OBJECTIVE OF ABOVE AND BELOW: The objective of Above and Below is to be the player with the most Village Points.   

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 4 Players 

MATERIALS: 1 Reputation Board, 4 Player Boards, 4 Cubes, 36 Villagers, 1 Round Marker, 20 Potion Tokens, 10 Cider Tokens, 7 Dice, 25 Cave Cards, 9 Key House Cards, 6 Star House Cards, 1 Starting Player Card, 24 Outpost Cards, 81 Goods Tokens, 4 Starting House Cards, 25 House Cards, and Instructions 

TYPE OF GAME: Area Control Board Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 13 and Up 


In Above and Below, each player will act as a survivor attempting to build their own village. With only a baby and a fishing pole, the players must attempt to build their village from the ground up, unless they decide to go under. The players discover that a cave system is present under their village, making it possible to go below the ground as well! 


Each player will collect their required materials before the game begins. the players will collect a starting villager of each type, a starting house card, seven coins, and a player board. The starting villagers will have a house, which can be found on the back of their token. Each villager should begin in the grass area found on the left side of the player board.  

The house cards are then placed in the middle of a table, creating a face up row of cards. The key house cards are shuffled, and the players draw four random cards, placing them below the star house cards. remaining cards are discarded into the box for the rest of the game. The reputation board is then placed in the middle of the playing area.  

Unused villagers are placed in the box, special villagers are placed aside, and the rest of them are placed in a draw pile beside the board. Five of them are drawn and placed in their assigned spot at the top of the board. The round parker is placed on the top of the seventh cave chamber. All tokens are placed to the side of the board, creating the supply. Finally, the cave cards are placed beside the board as well, facing up.  

The players will collect a wooden cube that has the matching color of their banner. The cube is placed on the torch space of the reputation board. The first player is randomly chosen by the group, and they will collect the starting player card. The house cards and outpost cards are shuffled and placed in two piles under the board, facing down. The top four cards of the deck are then drawn and placed in a row beside their decks, facing up.  

Once the encounter book and the dice are placed near the playing area, the game is ready to begin. 


The game is played over the course of seven rounds, with turns rotating in a clockwise order. During each round, the players will take turns giving their villagers a variety of actions to complete. The player will pass once they have completed their desired actions. Once all players have completed their actions and passed the turn along, the round will come to an end.  

When choosing actions, the players may choose from the following: exploring, building, harvesting, training, or a variety of free actions. In order to explore, the player will begin by drawing a cave card, placing it on the left side of their player board. They will then choose the required number of villagers to explore the cave, placing them on the card. The player will then roll the dice, comparing it to the grid found at the bottom of the card. The grid will determine which paragraph is to be read, and the player to their left will read it aloud from the encounter book.  

The player may choose for a villager to build an outpost, key house, star house, or a regular house. After a villager is placed on the exhausted portion of their board, the player will purchase the card that aligns with what they want their villager to build. From houses and outposts, the villagers may also harvest goods, completing that action if the player wishes.  

One villager may train another, teaching them new skills that may aid in future tasks. They may also labor in order to increase the number of coins that they have available to purchase other objects. Free actions are available for players to complete without using villagers. These actions include interactions with other players.  

Once a player has completed all of their desired actions, or they have no additional villagers to use, the player may declare to “pass”. At this point, their turn comes to an end, and they are not allowed to complete any additional actions, free or not. Once all players have passed, the round will come to an end. The round marker is then moved forward, and all players may place their villagers back on their board. Based on income levels, the players will collect coins before the start of the next round.  


The game comes to an end after seven rounds of gameplay. Players will then tally their Village Points found on the advancement track. Each token is worth a certain number of points, which is determined by the slot that the token is found in. Each building is worth one Village Point.  

The player who has the highest reputation will earn an additional five Village Points, the player with the next highest reputation will earn three additional Village Points, and finally the player with the third highest reputation will win two additional Village Points. Some players will get bonuses, dependent on what cards or buildings they have. The player with the highest number of Victory Points, wins the game! 

Ellie Phillips
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