Argonaut's Wheel is a running-fight style strategy board game that tests memory, attentiveness, and perception.
A game of simple rules and positioning using "time" as the ultimate leveler, players must chart out their course in order to capture their opponent's cone first!
The game board's playing surface–resembling the layers and rings of a tree trunk accentuates the game's eight stations, as players race to move cones and discs into attack position.
Each player is only in control of the three stations in front of them. So, players must do their best to anticipate the wheel's movement - one revolution at a time - and where pieces will eventually end up, in order not to befall the ultimate fate of the wheel.
Argonaut’s Wheel is a two-player game, and each player controls three black pieces or three white pieces: two discs and one cone.
The game board is a wheel that is divided into eight stations, and over the course of a game, the wheel may be rotated, moving the stations in front of the players. Regardless of the rotation of the game board, a single station must always be positioned directly in front of each player.
The wheel also includes a time stone, which is a small stone that is used to track the revolutions of the wheel. The time stone is placed on the perimeter of the wheel’s inner square, and that appears in each station, half-way toward the center of the wheel.
During the course of the game, each player is always in control of the three stations in front of them: center station, left station, and right station. The two remaining stations between each player are neutral; neither player controls these stations.
The first player to move their cone into the same station as the opposing cone is the winner.
Each player sits across from each other on opposite sides of the wheel, and players should decide on playing the black pieces or the white pieces. Set up the game board as follows.
The black player should also place the time stone in the space provided in the neutral station to their left.
Players alternate turns, with the player in control of the black pieces opening play; for subsequent games, the loser of a previous round should decide who goes first. During each turn, a player may choose to either move any piece the player controls in one of their left, center, or right stations; alternatively, the player may choose to rotate the wheel instead of moving a piece.
Players can only move their pieces when they are located in their own left, center, or right stations. If a player’s piece is positioned in a neutral station or in any of the opposing player’s stations, then that player will be unable to move that piece.
After a player moves a piece, the time stone should be placed in the neutral station to the black player’s left, unless it is already there. If a player chooses to rotate the wheel instead of move a piece, simply leave the time stone where it is.
From the left station, a player may move their own piece exactly two stations to the left or to the right.
From the center station, a player may move their own piece directly across the wheel to the opposing player’s center station.
From the right station, a player may move their own piece only one station to the left or to the right.
Players can also elect to rotate the wheel on their turn, instead of moving a piece. To rotate the wheel, turn the wheel one station counterclockwise.
Each player controls two discs and one cone, and discs are two-sided pieces that can be either living or dead. A living disc is represented by the smooth side of the disc, while a dead disc is represented by the side of the disc with a small hole. Living discs should be placed smooth-side up, while dead disks should be placed hole-side up. Living discs may be moved on a player’s turn, while dead discs cannot be moved.
Although cones can be used to kill discs, dead discs and dead stacks can be resurrected. When a disc or stack is resurrected, it should be turned smooth-side up to indicate that it is now alive and can be moved again on subsequent turns. The cone should be placed on top of the resurrected disc or stack, creating a spire.
There are two types of spires. A free spire is a spire comprised of discs and cones of the same color; a prisoner spire is a spire comprised of discs and cones of different colors.
Most turns, players can choose to either move a piece or rotate the wheel. However, whenever a player has no legal moves, the player must rotate the wheel.
Because the time stone is used to track the rotation of the wheel, a full revolution occurs when the time stone remains in the same station for one full revolution of the wheel. In this case, the time stone will have traveled from its original position (the neutral station to the black player’s left) completely around the wheel, returning back to that neutral station.
After any single full revolution of the wheel, the first player following this revolution must attempt to move a piece on the player’s next turn before being allowed to rotate the wheel. If this player is able to make a legal move, then the time stone should be reset as normal after the piece is moved, and the game proceeds as normal—the other player may then choose to either move a piece or rotate the wheel, without restrictions.
However, if the first player following a single full revolution is unable to make a legal move, then the player would rotate the wheel. The second player must then attempt to move a piece, if possible, before the player allowed to rotate the wheel.
Regardless of whether the second player moves a piece or rotates the wheel, play would then proceed normally, with players allowed to either move a piece or rotate the wheel, without restrictions.
After two full sequential revolutions of the wheel with no piece movement, all dead discs and stacks are immediately resurrected. The active player should immediately turn all discs and stacks smooth-side up and proceed with their turn, following the same restrictions that apply from 4.1. (i.e., on only their next subsequent turns, both players must attempt to make a legal move before rotating the wheel).
After three full sequential revolutions of the wheel with no piece movement, the game ends in a draw.