Oakheart Games has five truly unique abstract strategy games in development. Each game is similar enough in design to be combined into one project, but different enough to warrant their own set of rules and separate boards. Game boards range from 8×8 down to a 4×4 grid. Pieces across all games share a theme, but the similarities end there. Movement of pieces is not the same in any two games. Piece elimination occurs differently in each game of the set. Every play of each game is designed to be a completely new experience that never gets old.
Of the five games, Bolster has been tested the most. Its game-play is the most polished and ready for prototyping, and further playtesting. Bolster is a simple game that can be explained in under one minute, but can be very challenging to master. It is a very dynamic game that forces you to change strategies as you play.
Pieces have individual strength and have a bolstered strength based on adjacent allied units. Movement is unlimited through open spaces. Pieces connected in an unbroken chain may follow the leader piece any distance.
8×8 Square (Chess) Board
Emperor is a game of quiet whispers, cunning, and misdirection. While it is an abstract strategy game at heart, there is a dash of push-your-luck. It is rare that an abstract strategy game can work well (or in this case, better) as a game for 3 players over the usual 2 for the genre *we’re trying to see how it can work with 4.
Each player takes turns moving one member of their house (pawn) to either influence the emperor or subtly shift the balance of power through manipulating members of other houses (or both). Each player can, using her own pieces, maneuver to manipulate the position of other players’ pieces or even the emperor himself.
A three dimensional board resemble steps up to the throne
9 Triangles on edge of Hexagon-shaped Board
Players take turns drafting magical artifacts to place on their pieces before battle during the equip phase, so some pieces will have more artifacts than others depending on player choice. The artifacts can only be donned in a particular order however, so deducing what the other player might choose during the equip phase, and watching how those choices are equipped is critical to countering. And that’s only getting set up.
The game rolls out before you in new and dynamic ways during each play. There are hundreds of configurations based on how artifacts are drafted and donned. Artifacts (rings with symbols that fit sequentially over pieces) are identified as follows: Crown of Command, Amulet of Action, Studded Belt, and Winged Boots. Because they are artifacts of great power, each equipped piece grants an additional movement square over the base movement of 1, and a special movement abilities. There are also “power-up” gems that appear every 6 turns in central, preset locations; power-ups grant additional one-time powers such as Resurrection (return piece to the board unadorned), equip discarded artifact, and artifact destruction (removed from the game).
This game involves movement of pieces on a board, but elimination only occurs at a range indicated on each piece, not by physically moving to the target’s space. Pieces also need line of sight to take out their targets. Players have a primary target to take out in this game, but can (and generally must) take out the opponent’s snipers to get to “the mark.” Units can move and shoot or shoot and move. The opponents last piece moved cannot be targeted until the next turn.
In a capture-the-flag style game, both players are attempting to steal the other player’s crown jewels and return them to the King to make him Emperor. Movement and abilities of each unit change throughout the game based on their role. The unit with the jewel of the same color is the ruler. The ruler is protected by many guards, and a few elite guards. The unit with the jewel of the other player’s color is transformed into the thief.
5×5 or 7×7 Board