Frame: Ebb and Flow

In the original Archon there were 25 light squares, 25 dark squares, and 31 variable squares. Light-side pieces occupying light squares receive a bonus in combat while those occupying dark squares receive a penalty (and vice versa for dark-side pieces). The variable squares slowly shift from light to dark and back; a piece occupying the square receives a scaled bonus or penalty depending on its shade. Combat bonuses or penalties affect the piece's hit points and the amount of damage inflicted by the piece's attack.

We can set up an ebb-and-flow track to model this. Set a number of counters (such as poker chips) in a line; use a different counter to mark the current position on the track. Designate one end of the track "light" and the other "dark". After each round (one turn by each player), the track counter moves one step. An additional indicator to keep track of the direction of movement may be desirable. When the marker reaches one end of the track, the direction of movement changes.

Variable squares should be marked on the board. A piece occupying a variable square receives bonuses or penalties based its color and the current position of the track marker.

The length of the track will affect the feel of the game. A length-3 track will result in short, fast oscillations (neutral, dark, neutral, light, neutral), while a length-7 track will result in slower shifts where one side is favored for a number of consecutive turns (e.g., neutral, 67% dark, 83% dark, 100% dark, 83% dark, 67% dark, neutral, 67% light, etc.).

The terms "light" and "dark" may be varied according to the game. The exact game effects of the oscillation will need to be tuned.