Play by the Rules
Welcome Witch Masters!
Welcome to our first in-depth rules update. It is important to us that you gain a good grasp of the game during this Kickstarter. We really want you to be happy when you receive your rewards and providing information is the key to that.
Everyone learns in different ways. We have already released an early version of the rule book and two rules videos, with one more to come. There will also be a video showing a detailed walk-through of a full game round. Our rules updates will provide the info in a different way, focusing on narrow topics combined with our thoughts and intentions. Half rules, half designer diary. Hopefully one of these options will work for you. Enough intro, let’s get to it.
Today we will give you a quick overview of turn order, Stamina, Actions and Reactions.
Let’s start with the turn order. Unlike many games, players do not activate in a clockwise order around the table. Turns alternate between the Heroes and the Witch Master. On the Heroes’ turn, only one Hero activates, but that can be any one of the Heroes (with minor restrictions). It is completely up to the Heroes how they organize their Round, and this is not announced in advance or locked in with some kind of activation queue.
Next, the Witch Master takes a turn, and they have a similar free choice. They may activate any one of their Characters, again with minor restrictions. We find this very dynamic, with the opportunity to surprise your opponent with a crafty plan or counter. You won’t find your activations limited by unfortunate card draws or ideas you locked in moments earlier. You are in full control!
These turns are very short, so the Hero players do not need to worry about waiting for long periods before they can join in. A turn is just one or two Actions. The rules stay out of your way and let you choose what you do: there is nothing to limit how you combine these Actions. You can repeat the same Action twice and perform different Actions in any order.
Starting from a position shown by the solid icons, the Crusader can Move then Attack or the Executioner can Attack then Move; there’s no prescribed order. Or if the Witch Master is active, then the Possessed Farmer can Attack the Executioner twice; there’s no restriction on double Actions.
There are some minor restrictions for activating, most importantly you must have Stamina in reserve that you can exhaust. Each Hero has their own pool of Stamina and the Witch Master has one larger pool for the whole Legion of Darkness. You can’t activate when you are out of Stamina. Each Action requires a different amount of Stamina, and the same Action may cost different Characters different amounts. All Actions and the associated Stamina are visible on game components, so there’s little to remember.
Managing Stamina is important, so either side may pass their activation and play a cautious “wait and see” game. It’s great if you can run your opponent out of Stamina and get a couple of consecutive turns at the end of the Round, while your opponent passes. But being too passive can backfire! The Round ends if you both pass and everyone recovers their Stamina. If my opponent passes twice in a row, I’ll pass too, refill my stamina pool and say thanks for the two free Actions!
Further, it gives you another method to harass your opponent. There are spells and plagues that target Stamina directly and you might find ways to force your opponent to spend Stamina on actions when they would prefer not to.
I have talked about Actions without defining them, but the term should be intuitive: when you are active you take Actions. I’ll skip the basics today, like Move, Attack, Trade, Search, as they are in the rule book and first rules video.
The Executioners’ Alchemy Book, shown here, has 3 Actions and 5 Reactions, marked by the “play” and “stop” icon, respectively.
Many Actions are found on game components, for example the Heroes’ Alchemy Books or on the Witch Master’s Witchcraft Cards. This leads to variety in the game when you use different Characters, or draw different cards from the decks. Further, many of these Actions are effectively hidden from your opponent, since they are on cards in your hand. This leads to surprising moments of cinematic activity!
But you might make as many Reactions as Actions. They are similar, but Reactions require a trigger before you can resolve them: you need to React to something happening. You do not need to be active for many of the triggers to fire, indeed for our simplest example, you will never be active: when you are Attacked, you can use the Defend Reaction. Let’s look at a much more exciting example on this Witchcraft card:
Bang! The little square is the general Reaction icon, meaning stop the game and resolve the text. Next comes the Stamina cost, you must exhaust stamina for Reactions too. Don’t worry about the details of Attacking now, but you can see this allows the Witch Master to make unexpected Attacks while inactive. The Heroes have similar opportunities with Reaction Alchemy spells, for example.
The goal of the Action/Reaction terminology, and the consistent “When …” wording, is to make it clear when you can act. Controlling an inactive Character does not mean you are not playing, as your reactions will get you into the game. There will be some careful strategizing so that your powerful Reactions do get triggered!
If you want to see more of the base elements of the game check out the introductory video or take a look at the rule book. We’ll be back with a look at Attacking and Defending soon.
Pick a side!