OBJECTIVE OF CAIRN: The objective of Cairn is to win the game by building three megaliths before the other player while ensuring that you are able to make an action move during every turn.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 Players
MATERIALS: 1 Gameboard, 5 Forest Shamans, 5 Sea Shamans, 3 Action Tiles, 1 Transformation Tile, 14 Megalith Tiles, 2 Score Tokens, and Instructions
TYPE OF GAME: Tile-placement Board Game
AUDIENCE: Ages 10 and Up
OVERVIEW OF CAIRN
Each player acts as a tribe leader who is attempting to overpower the opposing tribe. Shamans from each tribe will allow their inhabitants, those of the forest or of the sea, to inhabit their bodies. They will build megaliths in order to expand their power and dominate over the rival tribe. Who is stronger, the land or the sea?
To begin setup, each player will choose a tribe, collecting the five shamans and victory tokens that correspond to their tribe. The gameboard is placed in the center of the playing area, ensuring that the sea is placed on the side of the player with the sea tribe, and the forest side is placed on the same side as the player with the forest tribe. Each player will then place three shamans on the three spaces in the first row that don’t have totems. The left-over shamans are placed in the village.
The score tokens for each player are placed on the first spot on their score track. Megalith tiles are shuffled and placed face down next to the game board. Four of them are then drawn and two are placed face up on the two stone circles while the other two are placed on the upcoming megalith spaces.
Action tiles are thrown into the air and placed on an empty space that is assigned to them on the board. The same thing is done for the transformation tile, placing it on its assigned place as well. The players decide who goes first, and the game is ready to begin.
During their turn, a player must complete two steps. They must first choose an action to complete, and then they must determine the transformation effect. A player may choose to add a shaman, move a shaman, or jump a shaman. If they choose to add a shaman, they will simply move it from their village to the white or black totem. They may choose to move their shaman one space or jump a shaman, either theirs or an opponent’s.
When their action is complete, they will then flip the action tile they used and check if they can activate a transformation. This allows shamans to banish others and build a megalith. Only one transformation can be activated per turn. The player must form the arrangement found on the transformation tile, and they must move a shaman that is found in that arrangement.
If all requirements are met, then the transformation can occur. The transformation is flipped over, the opponent’s shaman is banished, and a megalith is built. If a shaman is banished, then it is removed from the field and returned to its village. In order to construct a megalith the player must have created a transformation or their shaman must have left the field through an opponent’s village.
In both of these cases, the player will choose one of the two megaliths to build, place it on the field, move forward on the score track, and draw a new megalith. The game continues in this manner until a player has built three megaliths or a player is unable to take any actions.
END OF GAME
The game may end in two different manners. The game may come to an end when a player constructs three megaliths, immediately winning the game. It may also come to an end if a player is unable to complete one of the three actions at the start of their turn, causing them to immediately lose the game.