Shapeshifting Simulacra

Shapeshifting Simulacra
Release Date: 
Friday, May 1, 2015
Setup Time: 
Play Duration (new players): 
Play Duration (experienced): 
Minimum number of players: 
Maximum number of players: 
Minimum Age: 

by Jonathan Leistiko


When wizards duel, they don’t attack each other. They value their lives and respect each other far too much to die over something as inconsequential as a disagreement. Instead, they create simularcra of themselves to fight in their place. Under their wizard’s guidance, these simulacra change shape over and over, each trying to select a form that can defeat the other without being injured itself. Are you resourceful and perceptive enough to win a Wizard’s Duel?


Reduce your opponent’s life pool to one chip or less.

You Need


  • Fold your paper in half so one half conceals the other half, then re-open it. Divide the concealed half into three sections: Body, Mind, and Spirit. This is your character sheet.
  • Take seven coins. These are your life chips. You’ll allocate them to your Body, Mind, and Spirit and during the game to adapt to your opponent’s attack and defense strategies.


This is not a turn-taking game. Both players act simultaneously during each phase. When both of you are done with a phase, proceed to the next phase. When all phases are complete, a new round begins. A round consists of four phases:

  1. Establish your form
  2. Reveal forms
  3. Engage
  4. Resolve combat

Establish Your Form
Secretly allocate your life chips to Body, Mind, and Spirit. Make sure they’re all face-up. You do not have to allocate chips to every section.

Reveal Forms
Show your opponent how you allocated your life chips. Starting with the player with the least Mind, purchase your Body and Spirit dice. If you’re tied, choose randomly. When you “spend” a chip on a die, flip it face-down. Dice cost as follows: 1 chip = d4, 2 chips = d6, 3 chips = d8, 4 chips = d10, 5 chips = d12, 6 chips = d20. For example: If you have 4 chips in Body (or Spirit) , you can purchase a d10, or 4d4, or any other combination of dice that adds up to 4 chips in value.

Roll your Body dice and your Spirit dice. Keep them separate. Your goal is to have one of your Body dice match one of your opponent’s Spirit die. If that does not happen, you can flip a Mind chip face-down to:

  • add or subtract one point from the result of one of your Body die
  • re-roll one of your Body dice
    You may do this as long as you can flip Mind chips face-down.


Resolve Combat
If one of your opponent’s Body dice matches one of your Spirit dice, you lose a life chip. You also lose a life chip if you have no Spirit dice and your opponent has any Body dice.

Ending The Game and Winning

The game ends when at least one player has fewer than two life tokens.
At the end of the game:

  • If you have more life tokens than your opponent, you win.
  • If you both have one life token, the game is a draw.
  • If you both have no life tokens, you both lose.



Keep ‘Em Guessing – Secretly purchase your dice during the Establish Your Form phase instead of during the Reveal Forms phase. Instead of purchasing dice, you can flip a chip face-down to purchase your dice during the Reveal Forms phase.

Spiritual Strength – If your Spirit die is less than each of your opponent’s Body dice during the Resolution phase, you gain a life chip.

Origin and Credits

I wrote this game up for the 2006 game competition, but did not submit it.