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Niagara - Online Guide/Rules

Starting The Game

With /join 3-5 players can join the game. With /start the game begins. Alternatively, you can use the Game Tool!

Object of the Game

Spielfeld

The players look in the Niagara for jewels. Each player has two boats, which he moves by means of paddle cards. The players must pay attention to the current as it draws boats toward the danger of the waterfall. And other players may covet the jewels that have been found.

The Gameboard

Spielplan

The river consists of nine water zones and two land zones at the start area (left and right). The players move their boats from zone to zone by using the cards that they play. They can load or unload jewels when they land on the colored zones. Each boat can only carry one jewel. From the first gray water zone a boat can reach the bank with one movement point. Once safely ashore the jewel is added to the player's score.

Movement Cards

Each player has the same set of movement cards ("paddle cards"):

Karten

At the beginning of each round each player secretly selects a card. The numbered cards enable movement of their boats by the shown amount. If one selects the cloud, then one affects the weather this round rather than moving their boat. A used card is no longer available until all seven cards have been cycled through. After seven rounds the player can again choose from the full set.

Moving the Boats

The following rules apply when moving the boats:

  • Each zone costs one movement point.
  • Loading and unloading a jewel costs two movement points.
  • Unloading gems when you bring boats ashore at the upstream end is free.
  • Each boat on the water must be moved. One boat ashore may be moved.
  • If both boats are ashore then only one may be moved into the water.
  • Each boat must travel the full distance shown on the movement card, except when a boat moves onto the shore. The played movement card counts in full for each boat.
  • Each boat must travel in only one direction, either upwardstream or downstream, in any single turn.
  • Jewels can only be unloaded or loaded at the start or end of the move not in the middle!
  • Unloading and loading the same coloured jewel in a single turn is not alllowed. You may however unload and load different colors - unloading a yellow stone, for example, in order to load a blue one (at a total cost of four movement points).

The Interface

Once all players have selected a movement card, the first player (marked with the life saver) takes his turn. He clicks one of his boats, bringing up the action window:

Aktion

He can decide to either move or load/unload his boat first.

Zielwahl

When/if he selects "move", all his legal end points are highlighted in gray.

In the example green has played a 6 and selected one of his boats. He could move four spaces to the white beach spend the last two points loading a gem or move it the full distance to either one of the two blue ports.

It is not possible to move three spaces to the violet beach, spend two points loading a gem there and then move one more space, as loading and unloading can only occur at the beginning and end of each turn!

Stealing

There are certain times when you can steal gems from other players. These are the rules:

  • Any gems which have been brought to the embankment are safe. Gems can only be stolen from boats which are still afloat.
  • You must finish your upstream move with an empty boat.
  • You must end on a space where a laden boat sits.

The Action Window looks like this:

Stehlen

If you choose to "steal", you get a window letting you select from your potential victims.

Stehlen

Select the boat you wish to steal from

River Currents and the Influence of the Weather

Wetter

The Niagara River flows after everyone has taken a turn. How far depends on two factors: movement cards played and the weather:

  • The lowest movement card played on a turn determines how many spaces the boats are moved down river. Cloud cards are excluded, but if only cloud cards were played they are counted as zeros.
  • Then the weather's effect is added. Values range from -1 (sun) to +2 (thunderstorms). Add this value to the value of the lowest card. If the result is zero or negative, the river does not move at all.

Example: The players use the following cards: cloud, 3, 4 and 6. At the end of the round the storm cloud is on (+1). All the boats on therefore move 4 (3+1) spaces down river.

By the yellow space (see above) there is a fork in the river. The boats float alternately to the left and right with each space the river flows. There is a flag on the bank which indicates which way boats will go next.

Going Over the Edge

If a boat goes over the waterfall, then the player can redeem it the at the beginning of each round for any gem. He automatically gets the following prompt:

Kaufen

If he wants a boat back he clicks on a gem he wishes to discard.

Kaufen

Select the gem you want to pay with. It then appears in a bordered box. Click on the "yes" to confirm.

If you don't want to buy your boat back just now, click on "no". You will be asked again each round.

If you have no boats you must buy one if you can pay for it. If you have no gems left then you get one boat for free.

Ending the Game

The game ends if one or more players achieves during a round one of the following:

  • 4 identical gems
  • 5 different gems
  • any 7 gems

The first player to bring the required set of gems back to the embankment wins the game.

Game Options

Flussgeister am Niagara (River Spirit at Niagara)

Flussgeister

This game extension gives a completely new dimension to the play. Tandem canoes, vortices, and the moose lend new dynamics to the game. It is faster, and more unpredictable. The goal of the game is the same. Only 6 stones of each colour are available in the 3-person game.

Additions to the Game:

Tandem Canoe

The same movement rules apply to the large canoe as to the normal size. The following is new: since there are two places available, you can load and unload two stones, steal two stones, even from different canoes. However you may not load a stone of a colour, which is the same colour as one unloaded during the same turn.

Loading, as usual takes place on the same beach the gems are found.

You can steal if you are moving upstream and can land exactly on a space where a laiden canoe sits.

Klauen
Whirlpool
Strudel

A boat may never stay on the whirlpool. If your turn finishes on the whirlpool your boat is moved downstream one place. You cannot therefore plan to end on a whirlpool (by loading/unloading) if you have played a card which would move you past the whirlpool. You can only finish on the whirlpool space if your selected card moves you there exactly.

If you manage to end up on the whirlpool and it is at the fork in the river you may choose which leg of the fork to go down river. You cannot steal by using this manoeuvre as you are technically travelling downstream!

Paddling upstream through the whirlpool costs one additional movement point.

As soon as the whirlpool falls over the waterfall it is immediately brought back into play.

These are all the effects of the whirlpool. The whirlpool starts at the purple gem location during the first round. Once it falls over the waterfall, it is placed at the start line.

New Paddle Cards
Karten
  • 7 Card - Move 7 spaces
  • 1/2/3 Card - Choose either 1, 2 or 3 spaces with one boat.
  • Rope Card - You can fasten both canoes to the shore with this card. They do not move this round, and are not affected by the river current. They cannot be stolen from likewise. After the river movement play continues as before. If the whirlpool comes along by the effect of the river then you are moved downstream as in normal play, with the option of which section to take if the whirlpool ends at the fork.

The cards "rope" and "1/2/3" are ignored (just like the cloud) when determining the river speed.

1/2/3

In this example all possibilities for moving with the 1/2/3 card are shown. If a space can be played as a 1 or 3 (e.g. has a beach) then the option "Done" can be choosed to play it as a 1.

The Beaver
Biber

As soon as the cloud is set to +2, the beaver jumps on the first river space. It moves down the river with the current. As soon as it falls over the waterfall, the weather set back to 0.

The Moose
Elch nehmen

At the beginning of a play, if a canoe is on one of the spaces next to the waterfall (the pink beach), it can catch the moose. This canoe now has two more points of movement than shown on the played paddle card. It keeps the moose until it either reaches the embankment or the waterfall. Once the moose has been returned he can then be found again at the pink beach and used by another canoeist. The moose cannot be stolen or given up voluntarily.

If you play the rope card or the cloud, you do NOT move your canoe(s), even if you have engaged the moose. It is allowed, however, in the case of playing the cloud or Rope cards to take the moose before you take your turn. Select the appropriate canoe and the option "take moose".

Elch

Diamond Joe

Zielwahl

In this variant Diamond Joe plays a neutral canoe too. His canoe starts on the first river space next to the embankment. After the river current moves (if the cards played make the river move) his canoe takes a gem associated with the beach it ends up at. If there are no appropriate gems then it does not load any gems. Next Diamond Joe moves upstream the same number of spaces as played by the starting player shows. (If he played a cloud then Diamond Joe does not move). If Diamond reaches the last space then he moves the remaining spaces again down river and if necessary takes the right fork. If he falls over the waterfall, his gem is put back on the correct beach and he restarts at the first place next to the embankment. (as at the start of the game).

If you land on the same space as Diamond Joe at the end of your turn (even if you played the cloud), you can take one of the following actions:

  • If Joe has a gem you can steal it.
  • If Joe's canoe is empty you can unload a gem into his canoe.
  • Swap your gem with Joe's if you and he both have one.

It doesn't matter whether you are moving upstream or downstream when meeting with Joe.