How to play Amulet of Thrayax

Hey Rerollers,

I’ve been talking about doing a mechanics/rules post for Amulet of Thrayax for a while now and I know some of you have specifically asked for it.

Well, given we’ve just started public playtests, I thought I can’t hold off any longer!

Here’s a Moshlet for making you wait!

Just listing a long set of rules doesn’t sound particularly fun since you don’t own the game yet (always fun to pick up and look at the pieces whilst learning), so I’ve opted to add some flare and leave a few things a little ambiguous so you don’t need a time machine to reach the end of the post!

Now, before we get started, it’s worth noting that whilst the game is a lot of fun and plays well in its current form, we’ve just entered public playtests and as a result there is the possibility that some of the names/mechanics/cards/tokens might change and evolve between now and our Kickstarter launch. The official v1.0 rulebook will be available online when the campaign launches.

Oh and all the example shots are taken from Tabletop Simulator, which whilst I love it, doesn’t always do the components and Vincent’s artwork justice (especially the board which is actually entirely round without bumpy angular bits), so do bear that in mind…

….and with that…let’s go!

The Basics

Amulet of Thrayax is a 2 – 6 player game about “harvesting” Nobles and Peasants for points as part of a cult-run competition called Thraymania. Essentially your cult is going around purging the corrupt city of Bleakpyre, usually in whacky and over-the-top ways. The cult with the highest kill count wins Thraymania, the Amulet and the game!

How your cult scores points is with Murder and Counter cards. Each player has a Murder and a Counter card deck, and at the start of the game they draw 3 cards from each deck to form a 6 card hand. You can never have more than 3 cards of either type in your hand and you must always finish your turn with 6 cards in your hand (3 murder Cards, 3 Counter cards).

Gold cards are Murder cards, silver cards are Counter cards. These cards belong to the Unamused cult, which is represented by the yellow team colour and the emblem (and don’t mind the placeholder card art, it’s just Vincent slogging away in the art mines!)

Peasants are worth 1 point and are generally easy to harvest. Nobles are 10 points but harvesting them can be difficult. Harvested Peasants and Nobles are placed on your Alter on your Player Board and make up your score at the end of the game:

That’s 26 points of good, ol’ fashioned purging!

Bleakpyre is a city split into 6 Districts, with your cult’s marker (your player piece) occupying one District. Multiple players can be in the same District. The Amulet sits in the middle, and starts the game with its arrow pointing at a random District.

A four player setup. You draw your hand before deciding where to place your marker, meaning you can plan your initial strategy. The Seers (red) and the Moshlets (purple) decided to start in the same District – meaning the players’ friendship is likely over.

To add to the challenge, each District is split into an Unprotected and a Protected side. Peasants and Nobles that are on the Unprotected side can be affected by most of the cards, whereas Peasants and Nobles on the Protected side are usually much harder to target. As the game goes on, the actions the players take will move the population of the city to different Districts, and in and out of Unprotected/Protected areas.

A line runs down the middle of each District. Highlighted green is the Unprotected side. Highlighted red is the Protected side. The padlocks remind you which side is which and match the padlocks on the cards.

Your cards and Inconveniences (more on those later) affect specific Districts so you will sometimes want to move around the city. To move to a neighbouring District, you have to spend 2 harvested Peasants (placed in the communal Graveyard in the centre) and another 2 for each District you move after that. You can move up to three Districts per turn, going in the same direction (you can’t double back), and can be done anytime during your turn.

The Unamused player spends 2 of their harvested Peasants to move to the neighbouring District.

Your Turn

On your turn you use both a Murder and a Counter card. There are three things you can do with either card:

– Play the card:  You enact the effects of the card, going from top to bottom. If any of the options can’t be done, you simply skip it, but the other options still happen if they can. The red gem options are optional but only usable if you are in the District which the Amulet is pointing towards.

The compass on the left says this card takes place in the District you’re currently in. In order, you first harvest 5 Unprotected Peasants. Next 1 Protected Noble moves to Unprotected. Finally, if you were in the District the Amulet is pointing towards, you could replace 1 Unprotected Noble with an Indebted Noble (more on those later).

– Burn to place an inactive Inconvenience:  You can burn the card to place one of your inactive Inconveniences anywhere in the city.

The Unamused player burns a Hire a Courtesan Counter card and places Plague Rats in the neighbouring Docks.

– Burn to remove an active Inconvenience:  You can burn the card to remove one active Inconvenience from the District you’re currently in. This can be anyone’s Inconvenience and is placed back on the owner’s Player Board where it can be used again in the future like normal.

The Unamused player burns a Hire a Courtesan Counter card to remove the pesky Cat King’s (blue player’s) Ominous Messenger that is in the same District as them.

You can only burn one card per turn, meaning in the same turn you can never place two Inconveniences, or place one Inconvenience and remove another using two cards.

You can use your cards in any order, and at anytime during your movement if you decide to move. For example:

The Unamused starts in the top left and spends 2 of their harvested Peasants to move to the Docks. They burn their Brawl Counter card to remove the Cat King’s Released Monster, then spends another 2 Peasants to move to the Slums. Here, the Unamused plays their Obliterate a Knight Murder card, harvesting 1 Unprotected Noble and forcing the rest to become Protected. They then spend a final 2 Peasants to move one more District along and finish their turn.

Used Murder and Counter cards go into two separate discard piles, exclusive to you. At the end of your turn (after any movement and your active Inconveniences activating) you have two choices:

– Draw a Murder and a Counter card: Good if you’ve got a decent hand already.

– Burn your remaining 4 cards and draw an entirely new hand: Good if recent events have limited your options in your hand.

Inconveniences

You know what it’s like. You’re just about finish your guard duty, when you turn the corner to find a bunch of Moshlets releasing a giant, feral Moshlet-type monster into the Temple District. Pretty inconvenient right?!

Inconveniences are workers you can place in any District in the city. Whilst they’re on your player board they are inactive, but when they’re in the city they’re active and sit on the outskirts of the District they’ve been placed in. There can only ever be a maximum of 6 active Inconveniences in the same District at any one time.

Inconveniences only affect Peasants. Harvesting Nobles is done entirely through Murder cards.

At the end of your turn, your active Inconvenience activates and the effects on the token take place, even if you’re not in the same District. If you have multiple active Inconveniences, you choose in what order they activate.

If the active Inconvenience harvests Peasants, who claims the harvested Peasants is dependent on who is currently in that District:

If only one cult is in that District – They collect all harvested Peasants.

The Cat King has foolishly left their Released Monster unattended, allowing the Unamused to move in and exploit the madness. At the end of the Cat King’s turn the Released Monster activates. The Unamused collects the 4 harvested Peasants for themselves, with the other 2 Peasants becoming Protected.

If there’s no cults in that District – All harvested Peasants are lost to the Graveyard.

At the end of the Cat King’s turn the Released Monster activates. With no cults in the Slums, the harvested Peasants are wasted and move to the Graveyard, and the remaining 2 Peasants become Protected.

If multiple cults are in that District – Each cult shares the harvested Peasants equally. Any odd remainders are lost to the Graveyard. If the number of cults exceeds the number of harvested Peasants (e.g. 4 cults present, 3 Peasants harvested), all harvested Peasants are lost to the Graveyard.

It’s a party down in the Slums! At the end of the Cat King’s turn the Released Monster activates. The Unamused, the Seers and the Cat King each collect a harvested Peasant. The remaining harvested Peasant is wasted and moved to the Graveyard, whilst the surviving 2 Peasants become Protected.

It is entirely possible (and a good tactic) for another player to benefit from YOUR active Inconvenience at the end of your turn, because they’re in the District and you’re not.

The Amulet

The red gem token is the round counter. The skull tells you which is the final round. The token with the arrow is the Direction token and the green light token is the Movement token.

After your turn ends, the player clockwise to you takes their turn. Once every player has taken a turn, the round counter gem is moved up one and the Amulet in the middle rotates clockwise to the next District. Any active Inconveniences in the District the Amulet is facing are temporarily flipped, revealing their Buffed side. They remain like this until the Amulet has moved to a new District, at which point they flip back to normal.

Things just got real in the Temple District!

In addition, when a player is in the District where the Amulet is facing, they can use the optional red gem options on their cards. The Amulet functions like this every turn unless:

The Direction token is flipped – If the Direction token is flipped to the side with the purple arrow, the Amulet is now moving anti-clockwise and will continue to do that until this token is flipped back using the relevant cards.

The Movement token is flipped – If the Movement token is flipped to the red side, the Amulet will not move until this token is flipped using the relevant cards.

The Amulet is now going anti-clockwise but won’t move until the Movement token is flipped again.

Followers

So you’re busy trying to steal that catapult, but you can’t get close because some annoying jester keeps causing a ruckus and luring the guards your way. This almost feels intentional…and you’d be right!

Followers are special tiles that will follow a cult around, and can only be placed using the relevant Counter cards. They are placed on top of the target player’s cult marker and will move around with them until removed, again with the relevant Counter cards. A Follower that is removed is placed back on the owner’s Player Board where it can be used again in the future like normal.

A round 1 Jester-ing is a sure fire way to not be invited back to game’s night!

There are currently two types of Followers in Amulet of Thrayax, Jesters and Infiltrators.

Jesters – Whilst a player has a Jester on their cult marker, they cannot use the red gem options on their cards.

Infiltrators – When you have an Infiltrator on another player’s cult marker, you siphon two of their harvested Peasants out of their Alter and place them in your Alter instead. This happens at the end of each of your turns until the Infiltrator is removed using the relevant cards.

The Seers have picked up some unwanted friends at the Docks.

Players can only ever have one type of Follower attached to them at any one time (1 Jester, 1 Infiltrator). Each player has 2 Infiltrators and 1 Jester available to use.

Indebted Nobles

If there’s one thing the upper class of Bleakpyre know how to do, it’s to always somehow end up on top and when staring down a horde of murderous cultists, some do the unthinkable and sign in blood…essentially becoming the property of that cult.

Ready to become your new best friends!

Some Murder cards allow you to swap a Noble with one of your Indebted Noble tokens. These active Indebted Nobles function exactly the same as normal Nobles, still being affected by cards that target Nobles, however any that survive to the end of the game are moved to your Alter as if you had harvested them.

Now you’re just asking for trouble….

If they are killed before that however, whoever killed them harvests them like a normal Noble and you permanently lose that Indebted Noble (and do not gain any points from them at the end of the game).

Each player has 3 Indebted Nobles available to use.

Variations

Amulet of Thrayax is designed to be dynamic depending on the player count. This is done by there being a different number of turns and Peasants/Nobles in the city depending on how many players there are.

In addition for 2 and 3 player games, players use a second cult marker in addition to their usual one. Players can only move one marker per turn, but when playing cards they can decide which marker is the epicentre for the effects.

Thanks for reading!

Phew! It’s awesome you made it all the way to here, and can I assume you’re interested in playing the game??

If that’s a “YES!” then perhaps you might try out the playtest version of the game. All you need is a copy of Tabletop Simulator and you’re set! Click here to sign up and I will be in touch to organise a session.

Do also subscribe to our newsletter below (first issue is coming out at the start of July) and hope to see you in Bleakpyre very soon!

Thanks,

Tom

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