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Game Mechanisms


This game is played with an open map system. So in the center of the hall, the map of the City of Urr and its direct environment is open for everyone to see. That said, we urge you not to go to this map unless you have business there. When all 50 participants in this game would gather around the table, it will be a hard time for most to see anything.

Since combat can be everywhere on the walls, as well as the deployment of siege engines, we will place 4 separate combat tables on the corners of the central map, so that 4 combats can be handled and judged in parallel. To help you arbitrate, we will have at least 2 and possibly even 4 map umpires to help you in this process.

On a separate table next to the open map, we will also display a map of Urr's environment (actually it is an enlarged version of the map in the introduction pages of the Vales of Urr). This may help you to put distances and travel times in context. Remember that Urr is roughly circularly built with a diameter of some 800 meter.


Every turn is played on 30 minutes. We distinguish between two types of turns:

  • Strategic turns
  • Tactical turns

Strategic turns

  • Strategic turns represent a week of real time.
  • They require payment of troops and/or food for the population for that week.
  • Nations that can use magic can cast 1 strategic magic ritual.
  • They may encompass siege engine deployment during the turn.
  • They may encompass raids (strategic combat).
  • They may encompass the activation of special equipment (See team briefing).

A strategic turn has the following phases:

Phase Time Description Location Remarks
1 0-10 Administration Team table Payment of troops/food
1 0-10 Magic Magic table Magic results are determined
2 10-20 Movement Map Troops are moved onto central map
2 10-14 Raids (d) Map Raid events are played
3 14-15 Trebuchet (d) Map
4 15-29 Diplomacy Free Players are free to discuss anything

(d): Non combat players are busy with diplomatic missions or they are preparing for the next turn.

Siege engine deployment (trebuchets) and Raiding resolution will be explained later.

Movement during strategic turns

Since movement in a strategic turn covers a whole week, you would be able to march all over the central map. Note that trebuchets cannot shoot while on the move. If you want to move troops onto the central map, you should inform the map umpires before doing so. A large force that is within an hour distance can be spotted by scouts. This rule holds for all parties wanting to move onto the central map.

Tactical turns

Tactical turns are part of an upcoming strategic turn. Both sides still have to pay their troops and/or provide food for that strategic turn.

  • There may be one or more tactical turns per upcoming strategic turn.
  • Magic using nations can cast 1 tactical magic ritual, each tactical turn.
  • Special equipment (See your team briefing) may only be activated once, before or during this strategic turn but you can do so at any time during tactical turns.
  • Tactical turns represent a short real time (about half an hour).
  • During the tactical turn, 3 combat rounds takes place. Combat may happen everywhere on the City map.

The Prince of Darkness decides when a tactical turn should start by ordering his troops to storm the walls of the City. If he does so, he must inform the map umpires during the administration phase of a turn, as it will be announced: every wall militia can easily see the preparation of troops for battle. At the next turn or turns he may decide to start another tactical turn, if the previous one was not sufficient enough for storming the walls. At the moment that he decides that tactical turns should stop, the remainder of the upcoming strategic turn is played.

Note that it is possible that the Prince of Darkness initiates a first tactical turn and that other parties intend to march onto the central map at the same moment: the map umpires will then judge the actual situation.

We introduced this concept of strategic and tactical turns because in medieval times, siege could continue for weeks (or even months) in a row. However, when an enemy committed his troops to fighting on the walls, battles usually finished in a couple of hours.

A tactical turn has the following phases:

Phase Time Description Location Remarks
1 0-10 Administration Team table
1 0-10 Magic Magic table Magic results are determined
2 10-15 Movement (d) Map Placement of command markers and resolution
3 15-20 Combat 1 (d) Combat table
4 20-23 Combat 2 (d) Combat table
5 23-26 Combat 3 (d) Combat table
6 26-29 Map cleanup Map Central results of combat

(d): Non combat players may be busy with diplomatic missions or they are preparing for the next turn.

Movement phase during tactical turns

Since tactical turns are initiated by the Prince of Darkness, he is usually the attacker. However, it might be that a unit enters the fields around the city at some specific time to attack sieging forces from the rear. At this point it is a judgement by the map umpire who will be the attacking and who will be the defending unit(s). Note also that a tactical turn is only half an hour and that you cannot march the whole central map in that time frame. So you must think ahead in a previous strategic turn how your forces are spread on the central map.

First, the attacker places a stack/command token on the table in an area on the map (for instance a wall segment, in the case that he wants to storm the wall at this point). Simultaneously he will put a stack of units face down, with the same stack/command token in his appropriate troop box on the map or aside the map (It might be that his appropriate box on the map is too small for all of his forces). Basically, this is his attack commitment to that specific area. If he wants to attack more than one area, he should continue setting up his allocation until he has declared all his attack commitments.

These tokens represent a stack of troops between 1 and 8 units. For open combats we have a stacking limit of 8 units on either side. For combats to storm the wall or on the wall, a stacking limit of 4 will be used (There is not so much space on top of a wall). For 5 or more units a large stack token should be used. This represents the fact that a big troop density is visible from the walls, but the actual composition of the attacking forces should remain unclear. You must note that there is a separate stacking limit for troops actually going into combat.

Next, the defender places his commitments while he distributes his troops over the locations, he wants to defend.

The map umpires will then indicate for each pair of players intending combat in an area to a combat table where both should go to resolve the outcome of the battle in that area. There will be 4 combat tables where combat can be resolved. Thus, if attacks/defences are expected in multiple map areas, more than one commanding officer should be sent to the map table for each side, to allow as many combat resolutions as possible in parallel. Note that the actual division of forces among the commanding officers can already be done in the Team Phase.

To resolve a battle in a specific area, the attacking and defending commanding officer will open the unit stacks for that area and then 3 combat rounds will be handled.

Combat Phases

Every combat phase has 4 actions:

  1. The defender declares if he wants to retreat
  2. The attacker declares if he wants to retreat
  3. Ranged weapons attack
  4. Melee attack


Food and money tokens

An army marches on its stomachs, a saying attributed to two human generals of past times, attests to the importance of forces to be well provisioned. This is also quite important for a City under siege. In our game, we will keep track of food storage by means of coloured (not yellow) tokens. One token represents the amount of food that is generally eaten by 1000 people in a week time. As a general rule, a City under siege must be able to feed its population, otherwise unrest will spread. While an army is marching, it does not have the time to live from the land (or march very very slowly). So an army on the march must feed its soldiers.

We keep track of gold by means of yellow tokens. One unit of gold, represented by a small yellow token, is the equivalent of 100 gold pieces (To give you some comparison: one Roman aureus had about 8 grams of gold or in modern day currency valued about 300 euro). Large yellow tokens will be used to represent 5 units of gold. We have estimated that one food token will roughly cost one unit of gold. Of course, when the need for food rises, so may its price.

Death of a character

It is not impossible that your character dies in the game. If so, you should go to the Game umpire and check with him what to do. It is most likely that you will be recast in the same team, but possibly with other capacities and options.

Diplomatic missions and when they go wrong

A lot of the game is about people engaging in diplomatic negotiations. There are no specific rules for adjudicating negotiations, but they are also an essential part of this game. There are 2 basic principles to observe:

  • I. Diplomacy only takes place if everybody involved can actually meet each other. There is a war going on. It should be clear at all times where the meeting is, who is involved and how they all got there.
  • II. You should document the outcome of your negotiations, because a lot of stuff only goes into effect if you can prove to the right umpires something has been agreed on.

The rules below cover what happens, when diplomats lose their composure and draw their weapons at the negotiating table. Since this is something when the parties are in direct contact with each other, it involves interaction which must be refereed by an umpire. If this happens locate the nearest to referee the conflict.

  • First
    Is your character an Elf, the Dark Prince, or a Temple Hermit? Ignore these rules, use your personal magic to avoid a fight, either by fleeing, or by disabling your opponent. The umpire decides which power goes first if needed.
  • Second
    In other cases the Follow Through test takes place. Both sides roll a D6. If at least one of them rolls a 6 the fight is actually on, otherwise there is a lot of shouting and waving swords in the air, but no actual combat.

    Modifiers for the Follow Through test
    • Does your character use the Loathsome weapon power? The other character rolls 1D6 less on the Follow Through test.
    • Does your character think he is a great warrior? (player decides) Roll an extra D6, keep the best result.
    • Does your character have a name in the briefing and not just a title? You can proclaim: “I will not start this fight…” and automatically fail this test.
  • Third: The actual person to person combat
    Both sides roll another D6. On a tie, the fight is broken up without a clear result, otherwise the highest result wins. Does your character have his own personal raiding unit with him? You will survive the fight. Otherwise the umpire decides if the loser is dead, or has simply lost the fight and has sustained only minor injuries. If the loser is dead, the umpire provides that player with a new character.

    Modifiers for the actual combat
    • Is your character a great warrior? (umpire decides) Roll an extra D6, keep the best result. This can theoretically stack with the modification below. Granting a character 3D6 keep the best result.
    • Does your character have a name in the briefing and not just a title? And has the character deliberately failed the Follow Through test? You can proclaim: “…But I will finish it!” Roll an extra D6, keep the best result.
urhb/mechanisms.txt · Last modified: 2018/01/15 11:40 by marcs