Rules for The Prince

rules for the prince


Capture the opponent’s Prince. This is accomplished by destroying the Castle in which the enemy’s Prince is hiding.

prince surrenders to princeQuick Summary of Gameplay:

The Prince is a 10-15 minute turn-based strategy game played on a 10×10 tile map. It’s a mini “4X” game split into two phases: Exploration & Battle. In Phase One, you explore for resources and build 5 castles in strategic locations. In Phase Two, you deploy your resources offensively/defensively, guess where the enemy’s Prince is hidden, and attack the enemy.

Games We’re Taking Inspiration From:

  • Civilization V
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Battleship
  • Chess
  • Poker

prince sees island in telescopeRomantic Background Story:

You are the Prince of an expanding Kingdom and your father has sent you, the Imperial Guard, and some troops in search of new lands to colonize. After months on the open ocean a thin strip appears on the distant horizon, and soon your fleet is near enough to smell the sweet vegetation of rich, uninhabited island. “At last!,” you think, “This is Heaven.” You know the king would be pleased. You send out a scout and prepare to disembark. But in the night, the scout returns with the unfortunate news that another fleet is preparing to land on the other side of the island! Thinking fast, you decide to lead your troops immediately to find the best places to build strongholds.

This island will be yours—by force, if necessary. There’s not a moment to lose! Now, where should you and your scouting party land?


Phase 1: Explore & Build

Click to Enlarge
  • Turn 1: Players each land their Prince on a coastal tile (see Map). The Prince can see the terrain on all adjacent tiles. All other tiles remain shrouded in fog of war.
  • Turns 2+: For the remainder of Phase 1, the Prince can move one tile in any direction. After the Prince moves, the player has the option to build a Castle on any exposed tile. Both players have 5 Castles each.

The terrain consists of several tile types (mountains, hills, forest, etc) and may have one of a few possible resources: iron (offensive points), stone (defensive points), and gold (bonus points).

After the final Castle has been deployed, the Prince is no longer in play as an explorer piece. When both players have placed all 5 Castles, Phase 1 is over, the map is revealed and it’s time for battle! On to Phase 2.

Phase 2: The Battle!

Phase two consists of a series of battles, one per turn. Each battle has two parts (A & B):

  1. Hiding the Prince and placing the Imperial Guard.
  2. Distributing resources to offensive or defensive use for each castle and planning the attack.

5 castles

Phase 2-A: Hiding the Prince

  1. First, review strengths and defenses of your Castles.
  2. Now hide the Prince in any one of your Castles. The opposing player won’t know where your Prince is located. But choose carefully! If the Castle holding the Prince is destroyed during the battle, you lose the game.
  3. Next, place the Imperial Guard in any one of your Castles. This can be the same Castle that now hides the Prince, but keep in mind that the location of the Imperial Guard is shown on the map, so your enemy will know where you’ve place the Guard. The Imperial Guard completely shields its Castle from the first enemy attack, no matter the strength of the attack.

After both players have chosen Castles for the Prince and the Imperial Guard, this part of the turn is over. Each player can now see the location of the other’s Imperial Guard. (See Map 2)

cannon battlePhase 2-B: Battle

  1. Observe where the enemy’s Imperial Guard is stationed. The Imperial Guard greatly improves that Castle’s defenses.
  2. Select your first Castle. Offensive points, defensive points, and bonus points are determined by the iron, stone, and gold around the Castle. Let’s say this one has 4 offensive points, 5 defensive points, and 3 bonus points.
  3. Assign bonus points, which can be split between offense and defense. For this Castle, you can use your 3 gold to boost to end up with any of the following:
    • 7 offense / 5 defense
    • 6 offense / 6 defense
    • 5 offense / 7 defense
    • 4 offense / 8 defense
  4. Assign the enemy castle that this Castle will attack. The attack will use all of your Castle’s offensive points.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for your remaining Castles.
  6. Finally, assign the attack order for the battle. For example, Castle 3 goes first, then Castle 5, then 2, then 1, then 4. The order is important because the enemy’s Imperial Guard will completely rebuff the first attack on its Castle.

When both players are finished assigning resources, the Battle begins and both player’s attacks happen simultaneously. In the aftermath, players review the damage they’ve been dealt, and the damage they’ve wrought. A Castle’s damage is calculated by subtracting the Offensive Points used against it from its Defensive Points. If the Defensive Points drop to zero or below, the Castle is destroyed.

If both Princes are still alive, the next Battle begins. The game ends when one player destroys the other’s Prince. If both Princes are destroyed in the same round, it’s a tie.

So that’s it! We’re aiming for a quick, fun 4X experience. The concept is constantly evolving and if you have any thoughts, please leave feedback below or email


3 thoughts on “Rules for The Prince”

  1. Following through from reddit. First off the site looks great and I’m glad to get an idea of how the game will actually run.

    As for the game I like it. It has very board game feel to it (not a bad thing!). And it definitely hits all four X’s. You explore, expand, exploit, and extinguish.

    That said, while the 4x inspiration is prominent, I feel like 4X games are about much more than just the four x’s. This game is leaving out mobile units, research, trade, and negotiations in their entirety. Now, I’m not saying you need those things for a game, but I think they might be points to consider. Units I can understand leaving out, in the short form you’re going for they’ll just bog down the whole system. Same for research. Trade wouldn’t make sense for iron or stone as they’re really just attack and defense, and that leaves only gold but nothing to trade it for. I originally was going to call for trying to add diplomacy but as I dove into it I realized it’s a meta-system, dependent on all those others things for it’s impact.

    In short I guess I would say I like the idea, it seems to have good potential for some quick fun. Without playing I can’t really comment on the depth of strategy it will offer, but I see no obvious deficiency, it seems like it’ll have good tactical depth. I applaud your ability to cut to the core of 4x, you’ve included them all and while I’ll miss the rest of the things from full-size 4x games, I don’t think they’d add to the game you’ve outlined. I know in your place I’d probably have clung to things like units, research, and trade; and I think it’s that good you didn’t.

  2. LearningTech,

    Thanks for your thoughtful consideration of the game. We’ve definitely had to fight the urge to add pretty much ALL of Civ 5 back into the game. 🙂 But we keep coming back to the fact that Civ 5 has been done and done well. We’re making something different. We’re happy with the direction and know it will continue to evolve.

    The question really becomes, is it confusing (or misleading) to call it a mini 4X? Not 100% sure but I don’t think so.

    Thanks again,

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