This post represents an introduction to a duel board-game family invented between 2000 and 2012. Several offsprings have been created after the initial game, called “Archon Variants”. Without going too much into detail with the rules, I would like to take the chance to introduce you to the “Archon Variants”:
Back in the year 2000, we played many games of chess alongside the more modern war-games, skirmish games and collectible card games. During yet another chess match, it came to my attention that the lack of any luck element is most important factor for the tactical decisions and strategic complexity of the game. The idea that was born from these chess matches was to transfer the “no luck” principle from chess to a two player duel game that takes place in a fantasy setting and would be more appealing to nowadays players.
Being a life long fan of the old Archon computer game on the C64, the idea for the so called “Archon Core System” and the various “Archon Variant” offsprings was born. I might have to add at this point, that by turning Archon into a board-game, it was inevitable to remove the good old action style combat system. This is not a excuse (Archon fans, please forgive me!), but merely a result of the transformation of the game concept.
The heart of the “Archon Core System” is a very simple, dice-less and therefore deterministic dueling game for two players. The game provides a lot of room for tactical decisions and thinking ahead, without being as “sincere” as chess. On the other hand, it’s much more “fun” that you might think at first, for a game that features absolutely no luck element at all. Here are a few key specs that define the system:
• The goal of the game is not primarily destruction of the opponent units. Instead “zone control” is the most important victory condition.
• The game is asymmetric as each player chooses units before the match starts (similar to “deck building” in trading card games).
• Damaged units have reduced fighting power, which is a very important factor to balancing (normally this mechanic does not work so well in a dueling game, but it does for this game as there is no luck involved).
• The “on Guard” mechanic (similar to “Overwatch” found in miniature war-games) adds a lot of interaction to the game and breaks up the typical turn sequence.
On this foundation, about five or six different “Archon Variants” have been developed over the course of several years (roughly 12 years in total, working on and off on the projects). Some variants used war-game miniatures to represent the units, while others made use of cards. Other variants even introduced a deck of cards as only luck element, while one variant even introduced dice to the game system.
All variants will be covered in upcoming blog-articles and all the variant rules will be posted for download, for free on print-an-play.net in the future as well.