HOW TO PLAY
My President, we live in a world of two superpowers: the Caps and the Hammers. These fierce rivals are prepared to change the face of this world in their quest for prestige, influence, and domination.
Welcome to Caps & Hammers. As the President of our Homeland, you must outsmart our enemy, engage in diplomacy, and achieve world domination, all while maintaining the fleeting appearance of peace.
At the beginning of the game, one player is designated as the Caps faction, and the other is designated as the Hammers faction. These two forces battle with one another throughout the game to draw nations under their influence.
LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE
Both factions are balanced, and it is typical for players to choose their faction according to personal preference.
The cards in Caps & Hammers represent different actions and objectives in the game. There are three card types: country cards, science labs, and action cards.
This card represents a world nation. If you win more of these than your opponent, you will win the game.
The number 3 in the corner means that the country of Germany is worth three points. The in the corner means that this country prefers the Caps faction by default.
This is a science lab, and it represents your progress in the international Space Race. Winning science labs will grant you many benefits throughout the game.
The Roman numeral IV in the corner means that this science lab has rank four. This rank determines how much you will benefit from this science lab.
This is the front and back of an action card. Action cards help you win countries and science labs. During the game, you will play action cards face down, then activate them for special effects.
The number 2 in the corner represents the power of the Admiral card. The Active ability is activated by flipping the Admiral face up. The Passive ability is always in effect, regardless of whether the Admiral is face down or face up.
There is also a card on the playing field called the DEFCON meter. By default, it starts at DEFCON 5, which represents relative world stability. It can fall as low as DEFCON 1, which represents the grave danger of nuclear war. The DEFCON level will change throughout the game, leading to harsh penalties for both players depending on how the two factions chose to act.
We suggest putting a coin on the DEFCON meter to indicate the current level (DEFCON 5 by default):
The Playing Field
This is an example of what round one of Caps & Hammers might look like. There are seven rounds in a complete game of Caps & Hammers.
Three countries, selected at random every round, are on the field. The science labs are always drawn from rank I to rank V, in that order. Because this is round one, the Missiles I science lab is on the field.
Notice that there are two symbols and only one symbol among the three countries on the field. This means that most of the countries prefer the Hammers faction by default, so the Hammers player gets to make the first move.
Because this is the first round, each player needs to draw seven cards from the shuffled action card deck. Keep the cards in your hand hidden from your opponent.
During a player's turn, that player must place exactly one action card on a location on the playing field. Countries and science labs both count as locations. For example, you might be Hammers, and you might be interested in taking over Germany, so you place one of your action cards on that location.
Meanwhile, your opponent, the Caps, might be interested in pursuing the Space Race, so your opponent places an action card on the Missiles I science lab.
At the end of the round, there will be a total of ten action cards on the playing field. An example of a playing field configuration could be:
During this round, the two players fought hard over Germany, while the science lab was relatively uncontested. Now that the round has finished, we flip all the hidden cards face up and evaluate which player won which location.
For the sake of simplicity, let's say that both players only played Nuclear Armaments face down during the round. Flipping them face up, we get:
Now, we determine who won each location by adding up the power on each side of the playing field:
1. The Caps player spent three power on the science lab, while the Hammers player did not play any cards there, so the Caps player wins the science lab.
2. Both players spent three power on Iraq, so it is a tie. In the event of a tie, the country favors the faction that is written on the card itself. Because Iraq has a symbol, it goes to the Hammers player.
3. Similarly, Venezuela goes to the Hammers player.
4. The Caps player spent six power on Germany, while the Hammers player spend nine power. The Hammers player wins Germany. However, both players, by aggressively fighting over a single location, have sparked an international crisis.
An international crisis occurs when both players spend thirteen or more power collectively on a single location. In the last round, both players spent a total of fifteen power fighting over Germany. This causes tensions to ramp up during the ongoing Cold War, and DEFCON goes down from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 4.
The penalty for lowering the DEFCON level is indicated by the symbol. The transition from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 4 has 1x, which means that each players must draw one Anti-War protest as a penalty.
Notice that the penalty for going from DEFCON 2 to DEFCON 1 is 5x. This means that overly aggressive players receive five Anti-War protests as a severe penalty.
After DEFCON 1 is reached, the level is immediately reset to DEFCON 5. This is the only way to reset the DEFCON level in Caps & Hammers, so tread carefully in your worldly ambitions!
Winning countries causes you to gain points, while receiving Anti-War protests causes you to lose points. There are four different types of Anti-War protest:
When you receive an Anti-War protest, you draw it at random from the pile of Anti-War protests. For example, if you are forced to take five protests as a penalty, you could lose as many as fifteen points if you get only red protests!
The only way to resolve protests is to pursue the noble cause of science, which increases your national pride and diverts attention away from your international transgressions. At the end of every round, you may remove one protest for every science lab you own.
For example, if you had a science lab from a previous round, and then won another science lab this round, you could remove two protests at the end of the round and return them to the protest pile. This does not cause the science lab to expire, so you can keep doing it every round!
Ending a Round
As the round ends, you must determine who won each of the four location cards, handle the international crises, and resolve Anti-War protests. After you do this, you discard the five cards you played this round and draw five new cards.
Because you started with an initial hand of seven cards, you will carry over your two remaining cards into the next round. Make sure to use these two carry-over cards to your strategic advantage!
Once seven rounds have passed and there are no more country cards on the playing field, you determine the winner of the game by adding up the country points and subtracting the protest points. Note that science labs, despite being very useful, do not contribute to your final victory points!
If you have won three cards from the same region of the world, then this gives you a +3 region completion bonus. For example, if you win Japan, Korea, and China, then this completes the East Asia region and awards you with a total of nine points:
It is easy to tell which countries belong to the same region, since this is indicated by the card color as well as the text on the card. Try to win as many regions as possible in order to expand your victory point pool!
Activating Card Effects
In the previous example round, both players only played Nuclear Armaments face down. Now, we will go into further detail on activating card effects.
During your turn, you may activate abilities on hidden cards you own. You may not activate card abilities during your opponent's turn. Activating a card means that you flip it from face down to face up. For example, suppose that you flip one of your hidden Admiral cards.
The Admiral's active ability allows you to transport it to an adjacent location. This is useful, because you can play the Admiral face down on a location, then later change your mind by moving it to a different, adjacent location.
You can always look at your own hidden cards, so don't worry about forgetting the identity of the cards you placed. There is no restriction on the number of cards you can activate during your own turn. You can activate as few as zero cards, or you can activate all your cards on your last turn!
Passive abilities are always in effect, regardless of whether the card is face down or face up. For example, the Admiral's passive ability makes it worth four power as long as it your only card on a location. This Admiral is worth four power, because it is your only card on Malaysia:
In contrast, this Admiral is worth only two power, because you also have a Nuclear Armament on Malaysia:
Always remember to read the text of the cards in your hand!
DEFCON Active Abilities
DEFCON active abilities are basically the same as active abilities, except they lower DEFCON by 1 every time you activate them. If you lower DEFCON this way, only you suffer the penalties that result from it. Your opponent, for example, does not take protests from DEFCON abilities that you activate.
The most prominent DEFCON active you will encounter is in Nuclear Armament:
Nuclear Armament is worth three points by default, but it is worth a whopping six points if you take the pains to activate it. Be careful, because if you cause DEFCON to go from 2 to 1, you will take 5x Anti-War protests from a single Nuclear Armament!
If you want to activate a DEFCON ability without penalty, you can create a DEFCON justification the turn before. The only way to do this is by activating a Diplomat:
By activating a Diplomat, you essentially spend a turn justifying your actions, which gives you space to active a DEFCON ability the next turn.
Activating a Diplomat and a Nuclear Armament the same turn does not give you a justification; you must have the Diplomat face up and activated for at least one turn before the justification takes effect.
The Diplomat also has a useful passive ability that makes it invisible to international crises. For example, suppose that you and your opponent are fighting over Brazil, and the playing field has two activated Nuclear Armaments:
Because a Nuclear Armament is worth six points when fully activated, the country of Brazil has 6 + 6 + 1 = 13 points on it. Normally, this would lead to an international crisis. However, the Diplomat's passive ability makes it invisible when evaluating crises, so we instead add 6 + 6 + 0 = 12, which is less than the crisis threshold of 13.
Therefore, the Hammers player wins Brazil, because 6 + 1 = 7 > 6, but no international crisis is triggered.
You have now learned enough to fully play Caps & Hammers!
Appendix: Action Cards
In order to activate the Policeman, you must have another Policeman from a previous turn on the playing field already. Then, you can activate both of them simultaneously and move one of your opponent's hidden cards from the location of one Policeman to the other.
For example, suppose that the board looks like this, and you are the Hammers player:
If your two hidden cards are both Policemen, then you can activate them at the same time to transport your opponent's hidden card to the opposite Policeman's location:
Note that you cannot transport your opponent's card if it is face up. If your opponent has multiple hidden cards on the same location, you can choose to move any one of those cards. Use the Policeman to win countries from your opponent by surprise!
The Spy is an extremely useful and versatile card, because you can use it to completely disrupt your opponent's plans. Once a Spy has revealed a hidden card, that card stays face up and revealed for the rest of the round. Your opponent cannot activate effects of revealed cards.
For the sake of clarity, we suggest flipping your cards sideways to show they were successfully activated, and keep them vertical to show that a Spy revealed it.
For example, the Nuclear Armament on the left is worth three points, because a Spy revealed it before it could be activated. The Nuclear Armament on the right is worth six points because it was fully activated, and it is flipped to the side to indicate this.
The Guerrilla is an extremely valuable card to turn the tides of the game in your favor. It allows you to take a country that your opponent has already won and pair it with a country on the playing field. For example, if your opponent owns France, and the playing field looks as follows:
You can activate a hidden Guerrilla and pair France with Germany:
Now, whoever wins Germany also wins France. Note that you may only do this on your first turn in a round, and that only two countries may be paired with each other. Your opponent, for example, cannot play his own Guerrilla in order to have three countries on Germany's location.
The Guerrilla also have a passive ability which causes a country to default to your faction, so long as your opponent does not have his or her own Guerrilla on the country. For example, suppose that you are Caps and fighting over Egypt:
Egypt has a , so it sides with the Hammers player by default. However, if you are Caps and play a Guerrilla on Egypt, then the game behaves as if Egypt has on it. You can use this to turn ties in your favor, even if your Guerrilla is face down and hidden!
The Scientist pairs with one of your science labs to become an extremely powerful card. For example, suppose that you own the highly-coveted Moon Landing science lab:
If you have a Scientist hidden and face down, you can activate that Scientist and pair it with the Moon Landing card:
Because the Moon Landing has rank V = 5, this makes your Scientist worth 2 + 5 = 7 points, which is stronger than a Nuclear Armament! Note that the science lab returns to your ownership after the round ends, so you can keep doing this as long as you have Scientist cards.
The Military Occupation allows you to freeze all movement going into a particular country. This effect is a restiction on both players, even if you own that Military Occupation, so use it carefully. Because this card's active ability is a DEFCON active, you must lower DEFCON by 1 when you activate it, or use a Diplomat to justify it beforehand.
Remember that you can only use Military Occupations on countries, not science labs, and you can only use one Military Occupation per round.
The Defector's passive ability is its most valuable asset: it becomes more powerful as your opponent plays more cards on the same location. For example, if your opponent has three cards on the same location as the Defector, then the Defector is worth 1 + 3 = 4 points.
The Defector's active ability sets the power of your Diplomats to two as long as those Diplomats are on the same location as the Defector. This effect does not stack, so activating multiple Defectors is redundant.
You are now a Caps & Hammers expert!
We wish you the best of luck in your world-conquering ambitions, whether that be for the rights of the proletariat or for the sake of international liberty!