You will need a pen and paper, or use some other way of tracking damage (like 2 ten-sided dice) for each creature in play.
Players begin with only a center Stronghold in play for each player. If there are only two players, each may have two strongholds and two Guardians. Each player chooses a different Guardian and places it behind the Stronghold. Each Stronghold space has 3 empty spaces in front of it where players will be able to place Terrain just like in the base game.
For the Infernal, there is no Stronghold. Instead, the Infernal is placed along with an accompanying Planar card. All Vassals (identified by the word "Vassal" on the back) are placed faced down in the Conflict Deck, which is then shuffled. In addition, place 9 or 12 copies (depending on the number of Terrain spaces) of the Planar card face down in the Conflict Deck. Place the Control Card in play so that the players can read it.
Unlike the base game, players will draw only 6 cards instead of 12. The Infernal draws a number of cards listed on the Control Card. Players now place Shields and Creatures on their Stronghold, observing the 30 vitality space limit. Players may trade creatures and Shields with each other...for every card a player gives up, he must receive one in return. Once each player has their Shields ready, it's time to place the Infernal's cards. If the card is a Rune, it is put in play on the left. If it is an Artifact, it gets attached to the Infernal. If it is a Trial, place it next to the Planar card, and it stays in effect for the turn. If a Planar Card is drawn, put it under the one next to the Infernal.
If a Vassal is drawn, it is placed face down in a formation similar to a pyramid, across from each Stronghold and just beyond the empty Terrain spaces. If there are 3 Strongholds, the first row of Vassals contains 3, the second row 2, and the third row 1 Vassal. If there are 4 Strongholds, the first row of Vassals contains 4, the second row 3, and so on. Vassals enter into a free space closest to the front, so if there are 3 Strongholds and 2 Vassals in the front row, the next Vassal would also be placed in the front row, and a Vassal placed after that would go in the second row. Roll to see where a Vassal is placed if there is more than one place open. When a Vassal moves and creates an open space, a Vassal behind it may then move forward.
(Note: I'll create a map to better illustrate this in an upcoming post).
Similar to the base game, players move out into the Terrain spaces and place Terrain. After all players have moved, the Vassals across from them now move. When a Vassal moves to an empty Terrain Space, place a Planar Card on the space instead of Terrain if one is available. There must always be a Planar Card next to the Infernal. For card text purposes, Vassals are considered to be under a Shield even though they don't have one. When a player's Shield and a Vassal occupy the same space, combat ensues. The players' goal is to move Shields to the Planar area and destroy the Infernal.
Unlike the base game, combat damage is permanent. Think of a creature's Vitality as both an attack value (or damage dealt), and as health (or damage that can be taken, and will still be referred to as Vitality). Let's use an example based on a Shield from one of CJ's examples: Chris's Shield. Chris runs into a Vassal but can't see what he's facing. Chris plays a Vitales Dark Cloud and does 4 damage to the Vassal. In a normal game, the Vitales probably wouldn't affect the Vassal, but here it takes 4 damage permanently.
Next Chris plays Wild Nymph, while the Vassal is flipped to reveal a Valkyrie Champion, a Vitality 44 Vassal that has an AOE destroying channeling receivers. Valkyrie Champion hits the table and launches the AOE. Wild Nymph is a channeling receiver and is discarded. Had Wild Nymph not been a channeling receiver, it would have taken 44 damage and been destroyed, but it also would have dealt 4 damage. Chris also is forced to discard Wraith, which is also a channeling receiver.
Primary attacks have ended and now secondary attacks begin. Chris plays Snogwart, doing 8 points of damage; Supermodel, doing 1 point damage; and finally Archer, doing 6 damage. The Valkyrie Champion has taken 19 points damage, but is in good shape with 25 Vitality remaining. Chris must retreat his Shield and reinforce quickly.
Notice that no channeling was initiated by the Infernal. If channeling did occur, it would be permanent. Let's say that Valkyrie Champion received 8 points of channeling during combat. That 8 points is permanent, so Valkyrie Champion's Vitality, if it was 44, is now 52. It's attack value is unchanged. The Infernal loses one Power Stone when channeling, just like a Guardian. The Infernal's Control Card will state under what conditions it will channel. Guardian channeling is the opposite: it is not permanent, and increases both attack value and Vitality (but only during the matchup).
Vassals will move across the playing field and try to kill Guardians. Players must work together to stop the Vassals while at the same time try to take the fight to the Infernal. Also, unlike the base game, a Guardian can travel under a Shield and give and receive damage, including attacking Infernals! If a player loses his Guardian(s), he is out of the game.
MDL: if a player controls more Terrain than any other, he gains MDL.
LDL: if a player controls the least amount of Terrain, he suffers LDL.
LUC: the lowest upcard among the players gains LUC.
The opposing Infernal does not affect MDL, LDL, or LUC.
Challenging an Infernal is similar to fighting a Vassal. The players do damage to it with their creatures or Guardians. The Control Card will indicate when the Infernal should be flipped to trigger its special ability. For card text and rules purposes, Infernals should be treated like Guardians. For example, if a card states that its ability only affects non-Guardian creatures, it would also not affect an Infernal. Once an Infernal's Conflict Deck is empty, it may destroy 1 Stronghold per turn (roll to see which one). Once all Strongholds are rubbled, the Infernal destroys 1 Guardian per turn (again, roll to see which one).
End of Game
The game ends when either the Infernal is defeated, or all Guardians are defeated.
# of Players
- 2 players: each player controls 2 Guardians and 2 Strongholds, as well as 2 decks.
- 3 players: each player controls 1 Guardian and 1 Stronghold with 1 deck. Alternate: same as 2 player game with player 3 controlling the Infernal.
- 4 players: each player controls 1 Guardian and 1 Stronghold with 1 deck. Alternate: same as 3 player game with player 4 controlling the Infernal.
- 5 players: same as 4 player game with player 5 controlling the Infernal.
I'll post a sample game soon with illustrations of key points, although I'll need to develop a few more cards first...