A. Labyrinth (short game description)
The game process consists of the following stages.
First, a game master is chosen among the players (of which there are no less than three). A game master can be compared, on one side, to a football referee, and on the other side, to a demiurg (that is, a god-creator). The game master and the other players agree on the outer shape of the labyrinth, then he privately designs the labyrinth itself. The labyrinth commonly consists of a rectangle 15-30 cells in size, but other sizes and shapes are possible.
Contrary to the name, the labyrinth plan includes not only (and not so much) the walls, but many other interesting devices. Apart from the normal cells, called land, labyrinth can carry rivers, contain "pits" (special devices transporting the player to the other place in the labyrinth). Apart from those, labyrinth always contains special cells called "armory" and "hospital". The plan must show the places where one can leave the labyrinth - exits, and, most importantly, the locations of the treasures, which players will be competing for.
So the game master puts together the labyrinth plan and is responsible for the players not seeing it.
The next stage is determining the players' starting points. Each player draws the "empty" labyrinth plan (rather its outside contour - no one except the game master knows anything else about it) and marks the place he wants to start the journey from. Then players, in turn and secretly from each other, show the game master the marked places who positions pieces representing players on his own plan.
Next, the game itself starts. Turn by turn, players tell the game master their moves (e.g. "Go up, then shoot to the right and blow the up wall"), and the game master, after each turn:
- Realizes the movement on his plan, moving the relevant player's piece and performing other actions, e.g. erasing the walls blown up, and
- Tells the player the consequences of his move (e.g. "fell into a pit", "hit the wall", "went onto land and found a treasure" and so on).
The player who found a treasure picks it up and starts seeking an exit. The player who exits the labyrinth with a treasure wins... if the treasure is real. The game master puts several treasures in the labyrinth, of which one and only one is real. The player who found the treasure is not told whether the treasure is real or fake. The only way to find out is to exit the labyrinth.
Now about the types of cells which make up the labyrinth.
A normal cell where nothing happens to the player is called land.
The next cell type is a pit. A player who falls into a pit is immediately (during the same move) transported to another pit. The game master marks which pit is each pit going to transport the players to in advance. This pit chain always forms a loop consisting of all the pits. Due to the pits, it's not that easy for a player to determine one's position in the labyrinth, because the game master does not tell the player the location of the pit the player has been transported to.
Next, rivers can flow over the labyrinth, ending in deltas. Rivers consist, predictably, of a "river" type cells. Game master, drawing a river on a plan, connects neighboring cells with lines, marking the flow direction with arrows. Rivers cannot flow diagonally. At the end of each river is a "delta" cell. Several rivers may flow into one delta; moreover, rivers can merge and flow towards the delta as one. (But they cannot separate into creeks.) A player who gets into a river as a result of his move is immediately transported one cell in the direction of the flow. As a result, rivers are as much perplexing as pits, if not more. For example, a player who's got into a river says "go right" without knowing the river flow in that cell is right-to-left, so the move will result in him staying in the same cell where he started! The game master only says, "you are in a river, transported by the flow", and it is a mystery whether you are in the same cell or another (until you learn the labyrinth well).
We'll talk about other cell types - armories, hospitals and contagious cells - a bit later. First let's discuss the walls and blowing them up.
At the start of the game, each player has three grenades. If a player hit a wall (or, analyzing his own and his opponents' moves, decided that, for example, there is a wall downwards), he can use a grenade to try blowing up the wall. If the wall separated two labyrinth cells, it will disappear. But if it was a part of labyrinth exterior, in most cases nothing will happen to it. A tricky game master can turn some of the labyrinth exits into "closed exits" - sections of the outer walls which can be blown up and turned into normal open exits.
A player who uses up all or some of the grenades will restock them to the maximum amount of three at the armory.
Finally, shooting. Players can shoot each other, spending bullets, which again can be replenished in the armory. At the start, each player has the maximum allowed amount of three bullets.
A player in whose direction someone shot is considered wounded if there were no walls, other players, armories and hospitals between them. A wounded player a) cannot carry a treasure b) will die, that is, no longer participate in the game, upon a second hit. So everything a player can do is seek the hospital, where he will immediately be healed.
More about shooting in the full reference (section 5.5). Also in the reference are such interesting things as landmines, contagious cells, dragging corpses around, asking for a new cell, dark moves, handicaps, time limit rules and recommendations to game masters about creating good labyrinths. Beginners, however, can start playing without all the aforementioned (although section 8, tips for creating labyrinths, is still worth reading).
A game example (two players: 1 and 2, game master - GM).
- 1: Go up
- GM: Went onto land.
- 2: Blow the up wall, then go up.
- GM: Went into a river, moved by the flow to a delta.
- 1: Shoot to the left, then go up.
- GM: A scream is heard! Fell into a pit, was transported to the next one in the loop.
- 2: How many bullets and grenades do I have?
- GM: Two bullets, three grenades.
- GM: Player 2 is wounded and can ask for a new cell.
- 2 (shows the cell where he'd like to continue): Go up.
- GM: Went into a hospital, was healed.
- 1: Go right.
- GM: Hit a wall.
- 2: Go up, then blow the up wall.
- GM: Went onto land, found a treasure.
- 1: Blow the right wall, then go right.
- GM: Hit a wall (so the wall didn't blow up - player 1 must be at the right border).
Comments: As you can see, before and after the movement ("Go somewhere") one can shoot and blow walls, but only one movement is allowed per move. A scream means someone was wounded (it is obvious who this is here, but when there are more than two players, will only be found when it will be the wounded one's turn). After being hit, a player can ask to be transported to another cell in the labyrinth by privately showing the cell to the game master (if he doesn't do that, it's too easy to finish him off). When a player tries to move across the wall, he is told that, but loses the move; moreover, the game master doesn't tell whether it was a destructible or an indestructible wall. Both before and after the move the player can confirm the number of his bullets, grenades, treasures and other properties he has on himself.
1.1. This is a game for three to six people, one of which (the most mischievous) is a game master (ideally, a computer should do his job), and the others - players - are competing for a treasure, which should be found and carried out of the labyrinth.
1.2. The game master: a) before the game and secretly from the players compiles the labyrinth plan; and b) "guides" the players on the labyrinth according to their moves. This means the players, in turns, announce their moves, and the game master tells the results of each move to everyone.
1.3. The players compete, trying to find the true treasure and carry it out of the labyrinth. Initially all the players are healthy. During the game, each player can stay healthy, become wounded or infected, be healed or, on the contrary, become a corpse.
During the course of the game, the players move in the labyrinth, blow up walls, take, carry or leave items (grenades, bullets, landmines, treasures, corpses) on the cells, shoot each other to temporarily render innocuous (wound) or dispose of (kill) the competitors. A wounded player loses all his items except grenades, so to grab bullets, landmine, treasure or a corpse off a competitor, he must be wounded.
1.4. The labyrinth plan determines:
- The labyrinth walls, and in particular, the exits;
- For each labyrinth cell, its type;
- Locations of the treasures.
The game is played on a flat (two-dimensional) field of a pre-determined shape (for example, a 5x5 square) with directions defined as "left", "right", "up" and "down". The field is divided into square cells. Cells having common walls are called neighboring.
Each pair of neighboring cells can be divided by a wall. Such a wall is called an inner wall and can be destructed using a grenade.
A side of a cell forming a part of the labyrinth outline is called an outer side. An outer side can be one of the three: indestructible wall, destructible outer wall (closed exit) or an open exit. A labyrinth must have a minimum of two exits. Initially, any exit can be either a closed or an open one.
All the labyrinth features, including cell types, the positions of inner walls and the exits, are generated anew for each game while compiling the labyrinth plan.
During the game, labyrinth can change: players blow up destructible walls, pick up and leave items on some cells. Cell type cannot change during the game.
Because the players do not know the labyrinth plan at the start of the game, they can only navigate it, locate themselves and other players by analyzing the moves and the game master responses.
2.1. Each move consists of a sequence of player actions, which may be: movement, shooting, setting a landmine, throwing a grenade, leaving or throwing of a treasure, corpse, un-activated mine or bullet. A move must contain exactly one movement and any number of other permitted (backed up by having the relevant item) actions, performed in any order either before or after the movement.
A movement has a direction of left, right, up, down (from a cell of any kind), by the flow (from a "river" type cell) or by the loop (from a "pit" type cell). A shot can be fired left, right, up or down. A grenade can be thrown into a wall left, right, up or down from the player. An item can be left or thrown or a landmine set onto a cell the player is on or any neighboring cell.
2.2. The move results are composed of the results of the actions comprising the move. The results of the movement are twofold. First, the game master tries to perform the movement requested by the player. If a wall is in the way, the player stays in the position he was. When announcing the result, the game master tells, "Cannot move - hit a wall." Second, the player's position can be changed due to the type of the cell he moved to (see "Cell types"). A player walking into a pit is transported to the next one in the loop, and if he ended up in a river (including failure to move if he hit a wall) - is moved by the river flow.
2.3. The game master announces the move result, including the information about the cell where the player moved to, except its coordinates and whether there are other players there. He also tells about the consequences to the player arising from the cell properties (e.g. "found a treasure", "became infected", "was healed" and so on).
The consequences of other actions (shooting, etc.) are described below.
3. Game goal - finding and carrying the treasure out
3.1. At the start of the game, several "land" type cells contain treasures, one of which is true and the others fake.
3.2. The goal of the game is to find the true treasure and carry it out of the labyrinth, that is, walk out of the labyrinth through an exit carrying the true treasure.
3.3. If during a move a player arrives on a cell containing a treasure, the game master tells him, "you have found a treasure". A player can then take it or leave the treasure on the cell. Wounded and infected players cannot carry treasures.
3.4. To find out whether the found treasure is true or fake, one must exit the labyrinth carrying it. If the treasure is true, the game ends; the player who carried it is declared the winner. A fake treasure carried outside immediately crumbles to ashes, and the player who carried it must return to labyrinth and continue seeking the true treasure as their next move. Should he fail to return on the next turn (i.e. was mistaken about the direction back), he is declared to have lost and does not participate in the game anymore.
3.5. Another way to win (besides carrying the true treasure out) is to kill every other player. This victory is considered not as good as the "clean" one (with the treasure).
3.6. If for Nstop rounds (Nstop is determined and announced before the game by the game master, and is usually equal to the number of cells in the labyrinth) the players didn't manage to destroy any walls, carry out any treasures, no one was killed or became immune (that is, there are no irreversible changes in the labyrinth), the game is declared a draw. At any time a player or the game master can start counting Nstop moves, and then with every turn of their own declare: "One round with no changes", "Two rounds with no changes", …, "Nstop rounds with no changes
- game ends with a draw!"
4. Cell types
4.1. Land ("L")
Land is a type of cell which does not affect player in any way. A player arriving at a "land" cell will stay there until he leaves as a result of his own move (or is killed and taken away as a corpse). When a player arrives at "land", the game master announces, "Walked onto land[, found...]".
4.2. Hospital ("H")
A "Hospital" cell immediately heals wounded and infected players. A player staying at a hospital cannot be wounded (so shooting towards a hospital is permitted but useless). Out of humanitarian considerations, shooting out of a hospital is forbidden (perhaps related to 1995 Budyonnovsk events) and through_ it (towards a player on the opposite side). When a player arrives at a hospital, the game master announces, "Walked into a hospital[, was healed][, found...]".
One cannot carry corpses through a hospital (a corpse carried in is confiscated and cremated by the medical workers).
4.3. Weaponry ("W")
Contains an infinite supply of bullets and grenades (and landmines in some game variations). A player who walks onto this cell automatically replenishes his ammo supply to the maximum (3 bullets and 3 grenades) except if he asked the game master otherwise. The same restrictions apply for shooting from and through a weaponry as for the hospital, but one can shoot towards it. A player arriving into the weaponry is told, "Walked into a weaponry, you have 3 bullets and 3 grenades[, a treasure][, found...]."
4.4. Pits ("P")
A pit loop is a set of N (N > 1) cells in the arbitrary locations inside the labyrinth. All the pits in a loop are numbered from 1 to N. A player walking into a pit (e.g. P1) is immediately transported to the next one - P2 - and stays there until he moves by his own account. The "next" one for Nth pit is pit 1. A failure to move out of the pit (hitting a wall) does not result in transporting to the next one.
A player falling into a pit (e.g. P1) can pick up items located in the next one (P2 in this example, the one where he arrives as the result of his move). Items located in the original one, P1, are unavailable to him. A landmine of a contagious corpse (see 4.7, 5.6, 5.7) located in the entry pit do not affect the player.
Shooting, throwing grenades and other actions the player requested after the movement are performed out of P2 as well (in this example).
A player in a pit, apart from an ordinary movement ("left", "right", "up" and "down" directions) can also perform a "loop movement", which results in him being transported to the next pit of the loop.
A player walking into a pit is being told, "Walked into a pit[, found...]."
Pits do not affect items.
4.5. Rivers and deltas ("R", "D").
Despite an analogy to the natural rivers (or perhaps thanks to it), the river system is one of the most complex to describe formally. But since we started, it has to be done. Try to understand what is being meant by the authors here...
So, a river system is a set of "River" and "Delta" type cells satisfying the following conditions:
- A river system contains at least one "River" type cell and exactly one "Delta".
- Each "River" cell is associated with flow direction pointing towards one of the cells neighboring it. Two cells linked by the flow_ are always neighboring, belong to the same river system and have a common border which cannot contain a wall (that is, a wall cannot block the river).
- Delta is the last cell of the river system, there is flow into it but not out of it. Following the flow from any cell of the river system sooner or later will lead to the delta (this prohibits rivers to form loops).
The simplest case of a river system can consist of two cells, "Delta" and "River", with the flow, obviously, from "River" towards "Delta". The more complex cases can resemble, for example, letters "U" or "H", with delta being in any part of the letters. For example, if the delta is the lower-left corner of the "U", the river system is composed of two branches, one of which flows to the delta from upwards and another one from the right.
4.6. Rivers and deltas continued.
A player walking into a "River" type cell is immediately taken by the flow to the next cell of the river system. This cell can be either a "River" or a "Delta". If the first case the game master announces, "Walked into a river, carried by the flow[, found...]", in the second one, "Walked into a river, carried by the flow to a delta[, found...]".
If a player moves in the direction opposite to the flow (to the cell upstream), he actually stays on the same cell where he was. The game master, however, doesn't point this out, just telling, "Walked into a river, carried by the flow (perhaps to a delta)[, found...]". The player won't even know if he went to another river flowing nearby or to a different cell of the same river.
Conversely, when moving in the direction of the flow, the player traverses two cells in one move. The game master's message in this case is absolutely the same.
A player staying in the river (but not in the delta) can, apart from the normal movements ("left", "right", "up" or "down"), move "by the flow", as a result of which he is transported to the cell downstream. The game master announces, "Walked by the flow into a river (or a delta)[, found...]".
Unlike pits, if a player staying in the river tries to move but hits a wall, he doesn't stay at the old place, but is transported one cell downstream. The game master says, "Cannot move in that direction - hit a wall; carried by the flow to a river (or a delta)[, found...]."
A special case is a player walking into the last cell of the river system - the delta - without being carried from the river. The game master tells, "Walked into a delta[, found...]." The player in the delta is not carried anywhere - there is no flow there.
As well as with pits, player picks up items and performs all the after-movement shooting on the cell where he arrived after the move (that is, after being carried by the flow). Again, a landmine or a contagious corpse will only affect a player if they are in the cell where he was carried. A consequence of this is, any items thrown into the river source are lost forever for the players. If a true treasure falls onto the river source, the game ends in a draw.
The rivers only transport players and do not transport items.
4.7. Encephalitis ("E")
"Encephalitis" is a cell of a specific action, modeling a dangerous contagious disease spread by a kind of a mite. Here's how it "works".
The first player who arrives at the encephalitis cell wakes up the mite. The game master announces, "Arrived at the encephalitis cell, woke up the mite."
To avoid infection, the player who woke the mite up must immediately (on the next round) leave the dangerous cell. Starting from the next round (that is, once all players make one move), the cell becomes contagious. A healthy player will immediately become infected here. A wounded player who becomes infected dies. Similarly, a bullet or a landmine hit is fatal for an infected player. An infected player cannot carry any items (except grenades). Treasure (bullets, landmine, corpse) he had are left at the encephalitis cell.
An infected player is told, "You have been infected and have … moves to heal." The number of turns the infected player has to get to a hospital is determined by the game master in advance (before the game starts). Usually it is measured in "successful" moves, that is, ones that result in a player moving to another cell (so hitting a wall doesn't count). Sometimes the time for healing is not limited, so the infected wanders the labyrinth until he arrives at a hospital or dies from a bullet or a landmine.
An infected player who manages to find a hospital in the specified number of moves is not only healed, but becomes immune, and from that moment onwards, whenever he arrives at an encephalitis cell, is told, "Walked onto land[, found...]."
Not having found a hospital in time (or if shot on the way), the infected player dies and leaves a contagious corpse at the scene. A player who is not immune, when walking onto such a cell, is also infected.
A player who has immunity can pick up the contagious corpse and put it on another cell, for example, to make it harder to find the treasure or an exit for a competitor who is not immune.
Neither mite nor contagious corpse affect an infected player in any way.
5. Items: treasures, grenades, bullets, landmines, corpses...
5.1. Any healthy player can carry various items, including no more than one treasure (or, instead of treasure, a corpse or a landmine), no more than 3 grenades and no more than 3 bullets. Obviously, to take a treasure one must first find it, and to take a corpse, find or "make" it.
Items can also reside on any cell, where they do not belong to any player.
A wounded or infected player can neither carry items (with an exception for grenades) nor use items on his cell.
A healthy player who finds items on a cell, by default, picks up everything he can carry (so he doesn't have to specifically ask the game master for it). If he already had a treasure, landmine or a corpse, the less valuable items are automatically exchanged for the more valuable one (i.e. corpse for a mine, and mine for a treasure). Items of equal rank (carried a treasure, found another) are not exchanged.
5.2. During his turn, the player can perform actions using items he carries or ones in the cell. Bullets can be shot, grenades can be used to blow up walls, and a landmine can be activated. Besides, the items can be left on the cell or be thrown towards a neighboring one. Items thrown towards the wall fall onto the cell player is on. The game master announces, "...you are throwing a corpse to the right - you have found a corpse at your feet..."
Items thrown into a pit or a river are left at the cell they are thrown at and are not transported (by the loop or by the flow).
Items left or thrown are lying on the cells until picked up by an arriving player. Items thrown out of the labyrinth or lost outside (because of the carrier dying or being wounded) immediately disappear without a trace. If some idiot throws a true treasure out of the labyrinth, the game immediately ends with a draw! It is also a draw if a true treasure is thrown to an inaccessible cell, for example, into a river source.
A player walking onto a cell with something he can profit with is being told what did he find and the quantity of each kind of item.
5.3. At game start, each player has 3 bullets, 3 grenades and (as agreed) one or zero landmines. Bullets and grenades spent are immediately replenished if a player walks into a weaponry (or resides inside). Grenades and bullets lying inside the labyrinth are picked up by the first player who can do so (that is, the first healthy player arriving on the same cell who has less than three of the kind).
5.4. Grenades do not harm other players - they are just for blowing up inner walls and hidden exits. The player says something like, "Blow up the wall to the right"; blowing up can happen both before and after the movement. Any destructible wall disappears with one blow; indestructible wall survives any number of blasts. If a player tries to blow up a wall that doesn't exist, the only result of the action will be the decreased amount of grenades in his possession.
5.5. Bullets are designed to eliminate competition. Announcing the move, the player tells the moment (before or after the movement) and the direction of shooting. The game master replies with whether a scream is heard, and whether anything fell to player's feet (for example, a corpse). When having enough ammo, including any on the ground, one can shoot several times during the move, for example, before and again after the movement.
Each bullet shot flies straight until it meets an obstacle - a wall, a hospital, a weaponry or another player. A player located at the same cell as the shooter is wounded regardless of the direction of the shot. If several players stay at the same cell, the bullet (perhaps it is the explosive kind?) wounds all of them except the shooter.
A wounded player immediately loses (drops) all his bullets, treasure, corpse or landmine (if he had any); all this falls onto the cell where the unfortunate was hit. In case of a player's death, the grenades and his own corpse are also left on the scene of the tragedy. All these items can be picked up by other players arriving at the cell. If the shooter is in the same cell as the injured, he can catch the falling items "on the fly" and peruse them immediately: thus, having only one bullet but shot a player loaded up to the brim with ammo, one can make three more shots during the same move.
A wounded player immediately falls down, so a player cannot kill someone by shooting twice in a row. On the turn of the wounded player, the game master tells him that he's been shot and asks to order a new cell. The wounded can either use his right to order a cell (secretly from other players, pick a cell where he'd like to continue the game from) or continue from the place he's been wounded. Ordering a new cell is only possible on the turn immediately following the wound.
Until healed (visited a hospital), the wounded cannot carry or throw treasures, corpses, bullets or landmines, activate landmines or shoot. He can carry grenades and blow up walls.
A second bullet hit or an infection is fatal for the wounded. Each player has N-1 cell re-orders, where N is the number of players. A player who used up all his re-orders continues from the same cell when wounded.
5.6. Corpse. A dead player is participating in a game as a corpse. If he was infected, the cell with the corpse becomes contagious too.
5.7. Landmine. It is a one-time explosive device. If a game includes landmines, then at game start each player has one landmine, which he can, at his turn, set up at the cell where he is (before or after the movement) or at a neighboring one, activating it first and throwing in the desired direction. An activated landmine is invisible for the players, so they will only know about it at the time of the blast.
Besides, landmines, like any other items, can be thrown without activating, so the same or other player can later pick them up. A landmine being activated is harmless, but any player arriving at a cell with a landmine from another cell causes a blast wounding all the players on the cell. A landmine can also be triggered by throwing someone's corpse towards the cell where it is set.
The blast of a landmine destroys all the bullets and other landmines (but not grenades, corpses or treasures) - both lying on the cell and ones possessed by players. Landmines set in a weaponry or a hospital are immediately defused by the relevant authorities and possess no harm to players.
If a player wounded or infected has a landmine, he cannot carry it anymore, so it is left on the cell where the wound or the infection occurred, without being activated. If a player tries to set up the landmine on the cell separated by a wall, it is actually set on the cell where he is (which is not indicated by the game master). A landmine set outside the labyrinth (for example, thrown in the direction of an exit) is immediately defused by the external security and is no danger for players leaving with or without a treasure.
When playing with landmines, it is recommended to have more exits than there are players.
5.8. Treasures are either true or fake.
Actions on a treasure are performed the same way as with any other items. For example, a player can leave a treasure on the cell where he is at the moment, or throw to a neighboring one (in both cases the game master marks the treasure as no longer being possessed by the player but lying on the corresponding cell), then get back to it and, if not taken by anyone else yet, pick it up again, etc.
If a treasure is found by a player already having one, the game master tells him of the find and asks which one - "old" or "newly found" - would he like to take. No one can carry two treasures at the same time; neither can a player carry a treasure together with a landmine or a corpse.
If a cell has two or more treasures, the game master identifies them as "lowest" (the one brought the earliest), "second lowest", "...th lowest" and "topmost", where topmost is the last one brought. A player arriving at a cell with more than one treasure can choose to pick up any of them (or stay with the one he brought).
6. Game start and process
6.1. When the game starts, each player, secretly from the others, points to the game master the location where he would like to start at his own (blank) labyrinth plan. The order in which the players do this is determined randomly. The game master marks the players' locations at his own labyrinth plan.
After asking all the players, the game master can declare their selections invalid. When doing this, he cannot tell any reasons or disclose any information about the cells the player chose. In this case, each player picks a new cell which must not be the same as the previous one.
If the players don't quite trust the objectivity of the game master, they can agree on the conditions when he invalidates the cell choice beforehand.
6.2. After the players made their choice and the game master confirmed them as valid, all communication is open to everyone. First, the game master tells the type of the cell where everyone is located. Then the game itself is started: the players, in order, announce their moves and listen to the answers of the game master. First the player specifies his request in full and then receives a full response for all the actions; one cannot correct one's move after hearing part of the response. So during the game, all players receive almost identical information (the difference is the knowledge of each other's starting points), and success is determined by the ability to analyze this information (and a share of luck).
6.3. Before making a move, each player can ask the game master to recall the last move of any other player. Because the communication is open by definition, it is unethical to mislead the partners or the game master, directly or indirectly hindering their attempts to determine anyone's moves. It is also important that one cannot ask to recall the moves before the last one!
It is recommended (and is considered good practice among the strong players) to write down not only own but also others' moves.
6.4. Before one's move, as well as after the move and the reply from the game master, a player can clarify his status (whether he is healthy, how many bullets, grenades, etc. does he have and so on).
6.5. If a player wishes, he can request a "conditional" move, for example, "Go right; if I find a treasure, shoot up; and if I find a bullet, shoot right; finally, if I fall into a pit, leave one grenade there." An example response will be, "Go right - fell into a pit, found a treasure, two bullets and a corpse; shoot right - three bullets left, one on the ground, no scream is heard; shoot right - no screams, still three bullets left; leave a grenade - no luck, you've forgotten you are since long out of them."
6.6. A player can skip a move. If all the players skip their moves, a game is declared a draw.
6.7. ("Dark" moves) A player can, if he wishes, ask the game master not to tell the result of a move. For example, if he knows the cell to his right is land, but doesn't want others to discover this, he can declare the following move: "Go right, don't tell the result." The game master replies: "Go right, don't tell the result - done." Nothing is told, but all the actions are performed by the rules, that is, the player (unless he asked otherwise) picks up all the items found which he can carry. Less valuable items are exchanged for the more valuable ones: corpse for a landmine, landmine for a treasure, and the old treasure is kept if another one is found.
It is to be noted that if the player did not know the labyrinth well, for example, there was a wall between him and the land to the right, he will stay on the same cell where he was and would not know about this. Neither will he be told about a landmine blast (thus he will not be able to order a new cell for himself), and if he was shooting, the game master will not tell whether a scream was heard. (However, the wounded player will be told so when it is his turn.)
6.8. ("Semi-dark" moves) A player can specify his move as follows: "1. Go right, don't tell where did I end up, but 2. tell me whether I hit a wall." The game master answers: "1. Go right - done. 2. No wall hit." or "1. Go right - done. 2. You've hit a wall."
The possibility of "dark" and "semi-dark" moves adds a lot of variety and nuance to the game, especially if the start position of the player is not known. However, it should be noticed that "dark" play requires a lot of attention to detail and accuracy from the game master as well as the players.
7. Preparation and option negotiation. Simplifying the game
Before starting the game, the players choose the game master among themselves. Usually it is one of the most experienced players. There is a tradition to consider compiling the labyrinth the right and obligation of the previous game winner (as well as a lot of fun). However, by mutual agreement the winner can transfer the privilege to someone else.
After that, all the players agree on the shape and size of the labyrinth (usually a rectangle 4x4, 3x6, 4x5, 4x6 or 5x5, but other configurations are possible, for example, a square without corner cells), timing rules and use of the below options. In case of a disagreement, the matter is determined by voting, where the game master has 49% of the votes.
If a question has arisen which has not been determined before the game, it is decided by the game master out of his own consideration, and every player can at any time confirm all the game rules.
Options are rule changes which are applied once or systematically to make the game simpler or add some novelty. Below is a list of typical options:
7.1. To simplify the game, it can be played without landmines, encephalitis cells, with a limit on the number of pits, pit loops, river systems, river branches, the maximum length of a river, pit loop, determine beforehand the total number of weaponries, hospitals, treasures, inner walls and exits, and whether the exits can be blocked by destructible walls.
Also, conditional, "dark" and "semi-dark" moves (where only a part of the result is told) can be forbidden, as well as throwing items (just leaving on the current cell is allowed) and setting the landmine on a neighboring cell.
Finally, the game master can make the players' life easier by connecting the opposite walls of the labyrinth with chains of neighboring cells of "land", "hospital", "weaponry" and "delta" types, which can be agreed beforehand as well.
7.2. The weakest players can be allowed a handicap, for example, an opportunity to ask the type of m cells from the game master before the game start, and then choose the starting position among them; or one extra cell order. When ordering a cell without being wounded, the player must leave his bullets, treasure, landmine and corpse (if he has any) on the cell where he was.
7.3. The shooting distance can be limited to one cell, shooting from rivers forbidden ("the powder is damp") or, on the contrary, allow shooting through weaponries and hospitals. Besides, the shooter can be required to announce his target so the bullet will only hit him (and only if he is on the cell which the shooter points out).
7.4. Rivers (see 4.6) can be "shallow". This means the player will be only carried with the flow once, when stepping into a river. On the next turns, he "finds the bottom with his feet" and can move upstream and downstream like he was on the land (with the game master telling "by the river" but not specifying whether it was up- or downstream). If the player walks out of the river, the next time he steps in he will be carried again. If a player moves across the flow (that is, neither upstream nor downstream at the point) and finds himself in another river or another part of the same river, he will be carried as well. Under this option, one cannot exit the delta towards a river flowing in (the game master says, "failed, a river is flowing this way" - just like a wall).
Another option is "turbulent" rivers which immediately, during the same move (right after the player walking into a river) carry him to the delta. This option is not usually worth it because many players end up in deltas together.
7.5. A player who hits a landmine might not have the right to order a new cell.
7.6. Instead of choosing the starting point individually, all players can start from the same cell, determined by the game master, but without bullets and grenades.
7.7. Skipping a move and "repeating" moves (those which are known to result in no change in the labyrinth, such as hitting the same wall over and over again) can be forbidden. Without such a ban, the bearer of the true treasure can force a draw by going to a hospital and refusing to leave.
7.8. Some people tell or don't tell about trying to blow a wall which does not exist and whether a wall stayed there after the blow. It is best to agree on what should the game master should say beforehand.
7.9. Sometimes the last player surviving (see 3.5) is not automatically declared a winner, but rather has a number of moves to find and carry out the true treasure.
8. Creating a labyrinth
After agreeing on the game rules, the game master privately compiles the labyrinth plan. He must remember that:
- Each cell has only one type (so a river delta cannot be a pit, etc.)
- Labyrinth must contain at least one cell of the following kinds: weaponry, hospital, land. River system number and configuration, length and number of pit loops, etc. is at his discretion.
- There must be one and only one true treasure, which must reside on a land type cell.
- Labyrinth must have at least two exits. Exits cannot be from an unaccessible cell (e.g. river source). It is often agreed that at least one exit be initially open.
- Any labyrinth cell (except river sources) must be potentially accessible from any other one without using grenades. That is, there must not be deltas surrounded only by rivers flowing in and walls, or land areas surrounded by walls. That is to say, a player who spent all the grenades must have at least a theoretical possibility to get to the weaponry.
- After compiling the labyrinth plan, the game master announces the number of moves given to heal after infection and the value of Nstop (the number of rounds with no irreversible changes after which the game is declared a draw).
The requirements above are mandatory, and failure to follow them can be a reason to protest the game results. Besides, practice shows that the game will be more interesting (with smaller possibility of "stalemate" situations) if the person who compiles the labyrinth will take in the following recommendations. However, in every single case the final word is the game master's.
- The labyrinth should contain no less than two weaponries and no less than two hospitals. This makes wounded players' lives easier and makes it harder to track them when using "dark" moves.
- Hospital and weaponry should not be located in neighboring cells. Otherwise the wounded player can quickly heal himself, stock up and take the treasure back from the attacker, who will then turn the tables on him ("cyclical" stalemate).
- The number of fake treasures should be no less than one and no more than the number of players.
- It is undesirable to have strong attractors - cells or groups of cells which one can easily get to but hard to get out off. An example not to follow would be a delta with just one exit (surrounded by three incoming rivers or a wall and two rivers), two deltas on adjacent cells and so on. Very quickly in the game quite a lot of players can find themselves here and shoot each other before they can guess even a part of a labyrinth.
- To hinder access to the true treasure and/or exits, one should use different river configurations and encephalitis cells. To make guessing the labyrinth layout harder, the number of pits and rivers should be increased, they should be positioned along the outer wall, and the labyrinth shape itself should be more complex. Moreover, the players can be mislead by repeating patterns of cells.
The treasure, especially the true one, should not lie near an exit.
9. Move time limitation
Because Labyrinth, by definition, is an analytic game, one of its most important elements is the analysis of the coming information and building the labyrinth map based on it. It is understandable that this takes time. However, one cannot draw the game indefinitely by taking a long time to think and annoying other players.
As a compromise between "analyticity" and "dynamism" a following conflict resolution scheme is proposed:
First, any player, before his move, can take a 5-minute break to consider the move. He can then only take another one when at least half of the players use the privilege.
Secondly, a break can be held when the majority of the players agree on it; in case of an even number of players the game master has a decisive vote.
By any player's request or by his own consideration, the game master can start timing a player's move if he takes a long time to decide on it. If during 1 minute the move is not made, the player is declared to have lost. His corpse and all the items are left where he "died".
As practice shows, the game time is proportional to the size of the labyrinth (the number of cells) and to the square of the number of players. 3-4 player game on a small (4x5) labyrinth usually take an hour of an hour and a half to solve, but if you try to compile a 10x10 labyrinth and invite 6 players, it is quite unlikely you finish the battle in less than a day.