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Volume 1695

A preview of a unique new game created by

Michael Tierney
Soon to be released by Troll Lord Games

How did I come to design the new board game, Tarzan Triumphant: I am the Apeman? Hereís the short version of a long story, plus some tips for play.

My first encounter with Tarzan of the Apes was on a comic book spinner rack, where I discovered a Gold Key comic featuring a chapter from Russ Manningís multi-part adaptation of Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar. That comic led me to a musty alcove at the back of the Public Library. First I read Tarzan and the Lost Empire, and wasnít impressed.

But when I discovered the novelization of Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, I was hooked. For a new reader still learning who the character was, when Tarzan loses his memory and has to rediscover his identity, itís the perfect introduction.

The origin in Tarzan of the Apes soon followed. My parents bought me the uniform Ballantine paperback set, and I read the entire series, one a day, one book after another. A few weeks later, the African continent seemed filled with lost cities, and the repeating theme of Tarzanís amnesia and the number of Apeman impersonators really jumped out at me.

Through every book, I enjoyed the fantasy of living the life of Tarzan; pure and unencumbered and filled with wild adventure and travel to exotic locales. Edgar Rice Burroughs created a literary fixture with his tales of this noble savage, an orphan of doomed castaways who was raised by wild animals and grew up to slay his father's killer and rule over the beasts. Tarzan ultimately claimed a mantle of British nobility, and fought for and won the true love of his life.

There's no doubt about it, Burroughs' imaginative writings really inspired me as a child. His books were a strong influence in me becoming a writer myself. I taught myself to type in Grade School, just to be able to tell my stories more effectively, and wrote several novels with a shared history where mankind had previously migrated into space and colonized the brightest stars in the night sky, called the Wild Stars

Cover art by Frank Brunner

After I opened my first comic book store in 1982, I began adapting the foundation story arc of the large tapestry of Wild Stars in comic form. I drew the early issues myself, and later hired professional artists. That first major arc took over 20 years to publish. During the creation of those comics, I had an idea for a boardgame that incorporated many elements from the story. But since some of those elements involved surprises from the series finale, I waited the 20 years for the completion of Wild Stars: The Book of Circles, before showing the concept to a local game publisher; Troll Lords. They were skeptical about how a boardgame could possibly employ such elements as time travel as a form of movement. But once they saw the concept, they were interested.

Michael Tierney's The Comic Book Store

So I worked up a prototype of the Wild Stars: Celestial Clockwork boardgame, a game of galactic conquest with unique player movements like none before. It was during the final stages of that game's creation when I conceived another boardgame that at first I called Jungle Chess. Then... I named it what it really was:

Tarzan Triumphant: I am the Apeman.

For obvious reasons, the fellows at Troll Lords felt that Tarzan was a more recognizable name than Wild Stars. So... after a license had been secured from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., the Apeman's adventure game jumped to first place on the release schedule. 

Tarzan Triumphant: I am the Apeman is a game designed specifically for anyone who has ever read a Tarzan novel, comic, or watched one of the movies. As with my own Wild Stars, Iíve incorporated many elements from the source material. Tarzan Triumphant employs numerous concepts, characters, and locales from the romantic jungle world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The problem with past games dealing with Tarzan, was the limiting factor that there can be only one Apeman. I turned this disadvantage into an asset. Sure, there can only be one real Tarzan. But, as in the novels, there can also be many imitators. And Tarzan has been hit on the head so many times during his often violent life, that he has to be suffering from repetitive head trauma. Having suffered a few sports related concussions myself, I can relate to the Apeman being prone to forgetting who he is.

The game starts with two to seven players, all of whom are certain that they are the real Tarzan. But only the true Tarzan can prevail in the dangerous jungle nestled between the Oparian escarpment and the impenetrable swamps of prehistoric Pal-ul-don, where eight lost cities of Edgar Rice Burroughs' creation lay hidden. 

The players chose from 7 different Tarzan playing pieces, each sculpted in the likeness of an actor who portrayed Tarzan in the movies. You'd can choose from Elmo, Johnny, Gordon, Jock (whom Iíve been told is a distant cousin), and others. The players can then prove who is the real Tarzan.

Each player starts out in their own lost city, with 18 faithful waziri warriors and 9 animal allies... the animal types differing for each Tarzan. Personally, Iíll take an army of prehistoric three-horned Gryfs. But you can also choose from a pride of golden lions, a tribe of Great Apes, or a herd of elephants, rhinos, or others.

Your waziri warriors can only travel along the Golden Streets of the 8 Lost Cities, and the Ivory Trails that crisscross the jungle. Your animal allies, however, can travel both these paths and through the green vastness of the jungle.

In keeping with the original Jungle Chess concept, your Tarzan piece is like a combination of the King and Queen Chess pieces. Not only can Tarzan move farther than any other piece, he has no limit to his movement. Tarzan can go anywhere that there is a hex space. Just like in the books, Tarzan can climb impassable mountains, swim swollen rivers, and cross impenetrable swamps. But be careful, while Tarzan can pause while climbing a mountain face, you canít end a movement in the middle of water, or youíll drown. However, if you're like Esteban in Tarzan and the Golden Lion, and are confronted with being an impostor, you too can option to run away and end your game in a river.

Each turn, a player makes three moves. He or she can move three different pieces once each, or move one piece twice and a second piece once, or move one piece three times. Since your Tarzan piece can move farther than any other piece, with a triple move Tarzan can do incredible things... just like in the books. But, again, be careful. If you lose your Tarzan piece by being foolish... youíre out of the game, because the true Tarzan will take his revenge on all impostors.

Game play has two modes. The first has each Tarzan and his jungle allies trying to conquer the lost city of Opar. Control the five gates of this ancient Atlantean outpost, and you win the game. This is not a game for timid players.

The second game mode is the race to rescue Jane. Tarzan's one true love has been trapped inside the treasure vaults of Opar. Tarzan must race against the impostors to rescue her, but he and his allies must also dig her out of the treasure that is piled around her. Once Jane has been rescued, Tarzan must then return her safely to the Lost City from which he began. But watch out! Not only must Tarzan defend his city from the impostors, on the way back everyone will be trying to steal Jane away. Once Jane is returned, the treasure is tallied and the winner determined. And with Jane being Tarzanís greatest treasure of all, she multiplies the wealth of her Apeman.

Again, it's all just like in the books.

This is a game that's simple to learn, but complicated to play. It's all about movement... and how determined the player is to prove that he is Tarzan Triumphant:

Tarzan and the Golden Lion: J. Allen St. John - oil version
I am the Apeman!

.Gold Key 159

Troll Lord Games
Tarzan Triumphant - I am the Apeman: The Board Game
Created by Michael Tierney

Game Description: 

"For some time Tarzan lay where he had fallen upon the floor of the treasure chamber beneath the ruined walls of Opar. He lay as one dead; but he was not dead. At length he stirred. His eyes opened upon the utter darkness of the room. He raised his hand to his head and brought it away sticky with clotted blood. He sniffed at his fingers, as a wild beast might sniff at the life-blood upon a wounded paw. . . . What was he? Where was he? . . . The accident he did not recall, nor did he recall aught of what had led up to it." ~ Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar 

Two Games in One! Tarzan's back in a board game that captures the essence of those most adventurous tales of the world's most famous hero. As so often happened on his adventurous road, Tarzan has been struck with amnesia and it is up to you to figure out who is the true apeman. By overcoming obstacles and out smarting your opponent (who is also trying to prove who the real apeman is) you prove that you are the true apeman. A game for the whole family to enjoy! 

Mode One: It is yours to plunge into the sprawling jungles around the mythical city of Opar and learn who is the true Apeman! Up to seven players lead their own Waziri warriors and animal allies in a mad dash to seize the Golden City. Your opponents will try to stop you by killing your warriors, you and your animals, but it is up to you to seize the five gates of that jewel of a city. Once you've done that you've proven that you are the true apeman and Lord of the Jungle. 

Mode Two: Jane has been trapped and buried in the Treasure Vaults of Opar! It is up to the true Tarzan to rescue her. Tarzan and his allies must dash to Opar, seize the treasure and cart it back to his own lost city. Only once Jane is uncovered can Tarzan or one of his animal allies pick her up and carry her to safety. Of course, every imposter on the board will be out to steal her away. 

Each player begins play with 18 Waziri warriors, 9 animal allies and 1 Tarzan piece. There are a total of 8 of Edgar Rice Burroughs' lost cities on the gameboard, with jungle trails, rivers, lakes, swamps and mountains to cross. Then you have your opponents to contend with. Of course, if you can't take the pressure, you can always do like the imposter in Tarzan and the Golden Lion, and throw yourself in a river! 

Ordering Info: TLG 7740, ISBN: 1-931275-50-5
Release Date: TBA 
Contact Michael Tierney
The Tarzan Triumphant Board Game
Available soon from Troll Lord Games
Ordering Information

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