World War 5

Note: A more recent version of these rules is available at the index page for this game. We are retaining this page for historical purposes , along with this pdf of these rules formatted as they appeared in Pyramid Primer #1 in 2012.
World War 5
Interested in a world conquest board game but unable to spend all afternoon playing it? In World War 5, your goal is to fully occupy an enemy continent while never losing control of your own.

How to Play World War 5

Designed by Andy Looney

Number of Players: 2-4

Equipment: 3 Rainbow (or Xeno) Stashes, 6 regular dice, special gameboard (page 2 of PDF)

Goal: Conquer another continent while maintaining a base in your own. You are eliminated from the game if there are zero pieces of your color on your continent.

Setup: Each player chooses a home continent and is issued nine pyramids (three of each size) of the color most similar to the colors of their continent.

Place three pyramids (one of each size) onto the three territories of your continent. Only one piece may ever occupy a territory.

The starting pieces are placed in turn order, with all players taking turns placing their smalls, then adding their mediums, and finally their large pyramids.

Who Starts: The highest roller goes first.

Turn Options: Perform one of these actions each turn:

  • GROW: Increase the size of one of your pyramids by replacing it with the next larger size, if one is available. You can only do this to a piece on your own continent.
  • BUILD: Place a small piece of your color (if available) into an empty territory within your own continent.
  • MOVE: Transfer one of your units to an empty territory that it is connected to.
  • INVADE: Attempt to enter a connected enemy-held territory by using combat.

Combat Rules: Attacks are resolved as follows:

  • Begin by placing the piece you are attacking with on its side, pointing at the territory you seek to move into.

  • Battles are resolved with the two players rolling dice. The number of dice you roll is the same as the number of pips on your piece.

  • If the attacker fails to get a better total dice roll than the defender, the battle ends and no pieces are moved. Ties go to the defender.

  • If the attacker wins, the loser must flee into an empty, adjoining territory of their choice, while the winner's piece is moved into the disputed zone.If (and only if ) there is no available territory for the loser to retreat to, then their piece is reduced in size by one.
  • If a piece must shrink but there's no piece available of the size needed, the piece shrinks to the next smallest size. Smalls are destroyed, allowing the attacker to move in.
  • If a player is eliminated, all pieces of that color are immediately removed from the board.
  • After resolving combat, stand your piece up.

Game Over: You win if all three territories in another colored continent are occupied by pieces of your color -- provided you also have at least one piece of your color in your home continent.

Q: Suppose a player who controls two sectors of a foreign continent mounts a successful attack on the third, allowing them to move in and win. However, the loser also controls two sectors of a different foreign continent, and retreats to the empty sector to claim victory. Who wins? Is it a tie?
A: If two players meet the victory condition at the same time, then the player whose move caused the win is the winner.

Q: Why can't 5 or 6 people play?
A: It’s not recommended because someone must be eliminated from the game before anyone can win, which makes for a much longer game.