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In the cosmic expanse, Dartondelous and Doink created Gridaris, a planet teeming with life but tainted by betrayal.


As empires rise and fall, the land becomes a battleground for the Cheese People, Mops, Wizards, Monsters, Voidlings, and Business Drones, each vying for sovereignty.


The fate of Gridaris hangs in the balance, its destiny shaped by the eternal struggle between light and darkness.


It’s up to you and your Empire to have the right Mercenaries fit for the final battle that will determine who truly rules Gridaris.

Official Launch Trailer!

Mercenaries of Gridaris is a quick card-based space-capturing game where 2-5 players compete against each other by hiring ridiculous mercenaries to capture and control the last 16 battlefields in the land of Gridaris.


Confused? That’s what this rulebook is for!


WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!

Battle Map

    • 2 reversible boards that combine to make the 16 total Battlefields of Gridaris.


















80 Empire Tokens

    • 14 Tokens per player which display the banner of your Empire. These show which player currently controls each Battlefield with a Mercenary in it.











5 Empire Profile Cards

    • Cards for each playable Empire displaying that Empire’s Ruler and banner with a quick rule reference sheet on the back.
      • The backgrounds of these Empire Profile Cards correlate with the Empire Token you will use!











30 Modifier Tokens

    • These tokens show if a Mercenary stationed at any one Battlefield has any Modifiers applied to it.
      • These are only used in Enhanced Play for “Class War” and “Class Project”.











12 Scenario Cards

    • These cards introduce new rules to the game.
      • These are only used in Enhanced Play.














31 Silver and 17 Gold Mercenary Cards

    • These cards make up each player’s hand and the Mercenaries that will battle for the land of Gridaris.


Front

Back

How to Read the Mercenary Cards

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Combat Value

The Combat Values are the main mechanic of the game. These dictate which cards win each battle.


"A"s (Ace) in the place of any numbers are essentially infinity and can only be beaten in certain Scenarios.

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The number of stars represents the Rank of each Mercenary.


The combined Rank of every Mercenary you control at the end of the game contributes to your final score.

STAR Rank

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Is only used during the “Head Stand”, “Class War”, or “Class Project” Scenarios of Enhanced Play.

Class of card

Setting Up the Game


  1. Set out the Battlemap so that the 16 Battlefields are in a 4x4 grid with the slots for Empire and Modifier Tokens on the left side of the Mercenary slot.
  2. Shuffle all Silver Mercenary Cards together and set them in a pile near the board.
  3. Shuffle all Gold Mercenary Cards together and set them in their own pile near the Silver pile.
  4. If you are playing Enhanced Play, shuffle all Scenario Cards and draw two of them to shake up gameplay. Remember to keep Modifier Tokens close by, just in case “Class War” or “Class Project” are drawn during Enhanced Play.
    1. Each Scenario has unique rules that are explained later in “Enhanced Play Scenarios.”
  5. Each player selects an Empire Profile Card to play as, placing their Empire Profile Card on the table in clear view of other players and keeping their matching Empire Tokens handy.
  6. Deal 6 Silver and 3 Gold Mercenary Cards face down to each player. You may look at your cards, but be careful not to let your competition for the throne see your forces!


NOTE: Scenario Cards and Modifier Tokens are only used in “Enhanced Play” and may be set aside if playing the “Standard Version.”



With everything in place, the Empires are ready to battle for the land of Gridaris!

Here is an example of how the board should look for the setup!

Mercenary Battlefield

Modifier Slot

Empire Token Slot

How to Play!

Objective

  • Increase your score by capturing and controlling strategically placed battlefields and high ranking Mercenaries.

Beginning the Game

  • To determine who goes first, take an Empire Token from each player and mix them around in the box. Have someone blindly choose one token at random. The Player whose Empire Token is selected goes first.


  • Play continues clockwise.


Taking a Turn

  • Place any Mercenary from your hand onto any empty Battlefield in Gridaris, making sure to place one of your own Empire Tokens onto the Battlefield to show that you control it.
  • Playing a Mercenary of your own next to another Empire’s Mercenary already in play initiates “Combat.”
  • In Combat, look at the Combat Value numbers on the cards. If the Active Player's Combat Value on the adjacent side of the Mercenary already played on the field is higher, then both Battlefields and, therefore, Mercenaries are captured by the Active Player.
    • Remove the newly captured Mercenary’s current Empire Token and replace it with one of your own.
    • Remember, unless stated otherwise in a Scenario, Aces always win battles against Non-Ace Combat Values, regardless of Modifiers.


  • If the Combat Value is lower than that of an adjacent Mercenary already in play, nothing happens. Each Player retains control of its own Mercenaries.
    • The Mercenary you play on your turn can never be captured that turn. You will always maintain control of a Mercenary while playing it
  • If the Combat Value is tied with that of a Mercenary already in play, nothing happens. Each Empire retains control of its own Mercenaries.
  • For Enhanced Play, remember to follow any special Scenario Rules when resolving combat.
  • Play passes to the next player.


Here is an example of a few turns!

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Here, we are mid-game and it’s Ben’s turn next. For now, we’ll be focusing on the top left quadrant!

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Ben plays “Pawberus,” capturing “Corporate Shell” and placing his Empire Tokens on both places he has captured.


“Pawberus” cannot capture the card below but is safe from being captured since it is Ben’s turn.

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With Ben’s turn done, it is now Sarah’s turn.


Sarah plays “Gouds the Struggler” onto the empty Battlefield and performs a double capture since both Combat Values are higher.


She then places her Empire Tokens on every Battlefield she captured that turn.

Long Story Short

  • Take turns playing one Mercenary at a time on an empty Battlefield.
  • Capture Battlefields adjacent to other Empire’s played Mercenaries who have weaker Combat Values than yours.
  • Control as many Battlefields and high Ranking Mercenaries as possible to increase your final score, remembering to place your Empire Token on Battlefields you control through placement or combat.

The Final Round: The Reinforcement Phase


  • After the last empty Battlefield in Gridaris has been claimed, it is time for the Final Round: The Reinforcement Phase. This is one last-ditch effort to recapture any cards that you may not already control.


  • Each player will take one final turn, but they may only play on Battlefields that they currently control, covering and replacing the Mercenary that is in play at that location. Combat resolves as usual before moving on to the next player's turn.


  • The Player who controls the least Battlefields may choose if they would like to start the Reinforcement Phase or be the one to play the final Mercenary Card of the Reinforcement phase!
      • After this decision is made, this final round continues clockwise just like before.
      • If a player gets wiped off the board before they get to play their Reinforcement Phase, then they are taken completely out of the game.
      • If two or more players control the same amount of Battlefields, the player with the lower total Star Rank across all of their controlled Mercenaries will go first.


  • When covering and replacing one of your Mercenaries already on the field, know that you are losing the Star Rank of the Mercenary you are covering up.
      • If the Mercenary you are replacing has any Modifiers on it, remove the old Modifier and make sure to put a new Modifier that correlates with your active Mercenary’s class.


Determining the Winner


Calculating Your Score

    • After the last player has finished their Reinforcement Phase, players will count up the total combined Star Rank of every Mercenary they control, giving them their Base Score.
      • Remember, Mercenaries covered/replaced during the Reinforcement Phase do not count toward this total.


Bonus Points

    • Players can also score bonus points based on the shape of the Battlefields they control.


      • 3 bonus points for each 2x2 square.
      • 5 bonus points for each column or row of 4.
      • 6 bonus points for each 2x3 rectangle.
      • 10 bonus points for each diagonal of 4.


    • Each of the Mercenaries you control may count to each of the bonus shapes once per shape.
      • Example: Let’s say someone has captured 2 x 4 Battlefields. One of the Mercenaries in the controlled space can contribute to a row of 4 and a 2x3 rectangle, but no more than that.
      • In this case, the example below would be +16 Bonus Points at the end of the game.


    • After calculating bonus points, the player with the highest score is the winner and the new Ruler over all of Gridaris!


In the Event of a Tie

    • The tied player who controls the most Battlefields wins. If they control the same number of Battlefields, the player with the most high ranking Mercenaries wins.


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IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST GAME OF Gridaris, skip this section and play the STANDARD game to learn the basics!

Enhanced Play Scenarios

During Enhanced Play, before dealing out the players’ hands, two random Scenarios are revealed which introduce new rules to the game. These Scenarios add elements to Standard Play to change the way players approach playing their Mercenaries. Any conflict between Scenario Cards is addressed below!


Earthquake

    • This Scenario MASSIVELY erupts the land of Gridaris, changing the Battle Map from a 4x4 grid to a 2x8 grid.
      • If this Scenario is drawn with either “Tremor” or “Two Islands”, then the table gets to decide how they want the Battle Map to be formed!


Tremor

    • This Scenario just kind of erupts the land of Gridaris, shifting one of the boards over one quadrant and making the land look like some sort of geometric “S” or “Z” shape.
      • If this Scenario is drawn with either “Earthquake” or “Two Islands”, then the table gets to decide how they want the Battle Map to be formed!


Two Islands

    • This Scenario completely splits the land of Gridaris in half, creating two separate 2x4 islands to deploy your Mercenaries onto.
      • If this Scenario is drawn with either “Tremor” or “Earthquake”, then the table gets to decide how they want the Battle Map to be formed!


Show Whole

    • Reveal your entire hand by placing them face-up on the table in front of you. These cards are still considered a part of your hand and may be played normally, but must remain face-up in front of you until played.


Inverse

    • The smaller Combat Value now wins in combat. However, Aces remain the winner in combat.


Ace in the Hole

    • All Aces are now treated as a Combat Value of 0. They no longer automatically win combat.
      • If "Ace in the Hole" is drawn with "Inverse," then Aces are back to being the automatic winners in combat.


Class Project

    • When you play a Mercenary, all four of its Combat Values receive a Positive Modifier equal to the number of Mercenaries of that same class already in play (Max. +5).
      • This Modifier increases the Combat Values on the active player’s card BEFORE the Mercenary is deployed.
      • If "Class Project" and "Class War" are drawn together, then they cancel each other out. Congrats! The fates have decreed this a Standard Game.
      • When this Scenario is in play, make sure to check which classes are already on the field before deploying you Mercenaries!
      • In the right Scenario, an Ace might go against another Ace. Modifiers affect Aces to a certain degree. For this instance, an Ace with a +1 Modifier beats an Ace without any Modifier. Essentially, this is “Well, I have infinity +1 so I beat you!!”


Class War

    • When you play a Mercenary, all four of its Combat Values receive a Negative Modifier equal to the number of Mercenaries of that same class already in play (Max. -5).
      • This Modifier decreases the Combat Values on the active player’s card BEFORE the Mercenary is deployed.
      • If "Class Project" and "Class War" are drawn together, then they cancel each other out. Congrats! The fates have decreed this a Standard Game.
      • When this Scenario is in play, make sure to check which classes are already on the field before deploying you Mercenaries!
      • In the right Scenario, an Ace might go against another Ace. Modifiers affect Aces to a certain degree. For this instance, an Ace without a Negative Modifier beats an Ace with a Negative Modifier.


Rags to Riches

    • Play your cards in order of Star Rank (lowest to highest).
      • If you have multiple cards of the same Rank, you may choose amongst them which card to play first.


Carbon Copy

    • Now Combat Values that match on adjacent sides can also trigger a card to be captured by the active player. Aces still remain the winner in these battles.
      • Basically, ties can capture other Battlefields now.
      • If "Carbon Copy" and "Cascade" happen to be drawn together, then it is probably going to be a crazy game.


Cascade

    • Now, when a Battlefield is captured, any Mercenary cards adjacent to the newly captured Battlefield with losing Combat Values are also captured. This Scenario only extends to one space all around the newly captured Battlefield.
      • If "Carbon Copy" and "Cascade" happen to be drawn together, then it is probably going to be a crazy game.


Head Stand

    • If this Scenario is drawn, draw two cards at random from the Silver Tier Pile. Every card from these classes must be played upside down for the whole game. Then put the cards back into the Silver Tier Pile and shuffle again before dealing out everyone’s hands.
      • All Combat Value positions are now flipped. However, 6 is still a 6 and a 9 is still a 9.

Gridaris Lore

(for my fellow nerds)

In the vast emptiness of the cosmic abyss, Dartondelous and Doink, ancient entities traversing the celestial expanse, became cognizant of a dire truth — their growing sentience and awareness began to eat away at their astral forms. A hunger for sustenance gripped them, urging a drastic solution — something that would allow them to forward their cognitive growth while allowing them to continue living.


In a twisted turn of fate, Dartondelous, harboring darker inclinations, settled upon a malevolent plan. Feigning camaraderie, he proposed the creation of a life-sustaining planet. Thus, they conjured a planet: a cradle and safe haven for their life forces to dwell. Yet, recognizing the intricate balance required for sustenance, they understood the necessity of life in this newly birthed world. Yet, as Doink embraced the notion with trusting naivety, Dartondelous saw an opportunity for treachery.


As the cosmic architects commenced the shaping of their sanctuary, Dartondelous, veiled in deceit, secretly siphoned energy not only from himself but also from Doink. The creation of the planet became a ritual of betrayal, an act that would not only preserve Dartondelous but also leave Doink bereft of vitality.


Doink, in his unsuspecting innocence, continued to infuse the world with whimsical life — the Cheese People, ruled by the Brood Moother; the Mop Dynasty, with thousands of Robo Mops to sustain order; and the Wizards, who practiced their arts in the West. These three classes danced upon a beautiful canvas tainted by the impending darkness. Meanwhile, Dartondelous, his essence growing more potent, crafted Monsters born of malevolence, Voidlings that whispered dark secrets from the cosmic abyss, and worst of all... Business, the most evil entity the world of Gridaris would ever see.


As the planet's core pulsated with a mixture of life and treachery, Doink, sensing the impending doom, questioned the motives of the entity that was once considered a dear friend. Dartondelous, revealing his true nature, unleashed chaos upon their creation. The once harmonious partnership crumbled as Doink faced the betrayal that cast shadows upon the planet.


The celestial saga unfolded, tinged with the bitterness of betrayal and the clash of opposing cosmic forces. Dartondelous reveled in his newfound power, while Doink, wounded and betrayed, sought a way to mend the fractured tapestry of their cosmic creation. The echoes of their celestial discord resonated through the ages, creating a tale of extraordinary proportions.


Gridaris became a battleground of conflict with each class vying for supremacy, their destinies interwoven with the threads of treachery and creation. Dartandelous reveled in the chaos he had sown, while Doink, wounded but not defeated, watched as the beings he had brought into existence waged an eternal battle for the very essence of Gridaris.


The land now echoes with the clash of the Cheese People, Mops, Wizards, Monsters, Voidlings, and Business People, each class embodying the cosmic forces that birthed them. The fate of Gridaris now hangs in the balance, a testament to the consequences of betrayal and the enduring struggle between light and darkness in the celestial saga.


Special Shout Outs!!!

Artwork, Mechanics, & Lore

Sam Hammer

Marketing

Sydney Martin (Marketing Strategy Manager)

Kimi Arquines (Community Manager)



Design Consultation

Sydney Martin

Will Nicholson

Sam Porter

Mackenzie Shapiro


Mechanics Consultation

Will Nicholson

Minkus

Sam Porter



Writing Consultation

Will Nicholson

Sydney Martin


Product Photos

Imran Nuri



Play Testers

Nick Roth

Mackenzie Shapiro

KJ Snyder

Kimi Arquines

Will Nicholson

Minkus

Colby Carlson

Wic Whitney

Sydney Martin

Eric Himsel

Evan Richter

Meaghan Morris

Sadie Walton

Chandler Martin

Zac Bragg

Brandon Nelson

Connor Jenkins

Jen Sloan


Thank you to Snakes and Lattes Chicago & Good Games Chicago for allowing me to playtest MoG at your shops!


Kickstarter Commercial

Kimi Arquines

Nick Ackerson

Will Nicholson

KJ Snyder

Minkus

Jonny Byrne

Newport Theater


(Music Composition & Actor)

(Cinematographer & Editor)

(Writer & Actor)

(Actor)

(Mop Queen Puppeteer & Actor)

(Voice Actor)

(Location)


Kickstarter Backers


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