Inventing the Future
Rules for the PrintNPlay board game for 2-5 players
October 9, 2014 slight improvements to explanations, emboldening some points
August 5, 2014 clarified Rainmakers, Recruiters and modified victory tiebreaker
August 4, 2014 clarified Generalists and that it tops out at five players
August 1, 2013 player order reversed in Table Resolution Phase

  1. Introduction
    A game of research, development and managing bottlenecks for 2-5 players.

    In this game players take turns drafting from a set of rolled dice in five colors. Based on these drafts they place markers on their matrix boards that can activate instructions. Whether these instructions fire, and when, is dependent on which markers are chosen in the black rows of the boards.

    Instructions confer teams in three types – research, test and manufacturing – plus progress, funding and specialists. Choosing the right combination of these enables the winning player to progress the most quickly up the development tracks, the requirements of which are, at the start, not really known, but only gradually revealed.

  2. Components
    • 10 dice (2 each in black, green, white, blue and red)
    • 75 small team cubes (25 each in white, blue and red)
    • 10 small green income cubes
    • 18 large specialist cubes (in six colors)
    • Coins in various denominations having total value 40 billion
      (not countermix limited)
    • 15 pawns (in five player colors)
    • 30 transparent winks
    • 5 player boards
    • 21 development cards
    • 1 scoring track
    • 1 start player marker
  3. Setting Up the Game
    Set up the game as follows:
    1. Each player takes a player board, coins having value 5, three pawns matching the color of their board and 5 winks (6 in a two-player game).
    2. Each places a small green cube on the 2 space of the public and private income tracks.
    3. Each places a small white cube in the 1 box of the white track.
    4. In the center of the table the three cards reading "Flying Car", "Teleportation" and "Time Travel" are laid out face up in a row in that order. Each player puts one pawn on the "Start" area of each of these cards. Then the six cards labeled "ONE" are shuffled face down and one each placed face down above the three cards already laid out. Then shuffle the "TWO" cards and place them face down above the "ONE" cards. Then shuffle the "THREE" cards and place them face down above the "TWO" cards.
    5. Place the scoring track to the right of the column of cards above "Time Travel" so that its top is at the same level as the "THREE" card.
    6. The last player to travel in a flying car becomes the start player. If there is a tie, chose the start player randomly. Give this player the start player marker.

  4. Sequence of Play
    The Game Turn
    1. Dice Allocation Phase (five rounds)
    2. Table Resolution Phase
    3. Advance Start Player

  5. Playing the Game
    1. Dice Allocation Phase (five rounds)
      In this phase the start player chooses and rolls dice and each player drafts one, placing winks on their boards to match color and number, and observing the rule of no more than one wink per row.
      1. The start player takes in hand one die of each color, adds to them one more die of their choice and rolls them all in the center of the table.
      2. Of these he drafts one die for their use. He then finds the space on their board whose row matches that of the color of the die and whose column matches that of the number showing on the die. On this space he places a wink. However, only one wink is permitted per row. If a player already has a wink in a row, he may not take a die of that color. If this rule leaves no dice available, the player simply does not place a wink on that round.
        Choices 5 and 6 of the black row are essentially wild cards. A player choosing a die corresponding to these locations does not place a wink there, but instead places it on any black row space in the range 1-4.
      3. Then, going clockwise around the table, each other player in turn performs the action of (2).
      4. When all players have had a chance, repeat steps (1) through (3) starting with the player left of the last player to roll the dice.
      5. When the dice have been rolled five times, this phase is complete.
      6. Throughout play, players may use each of their specialists at most once per game turn. During this phase players who have Troubleshooter and/or Consultant specialists may use them to set dice values:
        • Troubleshooters can choose a new result for one unallocated die.
        • Consultants can use an out of play (i.e. not rolled) die, freely choosing its result.

    2. Table Resolution Phase
      Players resolve their black row functions in counterclockwise order.
      1. Determining the Phases
        The choices players made in their black rows determine which phases are to occur, and in what order.
        The player immediately right of the player holding the start player marker finds the box on their black row containing a wink. (If this player has no wink in this row, proceed right until finding a player who does.) Now all players execute the phase under this wink (other players having winks on this same box remove theirs from their boards).
      2. Resolving a Phase
        Phases are resolved in reverse order.
        Whenever a phase is resolved, players always act in the same order. First the player whose board it is receives the bonus for the phase. Then each player executes the phase, starting with the player right of the start player and proceeding counterclockwise around the table.
      3. The Phases in Detail
        In this phase players do not receive money, but might be able to increase their income levels.
        As a bonus for choosing this phase the player may take the specialist cube of their choice. Note that whenever there are no specialist cubes of any kind in the supply, a player who is to receive one may instead steal one from any player having one.

        In the Funding phase each player having a wink in the Funding row applies the instructions under their wink. These instructions either increase the public or private income level which is adjusted by advancing the corresponding small green cube or give the player cash directly.

        Note that only during this phase do players having a Rainmaker specialist use each to increase by one either public or private income. The Rainmaker operates even if the player does not have a wink in the Funding row.

        In this phase teams must be paid. For those with more funding than teams, this means an increase in funds. For those with the opposite, funds must be paid out. Players unable to pay lose teams.
        As a bonus for choosing this phase the player receives $2 billion in coins.

        In the Payday Phase, each player first calculates their current income level. This is the lesser of their public and private income levels. This number is compared to the number of workers plus specialists the player employs. If income is higher, the player receives one coin for each point of difference. If the two values are equal, there is no further effect. If income is the lower value, the player must pay one coin per point of difference. If after paying all coins payment is still required, then the player must return one team or specialist for each point of difference remaining.

        In this phase players with winks in the hiring area can acquire more teams.
        As a bonus for choosing this phase the player may take a specialist cube of their choice.

        In the Hiring Phase, players resolve the winks in the Hiring section of their boards to add workers and specialists. These boxes either permit the player to take teams and specialists from the supply (boxes simply showing cubes) or to steal one from another player (boxes having the hand icon). The colors of the cubes show which type(s) must be taken; when a cube is multi-colored it means that the player may freely choose the type.

        Note that whenever there are no team cubes of the kind the player wants in the supply, the player to receive one may instead steal it from any player having one.

        A player is not forced to perform hiring, but taking any cubes using a box requires taking all of the cubes specified by the box.

        During this phase only players having Recruiter specialists may use each to take one team of choice. The Recruiter operates even if the player does not have a wink in the Hiring section.

        In this phase players may be able to move their pawns up one or more development tracks. Those not in the lead can try to catch up by knowing in advance what the requirements will be.
        As a bonus for choosing this phase the player may take a team cube of their choice.

        The cards placed at the start of the game in effect form tracks on which players attempt to advance their pawns from the "Start" space to the end of the track. In the Progress Phase, players attempt to advance these pawns.

        The instructions under winks in the Progress section tells the maximum number of levels the player's pawns are permitted to move for the game turn. For this purpose the row colors and breakdown of the numbers do not matter. Add up all the progress numbers to determine the maximum amount of progress all of the player's pawns can make.

        EXAMPLE: A player has winks on 2-level progress, a 3-level progress and a 4-level progress. Adding these up yields 9. The player can move his three pawns a total of 9, dividing these any way convenient such as each pawn 3, one pawn 5 and another 4, etc.

        Doing so requires having sufficient teams available to match the requirement of the level. A team allocated to a level still works for a subsequent level, but is not available for other tracks on the same game turn.

        EXAMPLE: A player is permitted to advance two levels. The player has one white and one blue cube. The first level shows a requirement of one white cube. The next level requires one white cube and one blue cube. Because the same white cube works on both levels of the same track, the player's pawn advances by two.

        When a player has the ability to move forward into a space for which the card is face down, the player may decide to turn the card face up. However, if a player has turned a card face up and has sufficient teams to advance on that card, the player must allocate the teams and do so.

        During this phase only players having Generalists may use each to represent one team of choice. The first type of Generalist can represent either a research (white) or test (blue) team. The second type of Generalist can represent either a test (blue) team or a manufacturing (red) team. A Generalist can act as only one type of team for the entire game turn.

    3. Advance Start Player
      The start player marker is passed to its holder's left hand neighbor.

  6. End of the Game
    At the end of the game turn in which at least one pawn has reached the end of each of the three tracks, the game is over. Pawns earn points depending on the degree of their advancement as shown on the scoring track. Players calculate their scores by totalling up the points achieved by each pawn and the player having the highest total wins. In case of ties, the one having more pawns at the ends of tracks wins. If still tied, these players share the victory.

  7. Special Rules for Two Players
    In a two player match, each player has six rather than five winks and is allowed to put up to two winks on different spaces in the black (phases) row. This also means that in each game turn a player may choose a die up to six rather than five times.

    When choosing dice, now each player makes two selections from a single throw of the dice. Moreover, this is done in "switchback" order meaning that the start player chooses one, the other player chooses two and then the start player chooses a final one. Only then are the dice passed to other player to roll.

    Finally, resolving the black (phases) row is also done in "switchback" order meaning that the start player chooses one, the other player chooses two and then the start player chooses a final one.

  8. Special Rules for Three Players
    In a three player game, in each game turn if no player has chosen "Progress", there is an automatic Progress phase following the phases which have been chosen. The first player to act during this phase is the current first player.

  9. Credits
    Playtesters in alphabetical order: Gordon Hua, Anthony Linforth, Ken Tidwell, Enrico Viglino, Eric Vogel, Candace Weber, Bernard Yeh

Example of Play (four pages, PDF)

Spotlight on Games > PrintNPlay > Inventing the Future

Created: September 11, 2011
Please send any comments to Rick Heli