Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group

Crystal Chaos – onside report Trevor Duguid Farrant

Four player version with assistance from Dave Boundy, Jon Casey and Mukul Patel

This is a mini-version of a show game that I first ran on 16th October 1994 at SELWG. I wanted to put together a full set of rules as opposed to the umpire set, which had much contained in my head. I wanted the players to read the rules and not be led by the ex-umpire, the games needs to be able to run without me. What this did mean is that the games took much longer to play than normal (the show game was a maximum of 75 minutes, with many ways of it finishing earlier).

You are the best druid in your clan and have been transported by the gods to duel other druids in the magic grove. Defeat your opponents to claim the title “Druid of the Year”.

Dave and Jon asked several questions about the cards, these are the game engine and I had created a look-up list to answer the most FAQs. Thanks to the CLWG collective I have added a couple more to that list. Most often it’s things as the designer that you have taken for granted. Obviously an ice wall should be placed in the same way as a hedge, whereas a storm is placed withing a square, well is it obvious, no not necessarily, but I’ll reword the card so that the rule is clear. Dave pointed out that my wraparound world had TDF (non-Euclidean) geometry on the corners! It does make the four external corners the same distance as the four internal corners, in that they are all one horizontal or one vertical move or both moves apart.

Mukul had kept a good defence card Restore Life, when you are eliminated by way of endurance loss, you are ported back to your holy spring and refreshed recovering three hit points, but miss a turn. The effect was not as I desired, i.e. he was then hit again whilst missing his turn. This was unsatisfactory so I have improved the card. Now playing this spell results is the same basic elimination: the druid drops any items and crystal they may be carrying where they are located. However, instead of being eliminated they are transported back to their holy spring at the end of that turn and three endurance coins are returned.

What did I learn?…

The game is now too small for our clumsy fingers!

The hedges need common sense and whilst we had that in the group, players would rather have hard and fast rules. I’d chosen a mix of double and single Lego blocks (other makes are not available) to help secure the different boards together, but they made it hard to reach the much smaller Lego pawn when surrounded by hedges (the original Druids were 3½” to 4” on a 6’x6’ board).

I’ve had a rethink and bought yet more Lego. The hedges are now all 1×3 or 1×4 and they are all placed on the North or West sides of the square. This means the druids still move from point to point, but the point is always in a 3×3 square as opposed to getting as small as 2×2. My big fingers can always fit into that size with ease. This further simplifies the hedge placement without the need to swap bricks if many hedges are in close proximity.

Smart phones, beautiful graphics, hi-res colour printers don’t make something easy to read in the rules (my printer, even on card and photo quality couldn’t clearly show angled Lego block of green on a green base.

Thanks for the support, I’ll soon have the final version ready to play. It will definitely fit into the car for the games holiday this year.


Crystal Chaos

Playing board for the game Crystal Chaos

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