An abstract strategy game involving the cardinal directions and hidden-to-open set collection with mild take-that
4 players in 15-30 minutes
54 cards: 32 gusts, 16 locations, 4 player aids, 2 compass cards
In 4 Winds, each player is a minor wind trying to become the new North Wind. Players use cards as gusts or skills, often benefitting themselves or befuddling their opponents. Gusts add or subtract points from player’s wind tunnels while skills cause unexpected shifts in the landscape of the game. After all gust cards have been played, reveal the compass card and review each player’s locations: Both of these affect players’ scores! The player with the highest score is the new North Wind!
Give the N locations to the player in the North. The Es go to the East, Ss to the South, and Ws to the West. Place these locations face-down in a sequential stack (i.e., #1 on top through #4 on the bottom) at the edges of the table in the 4 cardinal directions, revealing the first card in the location sequence. Players may look at their location sequence whenever they want. Now shuffle the gust cards and deal them equally into a number of decks equal to the number of players. Each player should take a deck and draw 4 cards from it, keeping this hand hidden. Place the compass in the middle of the table with a real-life directional orientation. North goes first.
Players play 1 card per turn and play moves clockwise. During each turn, the active player must use a card to play a gust or perform a skill. If playing a gust, the player chooses a direction to affect by selecting a card from their hand and using 1 of its 4 directional values. Use these values to match the player you want to affect with the appropriate directional value by placing the card in 1 of the 4 wind tunnels around the compass. To perform a skill, place the gust card on top of the compass card after all associated effects have occurred. This is the compass stack. After playing a card, players draw 1 card from their decks to refill their hand. The game continues even after the decks are depleted.
Skills include twist, relocate, activate, scout, and mimic. When twisting, a player shifts all tunnels by 1 player, either clockwise or counterclockwise. When relocating, a player swaps their active location with an opponent. When activating, a player triggers their active location’s power and should put that location at the end of the location sequence, leaving it face-up; the next location in the sequence should be revealed immediately. If a player makes it all the way through a location sequence, they may continue using them in sequence but note that they should all be face-up at this point. When scouting, a player exchanges a card from their hand to randomly take a card from an opponent’s hand. When mimicking, a player uses a skill from a card on top of any wind tunnel. Reversals of a skill are not allowed on the next turn but are permitted after another turn has passed.
The value of a card changes based on how it is placed around the compass: If North is pointing toward a card, then the North value is used. All gust cards should be played in the same perspective as the compass, which stays the same throughout the game. Play the first card in a wind tunnel close to the player in that direction so the tunnel’s cards can be splayed as they are played. This allows the relevant values to be easily seen in each direction as the tunnels grow.
End of Game
After everyone is out of gust cards, total the appropriate directional values for each of the 4 wind tunnels and remove the compass card, adding the 4 values from the revealed top card of the compass stack to the appropriate directions. These totals are the players’ base scores. Now look at each player’s locations and score per set based off the nearby chart. The player with the highest total is the new North Wind!
Activations and Locations: Give Mimic to the desert activation and eliminate the “peek” activation–it’s useless. Swap the mountains (float–>bury) and the tundra (bury–>float) and allow them to affect all tunnels and the compass stack. Also, CHANGE THE ACTIVATIONS ON THE DAMN LOCATIONS!
Skills: Introduce new skill called Refresh to replace mimic: Refresh your hand by shuffling it into your deck and drawing 4 new cards. Tweak Activate by changing the end to “…then cycle it to the end of the sequence.” Tweak Twist to “From the top of each tunnel, twist cards equal to the shortest tunnel at this moment.” Tweak Scout to “After spending this card, exchange a card from your hand with a randomly chosen one from an opponent’s hand.”
Diagrams: Change scoring based on increases for set collection. Change setup for location sequences w/ them showing the back of the card instead or maybe none of the others at all.
Notice the strength of activate and relocate… Find other combos so players can perceive them and strategize, quickly falling into a chosen track in an attempt for victory.
Consider making it so the player can read the #s directly with the base of the number on the side of the card in the direction it faces… Add the corner summary of #s on the card for quick reference as well as 2p and 3p dots for cards that should be included and excluded with different player counts…