Thursday, 4 April 2013


Fossil is a game that went through many iterations. It started with the idea of being an underground version of Carcassonne, but had to go through many different versions before I found something I was happy with.

The first version was a strictly two-player affair in which one player was the Heroes and one was the Monsters, with a Dungeon Keeper-esque theme. It was fairly bad, as it did not really have the scope or level of strategy to make something like that work.

There were a few more versions, that were muddied middle grounds between Dungeon Keeper and Carcassonne, but none of them were particularly good.

It's next great inspiration came from the indie game Delve Deeper, which turned it from a game about building a dungeon, to a game about mining recklessly in dangerous territory.
You build the world outwards from the dungeon heart.
The other game components. The game actually got its name from the watch-box that houses it.
Most of these supplies are directly from my Game Designer' Toolkit.
The objective of the game is to make as much money as you can before the whole mine collapses. You can do this by mining, or by slaying monsters and selling the loot they drop. You must return all collected wealth to safety, or else they will be lost when the mine crumbles.


  1. Place Dungeon Heart Tile
  2. Players alternate placing the first 12 tiles
  3. Players start with 4 workers each on the dungeon heart.
Dungeon Heart - the starting tile. 

Tunnels and rooms are the basic tiles. They are a way to get around. Note that tunnels can only connect to tunnels, and rooms can only connect to rooms. You cannot traverse through solid dirt, nor does dirt count as connecting when placing new tiles.

Jewel seams are marked by the blue gem icon in the corner. Place the lowest of 2D6 gems here to be mined.

Monster tiles are indicated by the pentagram. Roll 2D6 and spawn the appropriate monster here (see below for monster reference)

Outposts are where players can sell items, bank jewels, and heal workers. (They can also do those things at the Dungeon Heart)

Player Turns:
  1. Roll 2D6, and draw and place tiles equal to the lowest number rolled so that only 1 of them connects to any existing tiles. (Any unusable tiles are passed to the next player to place in addition to what he rolls)
  2. Each worker can move up to 3 spaces, and perform an action on the tile they end their movement on. Workers may also pick up, drop, and exchange items and jewels freely on the space they are on. Actions are:
    1. Mine (jewel seam) - take 1 gem from a Jewel seam and put it in that worker's inventory.
    2. Fight (monster tile) - combat will be covered later
    3. Heal, Sell Jewels & Treasure (dungeon heart & outposts) - Put any jewels into your "bank", as well, remove any damage counters, and sell any loot for the appropriate amount of jewels.
  • Workers each deal D6 damage to the monster, then the monster deals damage equal to its remaining power, divided among your workers as you choose. Repeat until one side is defeated. Defeated monsters drop the appropriate amount of treasure.
Other Rules:
  • Workers have 3HP, and can hold a number of items equal to their remaining HP. Excess items and jewels must be dropped. [Workers have individual inventories]
  • Fallen workers can be revived, but it costs 1 jewel (from your bank) and the worker cannot take any action this turn.
  • The game ends one full round of turns after the final tile has been drawn (the final turn belongs to the one who drew the final tile), after which all treasure that has not been banked is lost.
2D6 Name Power Treasures Other
2-5 Goblin 4 1

6 Skeleton 5 1 Undead
7 Troll 6 1 Regeneration
8 Shade 7 1

9 Vampire 8 2 Vampire, Undead
10 Demon 10 2
11-12 Dragon 12 3

* Mimic 6 2 Treasure Card
Regeneration - Trolls heal 1 HP per turn
Vampire - Vampires heal equal to the damage they deal
Undead - some treasures interact specially with the undead
Treasure Card - Mimics are spawned by a treasure card, rather than a regular roll

Just for reference, here is a list of the items in the deck of loot:
  • 6x Throwing Star (1) - Consume: Deal 1 Damage
  • 6x Scroll of Town Portal (1) - Consume: Go to the Dungeon Heart or any Outlet
    • This can be used for any number of your workers on the same tile, however they must all go to the same destination
    • The holder of this item can pick up an item while teleporting (thus arriving with a full inventory)
  • 2x Scroll of Fireball (2) - Consume: Deal 3 Damage
  • 2x Iron Pickaxe (1) - Consume: Draw and Place a Dungeon Tile
  • 2x Mimic (special)
  • 2x Health Potion (1) - Consume: Restore 1 HP
  • 2x Sapphire (2) - Gemstone
  • 2x Protective Cloak (1) - Consume: Prevent up to 2 damage
  • Treasure Chest (special) - Draw 3 more treasure cards
  • Holy Hand Grenade (1) - Consume: Deal 2 damage to an Undead monster
  • Smoke Bomb (2) - Consume: Escape from combat, move to an adjacent space.
  • Bell of Summoning (1) - Consume: Summon a random monster
  • Steel Pickaxe (1) - Consume: Mine all jewels from the current tile
  • Diamond (3) - Gemstone
  • Ring of Regeneration (2) - Heals 1 HP at the beginning of each turn
  • Jewel Cache (special) - D6 jewels are placed as loot
  • Boots of Travel (3) - +1 Movement while held
  • Fossil (D6)
  • Gold Ring (1) - Combine with a Gemstone to double the gem's value
    • This forfeits the Gold Ring's value
  • Soulstone (x) - Value is 1/3 of the defeated monster's power (round down)
  • Holy Staff (2) - +1 damage versus Undead while held
  • Axe of Criticals (2) - Add an extra D6 damage on a roll of 6 in combat
  • Mace +1 (3) - +1 damage while held
  • Lucky Charm (1) - Consume: Reroll 1D6

This is a fun, high-chaos game. It tends to not scale very well with more players, as it tends to end the game very quickly, but that is a problem I am going to solve another day.

Until then,

-Colin Souva

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