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BRIDGES AND BOATS RULES v. 2 ( last edit 5.03.2007)

 

CREDITS

  • Created by Thomas Gale, © 2003 - 2007
  • All copyrights belong to the attributed creators. All rights reserved.
  • Please do not redistribute in any form without permission.
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STATS

  • Number of Players: 2
  • Duration: 20-40 min
  • Atmosphere: light domino and counter war game
  • Theme: abstracted 20th century warfare

COMPONENTS

  • set of double 6 dominoes (28 dominoes)
  • big pile of pennies or counters
  • 2 six-sided dice

INTRODUCTION

Bridges and Boats is strategic war game in which the attacker is trying to get soldiers across a major river while the enemy tries to stop them.

HOW TO WIN

The game ends immediately when the last domino is taken from the resource pool. At game end the attacker wins if more soldier units have crossed the river than the defender has collected units of money. Otherwise the defender wins. If the soldier/money unit count is tied at endgame then the conflict is tied; so be it.

PLAY SETUP

Shuffle the dominoes face down and set them aside in a pile. This is now the resource pool.

Spent resources (i.e. used boats, destroyed bridge sections, etc) will form a resource discard pile.

Set aside the coins in a pile. This is the coin pool.

Players start with nothing.

PLAY

Attacker always takes the first turn. Players alternate turns until last domino is drawn from resource pool.

ATTACKER TAKES TURN:

These steps should be performed in sequence.

Step 1 : Income : Take 3 coins from the pool to add to your reserves. You may spend them or save them as you please. Put all spent coins (and dead soldiers) back in the coin pool.

Step 2 : Purchase Resources: You have the option of buying resources (dominoes). Each domino from the resource pool costs 2 coins. Return spent money to coin pool. You may save or use resources as you please. You may keep the facing of the dominoes secret until activated. Remember the game ends immediately when the last domino is taken from the resource pool.

Step 3: Build with Resources: Attacker Resources can be used to build a section of bridge or used to build boats. You may only build one bridge. You may build as many boats as you can afford.

BUILDING THE BRIDGE: Each domino becomes a bridge section when laid FACE DOWN flat on the table. The river is six dominoes wide laid lengthwise. You can build or repair as many bridge sections as you can afford until the bridge is complete. You must always repair the sections closest to your side of the river first. You can't dismantle a bridge section to build a boat or get a refund.

BUILDING BOATS: Each domino becomes a newly built boat when placed on your bank of the river (imagine). You can't dismantle a boat once built. Boats are kept face down and sideways until they launch, whereupon they are flipped face up.

Step 4: Deploy Soldier Units: Your unspent coins become soldiers once you attempt to send them across the river. You may save them and wait for a mad rush near the end game or send them slowly.

SOLDIERS CROSSING THE BRIDGE: A complete bridge is 6 dominoes long face down. Each domino has 2 spaces on it so the bridge is 12 spaces long. More than one soldier may not occupy the same space. They have not crossed the bridge until they have moved off the last domino on the bridge. Soldiers can only move forward on the bridge one space on a single turn (i.e. half a domino). They can't move backward (unless forced backward by an enemy strike). Moving on and off the bridge counts as one move. For ease of maneuvering you must move your furthest ahead soldiers before moving those behind. If there is a bridge section destroyed by the enemy blocking forward movement, the soldiers must wait until it's repaired. Soldier movement does not cost coins so up to twelve soldiers can be resting on a complete bridge at any one time. The soldiers need not wait until the bridge is complete before moving onto it. All soldiers who successfully cross by bridge are placed in the attacker's victory pile for the endgame scoring.

SOLDIERS CROSSING ON BOATS: Boats are kept face down and sideways until they are loaded with soldiers, whereupon they are flipped face up. Boats hold up to two soldier units each. They attempt to cross the river under cover of dark. Once a soldier is sent aboard a boat he doesn't leave until he has crossed the river or died. The boat is flipped face up once a soldier enters. However a boat may embark at any time after at least one soldier has come aboard. It is announced by the attacker when this happens and the boats are turned to become perpendicular rather than parallel to the bank to show they have launched. There may be a strategy in loading boats but not sending them off immediately. Boats may not go forth empty. The values on the upside of the domino will determine whether a boat succeeds in crossing. However, this happens during the defender's turn. Once announced boats are immediately floated all the way across the river to the enemy's riverside. You must now wait for the enemy's turn to determine if the cannons sunk the boat(s) or not. If the boats are not destroyed by defensive cannons then your soliders may unload on your following turn. (See below for cannon resolution.) All soldiers who successfully cross by boat are placed in the attacker's victory pile for the endgame scoring. Once boats move across and unloaded they are used up and the dominoes are placed in a discard resource pile.

Step 5: Declare end turn.

DEFENDER TAKES TURN:

These steps should be performed in sequence.

Step 1 : Income : Take 3 coins from the pool to add to your reserves. You may spend them or save them as you please. Remember to save some as money equals victory points for you. Put all spent coins back in the coin pool.

Step 2 : Purchase Resources: You have the option of buying resources (dominoes). Each domino from the resource pool costs 2 coins. Return spent money to coin pool. You may save or use resources as please. You may keep the facing of the dominoes secret until activated. Remember the game ends immediately when the last domino is taken from the resource pool. To separate dominoes in your resource pool from planes in your air base and river cannons it's a good idea to line them up on side in a wall for secret viewing.

Step 3: Build with Resources: Defensive Resources can be used to build planes or cannons. You may build as many planes and cannons as you can afford.

BUILDING PLANES: Build a plane by placing a domino (from your reservers) FACE UP at your air base. The value represents the skill of the pilot. Once planes are created they may not be destroyed or converted.

BUILDING CANNONS: Build a cannon by placing a domino (from your reservers) FACE DOWN alongside your riverbank. Not to be confused with dominoes at your airbase. Once created planes and cannons are not interchangeable.

Step 4: Deploy Planes and Fire Cannons:

BOMBING THE BRIDGE WITH PLANES: You must pay 1 coin per plane that goes on a bombing mission (except ghost pilot which is free and ace-pilot which costs two). Return the coin to the coin pool. You don't have to send all your planes but they must all fly together. You can't attempt a bombing with one and then try with another depending on the results. Decide how many planes leave on the day's bombing run and move them near the bridge. Resolve the bombings one by one and return the exhausted planes back to the air base. To see if a plane successfully bombs a bridge section roll 2 dice. If the value of the dice equals the sum of value on your plane domino, then the bridge is struck. If the pips of the dice exactly matches the numbers on either side of the domino then it is an a deadly strike. Otherwise the plane has missed its mark and returns to the air base. To determine which bridge section is hit roll 2 dice again. If the resulting sum is 2 then the bridge section closest to the attacker is destroyed. If the resulting sum is 3 or 4 then the next bridge section closest to the attacker is destroyed. And so on until 11 or 12 is the last bridge section closest to your side of the river. Destroyed bridge sections are placed in the resource discard pile. Any soldiers on the bombed bridge section are killed and returned to the coin pool. If it is a deadly strike then any soldiers on either adjacent bridge section are also killed. Each plane can only fly one bombing run per turn, but planes are never discarded. Once one plane is resolved move onto the next plane that was designated to participate in the bombing run. Surviving stranded soldiers must stay where they are until the bridge section is repaired. You may not bomb boats. If the plane value is double blank then it is an ghost pilot and although it may never bomb the bridge, if it is sent on a bombing run it allows one reroll (of a single die) for any plane (location or chance-to-hit). Once the reroll is used the ghost plane returns to the airbase. It also doesn't cost anything to send the ghost pilot on the run. If the plane value is a blank-one then it is an ace pilot, and it always hits successfully, though bridge section location must still rolled. And he costs two coins instead of one to send on a bombing run each time.

SINKING THE BOATS WITH CANNONS: If boats arrive on your side of the river you have an opportunity to sink them with your cannons. If you have no cannons then there is no obstacle and the soldiers may unload when it is the attacker's turn again. Cannons automatically fire and only at boats on your side of the river. For each cannon you own you may roll a single die. If the resulting die roll matches one side of the boat, then the boat is sunk and the soldiers killed (returned to coin pool). Repeat this for each cannon you own. If the boat(s) are spared then they may unload on the attacker's turn. If the boat has a blank side or a double then it is less likely to be sunk. If the boat is the double blank, then it can't be sunk. All boats go to the discard pile once unloaded or sunk.

Step 5: Declare end turn.

EXAMPLES

OPTIONAL RULES

  • Use double 9 dominoes for a longer game?
  • Adjust the costs if unbalanced?
  • You may have players declare what the resource is going towards before purchasing it or you may impose a rule where it's OK if they may look and decide whether it should be a plane or a cannon (defender) or a boat or bridge section (attacker).
  • Too hard for defense? Have planes and cannons be interchangeable. Or have pilots skill identity be secret by keeping the domino face-down.
  • Perhaps a rule where the bridge dominoes are kept face up and instead of rolling a die to see which section is hit, the one controlling the planes must match a bridge section value to one of the pilot values in order to be able to target it. However I like the rolling 2 dice becuase it tends toward a bombing in the middle of the bridge and is simpler even if more random.
  • Certain resources may need to be recycled rather than discarded in order to balance gameplay and make game last long enough to be fun before resource pool empties.

NOTES AND DEVELOPMENT HISTORY

Again this game came to me in a flash. I think I was mulling about such concepts as "2 player-game with dominoes, dice and coins". I thought about abstract games where both players race to build chains across to the other side of the board. But I wanted each side to have different goals. I then though if one side was building a bridge to get to the other side, maybe it could actually be a bridge crossing a river. Then I thought about that movie: Bridge On the River Kwai (sp?) and also about Force 10 From Navarone (with Harrison Ford). Yeah! One side could have soldier's trying to cross the bridge, while the enemy could be trying to blow it up with planes. Then I thought it needed another layer of strategy and so I came up with boats. Then I needed a defensive counterpart so that's where the cannons came in. As far as mechanics go I still can't get enough of the dice and domino pips working well together. The hidden faces of the dominoes are also amazingly useful. Sadly, I haven't playtested this game squat so it may be out of whack. To balance power between the sides it I could adjust the income of defense. To balance value of bridge versus boat I could raise the cost of using either or speed up movement along the bridge. I hope it's not more fun for the defender than the attacker as the defender gets to roll all the dice. I guess the defender doesn't get to move any soldiers around other than flying the planes. Odd that the attacker is really just moving, while the defender is doing all the attacking.

Note (2007): I added a diagram to show layout.

Please, please let me know if you actually played this game. Email: tomgale@)yahoo.com

 
 

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