Hello Azadians, with this post we start the alpha phase of the game development.
This means that finally the most part of the considerations will be related to the game mechanics and not to the novel analysis.

So let’s start…

In order to have a playable and manageable game, we must first consider the minimum and maximum number of players.

Obviously the minimum has to be two (2) but the maximum has be ten (10) like described in the novel ?

As already explained in my previous post “1, 10, 100 AZAD”, ten is arguably a too high number of players for a classical boardgame. Obviously nobody forbid to develop a game for ten player, but the chance to play in this way are very low compared to daily game business. Of course ten player could be employed in the most important international tournaments (if one day there will be ones).

Now the problem is : it is possible to develop the game rules for only four players and use the same rules also for ten ?

It’s an important question because of the bottom up or top down approach.
A bottom up approach means an easier and faster development because it consider only four players.  Unfortunately it is not applicable to ten players and need to be greatly improved (how and when it will be defined).

Instead a top down approach means to develop the game already complete for ten player and use only a subset of the rules to cover a four player game.

According to this, from now on the development will be aimed to engage only four players.

         1. Bottom up development (a maximum of 4 player)

Moreover we have to consider the chessboard.
Is a four player chessboard the same than a ten player ?
The space necessary for a ten player game is enormous for four player that quickly will lost themselves in thevastness of the space available.
So we need a smaller board, made just for the needs of four players.

2. A reduced chessboard (enough for 4 player)

Four players also means a faster match, but don’t think about a couple of hours of gameplay.
Consider that in the novel each round with ten players lasts several days, something virtually impossible to do in real life.
So how long could last each game to be balanced in terms of players effort, fidelity to the novel and rules complexity ?

Well, I guess that eight hours have to be enough (two afternoon or three evenings).

3. A maximum of eight hours of play for a match

So these are the initial stakes that I place in the development of the board game.

Don’t make the mistake to consider these as limitations, but instead as the common standard Azad game of the empire.

The ten player version is played only in the grand cycle tournament every six years with the use of additional special rules, three bigger boards and more pieces in play. Moreover the player allowed to participate in the tournament are for the most part professional player already well placed in the legislative sphere of the empire and only very few lucky (???) common citizen.

What’s in common between the two versions ?

The cards decks and the dice are the same, in my opinion no need to reduce the number of these.
This allows you to keep the game at a high level of complexity and strategic variations without affecting Azad’s charm.

4. Complete deck of cards (270 total cards for player)

5. Complete set of dice (3 dice for player)

Now another question : how many pieces (minor and Biotechs) for each players army ? The same number as in the ten player version ?
I don’t think so.

Again considering the chessboard a reduced version with a lower number of boxes imposes some limitations to the number of pieces present on it.

6. Reduced set of pieces

And to finish, is really necessary an adjudicator ?

Why not ? but it is not essential, the players can agree to judge in group or assign to one of them to the task.

But what about the “moral cards” and the ones deposited ?

Well the “deposited” cards could compose a covered reduced deck for each player but placed in a visible position to everyone. These cards are used whenever the owner will like.

The “moral cards” act in a similar way but are uncovered all together in a specific game moment.

7. Adjudicator (an additional member or the players themselves)

I do not deny the possibility to develop in future a ten player version of Azad,
but to create a first class game we need in first istance gain experience and refine the mechanics with the four player version.

That’s all for the moment,

as always awaiting your comments and opinion.


  1. A board per person also would mean the peices brought by each player could remain the same for four or ten players as the space increases with each player


  2. For the board have you considered each player bring their territory to the board. This would mean the board increases in size with each added player meaning it could also be a changing topography at the begining of each game.


    1. Hello R, the players starts all togheter on the same board at the beginning of the game. Each player own a piece of the board territory earned with the points from the initial games. So no other territory is added to the board across the game. It is true that the topography change with the player actions like trasforming land in water, burning a forest or reclaiming a swamp. But the overall dimension of the board is not changing. As stated at the end of the novel the chessboard has a carefully balanced topography, so the size shouldn’t change.


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