End Game

At the end of the 12th round calculate Victory points, the player with the most Victory Points is the winner!  If there is a tie, the player with the most money left over wins!  If there is still a tie, the victory is shared.

Scoring

There are three phases of scoring: First Victory Points are given based on who holds the majorities of each arms type.  Then Alliance Bonus Victory Points are given and finally, Special Bonus Victory Points are given.  All VPs are summed and the winner is determined.

Majority VP Scoring

Going through each arms type, determine which player currently holds the majority cards of that type.  That player receives the VP value of the card.  If there is a tie, the VPs are shared (split) rounding down.

Example: John has 8 Pistols Cards, Bob has 5 Pistols Cards, Sue has 3 Pistols Cards, Mike has 1 Pistol Card and Jen has none.  John receives 3 VPs for having the majority of the Pistols type.

Example 2:  John has 0 Trench Mortars Cards, Bob has 1 Trench Mortars Card, Sue has 1 Trench Mortars Cards, Mike has 3 Trench Mortars Card and Jen has 3 Trench Mortars Cards.    Mike and Jen share the 9 VPs.  Mike and Jen each get 4 VPs, the extra VP is lost.

Alliance Bonus Scoring

Once VPs have been determined for each arms majority, we move on to Alliance Bonus Scoring.  Bonuses are given to players that remained in an alliance throughout round 12.  It doesn’t matter if you just joined the alliance on round 12.  As long as you are part of an alliance at the end of round 12, you will receive the Alliance Bonus.  If you are part of an alliance that had a total of three members, each member will get 1 VP added to their score for every 4 VPs (rounded down) their allies possess.  If you are part of an alliance that had two members, each member gets 1 VP added to their score for every 3 VPs (rounded down) that their ally possesses.

Example: Bob, John and Jen were in an alliance.  Bob’s Majority VPs are 16.  John’s Majority VPs are 22. Jen’s Majority VPs are 25.  Bob will get an alliance bonus of 1 VP for every 4 VPs that John and Jen have combined. John and Jen’s combined VP value is 47 (22+25).  Bob gets an 11 VP alliance bonus: (22+25=47)/4 = 11.75 (Round down to 11 VPs).   John will get an alliance bonus of 1 VP for every 4 VPs that Bob and Jen have combined. Bob and Jen’s combined VP value is 41 (16+25).  John gets a 10 VP alliance bonus: (16+25=41)/4 = 10.25 (Round down to 10 VPs). Jen will get an alliance bonus of 1 VP for every 4 VPs that Bob and John have combined. Bob and John’s combined VP value is 38 (16+22).  Jen gets a 9 VP alliance bonus: (16+22=38)/4 = 9.5 (Round down to 9 VPs).

Example 2: Mike and Sue were in an alliance.  Mike’s Majority VPs are 30.  Sue’s Majority VPs are 9.  Mike will get an alliance bonus of 1 VP for every 3 of Sue’s VPs. Mike will get a 3 VP alliance bonus:  9/3 = 3.  Sue will get an alliance bonus of 1 VP for every 3 of Mike’s VPs.  Sue will get a 10 VP bonus: 30/3 = 10.

Special Bonus Scoring

After the alliance bonuses are distributed, the following bonus scores will be applied:

Diversification Bonus: 10 bonus VPs are awarded to every player that has at least one card of each arms type (across small, medium and large arms categories) available in the game.

Diversified Majorities Bonus: 10 bonus VPs are awarded to each player that has at least one majority in all three arms categories (small, medium and large)

Cornered the Small Arms Market Bonus: 15 bonus VPs are awarded to a player that has Majorities of every arms type in the small market (Pistols, Grenades and Poison Gas)

Cornered the Medium Arms Market Bonus: 20 bonus VPs are awarded to a player that has Majorities of every arms type in the medium market (Bolt Action Rifles, Machine Guns, Flame Throwers and Trench Mortars)

Cornered the Large Arms Market Bonus: 30 bonus VPs are awarded to a player that has Majorities of every arms type in the large market (Warplanes, Tanks, Submarines and Battleships)

Adjustments for 3, 4 and 5 player games

Randomly pick European Powers cards to determine which European Power the players will be playing as.

Game Rounds

5 Players – 15 Rounds

4 Players – 20 Rounds

3 Players – 30 Rounds

Marketplace

5 players – 2 small arms, 2 medium arms, 1 large arms

1st out gets money back and gains no card.  Last two out pay full price.  Everyone else pays half their bid.

4 players – 2 small arms, 1 medium arms, 1 large arms

1st out gets money back and gains no card.  Only last one remaining pays full price.  Everyone pays half their bid.

3 players – 1 small arms, 1 medium arms, 1 large arms

1st out pays half and goes last on the turn order.  2nd out pays half and second on turn order. Last one remaining pays full and picks first.

Alliances

4 players – maximum alliance size is two players strong.

3 players – maximum alliance size is two players strong.  If there is a current alliance at the start of the turn, the player not in the alliance gets either 3000 Bills income or a free random small arms card – player’s choice.

 

Components Design to come…

 

Comments (2)

fibroptx said

at 11:53 pm on Jul 12, 2009

Wow, very sophisticated game design. Kind of like advanced "For Sale" + "Diplomacy" lite? Sounds like fun :) Nice job!

Dave Seidner said

at 10:01 am on Jul 13, 2009

Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment! Yes, I did draw from For Sale and Diplomacy as well as Klaus Teuber's Hoity Toity.

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