Lucrum is a strategy board game for two players. The players represent leaders of noble families competing to amass the most wealth to capture the vacant throne following the death of the monarch.
You'll need to carefully deploy your resources, use considered military action to press an advantage when the time is right and attempt to capture key terrain features.
Can you accumulate the most wealth while fending off the efforts of your adversary and claim the throne for yourself?
How to Play Lucrum
Lucrum is played in two phases, the Deployment Phase and the Campaign Phase. Both phases provide opportunities for players to accumulate wealth and raise gold.
Setting up Lucrum
To setup you place the board in the centre of the table, place the gold coins (for tracking your wealth) within easy reach and place the Campaign Turn Track and markers nearby ready for the Campaign Phase. Both players take a Noble Unit Token along with the associated Cavalry (x2), Archer (x2) and Soldier (x8) Unit Tokens. Both players also take the Lucrum Tokens (marked 0, 1, 2 and 3) ready for use in the Campaign Phase. The Cavalry and Archer Unit Tokens each have special rules that can be used to your advantage in the right situation.
Three Terrain Features are randomly selected to be placed face down on the board. These represent key terrain that will be worth extra gold if you control them at the end of the game. Some of the Terrain Features have special rules such as providing a defensive bonus if you are attacked while within them or prohibiting movement for certain Unit Tokens.
One Terrain Feature goes in the centre of the board, each player then places a Terrain Feature on any of the vacant squares in the central 15 squares.
When all three Terrain Features have been placed on the board they are turned face up and you’re ready to play.
Lucrum - The Deployment Phase
Randomly determine who starts deploying first (note the player that deploys the last Unit Token will get to choose who starts the Campaign Phase).
Players take it in turns placing one of their Unit Tokens onto the board until both players have completely deployed their Unit Tokens. Players can’t deploy on a square containing enemy Unit Tokens and a maximum of four Unit Tokens can exist on any square at any time.
ABOVE: The player using white starts the Deployment Phase placing a Soldier Unit Token onto the Hills Terrain Feature. The player using black then places one of their Unit Tokens onto the Woods Terrain Feature. It's then the turn of the player using white again and they place one of their Cavalry Unit Tokens onto the board. Play continues to pass back and forth until all Unit Tokens are on the board.
Once deployment is complete, players score the Deployment Phase collecting gold based on squares that their Unit Tokens occupy (2 gold per occupied square) along with scoring squares that only they Threaten (1 gold per threatened square). Squares are threatened if there are Unit Tokens orthagonally adjacent (diagonally adjacent squares don’t count).
Once the scoring for deployment is complete the player that deployed the last Unit Token chooses who starts the Campaign Phase.
Lucrum - The Campaign Phase
The Campaign Phase consists of 6 rounds where players use their Lucrum Tokens to Move, Accumulate Wealth and Battle with opposing Unit Tokens.
The player starting the Campaign Phase puts their Campaign Marker on the top line of the Campaign Track and moves it onto the first square marked ‘L’.
ABOVE: The player using black will start the Campaign Phase by moving their marker onto the square with the 'L' symbol of round 1. When black has finished their turn, the player using white will move their marker into the square below. When white finishes their turn both players will return their discarded Lucrum Tokens to their hand and white will start round 2 by moving onto the square with the 'L' symbol of round 2 on the track.
The player starting the Campaign Phase uses their Lucrum Tokens until they choose to stop or have only the ‘0’ left in hand, then the other player moves their marker onto the first square of the turn track and uses their Lucrum Tokens until they choose to stop or have only the ‘0’ left in hand.
When both players have played a turn the round is over and any discarded Lucrum Tokens are returned to their hands. Players consult the Campaign Track to see who will play first in the next round (marked by the ‘L’) and that player moves their marker along the track and starts a new round.
You may notice that players do have double turns as the first player changes between rounds. Knowing when to press an advantage and when to protect your positions is an important part of conducting a successful Lucrum campaign for the throne.
Using Lucrum Tokens
Players use Lucrum Tokens to move, accumulate wealth and battle. The numbers 1,2 and 3 are discarded when used but the 0 is always returned to hand.
Move: To move players simply play a Lucrum Token and then move a number of squares up to the value of the Lucrum Token played with their Unit Tokens. The value can be split across multiple squares and the rules detail how that can be done.
ABOVE: The player using Black plays a '1' Lucrum Token and moves the contents of one square into an adjacent square.
Accumulate Wealth: To accumulate wealth players play a Lucrum Token and then select a number of squares up to the value of the Lucrum Token containing one or more of their Unit Tokens that are unthreatened by enemy unit tokens. The player gains 2 gold per square.
ABOVE: The player using Black plays a '2' Lucrum Token to Accumulate Wealth from two squares where they have Unit Tokens unthreatened by enemy Unit Tokens. The Player gains 4 Gold, 2 for each square.
Battle: To battle players select a square containing one or more of their Unit Tokens and a target adjacent square (not counting diagonals) containing opposing Unit Tokens. Both players then secretly select a Lucrum Token from their hand to add to the value of the Unit Tokens in the battle. Players reveal their Lucrum Tokens and add the value to their Unit Tokens, along with any Terrain Feature modifier that may be present in the square.
The loser of the battle must remove a number of unit tokens equal to the difference in the total scores of the battle. However, if the defender in the battle used a 0 Lucrum Token they only have to remove one Unit Token regardless of the difference in total scores. They then have to retreat any remaining Unit Tokens out of the square that was attacked.
If the all of the defending Unit Tokens have been removed or retreated the attacking player may move any number of the unit tokens they used to make the attack into the target square.
Finally, the winner of the battle gains gold equal to the value of the Unit Tokens removed.
ABOVE: The player using black nominates the square containing their noble and two soldiers to attack the target adjacent square containing two white soldiers on a Hills Terrain Feature. Both players secretly select a Lucrum Token from their hand and reveal them. The players add the value of their Lucrum Tokens to the value of their Unit Tokens, black has a total of 7 (3 Lucrum Token + 2 soldiers + 2* noble), white has a total of 3 (0 Lucrum Token + 2 soldiers + 1 for defending in Hills Terrain Feature). The difference is 4 which is more than enough to remove both white soldiers but white used the 0 Lucrum token in defence so only removes 1 soldier Unit Token and retreats the remaining soldier from the square. Black chooses to occupy the vacated square with all of the attacking Unit Tokens. Finally, the player using black gains 1 gold for the removed soldier Unit Token.
*Nobles have a value of 2 while other Unit Tokens are valued at 1
Lucrum - Winning the Game
At the end of the Campaign Phase (when the last round has been played) players total up the amount of gold that they have accumulated and add any extra gold that the can receive for the Terrain Features that they occupy at the end of the game. The player with the most gold wins and successfully claims the throne!
Lucrum - Strategy and Tactics
There are several ways to approach playing Lucrum, but it’s what you do as the game progresses that really matters. Reacting to emerging threats and pressing your own advantage at the most opportune moment is the mark of a fine tactician!
You can spread your Unit Tokens wide during the Deployment Phase to maximise the amount of gold you can accumulate at the beginning of the game. But you may find you need to do some swift repositioning during the Campaign Phase to protect your thinly spread Unit Tokens if you wish to mount any kind of attempt at capturing (or holding) those key Terrain Features later in the game.
You may choose to keep your forces quite compact in the Deployment Phase which means that you won’t earn very much gold early on in the game. But your Unit Tokens will be in a good position to strike out at your opponents forces in the Campaign Phase as you look to accumulate wealth through battle and capturing of the Terrain Features. But be aware that a clever opponent may take advantage of their early lead by playing a defensive campaign moving away from the threat of your military power and continually accumulating wealth with their widely spread forces.
A useful way to start playing Lucrum is to try to maximise the gold you earn in the Deployment Phase but ensure you have at least one square containing 3-4 Unit Tokens to act as your main military threat/s. Where you position your main force will largely depend on what your opponent is doing, what Terrain Features are on the board and how you intend to approach the Campaign Phase.
The key thing to remember is that you can see what your opponent is doing during the Deployment Phase so you can adjust and react accordingly. Once the Campaign Phase starts, you’ll find that the time to push and the time to consolidate your position swings back and forth as you progress through the turns. The passing back and forth of which player plays first each round means that double turns are a part of the mix. This will influence when you press an advantage and when you choose to hold back a few Lucrum Tokens just in case you need to defend a big attack. Launching attacks and trying to tease out high value Lucrum Tokens denies you opponent the use of them to accumulate wealth or move and reposition so there may be times when pressing hard is to your advantage rather than holding Lucrum Tokens back to play defensively.
Lucrum has a dynamic quality where you and your opponent attempt to engineer situations to your own advantage at each stage of the game. Whichever way you approach Lucrum, every game is different and Lucrum plays quickly enough that you can enjoy many games over the course of an afternoon or evening competing for the throne.
You can buy Lucrum now in our online shop.
(If you’re anything like me you might even enjoy keeping running totals of the Gold you and a regular opponent have earned over the course of a series of games to create a thematic medieval campaign as multiple nobles vie for power and influence.)