Legolas vs. Gimli Card Game [In the Lab]

Ring-Wraiths
During the Pitch Tag between Fed Hicks and I, i tossed out this idea for a trick-taking card game with a dungeon/tough man/Legolas vs. Gimli theme. The mehanics are mostly inspired by Reiner Knizia's Too Many Cooks. Actually, that's the problem. It just feels like Too Many Cooks with a bunch of other mechanics bolted on. Here are the loose notes, if you'd like to help out with streamlining a bit. Sorry for the wonky formatting, this was typed on the road.

Legolas vs. Gimli
You are all skilled adventurers out to prove your mettle to each other. You'll dive into a subterranean dungeon and mow down hordes of monsters of all kinds. Defeat the best hordes and earn the most points.


SETUP
Give each player a character card. Give each player a set of five mission cards (one each of Stealth, Brute, Magic, Psychic, Escapist, Gambler and Untouchable)

Shuffle the monster cards and 13 to each player (for 4 or 5 players, deal the entire deck; it will not come out even). The rest are set aside for that round. Keep your card faces hidden from the other players.


DECLARE A MISSION
 After the cards are dealt for each round, each player examines their cards and selects one mission card for that round.  Mission cards should be revealed and declared simultaneously. Mission cards can only be used once per game, so they are discarded after each round.


START A HORDE
The first player draws a card from his hand and places it face down on the table. This is the first GATE of the round. Monster cards get stacked onto GATEs during the game. Those stacks are called HORDEs.

TURNS
Step 1: Add to a Horde
On your turn, take one monster card from your hand. Place it face down on the table atop a horde, following these restrictions.

​A. You must follow suit of the horde.

B. If you cannot follow suit, you must play a card of equal or higher value than the top card in the horde.

​C. If you cannot play such a card, then draw your highest value card from your hand and play it as a new Gate.

Announce the value and suit aloud to the other players. Gate cards are always worth zero. The running total of values of all cards in a horde is announced aloud whenever a card is played in that horde.

Step 2: Challenge or Pass
You may now choose to challenge a horde or end your turn. Your character card indicates a horde of a certain size that you MUST challenge. If there is a horde above your threshold, you MUST challenge that horde.

A. When you challenge a horde, take the whole stack except for the gate card and reveal the cards' faces. You will defeat each monster one at a time, starting from the bottom card.

B. Each monster deals damage to you equal to its rank. Announce the accumulating damage for each monster. Once the accumulated damage exceeds your defense, return that monster and any remaining monsters to their gate.

C. Line up your defeated monsters in a row in front of you. If you defeated the entire horde, then take the gate card as well, but keep it face down. That gate is now closed.


END OF THE ROUND
The  round ends when...

A. The round ends when it is a player’s turn to play a card, but they have no cards remaining. 
B. If there are more gates than players.

At that point, all hordes are discarded, as are any cards remaining in players’ hands.


SCORING
After each round, look at the remaining monsters you have defeated. You score VP for each monster as indicated by your class and your mission.
 
Stealth, Brute, Magic, Psychic:​
+1 vp for each monster that matches the suit
​-1 star for each trap defeated

Gambler:
+1 vp for each coin
-1 for each card without a coin

Escapist:​
+1 vp for each trap taken
​-1 vp for each boss defeated
 
Untouchable:​
+5 stars automatically
​-1 star for each monster defeated
 
It is possible to lose more VP than you gain in one round.

LEVELING
When you gain 5 vp, your character advances to level 2, unlocking a new ability. At 10 Vp, your character advances to level 3, unlocking another new ability. It is possible to lose enough vp to go back down to a previous level.

SHOPPING
After scoring, players may shop for new gear. Look at the monster cards you have defeated so far. Each monster has one or more coin symbols. The player with the fewest coins goes shopping first, followed by the player with the next most coins, and so on. On your turn, you may spend as many coins as you like. For each coin spent, you may draw one treasure card, choose one to keep and reshuffle the remaining treasure cards back not the treasure deck. Discard the spent cards.

END OF THE GAME
The game is played in five rounds. After five rounds, the player with the most VP wins.

CHARACTER CARDS
Fighter
Must challenge a horde of 12 or more.
Gains 1 vp for defeating earth monsters.
Defense 1
Level 2: 5 VP: Defense 5
Level 3: 10 VP: Defense 10

Wizard
Must challenge a horde of 10 more.
Gains 1 vp for defeating fire monsters.
Defense 2
Level 2: 5 VP: Choose an element at the start of a round. You may choose to defeat or ignore monsters of that element this round. If ignored, those monsters remain in the horde and are not defeated.
Level 3: 10 VP:  Choose 2 elements at the start of a round. You may choose to defeat or ignore monsters of those elements this round. If ignored, those monsters remain in the horde and are not defeated.

Rogue
Must challenge a horde of 8 or more.
Gains 1 vp for defeating air monsters.
Defense 3
Level 2: 5 VP: Double all coin values.
Level 3: 10 VP: Triple all coin values.

Psychic
Must challenge a horde of 6 or more.
Gains 1 vp for defeating water monsters.
Defense 4
Level 2: 5VP On your turn, you can play any card on any horde.
Level 3: 10VP On your turn, you can play any three cards on any horde. 

MONSTER CARDS
Stealth - physical, subtle monsters
1 earth trap, .5 coin
1 wind, 1 coin
1 water trap
1 fire, 1 coin
1 earth trap
2 wind, 1 coin
2 water, 2 coins
2 fire, 2 coins
2 earth, 3 coins
3 wind, boss, +1 VP if defeated
3 water, boss, +2 VP if defeated
3 fire, boss, +3 VP if defeated

Brute - physical, forceful monsters
1 wind trap
1 water, 1 coin 
1 fire trap
1 earth, 1 coin
1 wind trap
2 water, 1 coin
2 fire, 2 coins
2 earth, 2 coins
2 wind, 3 coins
3 water, boss, +1 VP if defeated
3 fire, boss, +2 VP if defeated
3 earth, boss, +3 VP if defeated

Magic - mental, forceful monsters
1 water trap
1 fire, 1 coin
1 earth trap
1 wind, 1 coin
1 water trap
2 fire, 1 coin
2 earth, 2 coins
2 wind, 2 coins
2 water, 3 coins
3 fire, boss, +1 VP if defeated
3 earth, boss, +2 VP if defeated
3 wind, boss, +3 VP if defeated

Psychic - mental, subtle monsters
1 fire trap
1 earth, 1 coin
1 wind trap
1 water, 1 coin
1 fire trap
2 earth, 1 coin
2 wind, 2 coins
2 water, 2 coins
2 fire, 3 coins
3 earth, boss, +1 VP if defeated
3 wind, boss, +2 VP if defeated
3 water, boss, +3 VP if defeated

TREASURE CARDS
Leather armor: Defense +1
Chain mail armor: Defense +2
hard plate armor: Defense +3
Minion: Discard to reduce accumulated damage by 5.
Net: When another player challenges a horde, you may steal one of his defeated monsters.
Ring of Legend: gain a vp any time a boss is defeated.
Lure: you may play two cards on your turn, in the same horde or on separate hordes.
Earth Barrier: Your neighbors take +1 damage from earth monsters.
Wind Barrier: Your neighbors take +1 damage from wind monsters.
Water Barrier: Your neighbors take +1 damage from water monsters.
Fire Barrier: Your neighbors take +1 damage from fire monsters.
Subtle Blade: Treasure value of each monster raises by one.
Silver Chains: Defeat psychic monsters without taking damage from them.
Jewels of Osiris: Defeat magic monsters without taking damage from them.
Dragon Hide: Defeat brute monsters without taking damage from them.
Farsight Helm: Defeat stealth monsters without taking damage from them.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.