'In Doctorov's Garden'
'The Lawn Needs a Good Weeding'
A Solo Flintloque Card Game by Gavin Syme
Photograph, Miniatures and Terrain by Alternative Armies
You play an Elf Soldier who has awoken in a nightmare place... the lair of Doctorov. You have managed to sneak out and must cross the garden; but you are not alone...
A simple card game set in the World of Valon for a bit of frozen fun.
A simple card game set in the World of Valon for a bit of frozen fun. You play an Elf Soldier who has awoken in a nightmare place...the lair of Doctorov. You have managed to sneak out the back and now must cross the garden; but you are not alone. The garden is patrolled by Undead plants and traps as well. It will take planning, luck and the cards to see you across and away. Written for Orcs in the Webbe 2023 Advent Calendar and playing time about ten minutes.
Consciousness returned with a flood of sensation. Sergeant Gallant remembered the flare of muskets and the roar of combat as the shambling Zombies and Skeletons came forward upon his troops. Then..well an explosion of pain and darkness. The back of his head was aching and it seemed clear enough a spent musket ball had hit him and rendered him dead to the world for a time. Cold flesh was below him and around him. Slowly he opened his eyes and saw in horror that he was atop a pile of dead Elves, Dogmen and Todoroni. He was near an open door and across the stone floored chamber a strange device was thrumming while a ghastly figure in a white coat watched on. Escape was the only option. It was clear that one by one each corpse was being put on the table and connected to the device.
With great care he slid down the back of the pile of bodies and came to his knees. Firelocks and weapons were just laying around so he armed himself and then moved for the open door. The Sergeant made it without being seen or heard. A once grand stone paved garden lay ahead and beyond it open forest and freedom. Strange plants stood in the snow and they seemed to be swaying...but that was surely a trick upon his eyes.
The Solo Play Card Game
To play you will need the gridded map of the garden (ten by ten squares) along with a standard deck of playing cards and some miniatures and scenic items too. The miniatures can be from your collection if you do not have the ones designated. To win you must exit the garden on any square of its opposite side.
Set Up and Game Conditions
Place the grid map on your table. This is the playing area and each square should be 1 Inch. Place your Character on the red circle square at the ‘top’ of the map. He has just left Doctorov’s Reanimator lair. Place four ‘covered corpses’ on the squares down on the map. Mix your deck of playing cards (keep the joker in the deck). Now you can begin!
There is no turn or time limit in this game but the rules must be followed at all times. You are attempting to escape so you may never move backwards only forwards or sideways or fight. You begin with a loaded musket and two loaded pistols plus a sword (taken from corpses within the lair) and aside from a headache and fear you are quite well.
Take the first card from the top of the deck and turn it over next to the deck. This is the starting card. Each ‘turn’ is composed of your character moving one square forward or one to either side (never diagonal). Make your first move and turn over the next card but before you do look at the starting card and declare ‘higher or lower’ for the next card. The lowest number is 2 and the highest is the Ace card ascending by number and then face cards. If you pull the Joker then place it to the side for it shall be useful. If the next card pulled has been correctly guessed by you as higher or lower than the starting card then you move without issue to the chosen square. Now choose the next square to move to and repeat each time ‘higher or lower’ than the current upturned card. If you win then move and so on until you exit the garden. But if you lose…
If the card turned over is not what you predicted and you lose then one of Doctorov’s creations blocks your path. It was once a living plant of the Witchlands or far off Afri but no more. A Reanimated thing of writhing tentacles and snapping maw. A guard dog if you will to prevent anyone coming or going to the garden. You must fight and win or your game is over!
The fighting is automatic. If you have a musket you fire it first and kill the plant. You cannot reload the musket so it is then discarded. If you have no musket then you fire and kill the plant with a pistol; it is then tucked into your belt. If you have pulled the ‘Joker’ card then it is a reload for a pistol and you use it at that time to restore a fired pistol. Once you run out of pistols it is cold steel with the sword. With your sword you follow the same act as moving looking at the current face up card and declaring ‘higher or lower’ and take the next card from deck top. If you win then you kill the plant and play continues. If you lose then you are wounded. You can take one wound before death. You can use the next pulled ‘Ace’ card to restore a wound if you wish but remember you forgo an automatic knowing the next card will be ‘lower’. If you die play ends.
The four covered bodies on the playing grid are actually traps and if you enter a square next to one you must then take a card from the pile and declare ‘higher or lower’. If you win nothing happens. If you lose a Zombie lurches up and attacks! Proceed as with a plant attack with the exception that losing a combat with a Zombie kills you outright if you lose (shooting it works as normal). But if you win you gain a loaded musket which you can then use.
Miniatures for this Game
You can use suitable Flintloque miniatures from your collection. If you wish to use the actual figures then it is the Sergeant from 51045 Dismounted Elf Lancer Command for your character as well as multiple EH01 Flower of Evil and EH08 Flower of Evil II for the plants. 55003 1st Graviski Infantry for the trap zombies. Print the map out or use a simple grid of your own.
This one was a lot of fun to do and it is very odd to play without using any dice or measuring tape! In many ways this little game is a nail biter and can go anyway at random. It is all down to the cards. Obviously try and avoid the trap Zombies but in several run through tries I was killed by poor choices and in others I made it across with ease. Try it out and I do hope you enjoy. Oh and thanks to Brucie for the idea. GBS
Gavin Syme (GBS)
An Orcs in the Webbe Original! 'In Doktorov's Garden' was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published here on the 22nd December 2023 as the twenty-second entry of that year's Advent Calendar.