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Ring the Nug: the Kingdomon Field Game

We’re playing a scene during the Elspa Academy era of our Kingdom Legacy campaign, where students are learning a game to teach them about teamwork, handling wild Kingdo monsters… and maybe a little something about friendship.

We’re practicing for the championship match against our rival, Dorfin Academy, but it’s not going well. Spotsprints, Laardvarks, and Croaknkeys are sitting around, eating grass, entirely ignoring the orders the kids scream at them and each other.

It is, in fact, a total shit show. An absolute total fustercluck*. And that’s intentional, because the game is designed to teach students that it takes more than just yelling to get a wild animal to do what you want. Nature does not do what you want, and sometimes other people don’t either.

“Field Game” was an important part of our story in Elspa Academy, but we didn’t really need to know how it was played beyond “kids yell orders at Kingdomon”. Didn’t need to know the rules, didn’t need to conceive and create an entire game… but then after one particularly good cup of coffee, yeah I did conceive and create the entire game.

So now you can play it too! All you need is a nice grassy field, white paint, and a half-dozen trained pocket monsters that (sometimes) obey your commands. Oh and one regulation-sized Nug, but you can probably scrounge one from other field games you have around the house.

The Rules of Field Game

There are two teams. Each has three (human) players, and each player commands two Kingdo monsters, so six Kingdomon total for each team. The field is a circle with three concentric rings, each divided into four quarters alternating green and white, and a “safe” zone in the middle. See the helpful illustation.

The game starts with one monster in each quarter. One team places on white and the other on green. Once play starts, a monster can’t leave its ring but is free to move anywhere within that ring.

The human players stay in the center. They shout orders to their monsters, but they don’t interact with the nug or ever take action directly. Nor can monsters enter the center or interact with the players — monsters can unleash a smackdown on other monsters, but never attack humans!

Field Game Rules

The object of the game is for the Kingdo monsters to move the “nugget” (aka the nug) across the rings, from the outer ring to the inner ring and back again, or vice versa (inner to outer and back to inner). A full round trip scores you a point. Since a monster can’t leave its ring, it has to pass the nug to a teammate in the next ring. But you can only pass the nug to a monster in a quarter of the same color. Which means those diagonal spots where the quarters of each ring meet are the hot spots of action.

The nug has to be in the possession of a monster in each ring, in order, to score. If you skip the middle ring you have to go back and start over for it to count towards scoring. And by design, no player can win by themselves. You only have two Kingdo, so even if they’re in two different rings you always have to pass to another player’s monsters to ring the nug.

At Elspa Academy there are three grades, so of course a team representing the school is required to include one student from each year: one senior, one sophomore, and one freshman. Because that just makes everything harder.

(There were also “advanced rules” where placards were flipped each round to establish special rules that applied to any Kingdo in possession of the Nug, like “no moving while holding the Nug”, or “no throwing the Nug” etc. but that seemed liked gilding the lily and never got used.)

In the fiction there would be lots of careful strategic decisions about where to place different species of Kingdo monsters, based on their abilities and where your opponent is placing theirs, but mostly it’s about team work and figuring out how to get your monsters to do what you want and not have the whole thing devolve into an absolute mess. It’s an intentionally frustrating game that teaches students character.

So how did we do in the championship? Elspa Academy won regionals for the first time in years, defeating the snotty kids from Dorfin! But our main characters, who had nearly resorted to cheating to win, lost their own match but learned a lot about themselves and grew as people.

A loss on the field, a win in life.

Next up, Field Game: Tips & Strategies

* a rare evolution of the Chickycluck, generally considered too small to carry a Nug

    Ben Robbins | March 31st, 2022 | , , , | leave a comment