For complete information on how to make this game which includes printing out the maps and casting the blocks, please go back to the Hirstopolis Main Page.

Hirstopolis is a 3-dimensional tetris style stacking game where you try to construct the largest and most elegant city in the kingdom.

This game can play from 1-6 players and takes about 30 minutes to play. All players build their cities at the same time so there is very little down time where you are waiting for other players to finish their turn.

Game Rules Video

This video explains all of the rules detailed in the article below.

The game example shown below requires two sets of game blocks in order to make a six player game. For complete information on how to make this game which includes printing out the maps and casting the blocks, please go back to the Hirstopolis Main Page.

Play Through Video

This video is a complete play through of a game from start to finish.

This demonstrates how long a game usually takes along with covering some strategies from various players during the game.

Game Setup
Give each player a map, a quarry card, a score card and a pencil. If the score card is laminated you can keep track using a dry erase marker. Pour all of the castle pieces into the center of the table. This will be called the draw pile.

Each player will place a map in front of them with their quarry and score card to the right of their map.

Select a king and give them a timer and a six-sided die. This player will run the timer and give the signal as to when all players may start drawing blocks. The king will also coordinate the beginning and ending of each round.


Game Play

  1. Draw 7 Blocks
  2. Select 3 Blocks to Pass
  3. Start the Round
  4. Ending the Round
  5. Starting the Next Round
  6. The Final Round
  7. Your Final Score
Map Challenges
Strategic Notes
Optional Game Modes
House Rule Options
Game Photos
To print out a complete copy of these rules click on the icon to the right to open up the PDF file.

You can also print out copies of the game maps, quarry cards and score cards here.


1) Draw 7 Blocks

The king will set the timer for 1 minute. He will start the timer and tell everyone to draw seven blocks of their choice from the draw pile. These blocks should be set down on each playerís quarry card.

When the timer goes off, some players may not have drawn all seven blocks. If any player has not drawn at least three blocks, the king will draw blocks at random to make sure every player has at least three blocks on their quarry card.

At this point, players will end up with somewhere between three and seven blocks. Players who are decisive and have drawn all seven of their blocks will have more blocks to place during their turn and end up with a higher score that round.

After all blocks are drawn, the king should ask the players heap up the blocks in the draw pile and cover them with a cloth.

This is optional but if you donít do this, seasoned players who finish the round early will try to spot which blocks to draw from the draw pile on the next round, giving them a head start over slower players.


2) Select Three Blocks to Pass

All players will now choose three blocks from their quarry to pass to other players. They will hold these three blocks in their hands so they cannot change their mind about which blocks to pass while they are being handed out. The king will roll the die. If the die roll is 1-3, blocks will be passed to the players on your left moving clockwise around the table. If a 4-6 is rolled, blocks will be passed to the players on your right moving counterclockwise around the table.

For example, letís say the king rolled a 2 and blocks will be passed to the left. The king will begin by giving one of each of the three blocks in his hand to each player, starting with the player on his left and moving clockwise around the table. If he comes back around to himself (if there are only three players), he will skip himself and continue to give one block clockwise around the table.

Then the player to the king's left will do the same thing, handing out one block to each player clockwise around the table. This will continue around the table until all players have handed out the three blocks held in their hands. Afterwards, all players should have the same number of blocks in their quarry that they had originally drawn at the beginning of the round.

Players will try to hand out blocks that are difficult for other players to build and score points with. This gives the receiving player a chance to see who is handing them difficult blocks, so they can return the favor in later rounds.

This also gives players a chance to balance the game if a beginner is having trouble. Other players may take pity on beginners by handing them blocks that are easier to build with. While on the other hand, players far in the lead will get no sympathy from other players and be handed difficult or low scoring blocks.


3) Start the Round

The king will say "start building" and all players will attempt to place blocks on their map to score as many points as possible.

Bases - These are open on the top and have pillars on the inside.

These have no point value but will give a point multiplier depending on how high you build.

Tops - These are very decorative and are used to cap off the bases.

These have a point value equal to the number of squares of its footprint.

Block Placing Rules

  • Blocks can only be placed onto the gridded areas of the map.

  • Blocks cannot be moved or taken off after they are placed on the map.

  • Bridges can only be placed spanning across the gaps between gridded areas.
  • Blocks must be placed smooth solid side down.
  • No block or part of a block can be stacked without having a full foundation consisting of bases.

Players are allowed to preassemble blocks on their quarry card to try and find the best arrangement of blocks. Players may temporarily break the rule of having unsupported blocks while seeing how things fit. However, once these blocks are moved onto the map, all blocks must be supported.

Block Scoring

As tops are placed on the map, players will immediately record the score on their score card. Only tops can be used to score points. A top's value will be determined by the number of squares of its footprint.

In the photo below, the smaller top has a footprint of 3 squares so it will be worth 3 points. The bridge has a footprint of 6 squares so it has a value of 6 points even though the center squares (blocks #4 and 5) will be suspended in the air.

A one story building (a top placed onto a single layer of base blocks) will be worth x1 the number of points the top is worth.

A two story building will be x2 the number of points the top is worth.

Tops must be placed onto bases in order to have any value. The top placed directly onto the map has no value since there is no base multiplier under it.

You are still allowed to place tops directly down onto the map if you like. You might wonder why anyone would put a top directly down onto the ground if it's not worth any points.

The answer is that some maps will give you a bonus for completely covering certain areas with roof. Other maps only allow you to build adjacently and these tops placed directly on the map may help you to connect buildings.

Most maps have a maximum scoring height of x2, meaning that you can build higher if you want but you won't get a higher score multiplier than x2 of what the top is worth.

The first map shown has a maximum score of x2, so the most points you can earn on a 3 point top is 6 points regardless of how high you build.

The second map has a higher maximum score of x3 so you can earn 9 points for the same building.

The maximum scoring height can also be determined as a house rule. if you have a large set of blocks and few players, you can make the maximum scoring height x4 for four stories. Keep in mind that you may also have to increase the round ending score as well.

Pay careful attention to the tops.

Some tops are taller and look like they are already setting on top of one story of blocks.

The example on the right shows a 5 point bridge that is set directly down onto the map. It would be worth 0 points because it is not setting on top of any bases.

As tops are placed on the map, players will immediately record the score on their score card. If you laminate the score card you can use a dry erase marker to do this. For the photo on the lower right, I glued a small metal plate under the score card so I could use a magnetic push pin to keep track of the score. The magnet is strong so it wonít move if accidentally bumped.


4) Ending the Round

When there is only one player remaining that has not finished buiding, any player may start the timer. It can be set for 30 seconds or one minute depending on what the group feels is appropriate. When the timer goes off, this final player must stop building.

If one minute seems too long and you don't want to change the timer, you can simply wait until two players are left and then start the timer for 1 minute.

Players are not required to place all of their blocks. Any unused blocks can be left on the quarry card or returned to the draw pile. Players may choose to keep unused blocks in their quarry in case they don't want other players to be able to draw them during the next round.
Once they are finished building, no players are allowed to touch the blocks in the draw pile! I have found that experienced players who have finished their turn will dig around in the draw pile to try and set up what blocks they will draw for the next round, giving them a much greater advantage over slower players.

To stop this, you might heap up the remaining blocks in the draw pile and cover them with a cloth until it is time to draw blocks for the next round.


5) Starting the Next Round

After the round is over, the next round will start exactly like step 1 in the rules above. Play will repeat in this manner until the end of the game.


6) The Final Round

If anyone reaches or passes the 60 point mark on their score card, the following round will be the final round of the game.

Depending on the number of players compared to the amount of blocks available, players may run out of blocks before the 60 point mark is reached. This is unusual but it can happen.

If there are not enough blocks to go around, the king should direct the group to draw one block at a time until the remaining blocks cannot be divided evenly among players. This may result in having fewer than seven blocks in the quarry for the final round.

After the final round is over, players are not allowed to put their unused blocks back into the draw pile! Players must leave any unused blocks on their quarry card because unused bases will count against them at the end of the game.


7) Figuring Your Final Score

After the final round is over, players will deduct points from their score in the following manner:

Each player will count up how many squares of untopped bases that are exposed on their city and subtract 2 points from their score for each square.

On the example to the right, this base has four untopped squares. Each single square will take two points from the score. This base will subtract a total of -8 points at the end of the game.

All open bases will count against the player and reduce their final score by -2 points per open square.

This counts for bases on the map but it also counts for bases setting on a playerís quarry!

Left in the quarry, all bases will have their total value of exposed squares subtracted from the final score. Players may decrease this damage by trying to stack any unused bases onto their map as long as the placement is legal. Stacking up bases will hide many of these open squares.

Any unused tops in the quarry do not count against the player.

If the map gives you bonus points for completely covering areas, don't forget to add them to your score as well!

The player with the highest remaining score wins.


Map Challenges
You can print out copies of the game maps, quarry cards and score cards
here.

The Islands

This is a good beginner map with lots of area to spread out on. It also has many places for bridges.

The maximum score multiplier is x2. This means you can build higher than 2 stories but the most points you can gain will be x2 the amount of points each top is worth.

Old Town

This map is slightly more difficult because of the smaller building areas but it has many places for bridges. The maximum score multiplier is x2.

The challenge for this map is that you get +5 bonus points at the end of the game for every city block you completely fill with roofs, with or without bases under them.

River City

This is a good beginner map with lots of area to spread out multiple directions but fewer placed for bridges. The maximum score multiplier is x2.

The challenge of this map is that you get a +15 point bonus at the end of the game if you fill both sides of the river edge with roofs, with or without bases under them.

Grand Canal

The maximum score multiplier is x2. The challenge of this map is that new buildings must be placed adjacent to existing ones. At the end of each round there can be no self-standing buildings that are not touching something that was previously built.

Buildings touching diagonaly do not count. Bridges are allowed as long as you can complete the bridge by the end of the round and it connects to the rest of the structure.

Lava Land

This is the most difficult map and is mainly for advanced players. The maximum score multiplier is x3 so you can build a little taller than normal.

The challenge of this map is to try and fit buildings on the very small odd shaped islands.


Strategic Notes
  • Try to adapt your building plan to include the odd blocks handed to you. You want to use every block in your quarry if possible. Any block you cannot place will be points that you could have had.

  • Select and use larger block groups whenever you can. Since you only get seven blocks every round, you want those blocks to contain the greatest number of squares possible.

  • Use as many bridges as you can. They are a higher point value compared to other blocks. Players with a greater proportion of bridges will usually win.

  • Try to cover all bases even when the taller stacks do not give you more than a x2 bonus such as a 3 story building. The -2 point deductions at the end of the game can be devastating.

Optional Game Modes
Timed head-to-head.
For this game mode, agree on any map and set the timer for 10 minutes. All players will grab blocks from the draw pile and build onto their maps as fast as they can. Players are only allowed to hold one block in each hand. If they cannot place a block then they must return it to the draw pile. Quarries are not used and players are not allowed to hoard blocks.

All blocks placed directly on the map cannot be moved. Once the timer goes off, all players must stop. Players then add up their scores deducting -2 for any open bases. Blocks placed illegally (upside down bases or unsupported blocks) must be removed before figuring the final score.

Solitaire.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can score. The quarry is not used.


House Rule Options
Timer changes.
The 1 minute time limit for drawing blocks can be adjusted. For a more chaotic game, set the timer for 30 seconds instead. A shorter time period makes strategic planning impossible and increases the tension in the game. It also levels the playing field between experienced and novice players.

Increasing the time limit to 2 minutes increases the strategic level of the game. Players have more time to find specific blocks in the draw pile and decide a plan for how they will assemble the pieces for that turn.

Unused blocks after the final round.
If your players do not like the rule of having unused blocks counted against them at the end of the game, simply discard the rule. In my experience, players usually have fun handing out unused base blocks on the last round to try and lower a competitors score. However, some players feel cheated by getting their score reduced by something they could not control.

Chaos rules.
For this version, all players will draw seven blocks but will not have any idea how many blocks will be passed to other players. After blocks are drawn, the king will roll a die. This number will be the number of blocks passed to other players around the table. The king may roll the die a second time to determine which direction those blocks will be passed.

Professionalís choice.
For this version, no blocks are passed. Every player will keep all the blocks they have chosen from the draw pile. This method should only be used for players of the same experience level. With no random element to the game, the player with the highest skill level will always win.

Pass the bowl.
Give every player a cereal bowl. All players will select seven blocks to put into their bowl. They will pass the bowl to the left and then choose one block from the new bowl they were passed to put onto their quarry card. The bowl is passed again and a second block is chosen. Continue until all blocks are drawn. For this version, every player must have seven blocks in the bowl before passing begins. The king can draw the remaining blocks if needed.

Game Photos
A Special Thanks To:
Our home gaming group shown in the photos above which includes Buddy Eichler, Ron Brockway, Tyler Ditzfeld, Damien Lemens, Jason knox, Craig Poe and William Dye.

http://www.hirstarts.com. All photos, articles and plans are copyrighted by Bruce Hirst and may not be used without permission.
"Castlemolds(R)" is a trademark of Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture Inc.
For more information contact
bruce@hirstarts.com.