Tellstones: King’s Gambit is Riot Games’ latest bluffing and strategy board game, and officially launched today.
The game is “all about playing the player”, and focuses on player memory and interactions.
In Riot’s tutorial video, they unveiled the full details on how to play this bluffing and memory game. Played with two or four players, players take turns taking one of six actions until someone wins by reaching three points, or when a Boast is resolved.
The setup for two players involves:
- Seven stones: Scales, sword, shield, hammer, crown, knight and banner
- One play mat, or “The Line” where the gameplay happens
- Two score counters
- Two player reference cards
The play mat should sit in between the players. First, a stone is placed face up in the center of the mat. Called “The Pool”, the remaining stones are to be placed face up in full view.
Next, place one score marker next to each tracker and hand a reference card to each player. Lastly, players need to randomly decide who goes first.
There are six actions that a player can choose to take in each turn. For many of these actions, you’ll tell your opponent what to do.
- Place: Tell your opponent which stone from The Pool you want them to add to the end of The Line, and which side they should sit. Your opponent must place the selected stone in its selected location.
- Hide: Indicate which stone on The Line you want your opponent to turn over. Your opponent must flip it from face up to face down. A face down stone is deemed as ‘hidden’.
- Swap: Pick two stones on The Line. Your opponent will then swap their positions. If they are face up or face down originally, they will remain so.
- Challenge: Choose one of the hidden stones for your opponent to guess. Once your opponent guesses, the stone is flipped face up to reveal its symbol. If they’re correct, they score a point. If they were wrong, you get the point instead.
- Peek: You privately look at one of the hidden stones, and return it to the same place on the line. If your opponent scored a point in the last turn, you get to peek up to three stones instead.
- Boast: Tell your opponent that you know the entire line.
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When a Boast is called, your opponent has three choices on how to respond:
- “I believe you”: If your opponent says this, you score a point and the game continues.
- “Prove it”: When your opponent says this, you have to correctly name every hidden stone one at a time on The Line in any order, revealing them as you go. If you get them all right, you immediately win the game. If you get even one wrong, your opponent wins.
- “Steal, I know all the stones too”: If you believe your opponent, they get a point. If you choose not to believe them, they’ll need to prove it and the same stakes apply. They’ll win if they can name all of the hidden stones right, and lose the game if they get one wrong.
The player reference card details the six actions you can take, and also lists Boast choices on the back.
Variances apply when four players are at play. Players of the same team (colored in green and orange) will sit diagonally across each other, where the round goes clockwise. As it is a joint effort, teammates may talk to each other at any time with one condition — they must speak openly so that everyone at the table can hear.
When your team instructs your opponent to carry out an action, your opponent to your left will execute it. This goes the same for Challenges and Boasts, where the opponent on your left is tasked with making the final decision.
During Peek, if their opponent scored a point, both the player and his or her teammate may look at up to three stones. Another difference is that when Boast is called, teammates must take turns naming each stone. The player who initiated this action will go first.