TRANQUIL VALE - RULES
For a PDF version of the rules, please use the following links. For a purely textual version, please read on.
Designed by Richard Willis, Melanie Vandenbrouck and others
Illustrations by Tim Frost & Richard Willis
4-7 players, ages 14+, 45-60 minutes
An improv game where players are residents of Tranquil Vale, the most boring town in the country. The aim is to survive, by chatting with each other as you do your chores around town. The game ends when one player has done the required number of chores.
7 Road Cones
1 Turn Marker
7 Large card stands
7 Small card stands
28 Mood Tokens
52 Character Cards
52 Chores Cards
52 News Cards
6 Judging Cards
- Each player chooses a cone, a large and small card stand, of the same colour
- First time players should be given judging cards.
- Each player chooses one Main Character and one Deputy Character from the deck of Character Cards.
- Each player places their Main Character card in their large card stand with the uppercase-text side facing away, so everyone can easily identify each other’s character. The Deputy Character card is similarly placed in the small card stand.
- Each player places their cone on their Main Character’s home square, with the exception of the Homeless Person, whose player chooses which venue to start from.
- Each player takes Mood Tokens:
- four for 4-5 players;
- three for 6-7 players.
- News Cards and Chores Cards are shuffled and placed face down on the board.
- Each player takes one Chores Card.
- Use any method to decide who starts. The player starting the game is given the Turn Marker, which is passed onwards thereafter.
- The first player takes a News Card and reads it aloud, to initiate the game’s narrative. It is then placed face-up on the Tranquil Vale road sign where everyone can see it.
Characters plod around town, aiming to do a set number of chores:
- three chores for 4-5 players;
- two chores for 6-7 players.
Each player must always have one uncompleted Chores Card. They take turns moving towards their chore's location.
When a player arrives at their destination they chat to another player's Deputy Character (see CHATS) as directed in their Chores Card.
Once a chore is done, the player retains the card for scoring, and immediately takes another.
Each turn, players move along the roads any number of squares up to their Mood Score + 1.
The map wraps where arrows appear at the edge of the board. This allows characters to emerge at the other side of town.
Unless a player encounters another character en route, or arrives at their chore’s location, each turn costs one Mood Token: loneliness makes their character sadder, slower, and decreases their lifespan (see DEATH).
If a player encounters another character en route to their chore, they can potentially avoid losing a Mood Token by chatting (see CHATS). This is done by stopping in the square containing the other player’s cone. If there are several cones in a square, the player chooses who to chat to.
Chats involves two players chatting in character for one minute, and take place in two ways:
- In the street, two players’ Main Characters bump into each other and chat about local news stories. The initiating player takes a News Card, reads it aloud and places it on or near the Tranquil Vale road sign for the remainder of the game so everyone can read it, after which the chat begins.
- Arriving at a chore’s location, the player reads out their Chores Card, which requires them to chat to a Deputy Character. The other players decide amongst themselves which of their deputies is most likely to be at that location, based upon the nature of the chore.
In both cases, a non-chatting player turns the hourglass, and the two players chat while the sands trickle. The non-chatting players watch and listen in order to pass judgement afterwards (see JUDGING).
After a chat, the other players decide who was the “best chatter”. In no particular order, judgements are based on whether the players:
- discussed the chore or news story;
- in character;
- referencing former chats;
- and with humour.
The player adjudged to have performed the best wins.
The winner of a chat gets a Mood Token from their opponent. If the winner
already has the maximum amount of tokens it is discarded. Judges may deem the chat a draw, in which case nothing is exchanged.
If the chat was about a chore, after the chat the player retains their Chores Card for scoring.
A player’s Main Character dies the moment they exhaust their Mood Tokens. The dead character’s card is removed from its stand and retained for scoring. The player’s Deputy becomes their new Main Character, and their cone moves to that character’s Home Square, or any square with a venue if it is the Homeless Person. Their Mood Tokens are restocked to the appropriate maximum, and they pick a new Deputy, during which the game can continue.
The recently-deceased character’s chore is discarded, and another taken.
ENDING THE GAME
The game ends after one player has done the prescribed amount of chores (see CHORES). However, that player must win the chat-battle of their final chore, otherwise it is discarded and they take another.
SCORING AND WINNING
Each player adds up their cards and tokens thus:
1. +3 for every completed Chores Card;
2. +1 for every Mood Token; and
3. -3 for every expired Character Card.