Release Date: 
Thursday, August 15, 2002
PDF icon metal talon rules v2.pdf1.87 MB
Image icon MetalTalon board v3.png1.87 MB
Setup Time: 
Play Duration (new players): 
Play Duration (experienced): 
Minimum number of players: 
Maximum number of players: 
Minimum Age: 

by Jonathan Leistiko

There’s a newer, better version of MetalTalon that supersedes the version you can download and read the rules to below. I strongly recommend downloading and playing the new version.

You may also want the higher-resolution version of the new board, suitable for printing at significantly larger than 8.5” x 11”

Note that everything below this paragraph is old and is only being kept up for posterity’s sake.

MetalTalon доступно на русском языке


Drive your opponents out of the game by running them out of resources or invading their home base.

You Need

  • A MetalTalon board: Ink-friendly version | Lots of ink version
  • A bunch of pennies, nickels, and dimes.
  • A digital stopwatch accurate to 100ths of a second or a 6-sided die.


You start with 25 cents in assorted pennies, nickels, and dimes. This is your cash reserve. Place all remaining coins aside. This is the bank.

Randomly select a race. Races are allowed to be duplicated. If you don’t like the race you have, you can re-roll, but you’re stuck with the second race you get.

The starting races are:
1. Zoomers:
Every penny counts for 1.5 movement.
2. Warriors:
Add 1 to your attack rolls.
3. Bankers:
You start with 20% more change in your cash reserves. (30 cents in a 25-cent game.)
4. Clovers:
You may spend 1 cent from your cash reserves to re-roll a roll you just made.
5. Murphys:
You may spend 2 cents from your cash reserves to force an opponent to re-roll a roll he or she just made.
6. Rebels:
Your opponent must land three ships in your home base to win by invasion. The Rebels’ special power overrides the “one ship per space” movement restriction – Ships can share a space when they’re invading the Rebels’ base.
7. The Swarm:
Instead of launching a ship, you may split one of your ship stacks in play into two stacks. One ship must be in the space that the original square occupied. The new ship stack must be in an adjacent space. You may not make change from cash reserves or the bank when building your second ship.
8. Vamps:
When you deal three or more points of damage, you may put up to three cents of the coins your opponent loses into your cash reserves. You can’t gain coinage that your opponent doesn’t lose. For example, if you blast my one-cent ship to smithereens with 5 points of damage, you only gain 1 cent. You start with 20% less change in your cash reserves. (20 cents in a 25-cent game.)
9. Adapters:
After a ship stack you control takes damage, you may exchange coins in that ship stack other coins of equal value.
10. Anarchists:
Your ships may cross the striped territory boundaries on their first activation.

Choose a starting base.

  • In a two-player game, players must select bases in opposite corners.
  • In a three-player game, one player starts in a middle base and the other two players start in the corners on the opposite side.
  • In a four-player game, each player gets a corner square.
  • In a six-player game, all bases are used.


Choose a player to go first.


General rule:
Round all fractions up.

If you’re using a stopwatch instead of a six-sided die, start the stopwatch, wait for a moment, and then stop it. Look at the number indicating 100ths of a second (probably the right-most digit). Divide that number by two. That’s the number you’ve “rolled”.

Turn Sequence:
On your turn, you may activate all, some, or none of your ships in play. Each ship may only be activated once, and must complete its actions before another ship is activated.
At the end of your turn, you may launch a ship from your home base.

Activating ships:
When you activate a ship, that ship may move one space for every penny in its stack. That ship may fire once for every nickel in its stack.

Moving: A ship may move to any other unoccupied space that overlaps or touches the space it is in. Most spaces have six circles adjacent to them.

Recycling: You can move a ship on to your home base to disassemble it and add it to your cash reserves.

Invasion: If your opponent has no cash reserves, you may move a ship onto his or her base. If you do, then any ships he or she controls are sent to the bank and that player is out of the game. That base becomes uncontrolled.

Firing: Select a ship to fire at. Roll a die. Trace the shortest legal path to your target. Count the number of empty spaces in this path. (If ships are adjacent, the number of spaces is zero.) Subtract the number of empty spaces from the number you rolled. Subtract one more point from your roll for each dime in the target ship’s stack. Your total is the amount of damage your target takes.

Taking Damage: When a ship you control takes damage, you must remove one cent from that ship’s stack for each point of damage it takes. Pretend that you control a ship made of four pennies and a nickel. That ship takes takes three points of damage. You can either lose three pennies (leaving you a ship with one penny and one nickel), or you can cash the nickel in for pennies (leaving you a ship made of six pennies).

Firing at a base: This is just like attacking a ship, but dimes in cash reserves do not reduce the damage taken. Damage is taken from the target’s cash reserves.

Launching Ships:
Assemble a ship with the coins in your cash reserves. You may make change with the bank if you need to.

Building Ships:

  • Each penny lets your ship move one hex.
  • Each nickel lets you make an attack.
  • Each dime lets you ignore one point of damage.


Once you’ve assembled your ship, put it on your base and activete it. A newly-launched ship may not cross a striped territory border during its first activation.

Collecting Income:
Add one cent to your cash reserves at the end of your turn. Add an additional cent to your cash reserves for every ship you have on an unowned base.

When your turn is finished, play passes to the left.


You’re out of the game if another player lands a ship on your home base or if you have no ships in play and no coins in your cash reserves. The last player left in the game wins.


When you invade a player’s home base, you gain control of any ships he or she had in play at that time.

Spoils of War
When you take over a player’s home base, any ships he or she had in play at that time go directly into your cash reserves.

Origin and Credits

I was going to release a totally different game as the Game of the Month for August 2002, On the 12, I realized that ArmadilloCon was coming up in four days and we didn’t have a “tray table game” for it. I remembered an old game I’ve been hacking around for over a decade, radically reqorked it by adding the configurable change rules to it, and MetalTalon was created. The first playtest of it was 8/14/2002. It was released simultaneously at ArmadilloCon and on the Invisible City website on the 16th.

My thanks to Ed McMillan for thinking of the game that I derived MetalTalon from, and to Sharon for playtesting and editing. Additional playtester thanks to Shane Phillips for asking great questions that led to rules clarifications.