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Treasury of Games: The Spirit Chase

Today, the treasury releases a developer notebook scribble for a future board game, “Kitsune: the Spirit Chase.”

The two sets of fox twins, Cori and Akira and Ai and Midori, are fighting over who gets the last piece of inarizushi (fried tofu wrapped around sweet rice), when they knock over a spirit jar at the fox shrine. This jar contained the essence of the sins they had purified from fools to earn their tails – and the spirits of those sins have now escaped! If the young foxes don’t recapture the sins before their elders find out, they will be stripped of their recently earned nine tails for sure!

Board Locations:

Black Tortoise Gate: In the north, this gate symbolizes longevity, and sins which have been expelled and must be subdued.

Sun Gate: In the east, guarded by an azure dragon, this gate symbolizes rulership and beginnings.

Phoenix Gate: in the south, this gate is associated with femininity and virtue.

Moon Gate: In the west, guarded by a white tiger, this gate is associated with the dead and punishment.

Golden Dragon Gate: In the center, this gate is associated with heaven, masculinity, and spirituality.

All gates have the ability: activate to move to any other gate. The gates may also be traversed through adjacency (north is not adjacent to south, nor east to west) using movement.

Fox Shrine: Connected to the Golden Dragon and Phoenix gates, this is where the kitsune live. Ability – hoshi-no-tama – seal away mortal sins in your soul pearl so other foxes can’t steal the credit from you.

Heaven: Connected to the Golden Dragon Gate only, this is where the fate of the mortal world is decided. Ability – guide fate – spend your movement to move sins.

Hell: Connected to the Moon Gate only, this is where demons torment the souls of sinners. Ability – judge sin – spend your mischief to discard sins from the board.

Palace: Connected to the Sun Gate and Golden Dragon Gate, this represents the seat of mortal authority. Ability – injunction – ban foxes from moving to a location, only one location may be subject to this at a time. May be used to lift the injunction so all spaces are moveable again.

Grand Temple: Connected to the Golden Dragon Gate and the Black Tortoise Gate, this is where mortals go to conquer their sins. Ability – purify – ban sins from moving to a location. May not choose the Black Tortoise Gate, and only one location may be purified at a time.

Bank: Connected to the Sun Gate, the Bank controls money, which is also symbolic of spiritual energy. Ability – cash in – restore a foxfire (effectively, trade mischief this turn for foxfire stored; magic is still the maximum for foxfire)

Market: Connected to the Sun Gate and the Bank, the center of trade is very important to the flow of the mortal world. Ability – stock up – invest foxfire in movement or mischief, and this foxfire will not regenerate, but continues to give a bonus every turn.

Mischief: number of non-movement actions per turn. Actions possible per point of mischief: capture a sin at the same location, steal a sin from a fox at the same location, shift the blame to a fox at the same location, activate a location’s ability.

Movement: number of spaces to move per turn.

Magic: foxfire which can be spent to increase mischief or movement, or activate fox power.

(Each player gets 9 points to distribute between these three attributes, represented by tail tokens)

Ai: Cunning trickster – activate to interact with another fox at an adjacent instead of the same location.

Midori: Elegance – activate to capture a sin at an adjacent location instead of the same location.

Akira: Energy – once per turn, activate to add +2 Movement or Mischief, or +1 each to Movement and Mischief.

Cori: Enthusiasm – activate to use the ability of an adjacent location instead of the current one.

Sins spawn at the gates during play, after an initial wave at the Fox Shrine (equal to number of players for the initial wave). The gate associated with the color drawn on each turn’s sin draw is where the new sin spawns if a sin is spawning on the turn. Sins move based on a draw from a deck at the end of each fox’s turn. Sins spawn based on sins ending a turn in non-gate locations. Location abilities are disabled while a sin is there, and any location which is not a gate can trigger more sin entering the world – one sin enters the world if any non-gate locations have a sin.

Objective of the game: Capture all the sins before the sin movement deck is empty – which is when the elder kitsune shows up! In competitive play, the fox with the blame loses and other foxes compare how many sins they’ve accrued. In cooperative play, all sins must have been captured by foxes who do not have the blame (or be stored in that fox’s hoshi-no-tama).

The blame: a fox with the blame causes sin to spawn just like a sin would. One fox will always have the blame. Determine this randomly at the start of the game. The fox with the blame goes first.

Sin Deck: 5 directions (north, south, east, west, center). 4 of each “move 1.” 2 of each “move 2.”

When told to move in a direction, move along the path colored for that direction in the direction of the arrow, unless already as far in that direction as possible. In that case, move the indicated amount away from the nearest fox, as long as this does not take the sin closer to a fox. Failing that, move into a location to allow another sin to spawn. Each path will have arrows for each color labeled with the direction name so it will be obvious what paths comprise each direction.

At the end of each fox’s turn, draw a sin card and that fox chooses one sin to move accordingly. A sin also spawns if any non-gate locations have sins on them, at the gate corresponding to the card drawn. On the turn of the fox with the blame, do this twice. (Shifting the blame does prevent you from ending your turn with it and drawing twice!)

Ian Price, author of the Tabletop Treasury posts on this site, is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem. Bad Decisions has a Kickstarter project live now!