The strategy game Strategos

Table of Contents

Throughout the country, we all have one favourite way to exercise our magic, pass time, and socialise, whether with a couple of friends or with our whole social circle: the strategy board game Strategos.  



1. Drawing cards

Players start in order of their position in the social hierarchy, from highest to lowest, so as to mimic their importance and the initiative they have in real life. Each player starts their round by drawing different types of cards that they can then choose to assemble in a wide variety of combinations. Each combination gives the player the right to certain actions. Among those is the possibility to exchange cards for different tokens.  

2. Playing tokens

Those tokens represents the armies and staff under the direction of the player. When they are brought into play, the player has to push their magic into the token to activate them. The different alloys used to make the tokens and the crystal shards embedded into them make them more adapted to different types of magic. Examples are levitating the token, using them as a base to send small projectiles of magic, or putting them at the centre of a small holographic projection. While in theory a token can be used for something to which it is not adapted, in practice this is a waste of magic and focus that can quickly become costly in the game. Nevertheless, a number of famous wins were the results of surprising plot twists brought by misused tokens.   Keeping magic in the token requires a lot of magical stability rather than pure power. This makes even the less powerful people able to play and forces everyone to instead develop their control and skills. Challenges come from games running long, having to control too many tokens at the same time, and having to balance focusing on both the tokens and on the strategy of the game.  

3. Expanding the board

The activated tokens move on a 3D board made of the cards that are drawn by the player. This board is not controlled by the players but by the activation stone of the game, which is covered in runes that control magic.  

4. Hidden manoeuvres

While Strategos games often have many viewers, not all of the manoeuvres are visible to all. Players can also communicate discreetly with each other during the games so that they can secretly negotiate and form alliances.  

5. Objective of the games

There are lots of variations of the rules, with some favouring outright war, while others instead favour trade, diplomacy, or alliances between participants. However, players are always eliminated when a special token unique to each player, the heart, is destroyed. A player's heart can also be captured by another player, forcing the first player into serving their interests - at least for as long as they can protect this additional heart token. In order to win, a player needs to destroy all the other players' hearts or to capture all of them. The capture or destruction of a heart can be kept hidden from other players, but everyone is notified at the end of a round when a heart has been destroyed, although not by whom.
Strategos cards by AmélieIS with MidJourney
Strategos tokens by AmélieIS with MidJourney
Strategos tokens by AmélieIS with MidJourney
Strategos tokens by AmélieIS with MidJourney

The social aspect

People playing Strategos by AmélieIS with MidJourney
What makes Strategos even, more interesting is that the rules can be adapted for any number of participant without limits. Thus, games with hundreds of players are possible. This has, of course, led to an annually competition between cities and villages to held the game with the most participants. With so many players, each round of the game are extremely long, and not everyone has the magical control to require to last that time. Having players entering the game but losing on the first round makes competing for high number of players uninteresting, and so it has been agreed that players have to play at least 10 rounds without being eliminated or losing to qualify as proper participants.   Strategos popular through all social classes, although each tends to prefer specific variant of the rules and have their own favoured ways of playing. Games play an extremely important role in socialising, with small games held weekly and big games played at the occasion of religious festivals or particular celebrations, with the war god being their official patron.   Social groups gathering to play together include:
  • all members of one family,
  • all the inhabitant of a neighbourhood,
  • all members of a professional guild,
  • all the priests dedicated to one of the gods,
  • all high priests of all cults,
  • different sections of the royal court or the whole court,
  • even the gods are rumoured to be playing with each other.
  •   Games rarely use big amount of money as stakes, and polite society looks down upon this. It's very common for games to have no stake at all beyond bragging rights, even among the rich. However, the impact of winning should not be underestimated. Since Strategos requires a lot of strategy, diplomacy and magical skills, how someone fares has a great impact in how they are perceived and treated socially.
    Nobles playing Strategos by AmélieIS with MidJourney
    People playing Strategos during a big village festival by AmélieIS with MidJourney
    A family playing Strategos by AmélieIS with MidJourney

    Opinion from the archives

    Every country loves strategy games. After all, they're a productive way to pass time while training for war. However, we all disagree on which one is the perfect game. In other countries, people prefer simple games with a 2D board, limited types of tokens, and very constrained rules. For them, the length of Strategos games, the focus required to play, and the very complicated rules all make the games not worth the bother.   They're obviously wrong. Their own strategy games are hardly worthy of the name and are only glorified logic puzzle. Our Strategos, on the other hand, are perfect for preparing people for warfare, whether on the battlefield or in a noble court. The complexity of the rules reflect that of real life, and thanks to the game, all of our citizens are regularly training their magical control and focus. It's no wonder that we have conquered and ruled over the whole continent several times, a feat no other country has managed to equal. Our current empire might not be as big as its previous incarnation, but the rest of the world should still take example on us.

    Cover image: Strategos tokens by AmélieIS with MidJourney


    Please Login in order to comment!
    21 Aug, 2022 19:02

    What an interesting and lovely game. Also you have done an amazing job getting Midjourney to make wonderful art for this.   A wonderful read that provided some inspiration for my own game. Thank you.

    I promise I will update this with some new things for people to read soon... in the mean time, Happy Worldbuilding
    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    21 Aug, 2022 19:25

    Thanks! I didn't intend to do more than 300-500 words, but I got inspired XD Now I have to find a way to make use of that in the novel... The Midjourney art does look amazing, so long as you avoid looking at it too closely XD

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
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