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Build cities, raise armies, defeat your enemies in this one to four player card game based in the world of Pillars of Eternity.
Build cities, raise armies, defeat your enemies in this one to four player card game based in the world of Pillars of Eternity.
3,724 backers pledged $239,178 to help bring this project to life.

Focus on: Combat

Posted by Zero Radius Games LLC (Creator)

Hello, Backers! As we enter the final stretch of our campaign, let’s finish up our focus on game mechanic updates with the big one: combat. We will cover adventuring and then attacking other players. Plus we have a shout out to a friends at Victory Point Games and their Kickstarter for Dawn of the Zeds, 3rd edition.

First, however, thank you for breaking the $150k stretch goal and unlocking the upgraded dice. Next up at $165k, we have new high-level hero cards. At $180k, there are additional quest cards to be had.

Combat occurs right after the start of the turn. You can choose to either explore an adventure deck or attack another player or pass and go straight to drawing resources. Adventuring and attacking are very similar, so we’ll cover adventuring in depth and then highlight the differences when attacking.

Your first choice is what army cards will participate in the adventure. We call this forming the party. You push forward from 1 to 5 troops and/or heroes (those dungeon hallways are too narrow to bring more people). These cards cannot be exhausted. Cards without Stamina will be exhausted after adventuring and will not be able to protect your city from attacks. You do have an opportunity to hire more troops or heroes after combat.

Here is our example party:

You then select which adventure deck to explore. With the Wilderness, it’s easy – there is only one deck. The Dungeon has three decks; one each for levels 1 to 3. Level 1 is the easiest, with the weakest monsters but the least valuable rewards. Level 3 is tough but also worth the most victory points if you are successful.

Reveal the top card from the chosen adventure deck. As an example, you could draw from the Level 1 Dungeon and encounter a Gul:

Now you resolve any abilities on the monster and your army and/or building cards. You choose the resolution order if there are multiple abilities. For the Overpowering Stench ability on the Gul, you have to choose Zacmar and, unfortunately, his Attack will not apply to this battle. Zacmar's discard-a-troop ability is also canceled by the stench.

You have a total of three Attack compared to the Gul’s Defense of 4. The Gul is not defeated. If you had a Blacksmith or Wizard’s Hut, you could have used that to add the extra Attack needed to beat the Gul. [Insert sad music.]

Now, you have to resolve the Gul’s Attack. Zacmar’s Armor 1 reduces the Gul’s Attack to 2. You could discard the Guard to cover the damage but there are other options, like treasure:

Endurance Potions are the most common treasure type. They are worth VPs at the end of the game, unless they are used up. The potion reduces damage by a die roll but is destroyed afterwards if the result is 3-6. Thematically, tiny sips only heal a little bit, but they last longer.

A roll of 2+ and the Gul’s damage is reduced to 0 and you won’t have to destroy any cards in the party. But if the damage is at least 1, you have to discard cards with a Defense equal or greater than the damage. Defense doesn’t reduce damage; that’s what Armor is for. Defense is how much damage the destroyed card absorbs.

As you can see, combat is fast and furious with a couple key decisions. You will almost always lose at least one card, so a cautious player will want to have some new troops or heroes in hand to replace them. However, troops and heroes are not worth any VPs by themselves at the end of the game so you will need to risk them to maximize your score.

Attacks against players are similar, except there is no limit to the number of cards that can be in the Attacking party. The target player decides which readied troops to defend with and which ones to hold back for a counter-attack when they are the active player or to defend against other players. Otherwise, you still add up all the Attack values. Players decide which cards to destroy to reduce damage. Any damage that gets through the defenders is turned into pillage damage that destroys buildings. Buildings destroyed by pillage are taken as trophies and are worth VPs to the attacker.

Finally, if the defender had any exhausted troops, they are readied after the attack to prevent or defend against future attacks from other players.

And that is combat. Thank you for reading! The preview rulebook is available from here.

If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments below.

Thank you again for your support!

Our friend (and former co-worker) Alan Emrich started Victory Point Games in the attic of his house eight years ago. Chris and Scott have published several games through VPG and would not have started Zero Radius without that experience. VPG has recently launched a Kickstarter for the 3rd edition of their popular Dawn of the Zeds, a cooperative boardgame for 1-4 players. We’ve played the previous editions and had a lot of fun killing zombies. We are most certainly looking forward to this new improved edition!

They have already successfully funded and are now unlocking stretch goals. If you’re interested, check them out here.

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PerfectVirus, Mark Reynolds, and 14 more people like this update.


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    1. Kursh on

      Mhh..still I don't understand something. I can simply drop trash cards and continuosly attack because i'm almost sure I'll kill something. In a 1vs1 match i don't see why I should play valuable cards. Is there a full review somewhere?

    2. Zero Radius Games LLC Creator on

      @deej3344: Correct.

      @Kursh: If you take a single point of pillage, you have to destroy a building from your city that has a Defense greater than or equal to that pillage. So, 1 point of pillage damage will destroy a structure. Thanks! -CRT

    3. Missing avatar

      deej3344 on

      @Kursh, I would assume their explanation for troop combat would apply here. Keeps the game moving and avoids people building up and stalling. Also makes for a different level of strategy as you can't just rush someone constantly. You have to figure out how to attack or adventure without getting pounded by all your friends. Plus, if you think about it from a theme standpoint, if one soldier came into an undefended town, he could destroy a farm on his own since no one was stopping him.

    4. Kursh on

      But..also structures die with at least 1 damage?

    5. Missing avatar

      deej3344 on

      That is what we were thinking. Makes sense. I've been in too many mtg games that drag on with massive walls and I'm glad to see we can keep this moving. Thanks!

    6. Brian Garber on

      Combat resolution is a lot like resolving attrition in the old Star Wars ccg by Decipher. If you have any damage coming your way you have to discard characters to nullify it. I like that rule since it makes you want to play with a mix of cheap/weak characters and expensive/strong ones instead of only the best. It sucked sacrificing Yoda to resolve one point of attrition when he could hypothetically absorb 6-7 because I didn't bother keeping a little Ewok around.

    7. Zero Radius Games LLC Creator on

      Combat is meant to be both fast and violent. Troops get hired and can die quickly.

      Defense is used to soak up attack points and the army card that soaks it up gets destroyed. Only armor points can actually negate incoming attack points. The reason for this is to keep the game moving and keep people from building up insane defense values that can't possibility be breached. If you had the defense only destroy the unit if it matched or exceeded the value, players would have massive defenses that no one could break without even more massive attacks. It keeps things moving and small attacks can still whittle away a larger force.

      We've done extensive playtesting on the combat system and we found this worked best to keep the game from getting bogged down in endless combats that didn't have any winners.

      Hope that helps.

    8. Kursh on

      @Deej: Same question here...If Monster deals 1 damage and I have defense 4...why have I to kill my hero? card is destroyed..I get point from that card or it's just away from the game?

    9. Missing avatar

      deej3344 on

      Can you give any insight as to why a single point of damage can kill a high defense troop? Most games have damage tokens or they just absorb damage. Was this to keep the game moving and make it harder to build up a wall for stalling or was there something thematically to influence this. Thematically, it makes sense that if one guy gets through defenses, he could pillage a building with no one there to guard it, but I'm not seeing it with troop combat. I don't mind the way you've gone and I can't wait to try it, but I'm just curious what brought that about.

    10. Zero Radius Games LLC Creator on

      @Jonathan: Whoops, should have used "destroy" instead of "discard". Destroy gets rid of cards in play, discard gets rid of cards in hand.

      If you take X damage, you must destroy any number of cards that have a Defense that add up to X or more. If you take 1 point of damage, you have to destroy one card (because all cards have a Defense of 1 or higher). If you take 2 points of damage, you have to destroy one card with Defense of 2 or higher or two cards with Defense 1 and so on. Hope that helps!

    11. Jonathan Walker on

      Just to make sure I understand, the update states "But if the damage is at least 1, you have to discard cards with a Defense equal or greater than the damage." Wouldn't this be if the Defense is equal or less than the damage?

    12. Scott Everts

      The guard is a troop and the effect only hits heroes. There are 2 different army card types and effects can either affect one or both. But will be spelled out with keywords "Troop" or "Hero". Hope that helps!

    13. Jared Schulz

      Why wouldn't you choose the guard to get hit by the overpowering stench so that way you could defeat the bad guy still?