Lara documents/Lara 009.001

(Redirected from Johvets)

Translated by Blade Lakem


This restoration actually came from several scraps I found in the documents, describing D'ni games of various sorts. The scraps were not in very good shape, so I am summarizing what I found here to describe how the game works. I did find a few small game tokens in the chest, made of stone. However, they didn’t seem to match this particular game.

This game is called 'johvets' and seems to be a game of strategy and negotiation. I've seen similar games on the surface. The 'board' for this game seems to be missing, though some of the notes I found indicate that there are variations which use customized boards. (in fact, the game seems to have many variations—'house rules' were common). The board is a map that shows a series of areas referred to as Ages. There are 8 on the map and each Age is divided into several regions of varying size and shape. Some of these regions are listed as 'link-in' points, which have a unique symbol on them. There are two—four in each Age, for a total of 23. There are three types of counters: units, link points and linking books. Units come in 5 different colors, denoting different players, each unit token has a unique symbol on it. Link points have a unique symbol on them. There is one linking book token for each link point token and for each link-in point on the map, and the linking book has the appropriate symbol for its corresponding link point.


There are two victory conditions for the game—either controlling three fourths of the link in points (permanent and link point markers) or controlling three fourths of the linking books.

A link-in point is considered controlled by the player to last have a unit occupying the region it is in. Even if they move out, they control it until someone else moves in. If no unit has occupied that region yet, it is considered uncontrolled.

A linking book is considered controlled when in the same region as a unit. A linking book in a region with no unit is considered uncontrolled.


To set up the game, you place the linking books for the permanent link points on the board in predetermined places (these are not in the same age at the link point for the book). Then each player places two units on two of the linking points in the same age. This means that each player starts off controlling two link points.


Gameplay goes by turns. Each turn is made up of the following phases:

  • Negotiation
  • Orders
  • Resolution
  • Supply


The negotiation phase is a time for players to talk amongst themselves and negotiate. There is no set time for this, though one document suggested that players agree to a limited time interval.


The orders phase consists of each player writing down orders on a piece of paper, then giving them to a judge (who may or may not be a player). Orders can be given to each unit. Valid orders are:

Stay – This mean the unit stays in its place. If no order is specified for a unit, this is considered the default.

Move – This means the unit attempts to move from its current location to a specified adjacent region

Move and Carry – This is a move, like above, but if a linking book is in the region where the unit starts, the unit takes it with them. If there are multiple books, the order has to specify which book to carry. Only one can be carried.

Link – Use a linking book. This takes the unit to the corresponding link point for that book. If the link point for that book is in the same age as the book, the order fails and is treated as a Stay order. The book used to link remains where it was.

Link and Carry – Like link, this links you to a link point, but you also take another linking book with you if it is in the same region as you and the linking book being used. If there are multiple books, the order has to specify which book to carry. Only one can be carried. The book used to link remains where it was.

Transfer – If there is a linking book in the region a unit is in, the unit can pass the linking book to another unit in an adjacent region that is under a stay order. Both units remain in place.

Reinforce – This is a special order. Then a unit reinforces, the player specifies another unit that it is reinforcing. So if a unit is moving from one region to another, you can specify that the second unit reinforces that move. The more units that reinforce the move, the more units that are required to counter it. A unit can reinforce a move or link into a region that it is already adjacent to. A unit can also reinforce a Stay order, if it is adjacent to the region the unit is 'Staying' in. Reinforcement does not move the assisting unit, and has no effect on the Carry aspect of an order. A unit can only reinforce one specific order at a time. If the reinforce order does not match the action that the unit is actually doing, the reinforcement does not take effect. Note that any unit can reinforce any other unit, including those of other players.


In the resolution phase, all orders are considered to take place simultaneously. The judge resolves the effects of the orders according to specific rules.

No region can have more than one unit in it at any time.

If an order has no other order conflicting with it, it happens—units are moved or stay, linking books are moved, etc. If one unit leaves a region while another moves into that same region, that is not considered a conflict, as they are happening at the same time.

When more than one unit tries to move into the same space, or a unit tries to move into a space where a unit is staying, there is a conflict. This is resolved by counting the number of units reinforcing the move on each side. If there is a tie, the status quo is maintained.

For example, if two units, A and B, are attempting to move into the same region, then neither moves. However, if a Unit C reinforces B's move, then there are two units behind B's order and it wins over A.

If on the next turn, B then Stays in the region and A tries to move in again, nothing happens, as there is, once again, one unit behind each order. If C were to reinforce B's Stay order, then A still fails. However, if C supports A's move this time, then B loses. A moves into the region and B must flee.

As many units can reinforce an order as there are units in adjacent regions. Additionally, conflicts can have more than two orders involved (i.e. three units trying to enter the same region). The order with the most units behind it wins. If there are any ties, the status quo is maintained.

A unit reinforcing an order or involved in a transfer is considered to be under a Stay order if other units try to move into that space. If they must flee, it has no affect the Reinforce or Transfer order.

If a unit must flee, then they are moved to an open region adjacent to the region they were previously occupying - this is chosen by the player who is fleeing. They cannot flee into a controlled or conflicted region. Or, if there is a linking book available, they can flee through the linking book, assuming the ink in point is not occupied. The unit cannot carry a book while fleeing.

If there is no place to flee, the unit is removed from the game. Linking adds a wrinkle to this. Generally speaking it's the same as a move. However, the linking unit does go through the linking book. If they would normally not be allowed into the space, they actually must 'flee' the occupied destination space as if they'd been pushed out (including leaving a linking book they might be carrying behind). If they have no place to flee, they are removed from the game.


After the resolution phase comes the supply phase. If a player controls the requisite number of link points or linking books at this point, they win.

A player gets one supply action for each link point that they have taken during the resolution phase. For each action they can add a unit, or write a linking book.

If they add a unit, it is added to one of the regions that has a link point they control. If none are available, a unit cannot be added.

If a linking book is written, the player places a link point token and its corresponding linking book in a region that is currently occupied by one of their units. The link point cannot move at any point, but the book can be moved normally from then on.


I found several variations.

  • The number of books or link-in points required often varied less than or more than 5 players
  • One variation forbid the creation of new link points and books.
  • Another variation specified that if a unit links into a space and would be force to 'flee' as a part of that, the linking unit would just be removed from the game.

This is an interesting game that takes some basic concepts, but adds a very D'ni twist to it through the mechanics associated with linking books. The inclusion of a 'negotiation phase' would imply that players working together would be a central concept in the game. This seems especially so in that almost half of these link points are occupied at the beginning of the game and it's purely numbers that determine the outcome of conflict. This also opens up the very real possibility of betrayal in alliances. An experienced player would have to expect to betray and be betrayed several times in a game.

—Blade Lakem