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"The Beast"

An Exclusive Original Board Game by Matthew Hartley

the-beast

With food running low the families of a remote village must use what little resources they have to hunt and gather food all the while wary of a fearsome beast that lurks in the nearby woods.

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Introduction

The Beast is a game for 2 to 5 players. Each player takes the role of the head of a family in a remote village. It is early spring. The winter snows have melted and the food stores are running low. The villagers must survive by hunting and gathering from the woods and fields. However, a terrible Beast lurks in the woods and is slaying villagers.

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Action Deck and Day Deck

The game requires two packs of standard playing cards.

The Action Deck is just a well shuffled deck of cards. Aces count as having a value of 1, and court cards and jokers have a value of 10.

The Day Deck is a well shuffled deck of cards with all court cards removed. These court cards may be returned to this deck by actions in the game.

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Game Setup

Before the game begins, each player must “build” a family.

Each family can have three types of people in it. Children, Adults, and the Old.

              Combat Value     Points Value

Children              0                          3

Adults                 3                          2

Old                     1                          1

Children cannot fight, but represent the future of the family and are its most valuable asset. They are worth more Victory Points at the end of the game

The Old are the least use to the family, but can still fight and gather food.

Each family has 20 points to spend on family members. Each family member costs his Points Value to buy.

Each family must have at least twice as many Children and Old people as they do Adults.

Each player must keep track of the health of each family member (healthy or starving – see the Food Phase section for more information on Starvation) and what task they are assigned to do each turn. A record sheet with suitable chits is ideal.

Each Family starts with 6 units of Food. Each player should keep a note of current family food stocks.

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Game Turns

The game is played in a series of turns, each turn follows the sequence below:

1) Action Phase

2) Food Phase

3) Time Phase

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The Action Phase

At the beginning of each turn each player may assign his Adults and Old family members to one of 5 activities.

Different family members can be assigned to different activities.

A player does not have to assign any or all of his family members.

Players can discuss who will be assigned to each activity before making a choice but all assignments are done secretly and revealed simultaneously.

The actions are:

Sacrifice to the Beast

Hunt the Beast

Hunt in the Woods

Gather in the Fields

Call for Help

During the Action Phase activities are resolved in the following order: Sacrifice to the Beast; Hunt the Beast; Hunt in the woods; Gather in the fields; Call for help

All the actions for each family are resolved at the same time. In other words, all the family members from each family who are hunting in the woods will carry out that action with all the other members from the other families who have also been assigned that activity.

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The Actions Explained in full:

Sacrifice to the Beast

Players may sacrifice either a family member or food from their family store to the Beast to plicate it.

Add up the total number of Food Points sacrificed and draw a card from the Action Deck. If the value of the card is equal to or less than the number of Food Points sacrificed, the then the sacrifice has been a success. Otherwise it fails. The Food Points are lost irrespective of the rest.

Sacrifices of family members are always successful. The family member sacrificed is removed from play.

If a sacrifice is successful all Beast Attacks results from both ‘Hunt in the Woods’ and ‘Gather in the Fields’ actions are ignored. If a black card is drawn for either of these actions treat it as a red card with the value of 3 Food Points.

Villagers may still Hunt the Beast even if their sacrifice is successful.

Hunt the Beast

The villagers are purposely going out to slay the Beast.

The Beast is a cunning creature and will flee from large number. No more than 5 people (Adults or Old people) may Hunt the Beast.

Draw 1 card from the Action Deck for the villagers and add the combat value of the villagers involved in the Hunt. Draw 2 cards for the Action Deck for the Beast and add 10 to this score.

If the villager’s total score exceeds that of the Beast then the Beast is slain! The village is free from the terror of the Beast and all players win a (collective) victory.

If the Beast scores equal to or more than the villagers a randomly determined villager involved in the Hunt is killed.

Hunt in the Woods

The villagers are hunting wild animals in the forests for food. There is more food in the forest than in the fields but the woods are the home to the Beast.

Draw a card from the Action Deck. If the card is red then the hunt has been successful and food is available. If the card is black, then the Beast has attacked!

If the Hunt is successful, Food Points equal to twice the face value of the red card are produced. An additional Food point is produced for each Adult or Old person on the Hunt. Food points are shared out amongst the families depending on the number of family members participating in the Hunt. Each family is assigned one Food Point in turn, starting with the family with the most family members involved in the hunt and then so on until all the points have been assigned. If the number of people is tied, randomly determine which family gets the point first.

If the beast attacks Draw 1 card from the Action Deck for the villagers and add the combat value of the villagers involved in the Hunt. Draw 2 cards for the Action Deck for the Beast and add 10 to this score. In addition add to the Beasts score the value of the black card drawn when the hunt was resolved.

If the villager’s total score exceeds that of the Beast then the Beast is slain! The village is free from the terror of the Beast and all players win a (collective) victory.

If the Beast scores equal to or more than the villagers a randomly determined villager involved in the Hunt is killed.

Gather in the Fields

The villagers are gathering fruit and vegetables from the fields. There is less food in the fields but the Beast is less likely to attack.

Draw a card from the Action Deck. If the card is red then or black club then the gathering has been successful and food is available. If the card is black Spade, then the Beast has attacked!

If the Hunt is successful, Food Points equal to the face value of the card are produced. An addition Food point is produced for each Adult or Old person involved in gathering. Food points are shared out amongst the families depending on the number of family members participating in the activity. Each family is assigned one Food Point in turn, starting with the family with the most family members involved in the activity and then so on until all the points have been assigned. If the number of people is tied, randomly determine which family gets the point first.

If the beast attacks Draw 1 card from the Action Deck for the villagers and add the combat value of the villagers involved in the Gathering. Draw 2 cards for the Action Deck for the Beast and add 10 to this score. In addition add to the Beasts score the value of the black Spade card drawn when the Gathering was resolved.

If the villager’s total score exceeds that of the Beast then the Beast is slain! The village is free from the terror of the Beast and all players win a (collective) victory.

If the Beast scores equal to or more than the villagers a randomly determined villager involved in the Gathering is killed.

Call for Help

The villagers send people to call on allies from other villages for aid.

Total the Combat value of all the villagers sent for help. Draw a card from the Action Deck. If the cards valued is less than or equal to the combined combat value of the villages then add a court card to the Time deck and shuffle that deck.

Any villagers sent on this mission may not be assigned to other activities on subsequent turns, but will not starve, do not need Food Points spending on them, and cannot be killed by the Beast. They are added to their family’s victory point total at the end of the game.

If the card drawn is of a higher value than the combined combat value of the villagers. The villagers are lost and are removed from the game.

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Food Phase

One Food Point must be spent each turn for each family member.

Families can give each other Food Points freely.

If a family cannot or will not feed all its family members then each unfed family member is given a Starvation marker. If a family member has Starvation markers equal to or exceeding his combat value he has starved to death and is removed from play.

A family member who has a starvation marker may not be assigned to an activity during the next turn.

Starvations markers can be removed at the cost of two Food Points each.

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Time Phase

After all the activities have been resolved, the top card from the Time Deck is drawn.

If the card is court card then help has arrived from outside and the villagers have been rescued. The game is over.

If a Joker is drawn, then the Beast has moved on elsewhere and the villagers are safe again. The game is over.

If any other card is drawn, a new turn begins.

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Victory / Game End

When the game ends, each family adds up its total number of Victory Points. Children are worth 3 victory points, Adults 2 and Old People 1.

The family with the highest total wins the game.

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Webmaster's Notes

This game was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on the 1st December 2014 as part of its 2014 Advent Calendar.

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