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Play CASUAL mode with 2 to 5 players.

GAMEPLAY VIDEO

 
 

GAME SETUP

  1. Place the main Board in the center of the playing area.

  2. Separate the Character cards by Reality and shuffle them into 3 piles. Place these piles face down along one edge of the board.

  3. Separate and shuffle the Challenge cards and Treasure cards by Reality and place them (face down) near the Character cards. There are two piles per reality, for 6 total.

  4. Choose one Reality (standard starting Reality is the Stone) and completely fill the grid on the Board with face down Challenge cards from that Reality.

  5. Each player is then randomly assigned a character from the chosen Reality. Each player places their Character card face up in front of them.

  6. Each player takes two dice (1 black and 1 red).

  7. Put the ascension tokens aside for when they are needed later.

 
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TRAITS

In Simulation Theory, every interaction uses 1 of 4 different Traits, represented by the coloured circle icons:

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BLUE - IQ Intelligence Quotient

IQ is a measure of how intelligent a subject is. Such as the computer power of a server, or the ingenuity of a person.

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RED - EQ Emotional Quotient

EQ is the measure of how charming, how charismatic or simply how aesthetically pleasant a subject is.

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WHITE - MQ Moral Quotient

MQ is how the measure of how morally upright or how much it interactions with the subject calls morality into question. A hero cop would have high MQ because of his nobility, but a conman would have a high mq due to the very opposite.

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GREEN - BQ Body Quotient

BQ is how strong, how resilient a subject is, such as how fast, how much stamina an athlete is, or how durable a building is.

 

HOW TO PLAY

Each turn occurs simultaneously, over two phases: the planning phase, and the action phase

In the Planning phase,

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  • Each player secretly chooses a trait (or color) to use in the action phase; IQ (blue), EQ (red), MQ (white) or BQ (green).

  • Each player also secretly uses their dice to select a grid point for the action phase:

    • Each player has one red and one black die, which determine the grid coordinates that they are intending to interact with. E.g.: A player who sets their red die as 4 and black die as 3, is selecting the grid location at [red4, black3]

    • Note that players are not rolling the dice at this time, but choosing the numbers that are displayed
       

  • To do the above 2 steps, players set their dice (not roll) to select a grid point on one of the four traits (colors) on their Character board.

  • The players cover their player boards with their hands to hide the trait chosen and the dice.

  • All players then reveal their plan simultaneously

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In the Action phase,

  • Turn all selected challenge cards face up at the same time.

  • If 2 or more players selected the same coordinates, resolve these conflicts according to the Player vs Player rules below.

  • After any player conflicts are resolved, resolve all challenge cards simultaneously according to Player vs Challenge card rules below.

  • When a player beats the challenge card;

    • They draw 1 treasure card.

    • When multiple players beat challenges in the same turn, roll a dice to resolve the order in which the treasure card is drawn, with the highest result going first.

 

COMBAT

Player vs Challenge card

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A player who selected a coordinate that is not selected by another player reveals the card at that location by turning the card face up. The challenge must be fought immediately.

When the player selected the wrong Trait color (eg; different from the challenge card revealed) they avoid the challenge altogether. This is called a "miss".

The challenge does not deal damage to them and remains on the board face up.

 

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If a player has chosen the same trait as the challenge but has a lower trait score than the challenge (e.g. a character with 3 IQ selects a challenge with 5 IQ), they are killed (see Death below).

If a player has chosen the same trait as the challenge, and has an equal or higher trait score than the challenge, they defeat the challenge! Challenges that are defeated by players are removed and added to the individual score pile of that player. This will be used to calculate the score at the end of the game.

If multiple players defeat (different) challenges from the same reality in a turn, each player rolls 1D6 as a tiebreaker, with the highest roll taking the first treasure, followed by the second highest and so on. If there are ties, reroll all identical scores.

 

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When challenges are beaten

A Player that defeats a Challenge takes the Challenge card and places it in front of them. When scoring at the end of the game, defeated Challenges give points equal to their trait score. The player then draws a treasure card from the appropriate reality treasure deck.

 

 

 
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Player vs Player

Two or more Players may select the same coordinates in the planning phase, in which case they encounter each other and interact before the challenge is revealed. 

Any players that have selected the same trait, and the same coordinates on a turn fight each other. The Character with the highest score in the chosen trait kills all other Characters that selected the same trait (see Death below). If any players are tied for the highest score, they roll 1d6 and the highest roll wins - the losers in this this case are not killed, but are forced to retreat from this Challenge.

Any players that have chosen different traits with the same coordinates, miss each other.

After any Player vs Player combat has been resolved, the challenge card is revealed. If a player has selected the Trait on the card, they interact with it as normal.

 

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Examples: Player vs Player

In a game, four players have selected the same coordinates. Player A uses IQ (at a score of 3), player B also uses IQ (at a score of 4), player C uses BQ (at a score of 3) and player D also uses BQ (also at a score of 3). The challenge of the card is 2 IQ.

This means the result of this situation is:

  • Player A is killed by Player B, as both of them selected the right trait (IQ) and player B has a higher score (4 vs 3). Player B gets the challenge card, because his IQ score is high enough to beat the challenge (4 vs 2).

  • Player C and Player D miss the challenge card. They also don’t kill each other.

Death

Being killed or dying involve a few steps:

  • The player whose character died chooses one:

    • They skip a turn.

    • They lose one Treasure from their current reality. The Treasure is placed on the bottom of the Treasure deck. Note: a player with no Treasure may still choose this option to avoid skipping a turn.

  • Then, if available, the player who died randomly draws a new character board from the same reality. The player in the simulation has essentially 'reawakened' in the same reality as another character. Place the old character board on the bottom of the pile.

If a player ascended from the first reality and then dies in the second reality, they only lose a treasure card from that reality, not any treasure cards from the previous realities.

 
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TREASURE

You can't take it with you

The treasure deck gives players items that they can use to enhance their traits or has interesting game effects. Players can only use items in their respective reality (e.g.: you cannot use a Reality 1 sword in a Reality 2, because it does not exist there) 

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Equipping treasure

A player can equip treasure to their character, provided they are of the same reality. You may not equip a reality one treasure to a reality two character.  

Equipping treasure can be done at any time.

Most treasure grants a trait bonus, which grant them as long as they are equipped. So, if a character has an item equipped that provides “+3 IQ”, treat their effective IQ as three points higher as listed on their sheet (see the image Treasure Equipped).

Each trait can only have a single treasure enhancing it. This means that a character can have 4 treasures equipped at any given time, one of each trait. The exception to this rule is the treasure that grants "+1 All" which stacks with all other treasure. In order to indicate this “special” status, the treasure is placed on the special treasure space on the right of the character board.

If a player acquires new treasure that enhances the same trait (e.g. +3 IQ and +2 IQ), he can opt to use the more powerful one and keep the other one in their treasure collection in the left of character board. Spare treasures can be used to sacrifice if the character is killed.

Treasure cards don't count towards the score.

 

FINDING THE EXIT AND ASCENSION

When a player ascends to next reality, that player can access the present and previous realities.

An Ascended player always wins combat in a lower reality regardless of their trait score. Unless it is with another player who has also ascended that reality.

 

There are two Exits from each reality - one is a card in the Treasure deck, and the other is from defeating the Boss challenge card. After finding an Exit the player follows the Ascending Process.

When a player ascends, they also take an ascension token. If the player is the first one to ascend the current reality, they take the GOLD ascension token, which is worth 20 victory points. If a player is not the first to ascend, they instead take the SILVER ascension token (15 victory points) for score tracking. If there is a tie for first ascension, then both players take silver Ascension tokens. If a player ascends due to Reality Death (see below), they use the reverse side of the ascension token, with the skull symbol, which is worth 10 victory points

Ascending process

  1. The player takes the appropriate ascension token

  2. he player places the Exit Treasure, or Boss Challenge on top of their character board and skips the next turn.

  3. Upon resuming play, they either shuffle the Exit Treasure back into its treasure deck or place the Boss Challenge into their score pile.

  4. Then, they draw a random Character Board from the next reality and place it on top of their previous Character Board.

  5. Challenge cards from the next Reality are placed face down in all the empty spaces on the main board. Beginning from coordinate [1,1] fill in the vacant spaces left to right, top to bottom.

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In the case where 2 or more players in different realities Exit in the same turn, Challenge cards from the different Realities are placed out in the vacant spaces in alternating order, with the highest Reality first.

OPTIONAL RULE: Time dilation

This rule gives unascended players a handicap to catch up and mitigate the power level of an ascension. When all players are on the same reality, this rule has no effect.

When a player ascends to the second or third reality, time moves differently than  before. Upon any player entering the second reality, players who have not yet ascended from the first reality get an extra turn after all players have made their moves.

If a player has ascended to the third reality, players who have not ascended from the second reality get one additional turn, and players who have not ascended the first reality can act twice more per turn of a player in Reality 3.

Example 1:
One player is in the second Reality and two players are in the first Reality. One turn is resolved as normal. After the normal turn is resolved, the two players in the first reality each get an additional (simultaneous) turn.

Example 2:
One player is in the third Reality, one player is in the second Reality, and one player is still in the first reality. One turn is resolved as normal. After this, the player from the second reality and the first reality each get an extra turn. After that turn has been resolved, the player who is still in the first reality gets another turn.

 

Reality death: End of the road

What happens when all challenge cards of one reality are removed? All players who have not ascended from that reality are forcefully ascended into the next reality. A forced ascension works the same way as regular ascension: they get new characters and still fill in the vacant slots with the next reality's cards.

Players who are stuck in a reality without finding the Exit should attempt to overcome all challenges in that reality in order to force their escape and subsequent ascension.

Players who are force ascended take use the rear (skull) side of an ascension token which is worth only 10 victory points instead of the regular 15.

 

Trapped in a reality

Rarely, players can be trapped in a reality and are unable to defeat any remaining challenges. If this situation occurs, remove the remaining challenge cards and Reality Death happens.

Example: 

Only the 4IQ challenge card remains in a reality and all players who have not ascended from that reality do not have high enough traits to overcome it. The challenge card is removed, Reality Death takes place, and the players who have not ascended from that reality are force-ascended.

 

END OF THE GAME

The game ends when any player ascends all available realities. The player that acquires and uses the exit of the last reality still has to skip a turn for the final ascension and the other players have one more turn to add to their score before the game ends. The players go into the scoring process. When using the optional Time Dilation rule, keep in mind that some players might have more than one turn.

Scoring

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  1. All players count the number of victory points based on the amount of trait of all challenge cards defeated. E.g. a challenge with 3 BQ will give two points. Challenges with alternate trait scores such as 5 EQ / 6 BQ will count only one of that traits as points depending on which trait it was defeated with (either 5 victory points or 6)

  2. Count the points resulting from Ascensions - For ease, simply count the victory points indicated on the Ascension tokens collected by each player. The first player to ascend to a reality gets 20 points, subsequent players get 15 points and players that ascend via reality death get only 10 points. Note that the player who ascends the final reality and triggers the end of the game will have a 20 point advantage from the final ascension token.

  3. Total the scores

The player who have most victory points is the winner.

 

You now know the true reality: You are playing simulation theory with your friends.

Once the group is familiar with the simple casual mode, we recommend trying the next game in Challenge mode and/or tweaking the difficulty level for the next session!