The First War

  1. Introduction
    An empire-building game for 2 players in which they utilize discovered terrain, four types of pieces and technology cards to their utmost efficiencies.
  2. Components
    • 96 hexagonal tiles in 5 types:
      • 36 Lake
      • 18 Fields
      • 15 Mountain
      • 14 Plain
      • 13 Forest
    • 80 wooden cubes (20 each in red, blue, green and purple)
    • 80 wooden disks (20 each in red, blue, green and purple)
    • 40 white cubes
    • 36 development cards
    • 2 population tracks
    • 1 six-sided die
  3. Setting Up the Game
    Set up the game as follows:
    1. Each player takes a Fields tile and a Plains tile.
    2. Setting these and 5 Fields tiles aside, randomly arrange the remaining tiles face down so as to form a very large hexagon-shaped "board" with 6 tiles on a side. You will be four tiles short. At opposite corners place face up a set-aside Fields tile and adjacent to it a set-aside Plains tile to complete the board. These face up tiles constitute the player starting spaces, so choose corners close to the players.
    3. One player receives the 80 disk pieces, the other the 80 cubes.
    4. Each player places their initial pieces as follows:
      • Fields tile: 1 green, 1 purple, 2 blue
      • Plains tile: 2 red
    5. The players place the rest of their pieces on their population track, one piece per box. When you remove pieces from the track, move the remaining pieces down and to the right. In this way the player always knows the size of his population, which is the highest uncovered number.
      Card layout
    6. Each player takes one set of 18 development cards and separates them into 4 separate decks denominated I, II, III and IV. He shuffles each deck and lays out the 3 cards of deck I side by side face down. Then he shuffles deck II and lays these out face down below the deck I cards as if building a pyramid. He does the same for decks III and IV.
    7. The players agree which one will go first. The other player turns face up his central Level I technology card and places a white cube on it to show it is active.
  4. Goal of the Game
    The game ends when any of the following occur. The player who performs the action wins.
    1. A player takes control of his opponent's starting Fields space.
    2. The opponent loses his last piece of any one type.
    3. All of the opponent's pieces are wounded.
    4. A player activates 3 or more of his Level IV technologies. In this case, if it is the first player who achieved this, the second player still takes his turn. If he also activates 3 or more of his Level IV technologies, then players total up their points spent to activate technologies. The higher total wins.

  5. Sequence of Play
    A player does all of these steps in order on his turn. After his turn is complete, his opponent performs the same steps.
    1. Hunter Movement
    2. Other Movement
    3. Conflict
    4. Distribute Food
    5. Research and Development
    6. Healing
    7. Population Increase

  6. Playing the Game
    Definitions: The colors of the pieces have meanings as follows: Red: Hunters
    Blue: Farmers
    Green: Healers
    Purple: Scientists

    1. Hunter Movement
      During this phase, only Hunters may move and they may not move during other phases (apart from Retreats).

      Speed: A piece may only move to an adjacent tile, i.e. each piece has 1 movement point.

      Discovery: A Hunter may move into any face up non-lake tile or into a face down tile. If the piece is entering a face down tile, the player announces his intention to move there and then replaces the tile in face up position. If the tile is not a lake, the piece moves into it. If the tile was a lake, it does not move on this turn. Place the piece on the edge between the lake and the tile it was in to show it cannot move further this turn. Treat the piece as in the original tile for all purposes. A piece may never end its movement in a lake.

      Crossing Lakes: If a piece borders a revealed lake, it may move across the lake to a tile that touches it. If the tile the piece is traveling to is not yet revealed, then handle it as a Discovery. ending in the space in which it started the turn. If the destination turns out to be other than lake, the move is successful. If the destination turns out to be a lake, return the piece to its starting point; it does not move on this turn.

      Move one by one: Pieces may move one by one so that perhaps a first piece can discover a lake and the second, third and fourth attempt to cross it.

      Stacking: At no time during a turn may a player move so that he has more than 4 of his own pieces in a tile.

      Attacks: An attack occurs when a piece enters a tile containing one or more of the other player's pieces. Upon entry, the piece(s) must immediately stop moving, even if more movement points (as a result of Research and Development) are available. Such a move results in Conflict. A wounded piece may never attack.

      Attacks across lakes: A piece may not enter a tile by crossing a lake if the tile contains any enemy pieces.

    2. Other Movement
      During this phase only pieces other than hunters may move. The same rules for movement apply.

    3. Conflict
      Conflict occurs when both players have pieces on the same tile. The current player is the attacker; the opponent the defender.

      Tallying Strengths: In conflict, pieces have different strengths as follows:

      Piece Type Attacker Strength Defender Strength
      Hunter 2 1
      Farmer 1 2
      Healer 0 0
      Scientist 0 0
      Order: Conduct conflict tile by tile, resolving each tile completely before proceeding to the next. The Attacker decides the order, on the fly if he wishes.

      Allocation: In the tile, the defender arranges his pieces into stacks. He may leave each of his pieces in a separate stack or stack them all into a single stack. Then the attacker places his pieces atop the ones he wishes to attack. He must cover as many stacks as he can, even if in some cases his own piece is at a disadvantage.

      Triple advantage: Compare the strengths of each stack in conflict. If one side is at least triple that of the other, return the weaker side to their owner's population track.

      Simple advantage: If a side is stronger, but not three times as strong, then the weaker side is wounded; placed a white cube on the stack to show this. This stack must retreat.

      Tie: If both sides are the same strength, both are wounded; place a white cube on each stack to show this. The attacking stack must retreat.

      Wounded: A wounded piece that receives another wounded marker is instead returned to its owner's population track. In addition, wounded pieces cannot attack or perform their functions: In particular:

      Retreats: The owning player decides the order of his retreats from a tile after resolving all conflict in the tile.
      If both players happen to be retreating from the same tile, the defending stacks retreat first.
      A stack of retreating pieces do not all have to go to the same tile, but may split up.

      Attacker Retreats: When an attacking stack retreats, it moves one space to the tile from which it entered the conflict (which may have come across a lake) or to a space containing only its own pieces. Pieces may not retreat into a tile already containing four of one's own pieces. Return pieces having no legal retreat to the owner's population track.

      Defender Retreats: The defender retreats to an adjacent land tile which does not contain any of the opponent's pieces and from which no attacker came.
      A defender may not retreat across a lake.
      Pieces may not retreat into a tile already containing four of one's own pieces. Return pieces having no legal retreat to the owner's population track.
      A defender may attempt to retreat to an unrevealed tile. Should this tile should prove to be a lake, leave it face up, but return the piece(s) to the owner's population track.

      Further Conflict: If after conflict there remain pieces belonging to both sides on a tile (because the attacker could not cover every stack), repeat the attack process with the remaining pieces, as many times times as necessary, until one player's pieces remain.

    4. Distribute Food
      How many need feeding: The player uses his population chart to determine the number of pieces he has in play.

      How much food is available:
      Each player calculates this using his own pieces:

      1. Count the number of not wounded farmers you have on Fields.
      2. Multiply this number by 3.
      3. Add to this the number of not wounded hunters on Forest and Plains tiles.
      The resulting total is the amount of food available.

      Resolution: If the amount of food equals or exceeds the population, there is no difficulty. In addition, each extra 3 food can remove a wounded marker from a Healer piece. But if there is a food shortfall, then the player must place white cubes on a number of his pieces equal to the difference. He may choose any of his pieces, which are now considered wounded. If he places a white cube on a piece which is already wounded, this piece is returned to his population track instead, but he may not do this unless every other of his pieces is already wounded.

      Food emergency: A player may, at the start of his turn, declare that for the current turn only, all of his pieces will temporarily act as farmers for food distribution purposes. This declaration affects the rest of the turn as follows:

      1. Conflict: pieces which are not blue ignore any development card improvements to their defense strengths and instead defend with the strengths they had at the start of play. Hunters do not attack as hunters, but as farmers.
      2. Population Increase: treat this phase as normal, i.e. according to actual color.

    5. Research and Development
      Example development card text for a card having a development cost of 7:
      Smelting (7)
      Each additional mountain tile occupied by
      an owned scientist increases the player's
      research points for the turn.

      Tally research points: In the beginning of this phase the player adds together the following quantities:

      • Each one of his tiles which contain 2 or more of his scientists.
      • Each different type of tile which contains at least one of his scientists.
      The total of these comprise the number of research and development points the player may spend in the current turn. Any points not spent in the turn are lost.

      Research: At the start of the game, the player may reveal only level I cards. A player reveals a card by spending research points equal to the card's level. When any level I card has been revealed, a player may spend 2 points to reveal a level II card. This in turn permits revealing a level III card, and so on.

      Development: A player performs development by spending the number of research points listed (in parenthesis after the card name) on the development card to activate it. Initially, the player may activate any face up level I card. When a player has activated both of the level I cards above a level II card, he may spend points to activate the level II card. (Note that the level II cards at the edges only have one level I card above them and can thus be activated more easily.)

      Signifier: To signify that a card is active, place a white cube on it.

      Points are lost: Any research points not spent in the current turn are lost.

    6. Healing
      The player may use Healers to remove wounded markers. Each Healer may remove one wounded marker in its own tile. Healers who are themselves wounded may not perform the healing function.

    7. Population Increase
      A player is entitled to a population increase on any tile where he has either 2 or 3 pieces. You may even use wounded pieces for population increase. The player resolves population increases in any order he wishes. Determine the type of the new piece depending on the types already there:

      All pieces the same: If all pieces are the same, the player simply places another piece of the same type in the tile.

      Types list:


      Two different types of pieces: The player rolls the die and consults the Types list:

      If the die roll falls in the range 1-3, the player places a piece that matches the one that appears earlier in the above list.
      If the die roll falls in the range 4-6, the player places a piece that matches the one that appears later in the above list.

      Three different types of pieces: The player rolls the die and consults the Types list:

      If the die roll falls in the range 1-2, the player places a piece that matches the one that appears earliest in the above list.
      If the die roll falls in the range 5-6, the player places a piece that matches the one which is latest in the above list.
      If the die roll falls in the range 3-4, the player places a piece that matches the one which is neither earliest nor latest.

      Supplies run out: If you need to place a piece of a particular type is, but no more are available on the population track, do no place a piece.

  7. Credits
    Playtesters in alphabetical order: Jeff DiCorpo, Gordon Hua, Andrew Martin, Ken Tidwell

Last update: Tue Dec 20 02:42:04 UTC 2016
Created: 11 September 2006
Please send any comments to Rick Heli