Havoc: Wolves

HAVOC: Wolves Ruleset PDF

Typical playtime ~20-30 min

Havoc is a board game concept that I’ve mentioned before. It can be played with 2 or 4 players. In the 4-player variation each person takes a side as you see in the image above. The core conceit of the game is that each side moves forward and attacks using a simple ruleset that opens the play up to an compelling level of strategic depth. Ideally, this sits somewhere between Checkers and Chess in that headspace.

Play begins arbitrarily and moves clockwise. On each player’s turn they may move one piece in any 4-way direction. This is called a Step.

When a player wants to take a space occupied by an opposing player, this is considered an Attack. Each player rolls a single die and high-roll wins the space. Now, very importantly – Defender wins Ties. This is a small statistical disadvantage  to attacking which is important in terms of overall strategy. Sometimes it is more advantageous to not attack immediately in order to set up a Chain.

Chains attacks are the spice that makes this game very nice. The winner of the die roll (attacker OR defender) may Chain an attack to any other piece in an 8-way direction. They may also pass that ability along any of their own contiguous pieces. At each consecutive attack, the Chain may be taken over by another player who may then continue to attack in their own vein. Defenders still win Ties in all cases, but Chain Attacks are given a +1 to die roll, shifting the statistical advantage to the current attacker.

Any token will do

Once the Chain has resolved, play begins again from the original Attacker and continues clockwise as before. It can be useful to use a token to designate the first attacker in order to maintain turn order, but is not required.

The object of the game is to take the highest number of pieces overall and is played to last-player-standing. When two pieces remain on the board at the very end, the current player attacks the opposing player. Standard attacking rules apply. Whoever wins this die roll will score their final remaining piece as well as the opponent’s.

The vision for this game has always been bigger, such as making it digital and introducing card mechanics or hero units or even building it out into an RPG or some longer form of play. However, It is incredibly important to get there by starting here. Finding a core game mechanic that is FUN FIRST gives the rest of its development a firm foundation to build on.