Tellstones: King's Gambit, or Tellstones, is a tabletop game developed by Riot Games The unforgettable game of bluffing, strategy, and recollection from the world of Runeterra. To win, you’ll need to focus on playing the player, not the game. Find out more on its Homepage.
Tellstones: King's Gambit is played with a set of seven stones, each inscribed with a unique symbol. The first player to score three points wins the game. To start, lay out the playmat horizontally between the two players—during the game, this will be known as the Line. Place all seven stones face-up beside the playmat, so both players can see all the symbols clearly. This is known as the Pool.
Each player then takes a scoring token, and places it beside the playmat. Randomly select one stone from the Pool and place it face-up in the middle of the Line. Now determine who will take the first turn. On each player’s turn, they take one of six actions to either manipulate the Line, or try to score points. When you have finished your chosen action, it is your opponent’s turn to act.
In order to score points, you may either Challenge, or Boast. When a player scores their first point, they place their scoring token on their side of the playmat, and use it to track their total. The first player to score three points wins the game.
- Point to a stone in the Pool, and tell your opponent where to place it on the Line. The new stone must be placed face-up, to the left or right of the stones already in play.
- Point to a face-up stone on the Line, and tell your opponent to flip it face-down. The stone does not change its position on the Line.
- Point to any two stones on the Line (face-up, face-down, or one of each) and tell your opponent to swap their positions. Stones remain face-up or face-down, even after they swap positions.
- Without showing your opponent, look at the symbol on any facedown stone on the Line, then return it to the same position. However, if your opponent scored a point on their last turn or your last turn, you may instead Peek at up to three face-down stones, in any order you like.
- Point to a face-down stone on the Line, and tell your opponent, "I challenge you to name this stone." Your opponent must then try to do so. Once they give their answer, they flip that stone face-up.
- If they guessed correctly, they score one point—otherwise, you score one point. Either way, the stone remains face-up until it is flipped again during a subsequent Hide action.
- If you believe you can name all of the face-down stones on the Line, you tell your opponent, "I know all the hidden symbols." Your opponent then has three options:
- They say, "I believe you, have a point." (You score a point)
- They say, "I don’t believe you, prove it." (You must name and then flip over every face-down stone, in any order you like)
- They say, "I don’t care, I know them too." (Your opponent has stolen your Boast! You must now choose between option 1 and 2, instead of them)
- If a player correctly names all face-down stones on the Line during a Boast, they win the game immediately, regardless of how many points have been scored. However, if they fail to correctly name even a single stone, they lose the game immediately.
Experienced Demacian players of Tellstones often enjoy a little extra sport during an opponent’s manipulating actions. With good humor and bravado, they might fool their opponent by loudly praising the wise tactical decisions being made, or call out the names of random symbols, or even try to start a conversation about the weather, or recent happenings in the royal court.
Regardless of what your opponent might say, it is the stones that they point to or pick up that you should try to remember. King Santon the First was renowned for his ability to speak at length on a variety of unrelated topics, while also committing the movements of the stones to memory...
While it has not always necessarily been the case, balance and fairness are well respected ideals in Demacia. Therefore, when starting a game, the stone inscribed with The Scales is traditionally placed first.
Since age often brings the gift of wisdom, it is also customary to allow one’s elder to choose whether to go first or second.
While there may be some local variation, the symbols used in King’s Gambit carry a great deal of cultural significance beyond the game itself. It is sometimes said that a player’s true intentions or temperament might affect which stones they choose… or the ones they forget.
- The Crown: To sit upon the throne is to pledge your life in service to every Demacian.
- The Flag: We fly our colors proudly. We do not hide who we are, or what we stand for.
- The Hammer: Symbolic of our nation’s founding, the lost represents the strength of purpose upon which the kingdom was built.
- The Knight: Dauntless warriors and loyal steeds— they do not rest until their duty is done, nor ask any reward.
- The Scales: No one stands above the laws of our kingdom, and our justice shall be absolute.
- The Shield: The armies of Demacia do not rush to attack, but to defend.
- The Sword: The truth and illumination of the blade shall drive out the darkness from our foes’ hearts.
The King's Round
While King's Gambit is traditionally played by two players, more recently a four-player variant known as "the King's Round" has become popular in the taverns of the Great City of Demacia.
Two pairs of players sit alternately around the table, and each will always tell the opponent on their immediate left how to manipulate the Line.
Play proceeds clockwise. Since this is a joint effort, teammates may discuss tactics or their knowledge of the Line at any time—however, they must always speak openly enough that everyone at the table can hear.
During a Peek action, a player may nominate their teammate to look at a face-down stone instead. If an opponent just scored a point, the player and their teammate may look at up to three stones, in total, between them.
Challenges and Boasts target a team, but the opponent on the player’s left must still declare how they will respond. Similarly, Boasts are ultimately completed by teammates alternating back and forth, each naming and flipping any remaining face-down stone.
There are multiple variants of King's Gambit established in lore, including The King's Round.
- Ideation of the game began during a trip to 2018 Gen Con.
- The first source of information about the game was through Riot's trademark applications, which describe the game as a competitive board game.
- Information about Tellstones was data-mined on the Public Beta Environment in form of loading screen tips for League of Legends during the 10th Anniversary of the game or V9.20 patch cycle.
- The rulebook features several hidden easter eggs; in the digital version they're only visible if the file is opened in some applications or converted to another format, in the physical version they're visible when placed under an blacklight. The easter eggs are:
- Runic symbols.
- Spiral shapes.
- An annotation mentioning Amigus died of "natural causes" two months after his game with Santon.
- A note about the Hammer stone, "I found . She doesn't know".
- Bilgewater to find the answers about the origins of Tellstones. hidden message underneath Cithria's fathers letter which mentions his future travels to
- Tellstones: King’s Gambit Tutorial (League of Legends). (16 Sept 2020). reddit.com/r/boardgames. Retrieved 23 Sept 2020
- [Tellstones Trademark Application