Setup and Game Summary:
Everyone starts with the same starting deck, and has 5 cards in front of them, their Card Queue, that they can buy from-collectively, these make up the Card Ring. You buy cards from your Card Queue to add them to your deck, and at the end of every turn the Card Ring rotates to the left, so you get one new card in your Card Queue from the opponent to your right’s Card Queue, and give one to the opponent to your left. There are 4 enemies available to fight, 2 of whom are replaced regularly. You kill monsters to gain Experience Points, and when the game ends the player with the most XP wins. The game ends when the Main Deck or the Enemy Deck runs out of cards, or when someone defeats the Finale.
The turn consists of 4 phases, played in order. Everyone takes their turn simultaneously. If there is ever a dispute as to what order two players may act in, such as who plays a movement card first or who gets to buy the last Greater Fight, then the player with the lowest XP gets to pick the order. If there’s still a tie, have the disputing players have engage in a duel to the death. The loser, in compensation for having lost, shall decide the order of play. Alternatively, play Rock Paper Scissors or flip a coin.
When everyone is done with one phase, they agree to move on to the next phase.
Play as many cards as you want from your hand. You do not have to play a card if you do not want to. You will play cards that give you Skill, Fight, Failure, Draw, and other special abilities. You do not have a limited number of actions: if you have a card in your hand, you can play it, if you want.
You can buy any cards that you have sufficient Skill to afford. You can buy as many cards as you want, as long as you have enough Skill to afford the sum of their costs.
You pick one monster to fight: either of the three visible Enemies, the Training Dummy, or the Finale. After everyone declares their targets, you distribute your Failure among your opponents. Everyone who has a Total Fight of their Fight – the Failure assigned to them that is greater than or equal to the Combat Value of the enemy they chose to fight wins, everyone who has less, loses. You do not have to fight anything if you don’t want to. Certain monsters, called Traps, are defeated with Total Skill = Unspent Skill – Failure.
Your Skill and Fight reset to 0. Discard any cards left in your hand and all cards you played this turn. You draw a new hand of 5 cards, and suffer any penalties from losing or gain any benefits from winning against the enemy you fought in the Combat Phase. The Card Ring rotates one: the leftmost card in your Card Queue becomes the rightmost card in the Card Queue of the player to your left, and in turn you gain the leftmost card of the player to your right. Check to see if the game ends: if the Main Deck or Enemy Deck is empty, or if someone killed the Finale. If not, the next turn begins in the Play Phase.
This is a deck building game, which means that all players start with identical starting decks, purchase cards to improve their decks, and then use those cards for a variety of purposes. The object of the game is to kill the monsters and acquire the most experience points by the end of the game. Cards give 4 basic kinds of bonus: Draw (which lets you draw more cards from your personal deck), Fight (which increases your Total Fight, letting you defeat larger monsters), Failure (which you spend on an opponent to decrease their Total Fight), Skill (which you use to purchase cards and bypass Traps), and assorted other effects. For instance, take the card Royal Bounty(5) +1 Fight. If you win a combat this turn, +1 Exp.
This card costs 5 Skill to purchase, gives you a +1 bonus to your Fight this round, and has a miscellaneous effect-if you defeat your target monster, you get an additional 1 experience point beyond what you normally would receive for beating that monster.
Many cards contradict what the rules say here. If a card contradicts what the rules say, then go with what the card says.
If you “discard” a card, then it goes into your Discard Pile and will eventually be shuffled back into your Draw Pile: it remains in your deck. If you “trash” a card, then it is permanently removed from the game-you will never draw it again.
Each player starts with a starting deck consisting of seven Minor Skill (1 Skill) cards and three Minor Fight (1 Fight) cards. Shuffle your personal deck and draw a hand of 5 cards.
There are two main areas of the play space to pay attention to: the Card Ring, made up of the Card Queues of each player, and the Combat Zone. The Card Queue determines what cards you have available to buy. Each player starts with 5 cards available to them, dealt out of the Main Deck. Buying cards is explained in the Turn Order: Buying section of the rules. In addition, there is an inexhaustible supply of these two cards, available to everyone for purchase:
Greater Skill (3) 2 Skill.
Greater Combat (3) 2 Fight.
The Combat Zone contains the monsters you have available to fight this turn. The Training Dummy (combat 2, win: Trash a card in your hand or graveyard, lose: nothing) is always available (you can always keep training), as is the Finale. There are also three creatures from the Enemy Deck available each turn-either Adversaries or Traps. Combat will be explained in the Turn Order: Combat section.
And that’s all there is for the setup! Let’s get started playing.
Turns are taken simultaneously. All players play cards in the Play Cards phase, then once everyone agrees they are done playing cards, all players move on to the Buy Cards phase, and then once everyone agrees that they are done purchasing new cards, all players move on to the Combat phase. Once everyone agrees that the Combat phase is over, the Recovery Phase happens, and then the next turn begins, and everyone begins the Play Cards phase simultaneously.
Your hand is hidden from other players, but the cards you have played are not. For instance, if asked how much Failure you have showing, you must answer honestly.
In this phase you play as many cards as you want from your hand, immediately gaining their benefits. There is no limit to the number of actions you have: if you have it in your hand, you can play it.
You do not need to play all the cards in your hand if you do not want to, cards you do not play will simply be discarded at the end of the turn.If you do play a card, you must do all of the actions printed on the card unless it says “you may”.
Most cards that you play will be discarded at the end of your turn, but there are some that remain in play, giving you their bonus each turn and not counting towards your hand size.
You’ve played some cards that give you Skill, now it’s time to use that Skill to acquire new cards.
Each player has 5 Card Spaces in their Card Queue, with one card from the Main Deck in each card space. They can purchase as many of these as they can afford; there is no limit to the number of cards you can buy in a turn as long as you have enough Skill remaining to afford them. For instance, with 5 Skill available, you could buy something worth 2 and something worth 3, something worth 5, etc. You need not spend all your Skill; there is no penalty for ending the turn with unspent skill, though it does not carry over from turn to turn. You do not need to buy anything if you do not want to.
Cards that you buy go into your discard pile, they do not go into play immediately.
When a card is bought, slide your remaining cards that are to the right of the Card Space that is now unoccupied one space to the left to fill the empty Card Space, then draw a new card from the Main Deck to fill the now empty rightmost Card Space. So for instance, if your cards look like this and you buy card C:
it will look like
Slide to the left,
and draw a new card.
There should always be 5 cards in everyone’s Card Queue. If at any time there aren’t, slide the cards that are to the right of the empty space(s) to the left and fill the now rightmost empty space(s) with cards from the Main Deck.
Note: sometimes you may have a lot of Skill to spend and nothing that you want to buy. In this instance, you may buy a card for 2 less than its normal cost and immediately trash it, in order to clear up empty space for new cards in your Card Queue.
Now it’s time to put those cards to use! You’ve probably played some cards that have Fight values on them, and may have played some cards that have Failure values on them. Count up your Fight values, decide which monster you want to attack-the Training Dummy, any one of the three current faceup Enemies, the Finale, or no one-and declare your target. Once all players have declared targets, then the players who played cards with Failure values decide who to assign their Failure points to. These can be split up: for instance, if you have Curses, Foiled Again!(6) 3 Failure. If an opponent loses a fight this turn, they must discard a card, in addition to the Losing penalty you may assign 2 Failure to one opponent and 1 to another, and all players other than you must discard an extra card if they lose, even if you did not give them any Failure.
Your Total Fight is calculated as follows:
Sum of Fight from cards you played – Sum of Failure opponents assigned to you = Total Fight.
If your Total Fight is greater than or equal to the Fight Value of the enemy you selected as your opponent, you defeat it and gain the benefit listed after Win. If your Total Fight is less than the Fight Value of the Enemy, you do not defeat it and you must suffer the penalty listed after Lose.
If an Enemy is defeated by even one player, then during the Recovery Phase it will be discarded and replaced with a new Adversary.
The Training Dummy and Finale are never discarded. The Finale has two special traits: if you defeat it, the game ends, and if you lose to it, you cannot be the next person to fight it. More precisely, if you lose to the Finale during a turn where at least one other person did not fight it, then you cannot target it until after a turn where someone other than you targets it.
Note on Traps: Sometimes an enemy from the Enemy Deck will actually be a Trap, not an Adversary. These are defeated using Total Skill = your unspent Skill – Failure assigned to you.
Your Skill, Fight, and Failure reset to 0. Discard all cards you played this turn and any cards remaining in your hand, draw a new hand of 5 cards and suffer any losing penalties or gain any winning benefits from your most recent combat. In some cases you will be affected by more than one Win or Lose condition, such as if two opponents each defeat a Poison Needle Trap (Win: 2 Exp and opponents Discard 1) then the effects stack: in the example, you would Draw 5 like normal, and then Discard 2.
Discard any defeated Adversaries or Traps and draw a new card from the Enemy Deck so that there remain 3 Enemies in play. Check to see if the game ends. The game can end in one of three ways: the final Enemy card is discarded, the Main Deck runs out of cards, or the Finale is defeated.
Every player slides all of the cards in their Card Queue one space to the left, and their leftmost card becomes the rightmost card of the opponent sitting on their left. So if Alice and Bob end a turn with their Card Queues looking like this:
then they begin the next turn with their Card Queues looking like