© 2023, Crowd games, llc. All rights reserved
A long time ago, the great wizard Dominick Dey discovered a way to travel between different worlds. He learned how to open portals using elemental magic: air, earth, fire, water, and time. Dominick spent many centuries visiting the most incredible corners of the Universe, bringing home all manner of amazing artifacts, strange fruits, and exotic creatures. But one day he did not come back home. Whether misfortune befell him, or whether he found a place that he did not wish to return from — his fate is still unknown.
Portals is an abstract game that is easy-to-learn, but the path to mastery is harder than it seems. In this game, you get Key cards and fill them with Elemental stones taken from sources of power.
When all icons on the Key card are filled with stones, the card can be activated to transfer stones to available Elemental boards. Players get victory points for matching colors and color adjacency.
The player to earn the most victory points by the end of four rounds becomes the most skilled wizard – the one to solve the mystery of Dominick Dey’s disappearance.
The setup is quite simple, with the majority of components placed between players. During the game, players only have access to the boards on their left and right, which ensures constant interaction and competition between players.
The game is played over 4 rounds. Each round has 3 phases.
During the first phase, players collect Key cards and stones. Key cards have special squares that players need to fill with Elemental stones in order to activate them. Players acquire stones from Circles of Elements – smaller boards located between (and shared by) each pair of players. However, only a half of stones from each board is available for each player.
In the second phase, players activate their charged Key cards. A Key card is charged if all its special squares are covered with stones. These stones must be transferred to an available Elemental board – one of the two bigger boards located (and also shared) between each pair of players.
This is the most important part of the game, and its most interesting puzzle. Players transfer the stones exactly as they are placed on the Key card – the pattern and the stones’ relative position must remain the same. The only exception is that the pattern can be rotated 90 or 180 degrees).
When the stones are transferred this way, players score victory points. VPs are earned for colors (if the stone’s color matches the color of the square it’s transferred to) and color adjacency (if the stone’s color matches the color of the stones that were already on the board).
After all players do so, the round ends, and all Circles of Element are filled with new randomly drawn stones. The game is played over 4 rounds, and the player with the highest number of Victory Points by the end of the last round wins the game.
Portals feature a Solo mode that plays mostly like the multiplayer game. However, instead of selecting stones from Circles of Elements, a player takes one stone from an Elemental board filled randomly with 25 stones in the beginning of the game. So, the player knows precisely which stones they have to take every next turn, enabling them to plan their moves strategically.
Most of the rules remain unchanged, and the objective remains the same: achieve the highest score possible. At the end of the game, players can consult a table that rates their performance, ranging from the humble Apprentice to the esteemed Master Mage.
Playing the Solo Mode not only offers a challenging and crunchy solo puzzle, but also grants valuable insights and skills that can be later used in multiplayer games, ensuring you become a formidable opponent at any level.
Solo Mode is played with both additional modules, which also may be used in multiplayer games, separately or combined. Outside the Solo mode, they enhance gameplay, add complexity and variety.
The Magic Spells module introduces a Spellboard where players can strategically place their stones instead of placing them on their Key cards. This Spellboard grants players access to powerful abilities, such as manipulating stones on Elemental boards or activating uncharged Key cards.
Additionally, the Secret Sign module introduces an element of secrecy with hidden objective cards. At the start of the game, players choose 1-3 Secret Sign cards. These cards offer additional victory points if the patterns formed by the stones on the Elemental boards align with patterns on the Secret Sign cards. However, players must keep an eye on their Secret Sign cards, as points will be deducted from players’ final score for every unmatched pattern.