The Lords of Hell Board Game

©Kalle Marjola 2005, 2006

The Game

This is a board game version of Lords of Hell, the card game of unholy politics. It is for 3-8 players (more is recommended). Gaming time is around 30 minutes. Some mechanics have been borrowed from the Dragon's Gold and other games, but it also uses various mechanics from the older versions of the Lords of Hell card game. The previous name of the game was Politics from Hell.

The aim of the game is to collect power counters while the new Overlord of Hell is selected in multiple conflicts. The game is win with smooth talk and negotiating skills, so it is more social and less gaming skill based than the card game version.

Game Components

Color Devil
Count Horde tile
6Greater Fiends
7Metal Beasts
8Fallen Angels
9Warriors of Darkness
10Lesser Fiends

Arranging components: it is easiest to keep each color separate and in own cup and when the game starts, just shuffle the colors needed.

Game Start

Each player picks a Devil (i.e. color). There is no differences in Devils in this game, the name is only extra flavor to color. Each player takes corresponding screen and one conflict cup (if available). Each player is from now on referred as Devil.

Each Devil takes 6 power counters of its own color. Each Devil puts these counters behind its own screen. Remaining power counters of partaking Devils are put to counter bag. If any counters are later discarded, they are put back to this counter bag.

Shuffle the horde tiles and deal 2 face-down tiles to each player. These tiles are not shown to other Devils but put behind each Devil's screen as reserve. Remaining horde tiles are put aside, face-down in their own pile, to form a horde pool. When new hordes are drawn in phase 1 and 2 (see below), these are drawn from this horde pool. When the horde pool is emptied, shuffle all discarded hordes to form a new horde pool and so on. In 8 player game, it is possible on the 5th or 6th turn that there is not enough horde tiles for phase 1 or 2. If this happens, the game ends immediately.


The game is played in series of turns, of which each has following phases:

  1. Draw loot
  2. Draw and play horde tiles
  3. Politics
  4. Conflict
  5. Divide Loot
The game lasts maximum of six (6) game turns, and at least 3 turns.

1. Draw loot

If any Devil already has 3 ruleship markers, the game ends immediately. The game also ends if all ruleship markers are used, i.e. the game has lasted six turns already.

Otherwise, three loot piles are formed, the primary, secondary, and tertiary loot pile. The primary one has one (1) ruleship marker on it and 1 + number of players of random power counters from the counter bag. Thus in a 6 player game, it has 7 random counters.

The secondary has half the number of power counters in the first pile, rounded up, plus one random horde tile from the horde pool, face-up.

The tertiary loot pile has up to 2 random power counters, so that the total of power counters in loot piles is double the player count, and one random horde tile, face-up.

Loot / Players 345678
Primary loot 4 + R5 + R6 + R7 + R8 + R9 + R
Secondary loot 2 + H3 + H3 + H4 + H4 + H5 + H
Tertiary loot HH1 + H1 + H2 + H2 + H
R = ruleship marker, H = horde tile

2. Draw and play horde tiles

Each Devil draws 2 horde tiles from the horde pool and puts them behind its screen.

Each Devil then selects 2 horde tiles from its selection and puts them face-down in the front of the Devil's screen. Players are not allowed to communicate about tactics and their choices during this phase.

When everyone has made up their mind, all face-down horde tiles are turned face-up and the politics phase starts.

3. Politics

This phase is used to trade things and to choose who to ally with. When the phase starts, the one minute timer is started. After the first timer has run out, any Devil can restart it. When the second timer runs out, or all Devils agree so, the phase ends. Thus the phase normally lasts at least 2 minutes, but can last longer.

For the trading, following rules apply:

  • Ruleship markers can never be traded or moved and are always visible
  • Visible horde tiles (revealed in previous phase) must be kept visible, but can be moved around the table. No new hordes can be made visible.
  • Behind-the-screen power counters and horde tiles can be traded freely
  • Immediate exchange promises must be kept but not any other. Nothing can force a Devil to ally with certain other Devil, for example.

Use common and gaming group preferences on other aspects.

Alliances of two or more Devils are formed by putting appropriate counters of colors of the other Devils to Devil's conflict cup. Each Devil is free to put any number of counters to their cups or leave it empty if they choose not to Ally with anyone. Note that for the alliance to actual form, both Devils have to had each other's color in their cups. As Devils do not start with counters of each other, they must first trade them or get counters from loot.

The Devil can also put extra horde tiles to its conflict cup to act as reinforcements. When the phase ends, all conflict cups are taken forward and any counters and extra horde tiles on them are revealed. If a Devil did not have time to put any counters on its cup it is now too late to do anything about it.

4. Conflict

First all conflict sides are found: any Devils with each other's color in their conflict cup are considered as allied and on the same size. If there is a chain of such alliance, they all together form one big alliance, even when some of them do not have each other in their conflict cup.

Example: Asmodeus has purple counter (Lilith) in his cup, Lilith has brown (Mammon), and Mammon has green (Asmodeus) and purple (Lilith). Lilith and Mammon are allied, but Asmodeus is not.

Example: Asmodeus has yellow (Belial) on its cup, Belial has green (Asmodeus) and brown (Mammon), and Mammon has yellow (Belial). They all form one alliance of 3 Devils.

Find out the strongest side. The side with most hordes of the same type is the strongest. If tied, the one whose hordes have lowest rarity number. If still tied, use the next horde type and so on. If either side runs out of hordes, the other wins. If sides are equal, neither wins nor gets any loot.

Example: Asmodeus has Greater Fiends (6) and Lesser Fiends (10). Lilith has Greater Fiends (6) and Warriors of Darkness (9). Lilith is stronger.

Example: Asmodeus has Greater Fiends (6), Warriors of Darkness (9), and Lesser Fiends (10) (from trade). Mammon has Greater Fiends (6) and Warriors of Darkness (9). Asmodeus is stronger.

Example: Asmodeus and Baalzebub are allied and have following hordes: Lesser Fiends (10), Metal Beasts (7), Fallen Angels (8) and Warriors of Darkness (9). Belial is all along but has 2 Warriors of Darkness (9). Belial is stronger.

The second and third strongest sides are found the same way as the strongest one. Then all visible (used) horde tiles are discarded and all revealed power counters used to indicate alliance (or tried one) are moved back behind the screens. Thus, hordes are one-use while power counters are never lost once acquired, unless traded away.

5. Divide Loot

The strongest side (if not tied) of the conflict gets the primary loot pile, the second strongest (again, if not tied) gets the secondary pile, and third strongest the tertiary loot pile. Any loot not divided because of a tied situation is discarded. Discarded ruleship markers and power counters are removed from the game.

Example: Asmodeus has 2 Lesser Fiends as have Baalzebub. Lilith has one Fallen Angels. Asmodeus and Baalzebub are strongest but tied and thus neither gets anything! All power counters and ruleship marker in primary loot are removed from the game. Lilith gets the secondary loot pile.

If there is only one Devil on the side gaining a loot pile, it gets (and must take) the entire pile. If there is more Devils, those Devils must agree how to divide the loot between them. They have one (1) minute to agree on it and all things must be dealt. If they cannot agree, the pile is discarded and no Devil gets anything! While dividing the loot, normal trading can also be done between those dividing the same loot pile. Thus a Devil can offer its hordes and power counters to help the operation.

All the loot piles are divided at the same time, increasing the confusion and simultaneous yelling.

Game End

Game ends after 6 turns or any Devil has gained its third ruleship marker. In a 8 player game, the game can also end because the horde tiles are exhausted.

When the game ends, the Devil with most ruleship markers is the new Overlord. If this is tied, there is no new Overlord. The Overlord does not win the game, but affects scoring.

The final score of each Devil is one for each power counter, except that a Devil cannot score more from a single color than it has least in one color (or zero if lacks any color). However, this does not apply to Overlord color, which power counters always score full.

For each 3 power counters that do not score this way, the Devil gains one point.

The Devil with top score wins the game. If tied, the new Overlord wins if had tied top score. If not applicable, the Devil with strongest horde tiles left to it, compared as during conflict.

Example: The game ends with counters as divided below. The base score is the score without any Overlord. So, as Belial has no green colored counters, it only scores one point for each 3 power counters.

Devil Green (Asmodeus) Brown (Mammon) Yellow (Belial) Purple (Lilith) Grey (Baalzebub) Counters Base Score Asmodeus as Overlord
Asmodeus 53413 16811
Mammon 45344 201617
Belial -2532 1244
Lilith 42246 181214
Baalzebub 56463 241819