Thrum - The Game of Arcane Power


Thrum is a game which depicts the clashes of mighty wizards and sorcerers across a land of their own creation. Each player steps into the role of a being of supreme arcane might, locked in a deadly, strategic, and fun battle for dominance. The game is designed to be an isomorphic, asymmetrical death match, in which no two games will ever be the same.


In a game of Thrum you will encounter many words or phrases which may not be familiar to you - some of these make sense only in the context of a game of Thrum, others we have just made up entirely! In this section we will break down these linguistic oddities and put them in a context which helps you play and understand the game.

  • Thrum
  • Class Totem
  • Environment Tile
  • Terrain Pile
  • Starting Board
  • Starting Shape
  • MV / Move Value

How to play

At first look,Thrum may appear confusing and chaotic but at its heart, the game rests on a few simple mechanics which are easy to learn. Bit harder to master. Below you will find the general rules for how to play a game of Thrum, with more in depth rules for the game board and class totems in their individual sections.

Structure of the Game

A game of Thrum, taken simply, is a game of players moving their chosen piece - their Class Totem - around an ever changing game board. Each turn a player will move their piece in a way that is currently open to them, and then perform an action which changes the board, and how it is interacted with, for the other players. The object of the game is to be the last player standing!

Losing the game is simple! To lose the game all a Player has to do is find themselves in a position wherein they are either forced to move their Piece off the board, or find themselves in a position where can no longer perform a legal move. More on this later.

To win the game, all you have to do is avoid losing the game until everyone but you has already lost. Easy.

How to Start

  • 0) Get excited

This is not really a required step, however, the designers of Thrum found it greatly enhanced the play experience. Players may choose to forgo this step, but Players who so chose probably aren't all that fun to play with anyhow.

  • 1) Set up the Starting Board

Setting up the game board consists of selecting a number of Environment Tiles from the Terrain Pile and placing them in the Starting Shape. The number of tiles placed on the Start Board depends on the number of players. For 2 players, 7 tiles are the lowest number possible, however we recommend a higher number for most games, with most games using the standard 19 tile configuration. For each player, add an additional 3 tiles to the Starting Board, these are the players Domain Tiles.

Selecting the Environment Tiles from the Terrain Pile should be done in a semi-random fashion. This can be done by shuffling the Terrain Pile with the side showing the Environment face-down.

Once you have selected the Environment Tiles which will make up your Starting Board you will then assemble them into their Starting Shape. The default Starting Shape is detailed in "The Board" section below, however, other Starting Shape configurations are discussed in the "Advanced Play options section as well. These Advanced Play Options are not recommended for those just learning the game, and indeed, may not be as fun as the default. They are there for Players used to the normal game mode, and wish to try it out in a more competitive fashion.

  • 2) Select your Class Totem

Your Class Totem represents you and how you wish to play the game! Each Class Totem is designed to not only denote a Players position on the board but to allow you to interact with the game in a way unique to that Class Totem. The options open to players and their different Strengths and Weaknesses are laid out in the "Class Totems" Section below. Each player should read their options carefully before selecting their Totem, and any number of players may select the same Totem during a game.

Each Totem represents a classical magical archetype as found in mythology or fiction, with unique abilities styled to fit their theme. With this in mind, each Totem is also designed to bring with a particular style of play. However, regardless of their unique features, all Totems share a few common traits which are necessary for the functioning of the game. These features are also detailed under the "Class Totems" Section.

While its important to pick the Totem which best lends itself to your particular play style, it doesn't hurt to just pick whatever you think is coolest.

  • 3) Determine Turn Order

Pick your favorite method of randomized pick order! Our recommended method is it roll a pair of dice (d6 if you have them) off against each other, with turn order going from highest to lowest.

Once turn order is determined, its set like that for the rest of the game!

  • 4) Determine Starting Placement

Starting Placement is the position on the board from which your Totem is first placed on the board, always on one of your Domain Tiles, and is the position from which it makes its first move.

Starting Placement is chosen by players in reverse turn order, with the player last in the turn order being the first to place their Tiles and Totem.

Choices for Starting Placement meet the following criteria:
- Your Domain Tiles must be placed on the outer most edge on the Starting Board.
- Your Totem must be placed on one of your Domain Tiles
- All Domain Tiles must be touching each other on at least one edge
- Domain Tiles must be 2 or more tile-spaces separate from any other players already-chosen Starting Placement.

Turn Structure

Each players turn consists of two parts, their Move and their Action. Each player must carry out their turn in this sequence. That is, a player must complete their Move before they can select their Action. If, when attempting to make their Move a player finds that they have lost the game, they do not get their Action for that turn (or any other turn for that matter).

1) Move

At the beginning of each turn, a Player determines the MV or "Move Value" of the Environment Tile that their Class Totem is currently on.

Depending on their Totem, a Player may treat the MV of their current Environment Tile as different than the general value, in line with the rules of their chosen Class Totem.

2) Action

The Board

Class Totems

Common Abilities

Regardless of their Class, all Player Totems have common actions which are the backbone of game play. Common Abilties can be modified or overwritten by a Class ability, however, unless explicity stated in that class ability, all players retain the option of using a common ability instead of a class ability.

  • Drain Environment
  • Bolster Environment

The Wizard
  • Favored Terrain: City & Mountain
  • Special Ability:
  • Special Ability:

The Witch
  • Favored Terrain: Wilderness & Bog
  • Special Ability:
  • Special Ability:

The Druid
  • Favored Terrain: Wilderness & Fields
  • Special Ability:
  • Special Ability:

The Alchemist
  • Favored Terrain: Mountain & Bog
  • Special Ability:
  • Special Ability:

The Priest
  • Favored Terrain: City & Fields
  • Special Ability:
  • Special Ability:

Advanced Play options

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