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Play as a Virtue guiding Solomon Kane in a 1-4 player co-op game of storytelling, resource management & tactical miniatures play.
Play as a Virtue guiding Solomon Kane in a 1-4 player co-op game of storytelling, resource management & tactical miniatures play.
7,161 backers pledged $1,173,363 to help bring this project to life.

An Ancient Book of Lore

Posted by Mythic Games, Inc. (Creator)
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(Pour retrouver cet update en français, cliquez-ici)

Linked below is the first beta version of the rules for your enjoyment.

Click to download the english Rulebook !
Click to download the english Rulebook !

 (Les règles françaises seront disponibles le Jeudi 21 Juin ! )

So far, we’ve concentrated on getting the rules themselves sorted, and we know there is some polish yet to be done in terms of smoothing the style, adding quotes from the books, and putting in lots more examples. You can help with this by letting us know which bits you find less clear and would therefore benefit most from new examples. Then we can make those areas a priority.

Note that this is a later version of the rules than was being used in the Beasts of War video, so you will see some differences. It is the same version that was used in the latest play through with Babis, Az, and Corina.  

If you have any questions, please comment below.  

Discovery Cards  

As I said yesterday, I also wanted to talk a little bit more about Discovery cards as they are very important in play, but are deceptively simple in the rules. They’re not just about rules though – they are the hidden vault of mysteries that reveal surprises all the way through your Adventures. They also add a constant stream of background details to set the scene. This is especially true of the Discovery card chains. These linked series of cards go together to tell one possible version of the story of the action, whether this is a conversation or a combat. They could tell a dozen or a hundred more versions of this tale (depending on the size of the chain). Your experience will be new each time.  

It’s fair to say that Discovery cards come in two broad types, though there are a myriad variants within these. The first type are reference cards which alter or add to the rules and/or options for a specific Chapter. The second are the routes to explore the many secrets of the world through which you guide Solomon Kane: fighting, talking, exploring, and more.  

So you don’t forget  

This example of a reference card introduces an extra rule.  

Being able to add little wrinkles like this allows the evil hive mind of games development to give each scenario its own character and challenge without cluttering up the core rules with loads of exceptions. When you need it, there it is; when it’s not relevant, you can forget it was ever there (except when you really wish it was).  

New Options  

These give us a way to modify the way the environment works, to tailor each scene to the way the original books imagine it, and to do whatever gives us the most exciting game. This is typically things like new terrain effects for certain areas of the board, though we could also include weather effects (rain makes the ground slippery), night time (can’t see to shoot your musket), or anything else we come up with.  

Another type of Discovery card allows a new action or rule variant in a specific Chapter. This may remain in play for the whole Chapter, or disappear after some specified event or action. Again, it allows us to ensure that important actions are available when needed, entirely new things are possible when appropriate, rare things are common when they need to be, and that we can, in general, change the balance of available opportunities as required.  

As you can imagine, with these small tweaks we can make big changes in the obstacles you must guide Solomon Kane around. Whether it’s changing the weapons at your disposal, or moving the goalposts of what is possible on the map, Discovery cards are a great way to change the world Kane inhabits.  

Weaving Threads  

Using Discovery cards as reference tools doesn’t take up many of them, though in terms of game impact and scenario versatility, it is huge. The bulk of the enormous Discovery card count is actually made up of threaded and chained sequences of cards. These sequences are like miniature versions of the Chapter cards themselves. They have links from one to the other, and the paths split, diverge, and recombine, or stay forever separate as the plot and player choices dictate. Sometimes an early decision will lead to two or three very different paths and possible ends, and other times it is only through the accumulated results of the players’ collective actions over time that a destiny will be determined.  

Looking at a specific card, we can see some common features.  

We are joining the melee in the middle of the bloodshed. This card is the result of a previous Fight action, where some tribal warriors attacked Solomon Kane and did alright, but not spectacularly. As you can see from the introductory text, the battle pauses momentarily while they eye each other up. In this lull, one of the warriors sneaks a little closer. Solomon catches his breath and focuses his mind on the task at hand, regaining one point of either of the listed stats.  

Below this, you can see the note about future Fights. When this card is revealed it will replace the previous one, and the next Fight test the warriors make to attack Kane will use the results on this card instead of the ones on the previous card. The possible future outcomes have changed as a result of this card. Let’s imagine that they did Fight Kane again, but they are uncoordinated and unlucky. They only scrape together an unimpressive total of 5.  

This score falls in the “Up to 6” category on the card, so leads on to Discovery card 11.

Given that the result was so poor, you will understand why one of the warriors comes off very much second best to Solomon Kane’s swordsmanship. Like the previous card, this has a game effect (removing the dead attacker), and then a series of outcomes for any future Fight. As before, this would replace the old card and become the new reference for these combats. This means that the options are ever-changing, and the story of the combat can take many different twists and turns. Each time you play through this same Fight is likely to show you a whole new sequence of events.  

This particular card is also interesting because it allows Solomon Kane to thin the ranks of his foes even when they attack him. This shows the Discovery card system playing with what might be called critical successes or fumbles in other games. Here, the extremes can be seamlessly integrated into the same system that deals with every other result.

This particular combat tree is done with only 6 Discovery cards. Against more important foes, and for grand showdowns, the tree of Discovery cards can be much bigger. For example, in the final combat against Le Loup, there are over 20 cards, including several pithy insults from both sides to goad each other on. These add colour as well as influencing the game. In terms of rules, these work exactly the same way as this minor combat against the warriors. But when it’s a boss fight, we know it needs to be epic!

- Jake Thornton

As always, if you are interested in any of our add-ons, simply click on the green “manage your pledge” button near the top of the page. Then increase your total by the amount of any add-ons you wish to include in your pledge. So, if you have a Puritan pledge ($110) and want to add the Against the Vampires ($45), you would increase your total to $155. If you decide to add Heart of Africa later ($55), simply click on the green “manage your pledge” button again, and add that amount to your total. You can change your pledge as many times as you want while the campaign is running.

Note that during the campaign there is no way for you to tell us what the money you pledge is actually for, so don’t worry about that now. Instead, after the Kickstarter is over we will send you a “pledge manager”. This allows you to tell us exactly how you want to allocate your pledge, which add-ons you would like, how many core boxes, and (most importantly) where we need to send it all!

Comments

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    1. Alderman Jack on

      Some remarks after a first read:
      - the image announced as two examples of story cards actually show one story card and one scene card
      - there is, to me, no clear description of what actions a Virtue can perform nor what the results are. I would like to see some overview of the basic actions in the Rules section, like Moving, Fighting, etc.
      - same for the Darkness turn; what happens if a Shadow moves, what dies Engage mean, etc. I feel like guessing your intentions at the moment. For instance: when to draw Event cards?
      - as an alternative you might consider adding more terms to the Reference, plus highlighting these terms in the Rules (using bold or Capital first character, or such).
      - one of the Chapter cards says ‘Prudence’. Does this mean you get to place her on the map?
      - If a Chapter lists several outcomes, like two stars for getting to safety and one for having 3+ Light, do you add these bonuses?
      - what are ‘broken stars’?
      There seem to be too many loose ends for what seems to be a straightforward game. Maybe an example act could clarify a lot.

    2. Ben Clapperton Collaborator on

      @Joost

      In English the Latin plural is used for both singular and plural. It's only in tabletop convention that you tend to see 'die' used for the singular, but either are acceptable.

    3. Alfonso Madruga on

      Not quite sure about the validity of my comment or maybe I do not understand page 14, but the Darkness card is divided into three sections Scene, Near and Far and one of the sections would be resolved only if the chapter is a Story card. Should not the Darkness card description rather be: Story, Near and Far? It gets confusing calling the first part of the card 'Scene'.

    4. Frank Calcagno on

      @skeezix : And please do not confuse their use of D10 or D11 with a type of die. When they say that, I hope you understand that refers to the Discovery Deck Card #10 or #11, if I am not mistaken...
      And yes, die vs dice is a pet peeve of mine too. Learned that early in my ASL play test days...they even differentiated between modifiers as "dr" for die and "DR" for dice modifier...

    5. ARIAKAS on

      @Joost Nauw: Thanks for pointing this out, this mistake comes up so frequently in rulebooks and games in general that I almost thought the single "die" was ditched from the dictionary ^^

    6. Joost Nauw on

      Very important: 1 die, 2 dice. So '1 dice' is wrong. Please correct this throughout the rulebook.

    7. Ben Clapperton Collaborator on

      @skeezix

      You will always compare your result to a chart on a card. As a general rule the card you go to from the highest range of results will be the ‘best’ outcome for that particular test, and vice versa for the lowest range of results. So if you prefer to think in terms of target numbers then think of the ranges of results as being in the target number. The charts allow for much more than a binary hit or miss result based only on measuring your result against a fixed target number, though.

    8. SharKK
      Superbacker
      on

      The art in the rulebook is great and I think nothing needs to be "fixed" regarding that.

    9. Missing avatar

      skeezix on

      Combat seems very undefined in the rulebook; I understand that its more of a narrative game, so the rules are very general, and the actual rules are the Discovery cards, that present you options (fight, talk, whatever is appropriate at the time.)
      Still, the rulebook shows you might have a Test, such as Fight, with number range -> D10, other range to D11, etc.

      But what do those _mean_?

      In most games, you'll see some defence value on a monster say, etc; and this is a 'well defined' thing across the whole game, so when you see a monster or boss, you have some idea to its toughness, and what number of modifiers you need to overcome it, etc.

      Am I missing something, or is this spelled out more in the Disco and Virtue cards (which we haven't seen up close yet)?

      Strikes me, with how little I know so far (others may know more :), that its a 'short in the dark' .. not a strategic play of the cards and abilities, just.. uhh, lets add more modifiers, and see what the outcome is?

      Maybe it'll become clearer soon, but perhaps it needs fleshing out in the manual as well, since it should be clear there :)

    10. Frank Calcagno on

      I posted the following comments about the rules in the main section as I read the rules, but Backer "Sammy" suggested I re-post them here because it is so easy to lose comments within the 8,000 other comments there... So here are the comments I have to date on the rule book:
      .
      Seeing that this is KS exclusive, I see that the rule book components still has the original core component lists... Seeing that we have a couple more Adventures included now in core, and that this is now what is considered to be the core, might it be possible to update the new "core" components into the rules? (Obviously, add on's need to remain separate, but new core is now core.

      ..
      One suggestion for the rule book, if I may:
      I like the structure of the rules with the Core Rules and the Reference. This is very unique and easy to follow. I was amazed at the brevity of the rules, yet they seem to be comprehensive upon first reading. But the Core Rules often rely on what is later defined in the Reference section, which leads to initial uncertainty. What would really help is to define upfront (in How to Use this Book) that important game concepts that are explained in the Reference section are shown in bold text. That way, players key in that they could immediately refer to the definition as they read the Core rule if they desire. (I have seen this used in highly technical manuals in my professional career and it works very well to keep readers focused.)
      Great job on the rule book...
      ..
      In the rules, page 6:
      "Each player shuffles their Virtue cards and deals them
      into 2 hands of 5, they then choose which hand to keep
      and which to place face down as their draw deck."
      Does the player look at both 5-card decks before choosing, or choose blindly? Perhaps that need to be clarified.
      ..

      On page 7 of the rules, it seems you need a little extra in the setup description: (pg 7):

      "To one side of the board, place the Chapter cards face down in a row according to their numbers, with all the Chapter 1 cards in a pile, then all the Chapter 2 cards in their own pile, all the Chapter 3 cards, and so on. The backs of these cards will form a panorama."
      .
      I think you should specify here that you only use the cards for the Adventure you are about to play. (Yes, that is obvious, but you need to clearly tell the player that you do not take every "Chapter 1 card" in the game and put them together... So, you could add:
      "To one side of the board, place the Chapter cards of the Adventure you are about to play face down..."
      If you look closely at page 6 (and all pages before that) you never really tell the player that SK has many Adventures, and that you choose one to begin and that you do not mix Adventures together...nor do you offer any advice as to which Adventure to begin with or rationale on how to choose which one to start, nor do you discuss the Story book, which I imagine may have more Adventure details... New players will be asking these questions...and you should not assume they know as much as backers who've closely followed the campaign. In general, there needs to be more advice upfront to players on how/why Adventures are chosen, that Discovery Decks (I believe) are tied to the Adventure you are playing, etc. ...how to keep them together, but separate from the other Adventures, etc. (I think you are going with the concept that players know what is going on, but you should write the rules as if they know nothing at all about the game's structure.)

      ..

      Note that you repeated an entire paragraph on the left side of page 13...
      ..

      Rules clarification:
      In the rule book, page 16:
      "A miniature
      must have at least half of its base in an area to count as
      being inside it."
      You may wish to consider adding: "Exception: a figure with a large base may occupy one area, even if the area is smaller than one-half of its base size. In that case, it is likely no other figures may occupy that area until the large figure moves away."

      ..

      Rules, page 17:
      "If the tester is an enemy add +1 for every other enemy mortal or Shadow in the target’s surroundings"
      Did you adequately define above what surroundings is? (I assume it is "in the target's area and/or adjacent to it). But it seems a little hanging here...and seeing it is later defined in the reference section below, this would be very confusing to read. If you take my advice and bold terms defined later, this would help...

      ..

      Rules, page 19: the Preferred Weapon Range Chart does not have gunpowder weapons...should they be listed here? (also, the page number is missing on this page...)

      Thanks, MG...

    11. Missing avatar

      Lionel Humbert on

      I wasn't only so I could have missed some questions/answers. But, after reading Just one comment, it could be great to add a demonstration turn to the rulebook with some playtest package (with 1 virtue dash board, 2-3 event card...) downloadable. Seem promising. Thx

    12. Missing avatar

      Lionel Humbert on

      There is one missing blank page to be able to read it properly like a book on a big screen (with two-up pages).

    13. partenopei on

      love the discovery cards.

      a great way of adding one-off rules changes/additions

    14. Ben Clapperton Collaborator on

      @Lau

      Le Loup is a difficult man to track down ;)

    15. Realarete on

      Thanks for this bit about the discovery cards ... Great stuff!

    16. Lau on

      Great explanation of the discovery cards!

      Also, in the end you wrote about a boss fight against le loup? When did he arrive as an sg or add-on?

    17. Daniel Woltanski
      Superbacker
      on

      Very much a fan of the Discovery card mechanic to add rules in and out without making the rulebook 100 pages long! ;)

    18. Sean "TheShellFace" on

      @freddy @cladebraun click the picture of the rulebook, it'll take you to the pdf :)

    19. Andrea
      Superbacker
      on

      Great update! If you keep these up, by the end of the campaign we'll all know how to play without having read the rulebook :)

    20. Missing avatar

      Drake Coker
      Superbacker
      on

      What a great update! The Discovery card examples help explain them so much better than text.

    21. Missing avatar

      Caldebraun on

      Haha .,.. glad I'm not the only one who can't see the download link.

    22. Freddy
      Superbacker
      on

      "Click to download the english Rulebook !" click where? There's no download link!