Kerak: Strategy Redefined
Kerak: Strategy Redefined
A two-player abstract strategy game that's fun, fair, creative and competitive. Think Chess meets Stratego, with a pinch of Diplomacy.
A two-player abstract strategy game that's fun, fair, creative and competitive. Think Chess meets Stratego, with a pinch of Diplomacy. Read more
About this project
What's in the box?
***All pictures are of our prototype, which was hand-made. The machined version will be more crisp and detailed ***
Download your free Print & Play to test it out yourself!
We love strategy games, but they've got a big problem: they get boring. For example, every game of Chess starts with the same old pieces in the same old places, and unless you're a Chess master, this gets really repetitive, really fast.
To fix this, we usually add chance into the mix, by adding dice, or randomizing starting locations. This makes it fun, because every game is different. The only problem is that "fun" comes at the cost of "fair": adding chaos into the mix means that the game can never be truly fair, or strategic. Why can't we have both?
We can, it's Kerak.
Kerak solves problem one, without causing problem two.
Players start the game by placing their pieces on the board, one at a time, in any configuration they like. Also, the odd number of certain pieces, and the board's unique hexagonal shape, ensures that every game will be asymmetrical: you can't just "mirror" your opponent. In a nutshell, every game is different.
Also, there's no randomness: what you see is what you get. This means that every game of Kerak is 100% fair: it's a true, pure, thoroughbred strategy game, in the tradition of Chess or Stratego.
Kerak also has unmatched strategic depth. In most games, pieces act as individuals. In Chess, a pawn can capture a knight, even if the knight has a rook right next door. In Kerak, pieces support one another (two knights are better than one), and can be used individually, or in groups. By doing this, Kerak opens up whole new strategic dimension to play with!
Kerak is unlike any other strategy game. We love playing it, and we know you will too.
As kids, my little brother (Dylan) and I (Spencer) played every day; it was basically our full time job, and we took it seriously. We started out small, using our imaginations to make our toys, household objects, anything, come alive—we once created a whole world where erasers, yes erasers, were sentient beings capable of building great cities (It made sense at the time, somehow).
At some point we left the world of make-believe and took up arms as board game warriors; we fashioned ourselves as kings of Chess, great generals of Stratego, and the Machiavellian masters of Settlers of Catan. Still elementary kids, we were probably none of these things, but we did learn the basics of what makes a great game.
Jump forward fifteen odd years. We’re now in our mid-twenties, and we're bored. Our childhood games feel stale: I’ve seen the openings in Chess more times than I can count, they never change. Settlers of Catan is great, but there’s too much luck involved to make it competitive.
This is why I imagined Kerak: no two games are ever the same, so it never gets boring; and there’s no luck at all, just strategy. I told Dylan about my idea and he was enthusiastic, so we decided to make it, and try it out.
We built the first ever Kerak set out of watercolour paper, markers, and shiny metallic paint. Despite the lopsided hexagons and irregular cutting, the game was fun. We loved it.
The next step was to make it fair. Our family and friends joined in, and told us what they thought. We adjusted the rules, added a new piece, and built a new board. Now we had a real game.
At this point we had a great game and great people to play with. All that was left to do was to share it.
For starters, make sure everything’s there. You should have one game-board, two faux velvet pouches, 18 blue and 18 red pieces, two cheat-sheets, and the rules. All good? Let’s play Kerak!
Your goal in Kerak is to capture the opposing castle, while protecting yours: if you do that, you win, and if neither player can capture each other’s castle, it’s a draw.
Before continuing, check your cheat-sheet, it shows you the different pieces, and their strengths and speeds.
building you army
To start Kerak, you and your opponent take turns placing pieces, one at a time, on the board, in the three rows nearest you. You can place your pieces in any sequence, and in any configuration. Red places first
Once the board is set, you take turns moving your pieces, red moves first. You must move one, and only one, piece per turn; only one piece can occupy a space.
You can move any piece in any direction, and any number of spaces up to and including the piece’s movement value. For example, cavalry can move one, two, or three spaces a turn.
Pieces with multiple movement values cannot move into a space that touches a space that they’ve previously left (I).
Pieces can only move into open spaces, or spaces resulting in a valid capture: they cannot “jump” friendly pieces.
the battle begins
Here’s how to capture pieces:
First, you must be able to move your piece into a space occupied by your opponent’s piece.
Second, your piece must be strong enough to capture your opponent’s piece: if your piece’s strength value, plus that of all your supporting pieces (next section), is greater or equal to your opponent’s piece’s strength value, plus that of their supporting pieces, then you can capture it.
the whole is greater
Pieces are stronger when they’re together. They support each other when attacking or defending by contributing their strength value to their friendly piece. This means strong pieces can make other pieces strong too. Here’s how it works:
Your attacking piece is supported by all your pieces adjacent to the defending piece. Archers are special because they support attacks up to and including two spaces away (II & III).
Your defending piece is supported by all your pieces adjacent to both the attacking piece and your defending piece (IV).
Here are the final rules that make Kerak more fair.
Cavalry, knights, and heroes can always capture archers.
Castles only support with a strength of 1 (they still defend at 2), and support any adjacent infantry or archers, even from behind (V).
Only infantry and archers can capture castles; cavalry, knights, and heroes cannot, but can support castle captures. Make sure you take care of your weak pieces too!
for the win
Just in case you need to settle a score, each piece has a point value. If both players agree (before playing), if they draw, the player who captured a higher total piece value wins.
The Kerak board is also lettered and numbered so that players can record their moves! Because the Kerak board is hexagonal, the notation system follows diagonal lines. When recording a move, write the letter before the number.
Check out these quickplay videos! You'll catch on quick.
That’s it. We hope you love Kerak!
Risks and challenges
Kerak is almost finished: the designs are almost done, and our manufacturer is waiting on this Kickstarter campaign!
We do not expect any significant road-blocks, most of the hurdles are passed at this point.
That being said, we are always open to input from the community: we made the game for everyone, and everyone should have a chance to be heard.
If any unexpected challenges do crop up, we believe we have the knowledge and experience to tackle them. Both of us are university graduates (in medieval history, and neuroscience), and are both Juris Doctor candidates (law students).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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