The Card Game of Oz
Box of Delights Solitaire Rules
The Card Game of Oz was the first Kickstarter Project I backed. The artwork looked great and the game mechanics were very novel (players are taking on the role of authors after all!) It was a work of passion, of blood sweat and tears, for designer James O’Connor. Production hit a few snags, but Jim stuck with it with total dedication, but perhaps a little deflated by the end. But I still think the game stacks up. More than that – it still stands out in a very crowded market-place. My only concern is that I’d love to play with my 8-year-old (who loves Oz), but although the rules are minimal in the extreme, the cards have lots of text that adds complexity that sends it up the opposite end of the scale. What else was there to do but look at the solo rules?
The solo rules that come with the gameare okay, but there was an opportunity missed to make it something deeper and something that used more of what makes the game exciting: the plot twists and tension delivered by an opponent. So much so that, I set about creating my own solo variant, and here it is. It’s not without its nuances, but it does put you in command of the quill as you take on L. Frank Baum to try to tell the best tale in the Wonderful Land of Oz.
1.1. Create a Storyline of 6 face-down locations, as per the 2-player game.
1.2. After drawing your hand of 5 cards, archive cards from the top of the Library until you find a Prime Character. Put that character into play above the Title card at the right end of the story line. This is Frank’s prime character and Frank’s Title Card. Frank is your opponent. Frank is playing from right to left above the line, whilst you are playing from left to right below the line.
2. Object of the Game
2.1. Your objective is the same as in a regular 2-player game – i.e. be the author with the most vitality points in the Storyline at the end of the game.
3. How the Game Plays
3.1. You will be playing the game just like a regular 2-player game, with the following modifications:
3.1.1. If at any time Frank loses his last Prime Character to the archive, immediately archive cards from the top of the Library until you find a new Prime Character for Frank. Put that character into play above Frank’s Title Card.
3.1.2. If at any time a card is returned to Frank’s hand, immediately put that card into play as per the rules below, with a Prime Character getting redeployed to Frank’s Title Card.
3.1.3. Frank does not pay SPs to move cards between locations.
3.2. At the end of your turn, draw one card from the top of the Library (for Frank), and play it is as follows:
3.2.1. If the card is an Effect or Event and is either Neutral or matches the Moral Standing of Frank’s Prime Character card(s), then play the card as if you just played it yourself. All text is mandatory, not optional. Note: you can use these cards to your advantage if you wish. Effect and Event cards of different Moral Standing are simply archived.
3.2.2. Character cards are put into play above Frank’s starting Title Card. However, if Frank draws a Prime character that does not match the Moral Standing of Frank's existing Prime Character(s), the card is archived and Frank will draw again.
3.2.4. If the card is an Object, then play the object to the left-most location without an Object. If all locations have at least one Object, then play it to the left-most location that has a Character, or the right-most location if there are no Characters in the storyline.
3.3. Next, any objects on Frank’s side of the storyline will be automatically equipped to a Character of your choosing but with Frank’s Characters taking priority, and/or activated.
3.4. Next, Frank’s Prime Character [in priority order: able to move, will not lose the game, lowest Vitality, furthest left, at a location not matching its colour, alphabetically] will move one location to the left, if it is able, revealing a face-down location as normal. However, Frank will NOT end the game if his total Vitality would be less than yours (in this situation, a Prime Character will not move).
NOTE: If Frank ends the game, you do not get an extra turn; however, Frank does still get to draw and move after you finish the game and at the end of your turn.
3.5. Finally, all of Frank’s other characters will move one location closer to the right-most location that matches the character’s colour. If there are no matching locations, the character will simply move one location left-wards towards the Storyline’s end. If any of these characters is already at a location matching its colour, it will not move.
That’s it! Still simple, but now there is no ’round timer’ and you can now use many of the attacking/confrontational cards that come in the decks, as well as be dealt surprises by Frank himself.