Battle of the cleavage - splitting hairs

A jumble.


  1. a shared board across which the families move and a private board the Military Player (MP) maintains to track his own mine placements.
  2. every player has a private board and merely calls out the locations of their pieces as they move

Intuitively I prefer #1 as it allows for easier coordinated /shared action among players, as well as reducing the temptation and ease of cheating.

In mucking about in the area it struck me that a Battleships board would be perfect for the MP. They could use the same board and pegs, perhaps with coloured tips, to mark their mine locations secretly from the other players. It would only be a tracking aid however.


Players build a 10x10 landscape using square tiles. Landscape features include a river, forests, craters etc. Some features span multiple tiles. The total number of tiles in the game should probably be in the 120-150 range to allow for more variant setups.

Some terrain restricts movement. Some restricts movement for injured only (hard to crawl uphill when you have no legs). Possibly also movable objects (eg big logs) Rivers automagically move contents one tile in direction of flow.

MP seeds the land with face down activity markers. Some will be mines of various types, some will be nothing at all. In seeding the map it will be clear to the players how many munitions of each type were placed, just not where they were placed. The MP would record their munitions placement on their Battleship board.

Players start moving kids across the landscape. Movement is orthogonal. When a kid enters a tile the MP may declare that it detonates. If so appropriate results occur. Some detonations will may also detonate adjacent tiles. Appropriate results again.

Once a kid has entered a tile the tile is “safe” until the tile is left empty. When entered again it may detonate. Thus a kid may secure a tile and hold it secure while other kids hold adjacent tiles secure while a chain of kids traverses them.

Max population of a tile is limited. ~3 or ~5 probably.

MP weapons:

  • Standard mine. Kills tile contents.
  • Big mine. Kills contents, causes orthogonal neighbours to detonate (no choice).
  • Small mine. injures tile contents.
  • Cluster mine. Kills tile contents and spreads 1/2 kill mines to N of 8 surrounding tiles.
  • Mortar. Placed on back of map. Can be moved during nightly restock. On any patriarch action can fire. MP specifies target my placing up to two 3x3 grids of target markets on the board within N squares of mortar location (N=4?). After patriarch’s next action mortar lands. MP reveals targetting tile to indicate target. Mortar kills tile contents and injures orthogonal neighbours. Mortar causes target tile mine to also detonate with possible chain reaction for big mines.
  • Barbed/razor wire. Placed on a tile during nightly restocks. Reduces movement by healthy to 1/2. Injured can’t penetrate. Destroyed by mines and mortars.

A game is organised into days.

  • Each day starts with the MP buying munitions and seeding the field some portion of his stock. May also move mortar emplacements.
  • Then the patriarchs take turns in rotation, each choosing one of three possible actions. Basic actions are: Move, Queue and Equip (?).
  • A given action may only be selected so many times before it is unavailable. Then only the other actions are available.

Once two actions are depleted the day ends.

  • MP is paid cash for kills/injuries and MP may buy new munitions with cash.
  • Patriarchs:
    • Feed their at-home population
    • Unfed population starves and is injured
    • Excess food suppresses breeding rate and cash flow?
    • Receive charity food based on injury/kill rate etc.
    • Breed as a function of food supply change
    • Receive money from already escaped kids

New day starts.

Basic problems:

Patriarchs must:

  • ensure sufficient injury rate for themselves to sustain food supply for their population.
  • ensure sufficient population (inverse function of first derivative of food supply), to maintain activity
  • escape enough kids across field to secure money flow to equip later kids well enough to escape military build up
  • keep MP’s score within winning bounds
  • ensure MP income is low enough to ensure future surviveability.

MP must:

  • distribute income against munition types and expenses
  • distribute munitions effectively
  • detonate munitions efficiently versus score and income
  • keep his own score and specific patriarch scores within winning bounds.
  • generate future income for munitions

It doesn’t feel like it is holding together yet. There are kernels there, but nothing coherent yet. It is still incoherent. Part of the problem for me is that I’m trying to do trinary relationships for the first time. In comparison with ‘Ohana Proaexternal link which strictly implemented binary current translations pairs (A->B), I’m attempting trinary relationships with Splatter my Children and am finding it hard. The intent is for every decision to involve tradeoffs on not just two but three fronts.

I think it is time to get this thing out of my head and either make a quick and dirty slips-of-torn-paper prototype, or actually go full hog and write a little software implementation in Python.