Rules for Engle Matrix games.
This is the latest version of the rules. I’m constantly trying to make them simpler and easier to teach. I want to get them to a point that I can leave them alone and focus just on scenarios rather than basic rules. This version follows a number of train wreck play tests. I’m trying to take in the feedback to make things work.
Rules the players need to know:
Play goes around the table. Pick a character and say what happens. Move characters as you speak.
Interrupt at any time to challenge. Say what really happens. Both sides roll. High roll wins, re-roll ties.
You may make up to five actions a turn.
(The above are ALL the rules the players need to know. There may be scenario specific rules but this is basic play. It is like the basic rules of role play games – which I think are: Say what your character does. The GM tells you what happens.)
That is all the rules players need to know. The game host handles the rest and guides players through the game.
The host does the following:
Teaches new players how to play.
Keeps the game moving.
Encourages and helps players make up stories.
Rules the host needs to know:
The host lays out the characters and locations on the table. They then give each player five action cards.
The host runs a couple of teaching turns to set up the scenario and teach the rules to the players.
The host starts each turn by reading an Act to the players. This is a suggestion about what needs to happen that turn. If the players follow it, a coherent story will emerge. They do not have to follow it.
The host goes first. They play an action card, pick a character and says what happens. The host shows the players how to play. This is the easiest way to teach a game.
Play goes to the left around the table. Each player plays a card and adds to the story. Players may play all five cards they have in their hand. Players may pass when play comes to them. The turn ends when all the cards are played or the players pass.
When players make up stories they say what ALL the characters do, not just what their character does.
When the turn ends the players pick up their action cards so they have five cards for the next turn.
Players may interrupt play at any time to challenge what a player says. They play a card and say what really happens. Both players then roll. The high roller wins, re-roll ties. The winner’s action happens. The host should teach this rule by example. Just jump in during the first turn and challenge someone. Players are free to challenge successful challenges. When this happens players may use up their cards rapidly. Once they are out of cards they are out of the turn.
The host keeps track of how may challenges each player wins by awarding them a token. Players count up these tokens at the end of the game to see who wins – i.e. who gets the final word in the story.
Each game comes with a selection of acts. The host may use these or make up their own. The game ends after the turn of the last act. Player finish the game with one last statement to tie up loose ends. The player with the fewest tokens goes first, then the player with the next fewest tokens, etc. The player with the most tokens goes last. The players make one statement and may alter earlier player’s stories without a dice roll. This means that the last player has final say in how the game ends.
The host keeps the game moving by reminding the next player to go and asking if there are any challenges. They also help out struggling players. People are natural story tellers but most are not confident. You don’t need to be a good story teller to play the game. When players are stuck, the host should direct them to the suggestion sheet. A player may read directly from the list if they like but pretty soon players get more inventive.
This game has a winner and loser but that is not really the point. The real point is to tell a good story and have fun. If that means your favorite character has to lose then so be it. You are not your character.