Ozymandia Rules

Rules for “Simultaneous Risk With Bombardments” from New Rules for Classic Games by R. Wayne Schmittberger (ISBN-10: 0471536210, ISBN-13: 978-0471536215).

One of my more successful board game creations may have been Ozymandia, a Risk-like game that was an attempt to reduce the concept of simultaneous movement to its bare essentials. The game appeared in Games magazine (September 1981) has very favorable feedback both from readers and game-playing acquaintances.

The Ozymandia board was small and simple, with just 18 territories in all (actually 9 territories and 9 capital cities, as shown in Diagram 5.1). Later, though, it occurred to me that the game’s movement and combat rules could be applied to Risk to make the two-player form of the game more strategic. Here’s how it works:

1.) To start, players each take 40 armies and alternately place them on the board, either in empty territories or in territories they already occupy. After this placement phase is over, players move simultaneously for the rest of the game, which requires a pencil and paper to keep everyone honest and to avoid arguments. Before the movement phase of each turn, both players add new armies as in regular Risk.

2.) Players are restricted to one of two kinds of moves: concentration and dispersal. Specifically, the may either move armies into one territory or out of one territory. See Diagram 5.2.

When moving into a territory, armies may come in any desired number from any combination of adjacent territories; when moving out o f a territory, any kind of dispersal patter is allowable (although, of course, armies may only move into adjacent territories). Players need not move if they do not wish to and may already leave some or all armies in territory unmoved. It is also permissible for players to leave a territory unoccupied.

3.) All moves must be written down, allowing players to compare notes for verification purposes after each move. If opposing armies end up in the same territory or try to switch territories with each other, combat occurs and must be resolved before the next turn. Combat is resolved as follows:

a.) The smaller force is completely eliminated.

b.) The larger force loses the same number of armies as the weaker force, less the difference between the sizes of the two forces. For example, if seven armies attack four, the four are wiped out and the seven armies lose just one (because one is equal to four – the number lost of the weaker side – minus three – the numerical advantage of the stronger side, as determined by subtracting four from seven.) Note that a force with at least two-to-one superiority wipes out a defender without losing any armies at all.

d.) When opponents try to switch territories, combat occurs on the border before the move is completed. Surviving forces then complete their move and, if necessary, have a new battle with any unmoved enemy forces that remain in the destination territory.

4.) Three times during the game, each player may bombard one are (shades of Nuclear Risk). This is done in addition to a player’s normal move and is written down along with the rest of the move (e.g. “Bomb Kamchatka”). Bombardment effects are figured out after all movement and combat for the turn are concluded. The effect is simple: Half of all armies in the territory are eliminated. This is true even if the armies belong to the player who did the bombardment, as can occasionally happen when a player expects the opponent to attack a particular place but doesn’t want to waste time withdrawing his armies from it. If the number of armies in a bombarded territory is odd, the extra army survives.