The land tiles that form the island of Thera and that are flipped to their sea side face.
The omen cards that tell you which land will sink sooner and which will sink later.
The players take turns to do the following:
Omen: Choose 1 of 2 omens at hand.
Action: Evacuate tiles, rally to tiles or build bridges to cross the sea.
Event: Check if current omens overlap any tiles. If they do, flip land tiles to sea tiles and discard meeples on them.
The game ends when half of the meeples have been discarded or all meeples of one color.
You score 1 point per surviving meeple of your ”blessed" color and 1 point per perished meeple of your ”cursed" color.
2.0: Second edition
1.95: New advanced rules with extra omen cards and 3 omens at hand
1.9: Bridges and pushing removed
1.8: One action instead of three
1.7: Four colors instead of six
1.6: No tiles flipped first apocalypse
1.5: New movement rules; evacuate and rally to tiles
1.4: Goal cards added (people variant, Gods variant), new end game trigger (half the meeples discarded), new tie-breaker (resolve more apocalypses as needed)
1.2: Dead omen cards discarded, bridges placed along edges and may connect
1.1: Changed from 3-6 players to 3-4 players
1.0: First edition
The complete rules are available in the PDF file to the right. In the following sections, I will describe how they came
An omen should give a hint about what will happen, not exactly what will happen. This is accomplished by three
The first is the coordinate system, where the combination of two or more coordinates determine what will happen.
With only one coordinate, the players will know which range of squares or hexes that may be hit but not exactly which
squares or hexes in that range. Apokalypsis implements this through areas ("pies" of the island) and cataclysms
(inner, middle or outer rings of the island).
The second is the drawing of two cards at the time. This allows you not only to choose which omen that best suits
your current position but also which omen you would like to delay by returning it to the bottom of the pile.
The third is the fact that there are two copies of each omen. Even if you have seen an omen or if you have returned an
omen to the bottom of the pile, the odds are that that position is safer now but you cannot be absolutely sure.
All this forces the players to deduce which omens the other players have seen from their moves while at the same
time move in a way that doesn't give away to much information to the other players.
The early apocalypse
Since only two omens are needed for tiles starting to disappear, there is a risk that player 3 and up lose a
meeple before even starting the game. One way to mitigate this first-mover advantage would be not to disclose any
omens until all players have had a turn. However, this would create a last-player advantage instead, as the last
player may observe the first players' moves, deduce their omens and move to safety.
Another way would be to let the players choose colors in their first turns. The advantage of the first
players to choose early would then be mitigated by the advantage of the last players to choose surviving colors.
However, there may be cases where a has no good options anyway.
The simplest solution was to skip the very first apocalypse. In this way, all players get the opportunity to
play omens and move meeples before the first apocalypse.
The meeples and the movement
The image of people running to safety/away from unsafety contains elements of running and crowding.
Moving 1 meeple at the time would contradict this image. Instead, a "tile movements" was used where
meeples are moved in groups, either by
evacuating from a tile and leave it empty or by rallying to a tile until it's full.
The end game condition
A survival game implies player elimination, an element that games generally try to avoid. A simple
solution is to let the game end
when the first player gets eliminated. To avoid too long games, the game also ends when more than
half the meeples are gone.
With only six meeples per color, a tie is likely so how should it be broken to be fair? A simple
solution is to play out the
remaining cards until an apocalypse leave only one winner. After all, the players have delayed omens
and used this knowledge when
moving so the player who best has predicted the order of the future apocalypses will win.
If all players play the game perfectly, no penalties are needed. But what happens if a player accidentally
reveal omen cards that shouldn't have been revealed or do not reveal omen cards that should have been revealed?
In the first case, the player next in turn will have
information that lets her decide exactly where the next apocalypse takes place. In the second case,
the apocalypse will include more omens than it should and be more devastating but the player next in turn has
already moved when this is discovered so it's hard to backtrack.
The simplest solution was to resolve the apocalypse (if any) and penalize the player by reducing his or her score by 1. However, to
avoid too much disruption a second offence simply ends the game.
Another alternative would have been to use a game master or let an app check the apocalypses,
similar to how it is done in Alchemists,
but to keep the game as a "pure" boardgame, this was simplest and most elegant solution.
... and Rejected Rules
Turn order tie-break
An early tie-breaker was to give the victory in clockwise turn order from the player who triggered the last apocalypse.
The idea was to encourage the players to eliminate each other but the result still felt too random. By resolving additional
apocalypses instead, the end got both more exciting and fair.
With parts of the island eventually being seperated, it gets harder for the meeples to move. To
make it a bit easier, bridges were initially added to keep the movement flexibility through the
mid-game as well. However, this removed some of the tactical elements of isolating opponents and
playing your cards right so they were eventually removed.
Pushing is also a part of an apocalypse theme and was initially added to allow to provide some take that.
However, as the single meeple movements were replaced by multiple tile movements, the pushing rule became
redundant and even fiddly so it was eventually removed.