Alessio has put together the start of a developer’s diary for the LOKA Kickstarter – a mix of great blog posts and cool videos showing you the ins-and-outs of LOKA.

We kickstart this morning off with Part 1 of Alessio’s focus on the Rules…

I was reading quite a few comments about the rules for Loka, and fear not, videos focussing on each of the main points of difference between Loka and chess are coming!

In the meantime, I will use this update to take you through my thinking on the rules design of Loka, which is about modularity. You see, when I was learning to play chess as a kid, I remember going through a beautiful illustrated book that taught you the moves of each piece and then had a little exercise mini-game that used only the pieces you already had learnt to use to that point.

Following that way of thinking, I will present the rules of Loka in a way that makes them both very easy to learn, to teach to young ones, and to customise to your own taste. The best way of explaining this is to borrow some language from the phone industry:

The core rules

The core system of Loka is chess, which is why the rules for chess will be included in the rulebook. If you know the rules of chess, you know a good 80% of the rules of Loka. More importantly, you can play just that, normal chess, using the cool elementals of Loka as normal chess pieces. And I expect quite a few people are going to do just that. Alternatively, you can continue your journey and learn the next step, which I’m gonna call a ‘bolt-on’ rule. You can learn the bolt-ons one at a time, and, even more importantly, once you have learned them all, you can choose which ones to use in your games, IN ANY COMBINATION!

If you use all three bolt-ons, you are playing Loka as I envisaged it – a full fledged hybrid chess-wargame. If not, you are playing something that is more or less like chess… the choice is yours.

Bolt-on 1 – Build your army

Instead of having the fixed pieces of a chess set, you start with just the King, representing yourself, the player, and a number of points, representing the elemental energy available to the King to summon his warriors.

Each piece has a point value, based on traditional chess theory, and you can decide how to spend your points and build a different set. For example, I’m thinking 10 pts for a pawn, 90 for a queen, and so on… You can have as many p[ieces of a certain type as you want, within the limit of the points values. The only pieces I have to limit (because they are too cheap and they could fill the board!) are pawns, of which you can only have up to 12).

By using different amount of points you can have bigger or smaller games, and by having an unbalance of points between the two players, you can offset differences in skill (say I give you 1000 points and I give a chess Master 300 points… can you beat him?)

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