I love games that fit in my pocket. Small boxes of fun that I can take out and about. And Squire for Hire is exactly that; a pick it up, pocket it, and play anywhere type game!
A fellow blogger has already given their thoughts on their experiences, but how do you play the super inventory management game, Squire for Hire? Well, I am here to give you a brief run-down so that you (and a fellow gamer if you’re in the mood to share!) can hit the table running if you decide to dive in!
As with almost all micro games, set up is a breeze!
Unwrap the cards and separate the Squire cards from the 18 double sided Story/Loot cards. There are 4 unique Squires in the base set, and each one has a special ability. Usually this relates to how “junk” is valued at the end of the game, and they award bonus points for being able to pair specific items when placing them in your bag.
For example, GUST focuses on weapons. He boosts points for placing swords and bows adjacently, and increases the size of your weapon Loot (which helps when deciding if you can complete a Story without “using” an item – see more below). GUST also turns skulls (which would normally be junk) into point scoring items at end game.
Once both players have been given a random Squire, deal 2 Loot cards to each, placing the remaining cards Story side up in a deck in the centre. Choose one from the 2 dealt – that is the beginning of your own bag – then shuffle the discarded ones back into the deck. Flip over the top two cards of the Story deck to show the Loot side and place one either side of the Story deck.
Each round, players will take it in turns to look at the Story on the top of the deck. On your turn, you can decide if you want to complete the Quest/Encounter/Dungeon by either (a) having the required amount and type of Loot in your bag already, or (b) by covering up the specific item shown on the Story card with an item shown on one of the two cards available (this is called “use an item”).
You can cover up more than just the specific item required. And this new card must be placed so that one item on your original card is completely covered by an item on your new card. The item you cover up can’t be “junk” like skulls, apple cores, glasses etc (although you can cover these up too). If you get in a muddle between Loot and Junk, the rules list them out. Junk is basically anything in a shaded box.
As each card is divided into squares, it’s easiest to count the number of squares each item takes up and then make sure your new item goes over the required amount of squares taken up by the item to be covered.
Note that if you already have the required amount of loot to complete that Story card in your bag, you can pick either one of the two cards and place it anywhere. But you must still completely cover at least one complete item or junk in your bag with an item shown on the new card.
Handy Hint: don’t forget to check your Squire card as they boost the “value” of specific items as well as tell you the bonus points you’ll achieve if you can place adjacent pairs of specific items together (or even collect certain junk items)!
If you can’t complete the Story (or you don’t want to), you must pass, and that Story card is flipped over to the Loot side. Then you choose to which of the two piles it will be added (covering up the Loot card underneath if any). Note that if you don’t or can’t complete a Dungeon Story, your opponent gets a chance to complete it. But if neither player can or wants to, it gets flipped in the usual way and added to whichever pile you decide.
When the Story deck runs out, take back the two piles and shuffle them to form a new deck and continue to play. When only 3 cards remain, flip one as the final story and place the other two either side. If only one card is left and it’s your turn, you can take it for free and just add it to your bag.
Then it’s scoring time! Each visible item (weapon, armour, magic, valuable or potion) in your bag scores one point and each junk item is a minus point. Double points are awarded for adjacent pairs (no diagonals allowed), and check your Squire for point scoring combos as they enhance and modify the value of specific items based on their special ability!
The solo rules for Squire for Hire are exactly the same – each turn you decide if you are going to complete the Story and add items to your bag, covering up items and junk already lurking in there! The only difference is that the winning condition for the solo game is that you must achieve a minimum score of 25 points in order to be hired as a Squire!
I hope this helps your first go at Squire for Hire!