Second Thermidor (Level 1)
Abi Frost

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Second Thermidor (Level 1)

The Pieces Everyone has 6 pieces chosen from: A Black Dwarf, A Stalinoid Tendency, A Mole, A Combine Harvester, An Infernal Device, A Bombthrowing Anarchist, A Dead Hippie, A Leather Trot, A Gnomic Utterance, A Member of the English Bar. No player may hold a Combine Harvester and a Member of the English Bar; but players may hold up to two Black Dwarfs in place of any one other piece, provided they do not also hold a Leather Trot.

Great care must be exercised in the choice of pieces, as the powers of the different pieces vary considerably. In higher level games the powers of the pieces under certain circumstances may be completely changed according to which player's round it is without notice.

Powers A Black Dwarf may advance up to 7 dodecahedra in each move, but it is unable to eliminate other pieces (except Dead Hippies). When in the same dodecahedron as an Infernal Device, its powers are trebled.

A Stalinoid Tendency is unique among the pieces in this game in that when a certain position (called in games at this level only nexus) is reached it can fracture up to 9 ways, each fraction on the far left of all the others. Each fraction then functions as a single piece; provided only that no fraction ever advances in a direction that any of the others has taken. Multiple sub-fractions are theoretically possible at this level , but inexperienced players are recommended to do all in their power to avoid them.

A Mole, as its name suggests, tunnels.

A Combine Harvester resembles an Infernal Device except inasmuch as it has lower destructive power. Its moves are restricted to within a single field. A useful little piece when deployed with imagination.

An Infernal Device can move only on pyramid structures. This disability is in part compensated for by its power of liquidating any piece on an adjacent cube. Its strategic value is at its greatest during the position known as confrontation, unless of course the player on the right has a Mole.

A Bombthrowing Anarchist may not move at all, except of course while throwing his bomb.

A Dead Hippie, contrary to expectations, has immense power -- more than all the other pieces combined. But it can only use it when there is a precise conjunction of Combine Harvester, Stalinoid Tendency (2nd. Fracture), between 5 and 3 Black Dwarves and a Gnomic Utterance in certain 'hedrons within a single field but on separate planes. The occurrence is in practice rare during games below Third Level -- so the tactical value of a Dead Hippie in games at 1st. Level is subject to question.

Skilful deployment of the Leather Trot is the foundation of successful 1st. Level gaming. It may move anywhere, but cannot destroy anything. (NB In the budget version of this game the Leather Trot is made of PVC.)

A Gnomic Utterance is extremely dangerous in conjunction with a Member of the English Bar. This can lead to the situation known as a situation.

A Member of the English Bar stands still on one pre-arranged cube and merely charges other pieces a sum of money between 50 and 1.000.000 pieces of eight as they pass through the cube. The amount depends on the status of the piece in question and the position of the game.

Note on Alliances Two or more Moles belonging to different players may form an alliance and behave independently of the players' intentions. It is difficult to tell when this has happened, as the Moles are of course invisible in their tunnels during the course of the game, unless an Anarchist throws a bomb down one. PLAYERS ARE CAUTIONED AGAINST FRIVOLOUS USE OF ANARCHIST CAPACITY IN ORDER TO CHECK UP ON THEIR OWN MOLES. The only effect of alliances in 1st. Level gaming is an increase (beyond probability) in the incidence of wins by the Moles; which only means that the game is declared void and is started again. However, it is essential to grasp the concept of alliances at this stage in your 2nd. Thermidor career, as it is fundamental to the enjoyment of gaming at all higher levels (except Intermediate 4th.)

Playing a 1st. Level Game Throw a 6 to start. The first player must remember to halve the value of his first piece's first rnove initially. He may under no circumstances make his first move with an Infernal Device as this might result in the end of the game. (For explanation see rule book supplement, price £1.95.) The second player on the other hand rnust move his Infernal Device (assuming he has one) unless he also has a Dead Hippie which effectively makes the first move by remaining immobile. Third and subsequent players may move normally if they so desire.

The aim at this point in the game is to discover the Moscow Gold which is hidden beyond the wit of man in the third 'hedron from the right under a pile of old fanzines. Only after nexus does the dictatorship of the proletariat become in any way an objective. Players forgetting this must sacrifice a piece from the Minor Arcana. Persistent neglect of this important rule will inevitably result in permanent exile from the happy community of 2nd. Thermidor players. No money will be refunded by Wizard Fun in this event. The player democratically elected 'Solomon' has the final decision as to whether nexus has or has not taken place. If he or she is unable or unwilling to take a decision players are advised to ask Mike Dickinson or declare the game void and re-start. After the 14th move the tenor of the game should have become obvious. Those who wish to enter a new plane may do so, by exchanging a dwarf for an Anarchist. On any plane there must be two (cont. p.34)

New River Blues 2 (1980)