A "unique" game from Fantasy Flight see it on BGG
If the active player has enough Æmber to forge a key, they must do so.
The active player chooses one of their 3 houses to activate, making it the active house for the turn. The active house determines what cards can be played, discarded or used.
The active player can play, discard or use any number of cards of the active house in any order.
The active player readies each of their exhausted cards
The active player draws from their deck until they have 6 cards in hand.
There are 4 types of cards in the game.
When an action card is played, the player resolves the card's "Play:" ability. After resolving as much of the ability as possible, the card is placed in the discard pile.
Artifacts enter play exhausted and are placed in a row in front of the player, but behind the battle line. Artifacts remain in play from turn to turn.
There are 2 types of abilities that enable a player to use an artifact: "Action:" and "Omni:" abilities.
Creatures enter play exhausted and are placed in the front row of the active player's play area (in front of any artifacts, if any). This row is known as the "battle line". Creatures remain in play from turn to turn.
When a creature enters play, it must be placed on a flank (at the far right or left of the battle line). When a creature leaves play, shift the battle line inward to close the gap.
When using a creature, the player exhausts it. The player has the option to reap, fight, or trigger the creature's "Action:" ability.
When a creature takes damage, place the an amount of damage tokens equal to the damage dealt on the it. If the amount of damage is greater than or equal to the creature's power, it is destroyed and discarded.
If the creature has an armor value, the armor prevents that much incoming damage each turn.
Upgrades enter play attached to a creature. Each upgrade remains in play from turn to turn continually modifying the card it is attached to.
When resolving a card ability, resolve as much of the ability as can be resolved, and ignore the rest. Unless otherwise specified, the active player makes all decisions while resolving an ability.
If a card ability allows a player to play/use another card (or fight or reap with a card), the chosen card can belong to any house unless the ability specifically states otherwise.
Sometimes a situation will arise when a card may be played or used repeatedly during the same turn. A player cannot play and/or use the same card and/or other copies of that card (by title) more than 6 times during a given turn.
If a card has an ability that does not have a bold precursor, then the ability is a constant ability that is active while the card is in play (and meets any conditions specified on the card).
Chains reduce the amount of cards a player can draw. The chain tracker (in the starter set) breaks this down.
Each time (including during setup) a player with one or more chains would draw 1 or more cards to refill their hand, that player draws fewer cards (based on their current chain level, below) and then reduces the chain counter by 1.
|1 - 6||1 fewer card|
|7 - 12||2 fewer cards|
|13 - 18||3 fewer cards|
|19 - 24||4 fewer cards|
An ability is the special game text a card adds to the game.
Unless an ability explicitly references an out-of-play area (such as the discard), that ability can only interact with cards that are in play.
To use an "Action:" ability, the active player must exhaust the card. The ability then resolves.
The active house is the house that the active player has chosen for the current turn
The active player is the player taking the current turn. The active player makes all necessary decisions for all card abilties or timing conflicts that need to resolve.
A player's archives is a facedown game area in front of that player's identity card. Card abilities are the only means by which a player is premitted to add cards to their archives. During step 2 of a player's turn, after they select an active house, the active player can pick up all cards in their archives and add those to their hand.
Some creatures have an armor value to the right of the card title. Armor prevents an amount of damage equal to the armor value that the creature would take each turn.
When a creature with the assault (X) keyword attacks, it deals damage equal to its assault value (i.e. "X") to the creature it is fighting before the fight resolves. The active player chooses whether this occurs before or after other "Before Fight" effects and keywords. If this destroys the other creature, the rest of the fight does not occur.
The battleline is the ordered line of creatures a player controls.
See also: Creatures
If the word "before" is used in an ability (Ex: "Before Reap:"), that ability resolves before resolving the game effect of the reap/fight/etc., but after the card exhausts if exhausting is required to use the card.
Captured Æmber is taken from an opponent's poll and placed on a creature controlled by the capturing player. Players may not spend captured Æmber.
When a creature with Æmber on it leaves play, the Æmber is placed in the opponent's pool.
If a player gains chains, the player increases their chain tracker by the number of chains gained.
If a player has any chains when refilling their hand, they draw fewer cards.
|1 - 6||1 fewer card|
|7 - 12||2 fewer cards|
|13 - 18||3 fewer cards|
|19 - 24||4 fewer cards|
A player owns the cards that begin the game in their deck. When a card enters play, it is under its owner's control.
The base cost to forge a key is 6 Æmber. This cost may be modified by card abilities. The modified cost is referred to as the current cost.
Damage a creature has taken is tracked by placing damage tokens on the creature. If a creature has an amount of damage on >= to its power, the creature is destroyed.
When a card is destroyed, it is placed in its owner's discard pile.
If a card has a "Destroyed:" ability, the effect resolves automatically when the card is destroyed, immediately before it leaves play.
When a card is destroyed or discarded, it is placed on the owner's discard pile. The cards in the discard pile are open information and may be referenced at any time.
The 1st time a creature with the elusive keyword is attacked each turn, it is dealt no damage and deals no damage to the attacker in the fight.
End of turn effects are resolved when a player's turn is over, which is after step 5 (the "Draw Cards" step).
If a card ability refers to an "enemy" game element, it refers to an element currently controlled by the opponent.
When a player uses a creature to fight, the player exhausts the creature and chooses an opponent's creature. Both creatures deal an amount of damage equal to their power value to the opposing creature in the fight. Both are considered to be "fighting" for the purposes of card effects.
If an ability instructs a player to "fight with" or "ready and fight with" a creature, the ability is granting the player permission to use the designated creature to fight. The fight is resolve following the standard rules for fighting, against a creature controlled by the opponent.
The creatures on the far right or left of a player's battleline are on the flanks of the line. A creature in this position is referred to as a flank creature. Any time a creature enters play or changes control, the active player chooses which flank of its controller's battleline it is placed on.
See forge a key.
If a card ability refers to a "friendly" game element, it refers to an element currently under the control of the same player.
When a creature with the hazardous X keyword is attacked, it deals X damage to the attacking creature before the fight resolves. The active player chooses whether this occurs before or after other "Before Fight" effects and keywords. If this damage destroys the other creature, the rest of the fight does not occur.
If an ability "heals" a creature, remove the specified amaount of damage from the creature.
Each turn, a player must choose of the three houses indicated by their identity card, if able. Some card abilities may restrict a player's house choice.
If an ability includes the phrase "if you do" or "in order to", the player referenced by the ability must successfully and completely resolve the text that precedes that phrase before they can resolve or perform the text that follows the phrase.
The 1st player to force all 3 of their keys immediately wins the game.
A reference to the "least powerful" creature refers to the creature in play with the lowest power. If there are multiple creatures that qualify, each is considered "least powerful".
If a card that is in play leaves play (is returned to hand, deck, destroyed, discarded, archived, or purged), all non-Æmber tokens and status cards on the card are removed, all upgrades on the card are discarded, and all lasting effects applied to the card expire.
This symbol indicates that a card is a maverick. A maverick is an extremely rare instance of a card that has left its standard house and is now part of a new house. For all game purposes, treat a maverick as belonging to the house printed on its graphic template.
If an ability includes the word "may", the text that follows "may" is optional. If a player chooses to resolve a "may" ability, they must resovle as much of the ability as they are able.
See Least Powerful. The rules are the same.
During setup, each player, starting with the 1st player, has 1 opportunity to mulligan their starting hand. This is done by shuffling the starting hand back into the deck and drawing a new starting hand with 1 fewer card in it.
The creatures to the immediate left and right of a creature in a player's battleline are its neighbors.
The active player may trigger any "Omni:" abilities under their control during any of their turns, even if the card with the "Omni:" ability does not belong to the active house.
An off house card is any card that belongs to a house that is not the active house.
When a creature is involved in a fight (either because it was used to figh, or because it was attacked by another creature), the other creature in the fight is the opposing creature.
If a player must pay Æmber to an opponent, the Æmber is removed from the paying player's poll and added to the opponent's pool.
When a card has a "Play:" ability, the effect occurs any time the card is played. For creatures, artifacts, and upgrades, the ability resolves immediately after the card enters play. For action cards, the ability resolves, and then the card is placed in the owner's discard pile.
Any damage dealt via the power of a creature with the poison keyword during a fight destroys the damaged creature. This occurs when the damage is successfully applied to the opposing creature.
When a creature is given a "+1 power counter", one such status card is placed on the creature. For each of these cards that is on a creature, that creature's power is increased by 1.
If a card text instructs players to repeat a preceeding effect, the entirety of the effect before the text providing the instruction to repeat resolves again.
When a card is purged, it is removed from the game and placed facedown beneath its owner's identity card. Purged cards no longer interact with the game state in any manner.
A card's rarity symbol can be found at the bottom of the card, near the collector number. A card's rarity (common, uncommon, rare, or special) is used by the deck-generation algorithm to determine how frequently it will appear in decks. Special cards have a different type of distribution and do not obey the game's standard rarity rules.
When a player uses a creature to reap, the player exhausts the creature, gains 1 Æmber for their pool, and then all "Reap:" abilities on the creature resolve.
When a captured Æmber is returned, it is placed in the opponent's Æmber pool.
Whena player is instructed to sacrifice a card, that player must discard that card from play.
When a player searches a game area (such as a deck), that player looks at all the cards in the specified area without showing those cards to the opponent. A player may choose to fail to find the object of a search.
If a card's ability refers to its own title, that reference is only to itself and not to other copies of the card.
When a creature with the skirmish keyword is used to fight, it takes no damage from the opposing creature when the damage from the fight is dealt.
When an ability deals damage to a creature "with splash damage", the splash damage is dealt to each of the target creature's neighbors.
When an ability steals Æmber, the stolen Æmber is removed from the opponent's Æmber pool and added to the pool of the player resolving the steal ability.
When a creature becomes stunned, place a stun status card on it. The next time the creature is used, the only thing that happens is the creature exhausts and the stun card is removed. It does not reap or fight, and any "Reap:", "Fight:", or "Action:" abilities on the creature do not resolve.
If 2 game elements are swapped, they exchange places with one another.
If a creature has the taunt keyword, any of its neighbors that do not have the taunt keyword cannot be attacked by an enemy creature that is being used to fight.
If an ability refers to an effect that occurred "this way", it is referring to an effect that was produced by the same resolution of that same ability.
Traits are descriptive attributes (such as "Knight" or "Specter") that may be referenced by other cards. Traits are listed at the top center of a card's text box.
If a previously forged key is "unforged", flip the key token to its unforged side. The key no longer counts toward its controller's victory condition and must be forged again to win the game.
See Card Types for info on using cards.