In addition to the three famous big board, the board of Origins, the board of Forms and the board of Becoming, Azad is also played on the so called “Minor Boards”.
There are not many references to these boards but we know that they are “numerous” and played with cards as well [05.16 / 37.02].
No direct mention about the use of dice but some hints let suppose that the dice are used also on the minor boards, so I assume that they are.
Anyway the minor boards are called in game starting from the 2nd round in the Auxiliary Games.
At this initial stage of the full six-years Great Cycle, we have 12.000 players engaged in the game and they are split in group of 10.
What is the purpose of the “Minor Boards” ?
The purpose of playing on the minor boards is to define the so called “Order of Precedence”, or simply the turns order of the players in the main game. [77.22]
How do we play on these boards ?
After the inital strategic card game with all the ten players togheter, the minor boards are used to play against only one adversary at a time.
Now pay attention, on the minor boards we play only using the lesser pieces, cards and dice but no Biotechs.
As we know Azad is aimed to earn points, territory and resources (cards and pieces), so when played on the minor boards due to the miss of Biotechs a simpler or reduced version of the rules need to be used.
Moreover we know that the boards themselves are smaller than the three main boards.
Ok, but how many minor boards are there ?
As said in the initial Auxiliary Games we have 10 players that compete against each others “In the afternoon they played on a couple of the smaller boards” [77.22].
So only two minor boards are in use.
But the term “numerous” suggest that there should be more than two.
Where are the others ?
Here the math will help a lot.
Ten players that compete in pairs are in fact 5 couples. So we need 5 boards (consider that we are talking of 5 copies of the same board).
The players competes on two different boards bringing to a total of 10 boards (5 couples of boards).
The game last the whole afternoon and each player have to meet the opponents two time so each player have to play 18 times (1 player meet the other 9 opponents two times).
Considering the afternoon lasting 4 hours, each match should last no more than ten minutes (240 min / 18 match).
Ten minutes is an important factor.
If a match is so short then the game on the minor board have to be very fast.
A fast game is possible only if there are few pieces and cards in play and the board have a very simple diagram.
But this is true only for the initial Auxiliary Games.
Later in the novel from [116.5] to [116.13] it is stated that Gurgeh have to play 6 round against Ram his new opponent.
We are now in the main competition, playing against stronger opponents in a single match.
Here the match last for about six days, meaning a day for each minor boards.
Obviously these 6 minor boards have to be very different than the previous 2.
One full day of playing against 10 minutes indicate that these others minor boards are complex and probably bigger than the previous.
So we have evidence of different types of minor boards and different “rules” to be used during the tournament based on the board used.
Summarizing, we have 3 different type of boards, the simple minor boards, the complex minor boards and the main boards.
Again we found 3 as reference number (read the post “Magic Numbers”).
The only way to develop these two types of minor boards for a real boardgame is referring to the duration of play, 10 minutes and 6-8 hours.
This will be possible only during the future playtesting phase, where we can verify pratically the amount of time needed to complete each match and modify the board consequentially.
As always, comments are welcome!