by Stephen Agar
For most people this will be a totally pointless variant with a map that looks like gobledigook. Indulge me a little. This is a totally re-designed version of my Young Kingdoms variant invented back in 1980 which seeks to recreate the world as described in Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories. Provided you can cope with all the silly names (which are taken from the books) this is an extremely fluid variant which should make for a very quick and dramatic game. Use of the A/F rules (published in Spring Offensive #2) permit very quick and dramatic stabs. For example Melnibone can attack home centres belonging to four of the other six Powers in the first year using an A/F and can attack every other home centre on the board (bar one) in the first year using the Dragon unit. In essence the map recreates the situation after Eric of Melnibone when Yyrkoon has usurped the throne of Melnibone.
The Elric saga is comprised of the following books (all published by Grafton): Eric of Melnibone; The Sailor on the Sea of Fate; The Fortress of the Pearl; The Weird of the White Wolf; The Vanishing Tower; The Revenge of the Rose; The Bane of the Black Sword; Stormbringer; Elric at the End of Time.
0. All usual regular Diplomacy rules apply save where modified below.
1. There are seven players as listed below:
MELNIBONE: A/F(Imrryr); Dragon(The Caves)
SHAZAR: F(Shazar); A(Aflitain); F(Nihrain)
DHARIJOR: A(Dharijor); F(Gromoorva); F(Pan Tang)
VILMIR: A(Jadmar); F(Pyaray); F(Old Hrolmar)
ISLE OF THE
PURPLE TOWNS:F (Menii); A/F(Fortress of Evening);
LORMYR: F(Ramasaz); F(Trepesaz); A(Iosaz)
OIN-YU: A(Yu); F(Dhoz-Kam); F(Oin)
Each Power starts the game with an army and two fleets, except for Melnibon? who starts the game with a Fleet, an Army and a Dragon.
2. Victory Criteria: To win a player must control 18 supply centres. Imrryr and the Fortress of Evening are double supply centres which can support two units and counts as two supply centres each towards the victory criteria.
3. Garrisoned Supply Centres: Org, Tanelorn, Imrryr and the Fortress of Evening all have static garrison units which stand to defend the supply centre and do not require a supply centre to support them. These units may be supported by any Power. Garrison units disband if forced to retreat.
4. Chaos Units: In addition to usual builds in home supply centres, any Power who is not in an alliance with Elric may choose instead to build one or more a Chaos armies in The Silent Land, The Sighing Desert or Kelmain, provided no other Chaos units that have been built in that space by another Power are on the board. A Chaos army can change at will into a fleet and vice versa, but cannot form a multiple unit or A/F combination. Chaos units are the same as regular units in all respects save that they will disband if forced to retreat. Chaos units will neutralise ownership of all supply centres they occupy at the end of an Autumn season, but they cannot take control of a supply centre.
The Silent Land, The Sighing Desert and Kelmain are impassable to non-Chaos units. Any number of Chaos armies may occupy them, no combat is permitted witin them and movement by a Chaos army to any of them must succeed. Chaos armies in these areas may not support activity in adjacent spaces, but units in spaces bordering these areas may support a movement by a Chaos army out of one of these areas.
5. The Dragon: The Dragon unit is unique. It does not need a supply centre to support it and it has a combat strength of 11/2 and thus may displace unsupported units. Furthermore, by virtue of its flying ability the Dragon has two moves, the first prior to normal movement, and the second simultaneous with normal movement. Although the Dragon cannot change ownership of a foreign-owned or neutral supply centre to Melnibon?, it does render neutral all supply centres it occupies at the end of an Autumn season and thus deprives the previous owner of the benefit of that supply centre. The Dragon unit may co-exist in the same space as a Melnibon?an unit. If destroyed the Dragon is lost forever.
6. Elric: Elric is a personality unit who will start the game in an alcoholic binge in a good quality inn in one of the neutral supply centres. If discovered he will ally with the Power who enlists his help. Elric has a fighting strength of 1/2, may occupy the same space as any regular non-Melnibon?an unit and can capture supply centres for his ally in his own right. However, if Elric is forced to retreat, or if the Power allied with him specifically renounces his help in his orders, then Elric will leave the employ of his ally and disappear off to another one of the original neutral supply centres (whether or not it is still neutral) and await re-discovery. Elric will never ally with Melnibon? or support a Melnibonean unit and if discovered by Melnibone while not in an alliance with another Power will disappear off to another neutral supply centre.
Elric Regains his Throne: If Elric ever occupies Imrryr then (a) the Melnibonean player is eliminated; (b) all Melnibonean units and Melnibonean Chaos units are removed from the game; (c) Imrryr, The Caves and Tanelorn become permanently neutral and impassable (any occupying units must retreat); (d) Elric is reunited with Cymoril and retires from the game and (e) the victory criteria is reduced to 16.
7. A/F Rules: Full Abstraction A/F rules (Rule 3) are used in this variant. Click here to go to the A/F Rules Module.
8. Tanelorn: Although Tanelorn is a neutral supply centre with a garrison, it can be entered only by Elric, a regular unit accompanied by Elric or a Chaos unit.
9. Calendar: The first move is Spring 6480 and thereafter follows the usual two-season game year.
First published in Spring Offensive No.4 (August 1992)