Changing game board: The basic game board is fixed but the spread of the fire is unique for every game.
Interdependence: The players cooperate to extinguish the fire.
Asymmetric scoring: The score from a room depends on whether it is rescued or burns down.
Hidden agendas: The players decide whether they want a room to be rescued or burn down.
Guessing game: By guessing the other's agenda, a player can benefit from their actions or disrupt their strategies.
I had intended Vasa Regalis to be the last game in the Nova Suecia series but also thought that there remained a dramatical event from the Swedish 17th century history, namely the fire that destroyed the castle of Tre Kronor. When the game idea came to me, it contained elements from the two previous games, Christina Regina and Vasa Regalis. The objective of the game would be to reach specific squares on the game board, not by moving one piece but by placing several and build chains, and the victory conditions would be ambiguous, depending on whether a room is saved or not. This gave the balance between cooperation and competition that I strive for in every game.
The cooperative element is the chains set up by the players together that then may be used by any player in the chain (to extinguish a fire). The competitive element is the option to secretly saving or stealing a possession in the room. This gives each player an incentive to save the room or let the room burn down, an incentive that must be kept secret so that the other players cannot play against that.
A novel game mechanism introduced in the game was the simulation of the fire. By having the players choosing coordinate for the spread of the fire, I could not only simulate the raging fire but also give the players an opportunity to steer the fire towards parts of the castle they want to burn down. However, since they can only choose one coordinate, flames may very well spark in parts not intended.
The rest of the game development aimed at determining the board appearance (9 rooms with both inner and outer corridors) and the score options (where I settled with the simple options of saving or stealing only). After the tuning and testing, I had a very visual game where each player has an own agenda as the fire spreads in front of the players' eyes.
9 hall cards, featuring halls of the castle of Tre Kronor
30 fire spread markers; 6 per player marked A, B, C and 1, 2, 3
15 save markers; 3 per player
15 steal markers; 3 per player
1. Playing Time
Tre Kronor Infernum is quickly set up and only lasts as long as it takes to place the 36 fire markers on the board. The estimated playing time is 45 minutes.
2. Simple Rules
A player only have to learn the actions of placing a servant, extinguishing a fire and save or steal a possession.
3. Few Choices
A player basically has four choices:
Connect to as many rooms as possible (to get scoring opportunities)
Extinguish fires (to prevent all from losing)
Save possessions and rescue the room (score 1 point)
Steal possession and let the room burn down (score 1 point)
A player never knows whether the other players want a room to be rescured or burn down.
5. No Player Elimination
All players participate to the end. Servants may be removed if the fire spreads but may be returned to the game board at any time.
6. Pacific Game
The players do not fight each other but rather need each other to accomplish their objectives.
7. Player Interaction
The player interaction is subtle and indirect. The players cooperate to save the castle and the winner is the one who best takes advantage of the other players' actions.
8. Few Pieces
A player has several servants but once placed, they are seldom moved again, and in reality a player only has a number of servant chains to keep track of.
9. Visual Interest
As in other games in the Nova Suecia series, I have attempted to add interest through the theme and let the colorful story of the past do the job for me. Please read more about the theme to get to know how and why the castle of Tre Kronor burnt down.
The game is abstract but the physical spread of fire markers add a dimension to it as the player not only have to fight each other but also the fire.
11. No Luck
No dice. No random events. Not even spread of the fire is random as the players themselves secretly plays cards that are combined to determine where the fire spreads.
12. Positive Scoring
The game is not about destroying your opponents but to save a castle (although some players may want some rooms to burn down to conceal their stealing of possessions).