This one's for my family up in Liverpool NY! We had a great week-long visit, and my head is still a bit preoccupied with LEGO-themed nonsense... A happy side-effect!
I'm sure my LEGO Heroica and Minotaurus games will never be the same. As I sit at the coffee table contemplating whether to break down our elaborate gameboard, and what segments I should store in each box, I also find myself puzzling over how to keep track of all the little pieces we invented — and the rules that go with them. Do you think other families and friends might benefit from our new rules? Would it inspire their creativity? Maybe at least inspire people to get some board games down from the closet shelf for a night or two?!
I don't know, but it's worth a try!
There were four of us playing together, and we found that each Heroica "Mission" was too short. Our Minotaurus games were also pretty short. We wanted them to go on longer! We wanted them to be more challenging! We wanted them to be funnier, too!
So we built a bigger gameboard with more complicated paths. We invented some new monsters, new potions, new weapons, new obstacles... We went a little nuts!
Here are a few of our changes:
The Vampire Stone confers on the player a special skill. Once activated, you can turn another player into your "Minion". Basically, you become teammates! This player continues to make his or her own decisions, but anything they accomplish (like earning gold, or winning the game) becomes your accomplishment as well. There is a potion, however, that the "Minion" player may be able to acquire and use to stop being your "Minion". This potion is a black bottle (conical piece) with a red stopper (a translucent round red piece). If another player already has this potion, the player who wants it can try to buy it from them...
The Summoning Spell stone also confers on the player a special skill: the ability to summon a monster from the player's "Pack" to fight a monster on their behalf! If a roll of the dice indicates the player should lose any health during the battle, the monster he or she has summoned will lose health first, equal to its strength. And if the strength of the monster you're fighting against is equal to or greater than the strength of the monster you summoned, the monster you summoned gets defeated and therefore needs to go back to the board (where it can be fought and defeated, again, by any player). And you could lose health equal to the difference between the strength of both monsters. You may keep the Summoning Spell in your "Pack" until you use it, and you may only use it once before it goes back to the board. But you can pick it up again, if you land on that space.
We discovered it was really hard to make use of our stones, since there were so few of them and they were scattered around the board in hard-to-reach places. So we also invented Mystery Potions! If you have a mystery potion, you roll the dice at the time you want to use it. The corresponding colored tile on the dice indicates what it will become, roughly equivalent to each "Magic Stone" (see above).
The "Shield" tile corresponds to the Summoning Spell, allowing the player to cast the spell without the stone. The black tile corresponds to the Vampire Stone, allowing you to take the antidote potion and stop being a "Minion". If players agree to this at the beginning of the game, it may also allow you to cast the spell without the stone, as long as you're not already a "Minion". The blue tile corresponds to the Ghost Magic stone, the translucent yellow "grill" tile corresponds to the Transformation Sludge stone, the purple tile corresponds to the Evil Eye (of Horus) stone, and the green tile corresponds to the Jolt of Power stone.
Once activated, Ghost Magic turns you into a ghost and it lasts for three full turns. We actually made blue bottle potions the player should take to use Ghost Magic, indicated by a translucent blue conical piece with an opaque round gold piece as the bottle stopper. (If you used the stone instead of the potion, perhaps you could cast a Ghost Magic spell on another player for three turns?) Once Ghost Magic is activated, you can pass through obstacles, including solid walls, hedges, and monsters, but you cannot use "Magic Spaces", Magic Space Pads (which we invented), or pass through "Magic Doors". You also cannot collect objects from the board or win the game until the magic wears off, because (we reasoned) you need a physical body to do these things. If the dice indicates your mystery potion is Ghost Magic (the blue tile), you should turn into a ghost for three turns.
If you land on the neon yellow Transformation Sludge stone, it turns you into a monster with a strength of three. As a monster, the other players may be forced to battle you anywhere on the gameboard if the two of you are on adjacent spaces or if either of you attempt to land on the same space. Unlike other monsters, you continue to move around the board as other players do, but you cannot collect items or win the game as long as you remain a monster. And unlike other monsters, you cannot be taken off the board after you've been defeated. (You won't lose any health as long as you remain a monster, and you don't have to fight other monsters.) Other players may choose to use the antidote to cure you of being a monster, or you could buy the antidote from another player. Rolling the dice to the translucent neon yellow grill means the Mystery Potion is the antidote. ...But if you don't need the antidote, maybe it could allow you to turn another player into a monster?
The Evil Eye is poisonous. Once you've been poisoned, you will lose a health point on every turn as long as you remain poisoned. In the standard Heroica rules, a player who has lost all their health cannot advance until he or she recovers full health. Once you lose all your health from poison, you'll stay that way as long as you remain poisoned, which is a serious problem. To stop the effect of the poison, you'll need the antidote potion! We used a translucent purple conical piece with an opaque purple round piece as the stopper to indicate the antidote. Taking the antidote will not restore your health, it will only stop the poison. But the standard rules of healing/health recovery will once again apply to you!
No one ever dies, in this game.
The purple tile on the dice corresponds to the Evil Eye. So if your Mystery Potion is purple, you may take the antidote or choose to poison another player, depending on your need. But if you land on the Evil Eye stone, you get poisoned.
Each bottle of Jolt Juice contains lightning in a bottle, corresponding to the green Jolt of Power stone. We created little vials of Jolt Juice using green translucent cylinders and translucent yellow round pieces as stoppers (they were not neon yellow). You can use Jolt Juice to reduce the strength of a monster by one point. We weren't really sure what the stone should do that the potion does not... But if you roll the dice to the green tile, your Mystery Potion becomes a vial of Jolt Juice.
The standard Heroica gameboard includes "Magic Doors" and "Magic Spaces". It is impossible for a player to move through a "Magic Door". So if a space on the gameboard has the translucent blue axe on it, this is an impassable obstacle. If a player lands on a "Magic Space", indicated by the translucent blue disc (it's the short one, and a deeper blue hue), he or she may choose to move any "Magic Door" on the board to an unoccupied dark grey space.
We added Magic Space Pads to our gameboard, indicated by the translucent blue cylindrical piece (it has a two-by-two top surface). When the player ends their move (or lands) on the Magic Space Pad, he or she may choose to move a "Magic Door", or instantly transport to any "Magic Space" or Magic Space Pad, anywhere on the board. We also decided that crossing a Magic Space Pad during your movement (the third space, perhaps, on a move of six spaces) allows the player to instantly pick up that movement on another "Magic Space" or Magic Space Pad, as though teleporting in the middle of your movement. But arrival at the magical destination space does not allow the player to immediately repeat any of these abilities. The player will have to leave the space and return to it if they want to use it, again.
Possession of the Magic Wand allows the player to move a Magic Space Pad to any location on the gameboard. Only Magic Space Pads can be moved. After a single use, the wand must return to the board, the box, or the store, depending on any agreement made by the players at the start of the game. (The small translucent blue round piece could indicate where the wand goes back to on the board.) Since Magic Space Pads are basically shortcuts to different areas of the board, the ability to move one around with the Magic Wand is an immensely desirable power! So be careful about making agreements before you begin. Good rules will help to prevent any one player from gaining an unfair advantage!
More on this, later...