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How To Play Glow

Glow HTP

As I am sure you can tell, Glow is a very visually stylistic game. This aspect really enhances the game playing experience. You will take on the role of an adventurer who will be collecting shards of light over 8 days (rounds) in order to bring light back to the world.

But how do you actually play this grayscale dice chucking conundrum?

Glow: Set Up

The first thing you will need to do during set up is to choose what side of the board you want to play on. Each offers different approaches to the last phase of each round. The ‘Province of Shadows’ will have you traversing the world on foot and setting up camps along the way to search for shards of light, walking down potentially dangerous paths. The ‘Archipelago of Darkness’ will have you sending out a fleet of boats to explore the islands of the seas in search of shards of light. More on this later.

Place the meeting track underneath the board (it fits perfectly into place). Shuffle the A and B companion decks separately and remove 3 companions face down from each. Place the A deck on top of the B deck. Draw a companion face up to be placed underneath each of the 5 symbols on the meeting track (air, water, fire, nature, and minerals). The space under the skull symbol is the cemetery. This is where the unchosen Pokémon companions go, for some reason. Sad times.

Place the small circular spell tokens in a stack face down. Separate the small dice from the larger dice. Place a large red, orange, blue, light blue, and green dice to one side along with the small black die. This is the reserve pool. The rest of the larger dice are paired with their respective coloured player adventurers. 2 for each, aside from the red adventurer who will have 3 red dice. Place a supply of firefly, reroll and footprint tokens.

More Set Up

Every player will choose an adventurer, which will also determine their colour. They will take the dice that were previously paired with that adventurer (I recommend bagging each with their dice for streamlining purposes) and the score tracker of their colour. The rest of the adventurers and their dice can be put away.

If the ‘Province of Shadows’ board was chosen then each player will also get the band token (meeple) and a camp token of their colour. Both of which will be placed in the white empty space on the bottom left of the board. The boats will not be getting used.

If the ‘Archipelago of Darkness’ board was chosen then each player will choose a boat colour and place 4 boats in the centre space of the board. The 5th boat is kept in front of you as a reminder of your colour. The band and camp tokens will not be used. I recommend bagging them along with their respective adventurer and associated dice.

Choose your starting player by whatever means you prefer. Drawing straws, playing marbles, rock paper scissors, who can spoon feed themselves the most Nutella straight from the jar. Whatever suites your needs. That player will take the first player marker and the 9 small dice (not the black die). The player to the first player’s right-hand side will get 2 reroll tokens. The handful of dice is rolled and placed on the meeting track matching whatever symbol is the result of the die. If the purple die has the footprint result, it is re rolled until an element symbol is rolled. If any location on the meeting track does not gain any dice, then a footprint token is placed there instead.

And that is it for set up. This was a pretty large wall of text for what is essentially a 30 second set up. So don’t panic at the length of this.

Morning Phase – Companion Recruiting

Starting with the first player, each player in turn (clockwise) will choose a companion to take. They will also gain any dice/footprint tokens above the companion in the same location. Every player will get the chance to recruit one companion per turn. Once every player has taken a companion, the remaining companion(s) are moved into the cemetery. Any dice/footprint tokens in those spaces are left there for the next turn.

In a two-player game, the first player will take a companion, and then move another one into the cemetery before the second player takes their choice. Any dice/footprint tokens again will remain in place for the next turn.

Late Morning Phase – Dice Rolling

Now that everyone has chosen their companion in Glow, it is time for everyone to roll all their dice. Everyone does this simultaneously. All dice are rolled at once. This is the larger dice you start the game with, the smaller dice you just collected with your companion, and the curse die if you are in possession of it. The curse die will be explained in detail further on. This is the ONLY phase in which you can roll or reroll dice.

You will be mainly hoping to achieve die results that match those shown on your adventurer and companions. Or avoiding them if they will trigger a companion death that is unwanted. If you did not get the result that you were hoping for, you can choose to spend your reroll tokens. Each reroll token you chose to use will allow you to reroll either one or two dice.

You can use as many reroll tokens as you have available. These can be used from 3 separate locations: the actual physical reroll tokens you have (discarded after use); any reroll symbols printed on the top of certain companions (can be used once per turn); and the option to move back on the score tracker to the previous printed reroll symbol (can move back as many times as you wish). You also have the option to spend 3 rerolls (from any location) to turn a die result to any face you want.

Important note: Once you have confirmed your dice results you can not change them after this phase.

Noon Phase – Resolving Dice Results

This is when all the Glow fun happens.

Players will take their dice results and apply them to their adventurer and each of their companions. Players will do this simultaneously. Every result that would trigger an adventurer/companion does trigger them, whether you want it to or not. An ability can be triggered more than once, if you have multiple of the dice results needed. There are also abilities that will trigger only if you do not roll a certain result, but these will only trigger the once. If a result would trigger the death of the companion, that ability also only triggers once. You can resolve the abilities in any order you want.

For example: you have the Glow adventurer and companions featured in the picture and rolled the dice results as shown. In this example you have rolled 2 minerals, a nature, a fire, and an air. Taking this result and applying it to each of the cards your results would be as followed:

  • Moloc’h would trigger twice based on the 2 mineral results gaining you the reward of a footprint token twice.
  • Sketal would trigger based on the 2 mineral results and be sent to the cemetery and you would gain 2 points immediately. Due to Sketal granting you a permanent green die, you would also immediately return the large green die to the reserve (more on that later). In this case, it would be advised to trigger Sketal last.
  • Oshra would NOT trigger due to the nature result.
  • Likyar would trigger based on the nature and fire result and grant you the reward of a reroll token and you would score a point immediately.

The dice results will also be needed for the next phase, so do not discard them yet. Also try not to knock them or drop them so that the results can still be read.

The multicoloured dial is found in pairs and triples symbolises any dice result. If there is a pair then the ability is triggered on 2 of the same dice results, and if it is a triple then you need 3 of the same. The special faces on the yellow and purple dice will trigger these as well as elemental results.

Afternoon Phase – Travelling

Each player now moves their band or one of their boats further on the journey board. Each board works slightly differently so I will break each down separately.

Glow has general rules that apply to both boards:

  • Different players are allowed to share the same space.
  • If you land on a space (or move past one) that contains a firefly, double firefly, footprint, double footprint or reroll symbol then you will immediately gain that token.
  • If you land on a space (or move past one) that contains a negative shard of light symbol, you will immediately lose the represented number of points.
  • If you land on a space (or move past one) that contains a skull symbol then you will need to do one of two things:

- Send one of your companions to the cemetery. Any death abilities on them are NOT triggered.

- Cancel and discard a spell if you have one (more on them later).

  • If you are about to move into a space that contains a negative footprint symbol then you MUST discard the represented number of footprints in order to be able to move into that space. If you do not have the available footprints, then you must end your movement before entering that space.

The Province of Shadows board will have you moving your band token along winding paths. Each space that you land on will need a specific die result to be spent in order to progress onto them. After spending the die, it is placed to one side to denote its use. There are locations that will only allow you to move into them if you have no matching symbols. This also includes the results of the dice you have already used and placed to one side. Reaching a village will allow you to place your camp token in it, but it will also end your movement. You can move your camp token into any new village you move into. You earn shards of light at the end of the game dependant on where your camp is located.

The Archipelago of Darkness board will have you sending boats off to distant islands. Each turn while playing Glow, a player can only move one boat to an adjacent island. Players can share a location, but your boat can’t share a space with one of your other boats. The circular icons between each island represents how many different element symbols you need to move to the next island. For example, 1/2 will mean you can only move through if all your dice results show only 1 or 2 different elements. Having more than 2 different results will bar your entry. Footprint tokens are used as a wildcard to substitute for any other different element. Shard of light symbol on the yellow dice and the footprint symbols on the purple dice do not count. Results only count if they are an elemental symbol.

The first player marker is passed to the next player. That player collects up all the small dice that were used this round (NOT the ones still on the meeting track) and rerolls them. They then place the dice on the meeting track depending on the results rolled, adding a reroll token to any places that did not receive a die. A new companion is revealed for each location, making sure any previous ones have been moved to the cemetery. The new round is now set up and ready to go.

Glow: Scoring

After the eight rounds of Glow have been played out it is time for scoring to commence. You will know the 8 rounds are over, as the companion deck will be empty. There are 4 different scoring categories:

  1. The printed number of shards of light on the top right hand side corner of the adventurer and companions.
  2. The printed number of shards of light from the camp location from The Province of Shadows. Or the combined total of printed shards of light from all boat locations on The archipelago of Darkness.
  3. Fireflies will get you an extra 10 shards of light if you have equal (or more) fireflies to companions.
  4. Footprint tokens will get you an extra point per token you have.

Whoever is furthest ahead on the score track wins. If there are any ties, then the reroll tokens will be used to break ties.

And that is all there is to know about Glow. You should now be able to play the game without issue.

Companion Clarifications

Some companions are a little more complicated, and so need a little extra expanding upon.

Sketals – These deathly looking birds in Glow come with an extra boon. Each one grants a specific extra die that is permanent for use and is not returned like the smaller ones at the end of turns. There is one Sketal that is multi-coloured and can be used to take any available large dice from the reserve pool (if any). The downside to the Sketals is that if their ability is triggered, it will kill them. The die it gave you will then be discarded back to the reserve pool.

Xar’gok – This guy is the one that will have you using the stack of spell tokens you have probably been wondering about. When its effect is triggered, it will be sent to the cemetery and each other player will take a spell from the stack (which should be face down). They place the spell face down in front of them and reveal it at the start of the turn. A spell works the same as any other card, its effect is triggered during the noon phase.

The spell that has 2 clouds on the left and a skull on the right works a little differently. It must always be placed on top of the companion on the far right. If you recruit a new companion, then it moves on top of them. This does not prohibit that companion, but when the spell is triggered, it will kill that companion.

Cromaug – When this guy is triggered, he will be sent to the cemetery. When that happens, you will be able to take a different companion from the cemetery and add it to the end of your companion line. If you take a Sketal, you will also get the die that would normally come with it.

Kaar – This little guy is the one that brings the cursed black die into play. Whoever takes Kaar will immediately roll the black die and add it to the meeting track depending on the result, just like the standard small dice. If it would go into an empty space or lands on -2 face, it is rolled again until it can be placed. This is in order to make the decision of companion selection harder for others. The black die is taken along with the others in that space.

If you have the black die, it is rolled with the rest of the dice you have during the noon phase. Group the result with all the other results of the same symbol. They are all cancelled out for the round and can not be used to trigger abilities or for movement on the journey board. This does however mean that you can trigger abilities and movement that requires you to roll none of a particular result, if you rolled that on the black. A -2 result will deduct 2 points from you immediately.

The black die is collected up along with the rest of the small dice at the end of the round and distributed with them at the start of the next. It remains in play even if Kaar is sent to the cemetery.

Glow: Wrap Up

And that is everything you need to know about playing Glow. This might seem like a lengthy list of instructions, but it is truly an easy game to learn and play. Smashing out a game of Glow can be done in 30 mins or less.

I hope you enjoy playing the game as much as myself!