Fractured Atlas
Designed by Mike Everett-Lane
Players 2-4
Length 60 minutes
Extra Material Extended deck; 30-40 stackable tokens for each player in different colors

Another 4X Decket game!

The Known World is small.

What lies across the Borderland? What lands beckon beyond The Sea? What is on the other side of The Island?

Until now, there has only been rumor of the strange riches that lie beyond, and the Fractured Atlas that would show the way to these new lands.

Now the Fractured Atlas has been discovered! True to its name, it has been ripped from the scholars' hands and divided by the Foremost Families, all eager to use it. Through your own machinations, you have secured several leaves of the precious book. Your Family must seize the moment, and establish itself as the chief among all! It is time to call your advisors and allies. Send forth explorers to discover new lands. Grow rich from trade. Develop new lands. Build towers to protect your people. And attack your rivals with armies, or with magic.

With luck and skill, you can rule this Unknown World, and unite the Fractured Atlas!


Place The Borderland, The Sea, and The Island in the center next to each other. This is the Map of the Known World. Each player puts one token on the Borderland and one on The Island. Make the Fractured Atlas from the remaining Locations, shuffled and face-down.

Separate the nine two-suited Personality cards from the Normal deck. Deal two to each player. Each player picks one and places it face-down in front of them as their Advisor, discarding the other. All players reveal the Advisors simultaneously.

Shuffle the Court and Pawn cards, the Aces, The Excuse, the remaining Personality cards, and the Event cards into an Action Deck. Deal each player two Action cards.

Map Legend

The Map of the Known World encompasses all the Places (Location cards) that are currently known by the Foremost Families. As you uncover the pages of The Fractured Atlas, you will be able to discover new Places to add to the Map. When determining if two Places are Adjacent, only consider orthogonal adjacency. Each Place must share at least one suit with an adjacent Place. At the end of the game, each Place is worth 1 VP for each suit on its card.

Your Advisor will help your family in many ways. Each Advisor can help with a different strategy, so choose wisely. Your Advisors may be replaced later in the game.

The Action Cards represent the allies and events that will help you secure your family's preeminence. Certain allies and events have special influence in some Places.

The Tokens represent your Influence on a Place. You can increase your Influence on a Place (and reduce others') through exploration, development, warfare, and trade. Each Place has up to 6 slots for Influence. An Influence slot can be filled by a Worker (a single token) or a Tower.

A Tower is any stack of tokens. The token on top of a Tower is a Noble and rules the Tower. Any other tokens in that Tower are either Knights (if their Noble rules the Tower) or Prisoners (if a Rival's Noble rules the Tower). At the end of the game, the player with the highest Tower scores 2 VP.

Workers and Nobles are Free tokens. Knights are Free if there are no Prisoners above them in the Tower (if there are, they are busy guarding the Prisoners.) Prisoners are never Free. They're imprisoned.

All tokens (Workers, Nobles, Knights and Prisoners) on a card can Influence a Place. If your total Influence in a Place exceeds any of your Rivals, and you have at least one Free token in that Place, you control that Place and it is your Fief. If a Place is no one's Fief, it is Disputed (or Empty). If you have a Free token in a Place that's not your Fief, it's one of your Outposts. To help keep track of who controls which Place, reserve the upper right corner Influence slot for the current ruler of that Fief. If it's Disputed, and all six slots are being used, push that Worker or Tower closer to the center of the card.

Game play

Each turn is divided into three phases: the Action Card phase, the Advisor phase, and the Resolution phase.

The Action Card Phase

All players choose one of their two Action cards, placing it face down in front of them. All Action cards are revealed at the same time. Whichever card has the highest Rank will go first, followed by the next highest Rank. For determining Rank, go in this order: Aces, Crowns, Numbered Cards, Courts, Pawns, The Excuse. If two Action cards are tied, the player with the highest ranked Advisor wins the tie. If it's still a tie, the player whose Advisor has a Sun wins the tie.

The player chooses one Action from among the suits on their Action card. The Excuse is wild, and the player may choose any Action. The player must choose one of the available Actions. See "The Actions" below.

The Advisor Phase

After all players have taken their Action, each may take an Advisor action. Go in the same order as the Action Card phase. You may choose from one of the three possible Advisor actions (or none):

a) Advisor's Directive. Your Advisor can use his knowledge to enable your family to take an extra action. Remove a token from your Advisor's card. You may take an additional Action from one of your Advisor's two suits.

b) Build Expertise. As your family follows your Advisor's strategy, he can gain in expertise. If during the Action Card phase, you took an Action that's on your Advisor's card, add a token to your Advisor's card.

c) Special Influence. Some Advisors, allies, and events have more influence on certain Places on the Map. If either your current Action card or your Advisor has two suits that exactly match two suits on any Place, you may switch one rival's Worker from that Place with a token from your Advisor's card. (Only two-suited cards can wield Special Influence, and only two-suited Places can be Specially Influenced. There are eight such possible pairings. The Diplomat, the Painter, the Merchant, and the Penitent can influence one Place each, and the Sailor can influence two.)

Resolution Phase

In reverse order from the other two phases, players do the following:

a) You may move one of your free tokens to an adjacent Place. If another player moved a token there during this Resolution phase, you cannot move a token to that Place.

b) If the unplayed Action card in your hand is a two-suited Personality, you may fire your old Advisor. Remove all tokens from your old one, discard it, and put the new one in front of you. Add two tokens to it.

c) You may be eaten by a Grue. See "The Darkness" below.

d) Discard the Action card you played. You may also discard your unplayed Action card. Draw back up to two Action cards. If the Action Deck is depleted, shuffle the discards and draw from the new Action Deck.

The Actions

When adding a token to a Place, take it from your supply. If there are no available slots, you cannot take that Action. When removing a token, put it back in your supply.

Explore / Migrate (Waves): When taking a Wave Action, you can either Explore or Migrate.

Explore: Turn over a Place card from the Atlas. Put it next to one of your Outposts or Fiefs, such that the Place is adjacent to at least one other Place with a shared suit, and add two tokens there. If the Place you drew cannot be Explored by you, your Exploration failed. Place it on the bottom of the Atlas.

Migrate: Move any number of your Free tokens from one Place to an adjacent Place. At least one of those Places must have a Wave.

Exploit (Leaves): Choose any Place with a Leaf or Wave where you have at least one Worker. Add a Worker there.

Trade (Knots): Choose any Place with a Knot or a Sun. Add a Worker there. If that Place is your Fief, you may trade one of your Workers in that Place with a Rival's Worker in an adjacent Place, or vice versa.

Build (Suns): Put one of your Workers on top of any Worker or Noble to create or extend a Tower. There can be more than one Tower in a Place. You cannot combine Towers with a Build action. You can move your Noble from one Tower to another (in the same Place) with a Build action.

Magic (Moons): Choose any of your tokens in a Moon Place. You may switch that token with any Rival's token in that Place, or in an adjacent Place. Your Prisoners may be moved with Magic. Nobles (yours and your Rivals') are protected from Magic and cannot be moved.

Attack (Wyrms): There are a few steps to Attacking.

a) First, you may move any number of Free tokens from any adjacent Places to the Place you're attacking. (During the attack, ignore the 6-slot limit.) Announce which Rivals in that Place are under attack (you may choose any or all). If you had Nobles in that Place before the attack, they count as 2 attackers, and Free Knights and Workers there count as 1 attacker. (Only Nobles you had there already count double; if you moved a Noble from a Tower in an adjacent Place, it becomes a regular attacker.) Add them up to get your Attack number.

b) Each Defending Rival can then move Free tokens from one adjacent Place to the Place being attacked. Likewise, their Nobles count as 2, and their Free Knights count as 1. If you're attacking more that one Rival, all Defending Rivals call a temporary truce and are considered to be the same color during the attack. So a Rival's Prisoner could become a Free Knight, if only Defending tokens are above it. Total them all to get the Defense number.

c) The Attacker, and each Defender, turns over an Action card from the Deck. Count the number of suits that match the Place under attack, and add it to the Attack or Defense numbers, respectively.

d) If the Attack number is higher, your Attack succeeded! Remove one Defender's Free token, and then remove additional tokens up to the difference between the Attack and Defense numbers. Defending Nobles must be removed last.

If the Defense ties or exceeds the Attack number, you failed. Remove two Attacking tokens, and then remove additional tokens up to the difference between the Defense and Attack numbers. Your Nobles must be removed last.

e) After the battle, there may be more tokens and Towers than will fit into the six slots. The winner takes precedence over the Worker slots. Excess tokens may be added as Free Knights, for the winners of the battle, or Prisoners (at the bottom of a Tower) for the losers. If it's not possible to do so, eliminate any excess tokens.

f) Note that if a Place is Empty, you can also use an Attack action to move Free tokens from any adjacent Places to the Empty Place. Unlike Migrate, you can choose more than one adjacent Place.

The Places of the Map

Several Places have special abilities.

Action Bonus Places: Note that if you cannot place a Worker on one of these Places (if all the slots are full, for instance) you cannot get the bonus. Also that Place must be one of your Fiefs before taking an Action. (For instance, if the Mill was Disputed, and you took an Exploit action there to add a worker and gain control of it, you would not get any bonus Worker that turn.)

The Mill: Grinding Grain. If you control The Mill before doing an Exploit Action, add one Worker to it before taking the Action.

The Origin: Water's Source. If you control The Origin before taking a Wave action (Explore or Migrate), add one Worker to it before taking that action.

The Forest: Sylvan Magic. If you control The Forest before taking a Magic action, add one Worker to it before taking that action.

The Mountain: Mining The Mountain. If you control The Mountain before taking a Build action, add one Worker to it before taking that action.

The Market: Trading Places. If you control The Market before taking a Trade action, add one Worker to it before taking that action.

Adjacency Powers:

The End: Land's End. After The End has been explored, no Place can be Explored adjacent to it.

The Sea: Waterways. If you control the Sea, you may consider all Wave places that can be connected by Wave places to the Sea to be adjacent. For instance, the Island and the Borderland would be adjacent Places for you, but not for your Rivals. If The Cave were explored adjacent to the Borderland, you could consider The Cave to be adjacent to the Island.)


The Darkness: You May Be Eaten By A Grue. There's a monster lurking in The Darkness. During your Resolution phase, before discarding your Action card, if you do not have a Sun on your Advisor or Action card, remove one Worker from the Darkness. Tokens in Towers are protected from the Grue.

The Desert: Shifting Sands. No Towers can be built here.

Defense Powers:

The Castle: Castle Walls. When defending the Castle, Defenders add the height of Towers they control to their Defense number.

The Cave: A Place of Safety. When The Cave is attacked, any Waves or Wyrms on the Defender's Action or Advisor card may also be added to the Defense number.

The Window, The Borderland, and The Island have no special abilities, but are worth 3 VPs each.

Game End

Once the last Place has been Explored, shuffle the discarded Action cards back into the current Action deck. Once the Action deck has been exhausted after that, the game ends at the end of that round.


Each of your Fiefs are worth 1 VP for every suit on that card. (The Window, The Borderland, and The Island are worth 3 points, The Sea and The End are worth 1, and all others are worth 2.)

If a Place is Disputed, then the player with the highest Tower there gets the VPs. If it is still a tie, the tied players split the VPs evenly.

The player with the highest Tower scores 2 additional VPs. If Towers are tied for highest, the one with the most Free tokens in it wins the tie. If it is still a tie, no one scores those VPs.


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