For those who came in late…
My name is Josh, sometimes appearing as SSDeluger, and I’ve been a player since 1995, Australian rep since 2014, and was part of the v4.0 rules design team. I regularly play with a group of friends some of whom were also play testers for v4.0 and who contributed to these home brew rules, most notably Greg Ison, Dean Pobar, and Blake Thompson. Thanks guys!
Here on the Esfah Chronicles I take off all my official hats off to become just another enthusiastic player like all of you out there reading this.
So what is this?
My intention is for this to be a “living” document of the rule variations that my gaming group is currently using or testing. These rules may change over time and I’ll do my best to maintain an accurate change log. There is no intention to make these rules official in any way. You are welcome to try our rules and offer feedback but please understand that they were created for use by our group and we aren’t trying to make a set of rules to suit everyone.
If you worked on v4.0, then why make new rules?
With v4.0 we made a game that is simpler and faster to play with a moderate level of strategy and can be learnt in a layered approach. The new rules were received well by long time players, and have been integral to more recent growth in new players. Dragon Dice has evolved into a more modern game appealing to a broader audience.
Dragon Dice fundamentally is a war game. You build forces to an agreed point value and try to maneuver your way to capturing terrain objective points while using magic, missile, and melee attacks against your opponent(s). The rule variations presented here have been designed to create a more highly strategic game and may appeal to more serious war-gamers hopefully without adding much extra complexity. Another key design factor is that my group play a lot of multi-player games and our rule variations try to address some issues where we felt those games could use a tweak. Finally, we have tried to bust turtles even more than v4.x does and give players a reason to spread their units out across the battlefield.
You might find rules here to address some of the more common complaints that are heard in various circles on Facebook, Discord, and Slack communities. Mostly, this is just for fun. It keeps the game interesting and challenging for a bunch of players who have been rolling dice together for a while now.
- 18th August 2020 – Added note about burying minor terrains on disaster face in Round Based Turns.
- 17th August 2020 – Initially published.
Amazons Racial Abilities
V4.01 introduced the ruling of having to bury a minor terrain to utilise either the Javelin Charge or Kukri Charge abilities. Many felt that this made the Amazons an “advanced” species since you now required advanced dice (minor terrains) to use their abilities. Even in v4.0 the requirement to forfeit a maneuver created some confusion and had to be addressed in the FAQ. An alternative ruling is offered to avoid both methods.
When targeting an army at the same terrain with a missile attack, Amazon units may count maneuver results as if they were missile results. If any maneuver results are counted in this way, then all Amazon units in that army may not roll for saves [*] until the beginning of their next turn.
When targeting an army with a melee attack, Amazon units may count maneuver results as if they were melee results. If any maneuver results are counted in this way, then all Amazon units in that army may not roll for saves [*] until the beginning of their next turn.
[*] We are currently testing these abilities with and without the following addition – “against attacks or counter-attacks made from the same terrain”
A few years ago I was involved in a project by SFR to create the v3.1 and v3.2 rules which only made it as far as v3.0.4a before being retired in favour of a complete overhaul to create v4. Many of the design objectives in the v3.x road map became a part of v4 including reduced spell lists, elemental based racial abilities, and a rework of minor terrain rules. The minor terrain rules I was working on for v3.2 ended up becoming the basis for v4 though a few bits were left out, so here are those extra bits.
The standard minor terrain rules are used in full with the following additions.
- If an army wins a maneuver step, instead of turning the terrain up or down by one face, you may instead bury the minor terrain of an opponent at the same terrain. If you do this, then you must also bury your own minor terrain if your army controls one.
- If a minor terrain action face matches the terrain action face then ID results of the controlling army are doubled when rolling for results of that action type.
Missile Attack Range
There’s more to test before we write anything down so stay tuned for updates! The general idea is to make missile attacks less effective the further away your target is, and Towers will improve effectiveness.
This rule may be used to curb players from turtling in reserves and casting magic. The longer units are left in the Reserve Area, the less effective they will become. Players will be forced to put units back into the battlefield promoting a faster game. A few different thematic explanations have been put forward for this rule but sometimes a rule is just a rule for balancing the game.
Reserves Modifier Die
Every player is required to bring a standard D6 to the game to use as a “Reserves Modifier Die”, place the die in the Summoning Pool during setup.
- After completing the Reserves Phase, if there are units in a players Reserve Area and the modifier die is in the Summoning Pool, then place the modifier die with the Reserve Army and set it to the value one (1).
- After completing the Reserves Phase, if there are units in a players Reserve Area and the modifier die is with the Reserve Army, then increment the value by one (1). The die cannot be incremented past the value six (6).
- After completing the Reserves Phase, if all units in the Reserve Area have been reinforced to terrains leaving the Reserve Area empty then return the modifier die to the Summoning Pool.
- Any time a Reserve Army makes a roll for magic, missile, or melee results, the value of the modifier die is subtracted. The modifier die value is never applied to maneuver or save rolls, nor is it applied to any individual unit rolls.
Alternate First Turn
This is a simple one which I believe may have been suggested on Discord or the Facebook Players’ Community page and seeks to prevent a breakaway leader. There are many games in which an alternate first player first turn mechanism is used to achieve the same thing.
On the first turn, the first player may only perform a single march.
All Armies March
I’ll give credit where it is due for this one which was influenced by Tom Alsteen, author of another great blog site The Dice Must Flow. This rule greatly discourages turtling, especially in multi-player games, as smaller (even single unit) armies at all other terrains can maneuver terrains towards eighth faces while a turtled army can only target one opponent each turn.
On each players turn, you may perform a march at every location (terrains and Reserves Area) at which you have an army at the beginning of your turn.
In a multi-player game you may want to use tokens to track which armies have marched on your turn.
We recommend using the “Reserves Modifier” and “Alternate First Turn” rules with this rule.
Round Based Turns
Brace yourselves now, this is a big one and is a significant change to the normal game but also the change which adds the most strategic elements out of everything suggested in this article. Round based turns are an extension on the “All Armies March” rule, and if using this rule then we recommend NOT using “Reserves Modifier” or “Alternate First Turn” rules. We do however recommend using the alternate Amazon’s Racial Abilities and additional Minor Terrain rules presented above. We also designed these rules specifically for multi-player games but they can also be used in two player games.
Setup – Step 1: Decide the Total Force Size
As per standard rules.
Setup – Step 2: Assemble Forces
Players divide their units and items into a number of armies, not less than three (3) and not more than the number of terrains being used in the game.
When assembling armies, players may have no more than half of the points (rounded down) of their total forces placed in a single army. After initial army placement, this army size restriction is no longer in effect. Armies should be assembled in secret and are revealed in step 4 below. Players may find it useful to assemble their armies behind a screen.
Setup – Step 3: Set the Battlefield
As per standard rules.
Setup – Step 4: Determine Order of Setup & Place Armies
Order of setup is determined by each players largest army by points value, with ties being resolved by a maneuver roll of those armies (for this roll, ignore all effects of SAIs, other than maneuver results they generate). The player with the largest army will be the first player for setup.
The last player will select the Frontier Terrain. Any one of the proposed Frontier Terrain dice may be selected. The other proposed Frontier Terrains are removed from the game and not used.
All players now reveal their forces and place their largest army at their own home terrain. Then in setup order starting with the first player, each player will place one army at a terrain, then continue around in this order until all armies have been placed. You may not place more than one of your own armies at each each terrain.
Setup – Step 5: Determine Starting Distance
As per standard rules.
The Turn (Round) Sequence
The game is no longer played in the style of one player completing all of the turn phases and then move to the next player. Instead, each phase of the turn (round) is completed for all players in play order before moving to the next phase. Once all players have completed the Reserves Phase, then a new turn (round) commences. Players will need a number of Activation Tokens equal to the number of terrains in play plus one.
1. Expire Effects Phase
All spells and effects that last “until the beginning of your next turn” expire for all players simultaneously.
2. Eighth Face Phase
City & Temple terrains on their 8th face apply their effects, these are resolved by each player in play order.
3. Determine Order of Play Phase
Order of play for the first round is the same as the setup order. On subsequent rounds the order of play is determined by each players largest army by points value, with ties being resolved by a maneuver roll of those armies (for this roll, ignore all racial abilities, minor terrain effects, and effects of SAIs, other than maneuver results they generate). The player with the largest army will be the first player for the round.
4. Activation Phase
Effects and abilities that are normally timed to occur before your first march and after dragons have been resolved will occur now, and will be resolved by each player in play order.
Place an activation token with every army on the battlefield, both at terrains and in Reserves Areas.
In play order each player must choose a single army, remove the activation token from the chosen army and resolve any attacks from dragons present at that terrain against the chosen army. After resolving dragon attacks, a player must choose whether to March or Pass with that army. Minor terrains showing a disaster face are now buried, whether the army marches or passes.
If marching, then complete the Maneuver and/or Action steps as per the standard rules. If passing then nothing more happens, you may not maneuver or perform an action with this army. Players continue marching or passing with one army at a time in play order until all armies have marched or passed.
5. Reserves Phase
Each player in play order may perform the Reinforce and Retreat steps as per the standard rules. Once all players have completed this phase the turn (round) is now over. The next turn (round) begins with the first phase of the Turn (Round) Sequence. Turns (rounds) continue in this manner until a player is crowned the winner by capturing two terrains or by being the only player with any unit(s) remaining.
Note: This is an as yet untested extension to round based turns.
During the Activation Phase, an acting army must March, Pass, or Fortify.
If fortifying, bury any minor terrain controlled by the army then nothing more happens, you may not maneuver or perform an action with this army.
- An army which fortifies may not be retreated during the Reserves Phase.
- Until the beginning of the next round fortified units:
- may not make any counter-attack, and
- units that do not roll an SAI result may be re-rolled once when making any roll. The previous results are ignored. Any units you wish to re-roll in this way must be selected and re-rolled together. Fortification re-rolls occur before Treefolk Rapid Growth re-rolls.
- Fortification effects expire at the beginning of the next round.
Thanks for reading, and Roll To Victory!