Aim of the Game:

Using a die and cards, 2-6 people compete on an action-packed battlefield of striking colours for possession of six rings.

You begin the challenge from one of six Violet Home positions with one of the six rings already in your possession and a handful of power cards. To obtain more rings you must defeat your opponents in Combat. Combat is fast-moving, exciting and highly unpredictable cardplay in which players battle face-to-face with Weapons, Shields and other powers for ownership of each others ring(s). The winner of XTAL is that player who succeeds in returning Home again with THREE rings.

Setting Up:

Figure 1. Initial position of rings and the direction of player movement with die rolls.
  • The six rings are positioned on the board as shown in Figure 1.
  • Each player selects a player token and places it on one of the six Violet positions – only one token per Violet position. This Violet position will be the player’s Home for the entire game.
  • Each player places the ring (located in the Storage Area next to their Home) over their token.
  • The deck of cards is shuffled and each player is dealt five (5) cards. The remainder of the deck is placed face down in the centre of the board. Players hold their cards in their hand – concealed from all other players.
  • The die is placed on the board ready for play.
  • Players decide who will start the action. Turns are then taken in a clock-wise direction starting from that player.

Making Moves:

  • Each player, in clock-wise turn, is given the opportunity to start Combat.

    A player’s turn at moving consists of a die roll followed by optional cardplay.

  • So, when it is your turn, you roll the die first and move your playing token the indicated number of positions along the pathway in a clock-wise direction as shown in Figure 2. If you land on a Yellow or Green position you take a single card from the top of the central deck and add it to your hand of concealed power cards. Important: At no stage in the game may two player tokens occupy the same position on the board. If, for example, you roll the die and the position to which you must move is occupied then you must forfeit your turn and the player to your left retrieves the die and rolls.
    Cardplay is optional! You are not required to play cards during your turn at moving if you do not wish to. Just pick up the die and hand it to the player to your left since turns are taken in clock-wise order. This player then rolls and has the option of cardplay and the game continues.
  • If you do choose to play cards: You may play as many cards as you want to and may use them for whatever purpose you choose so long as each card is used correctly.
    To play a card you place it face-up on the board for everyone to see. You then perform the action indicated by that card. If you wish, you may place a number of cards down on the table at once, indicating that you wish to do all the actions associated with those cards.
  • At no stage in the game may two player tokens occupy the same position on the board, so ANY cardplay that breaches this rule is not allowed!
  • Whenever two players come to occupy Red positions that lie directly opposite each other across the board Combat begins. As shown by the example in Figure 3, you can organise such an arrangement – between yourself and another player, or between any two players on the board – by making use of your cards.
    NB. Such an arrangement may also occur as the result of a player rolling the die and landing on a Red position that lies directly opposite a player already on a Red position. Again, if this occurs, Combat begins.


The moment two players come to occupy Red positions that lie directly opposite each other across the board – as the result of a die roll or due to cardplay – Combat begins between them.

Both players in Combat have the right to play cards and the action that follows depends on the speed of the two opponents at laying power cards down on the board (face-up) and the strategies they choose. They are also allowed to play as many cards as they like – whenever they like. Cards are accepted in the order they are placed down on the table by either of the two players involved – so the speed of cardplay can be important if not ring-threatening. Either player may also attempt escape from Combat or, alternatively, may transfer Combat to a different pair of players.

If a player involved in Combat wishes to do something that involves a number of cards, then that player may place a group of cards down on the table at once and ALL actions denoted by the played cards are performed before any further card is considered. [NB. No group of cards played in this manner may include more than one Weapon card!]

For example, if you wish to shield a Weapon card thrown at you and then retaliate before your opponent has time to throw another Weapon card then you may play two cards down on the table at once – a Shield card to cancel the Weapon card played against you and a Weapon card of your own which must now be cancelled by your opponent or you win Combat – and possibly get more rings! Alternatively, you might choose to Shield the Weapon card played against you and attempt an escape. In this event you might play a Shield card (that matches the Weapon card played against you) and a Flight card to either move yourself or your opponent to another Red position – thereby breaking the Combat arrangement. (ie. you no longer both occupy Red positions that lie directly opposite each other across the board.) Combat is not over between you two players however, until neither of you can or chooses to play any more cards. If your opponent is able to form a Combat position – between any two players in the game – cardplay continues and you might discover that you are brought back into Combat again.

To transfer Combat you must organise another Combat arrangement between any two players in the game. This may involve Levitating another player’s token up to a Red position and then using a Flight card to move your current opponent’s token to the Red position that lies directly opposite the new combatant’s Red position. Now these two players have the right to play cards since they have inherited Combat. (Caution! Your old opponent may act quickly and transfer the Combat back to you by playing another Flight card and forming a Combat arrangement with you again.)

Any Weapon card played during Combat MUST be cancelled – by the attacked player – with either a matching Shield card or a Void card.
If a player is unable to cancel a Weapon card, ALL rings in that player’s possession become the property of the opponent (ie. the person who played the Weapon card) and Combat ends.

Combat cardplay between two players ends when:

(1) a Weapon card is not cancelled and a player accepts defeat
(and possible loss of rings) ; or
(2) neither player in Combat can or chooses to continue cardplay; or
(3) a Void card is played to dictate the end of Combat.

When Combat ends, the die is retrieved by the player to the left of the person who started the Combat and the game continues.

All cards played are kept aside in a separate REFUSE pile. When the pack of cards in the centre of the board is depleted, this REFUSE pile is reshuffled and used again.

The first player to return Home
with THREE RINGS is the
Winner of the Game.