Journalists
Designed by Jeff Warrender
Players 2-4
Length 30 minutes
Extra Material Extended deck, 12 chips/player, ~50 cubes

Players are journalists, and have just received a lead to an important story. There are 12 hours (time chips) until press; each player must assemble the best story possible in that time, by gaining evidence (cards), and getting attestation (cubes) to support that evidence. Suits loosely represent the 6 categories ("who", "what", etc), and each player has a category in which he/she specializes (Aces). At the end of the game, the strongest story will be printed, and that player will be the winning journalist.

Setup

  1. Remove the Aces from the Decktet. Shuffle and give one to each player; discard the rest. The players place their cards face-up in front of them on the table; this forms the first card in the player's "evidence tableau".
  2. Shuffle the remaining cards together, along with the Pawns and (optional) the Excuse.
  3. Draw the top six cards and arrange in a 3-2-1 "pyramid" in the center of the table.
  4. Give each player 12 "time chips", each representing 1 hour (these can be stones/beads/whatever — they don't need to be different for the different players)
  5. Randomly choose a Start Player

Game play

Continue playing until all players have run out of chips from their supplies, or until the last card has been taken.

A player's turn consists of taking one card, either from the "pyramid" display or from another player, as described below.

If the player takes a card from the display, he may either

  • (a) place it on the rightmost end of his row of "evidence" cards, or
  • (b) may take as many cubes as the rank of the card, and, moving from left to right, place one cube on each card to the right of the ace that has a matching symbol. Repeat this until all cubes have been distributed.

If at any time, a card has as many cubes as its rank, it is "complete", and is moved to the left of the Ace, and all of its cubes returned to the supply. If all cards with a matching suit are complete before the player has run out of cubes, the extra cubes are simply discarded (or placed on the Excuse, see below).

Whether he chose (a) or (b), the player must pay time chips for the card. If he took the card from the row of 3 cards in the display, he pays 1 time chip; if he took it from the row of 2 cards, he pays 2 time chips; if he took it from the row having a single card, he pays 3 time chips. If he chose option (a), the chips are discarded; if he chose option (b), the card he chose is placed in front of him, above his evidence row, and the chips he paid are placed on the card; another player may, as part of his/her turn, take that card and place it in his/her evidence row.

Finally, the player must slide cards down in the display to fill blank spaces, and then reveal the top card from the deck and place it at the top of the pyramid.

If, instead of choosing a card from the display, the player chose a card from another player, he/she must discard one chip, and must choose option (a), adding the card to the rightmost end of his evidence row. The player who previously held the card takes back his chips into his supply.

This concludes the player's turn; the player on the left takes the next turn.

When the game ends, players add up their scores as follows:

- For each completed card, add the card's rank
- For each completed card that matches the player's Ace, +1 point.

The extended deck

The rank of a pawn is equal to the rank of the player's highest-rank completed card. This means that the value of a pawn can change as the game progresses, and so the pawn should not be moved to the left of the player's Ace until the game ends. (The player's Ace is automatically considered complete, so the Pawn always has a minimal value of 1). Note that it is not permitted to add cubes to a pawn in excess of the highest completed card's rank, even if the player hopes to subsequently complete a higher card at a later time.

The Excuse, if placed in the Evidence row, has a value equal to the number of cubes placed on it. The player may only add cubes to the Excuse if, after placing cubes in action (b), he/she has extra cubes that could not otherwise be placed. If the Excuse has, at game's end, more cubes than the highest completed card the player holds, it is worth 0 points. If chosen for action (b), the Excuse may be used to complete any one card.

Variants

Instead of taking turns in clockwise order, the next player to get a turn is the one with the most remaining chips. If more than one player have the same number of chips, it is the player closest to the current player's left.

If you have different time chips for each player, then after using option (b) to add cubes to evidence cards, the card the player purchased can be placed in the center of the table with his/her chips on it, if players find this helpful in assessing their options.

Credits

Game Design: Jeff Warrender

Links

Comments

Based loosely on a mechanism from a board game in development, "The Acts of the Evangelists"

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