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BLOOD WARS(TM) Card Game Answers II 14 March 1995 Steven Schend America Online and all Boards In-Between
Ok, here we are a little more than one week after the release of my "baby," the BLOOD WARS card game, and I can't believe the deluge of commentary! In four days, I've received 32 pages of printed remarks on my desk that need responses ASAP. Good or bad, keep all the comments coming, because we're taking it all in and using it to think about the successive releases in the game. Ok, enough opening comments--on with the Q&A! Topic: From: PDate: Misprinted Cards [A whole lot of folks] 6-14 March 1995
Well, many people mention a couple of cards that are misprinted; rather than hit each question or comment, here are the cards with printing or format errors (and what they should be): -----BATTLEFIELDS "Sheela Peryroyl's Realm" has an incorrect art border. The border should be a square, not oblong border. -----WARLORDS "Bladeling Hero" has an incorrect color in the Challenge Box. It should have the white/gray split color under the "N" instead of the full gray color. "Hawk Lord" is incorrectly labeled in the Challenge Box. The bottom left box should read "12 IS" instead of "12 VP." "Nalfeshnee Captain" is incorrectly labeled in the Challenge Box as a NE Warlord. The box should have a "CE" on top with a red color behind the "C" and gray behind the "E". House Rule: Given the nature of this error, you have to decide which alignment to play it as: the proper tanar'ri CE or a traitor tanar'ri NE Warlord. It's really a matter of voting among the players, though you should decide this at the start of each game. Topic: From: PDate: Random Results Patrick Dolan (pat_dolan@BIX.com) 7 March 1995
Question: "Several other cards . . . state to draw a card and use its RR number for something. Does this card get discarded?" Response: Due to limited space, we couldn't always mention that same rule, but it does apply in all cases (unless a card specifically mentions otherwise--I can't recall any card out of the first 602 I designed that is an exception, but I had to add this tagline anyway to cover that eventuality.). Repeat after me: IF YOU NEED AN "RR" NUMBER, ALWAYS DRAW A CARD OFF THE TOP OF YOUR DRAW PILE AND DISCARD IT!
Topic: From: PDate:
Unopposed Challenges Patrick Dolan (pat_dolan@BIX.com) 7 March 1995
Question/Statement: "No mention is ever made about what to do if nobody wants to fight you." Response: The same things happen to the Challenger, whether he is resisted or not. In other words, an unopposed Challenger in Intrigue must still draw and discard a Hidden Ally for RR, flip, and unflip at the end of his turn. An unopposed Challenger in Combat still discards all Legions and Fates in his Battle Hand (unless they are protected by Fate: Supports or Spirit powers)---think of this discard as the troops occupying the Battlefield. Topic: From: PDate: Battle Hands & Flipped/Unflipped Cards Patrick Dolan (pat_dolan@BIX.com) 7 March 1995
Question: "Do both players show their hands to one another, and then play the cards, or do they keep them hidden from one another the whole time? Also, the Resolution Phase specifically contradicts the early rule by saying that players now turn any flipped Warlords, along with their battle hands, face up?" Response: Battle Hands are kept hidden under Warlords at all times. The only time another player sees what's in that hand is when a power is used to look into hands or when the card itself is used. Following the normal pattern, players stuff extra Fate or Shock Troops into Battle Hands, set aside Command Hands, and pick up Battle Hands. Warlords are either set aside or activated first (unless otherwise noted), Legion powers are used (i.e. a Berserker is discarded to force the other player to discard a Legion, etc.), and once both players have used all the powers they wish, they both spread out all the remaining cards in their Battle Hands, assigning Fate to particular Legions if needed and adding up the CS totals. If a player doesn't wish to activate a Fate card, it still goes to the discard, but effects only happen when the player wishes them to. And yes, even that Warlord you just used in Combat unflips at the end of your turn. This mechanic ensures that each player has the maximum number of options to work with outside of his own turn; of course, the more you do outside your turn, the more Warlords flip over, and you've fewer to use during your own turn. This allows people to be active at all times, not just working during your turn and twiddling your thumbs in someone else's turn. Topic: From: PDate: Dealmaking in Intrigue Jeremy York (firstname.lastname@example.org) 7 March 1995
Question: " . . . rules or guidelines for cutting deals, making promises . . . I'd suggest discussing house rules on deals (e.g. are future promises binding? Can players trade cards?) before playing."
Response: House rules might be a good idea for Intrigue, and that's all up to you and your friends. Trading cards is simply up to the players involved, but those cards shouldn't be exchanged until the end of that game, so the decks stay legal during play. It was really my intent to leave this as open as possible to allow for maximum "backstabbing" potential. Anyone who's played with me or Lester knows better than to trust any promises we might make during Intrigue Challenges---especially if we agree at once and are smiling. . . . Remember, it's the Blood War, so deals and promises are only made to be broken. Topic: From: PDate: Timing of Fate Cards Jason Grundy (email@example.com) 8 March 1995
Question: "There is nothing on the timing of Fate cards. . . . Why isn't anything covered in the rule book? It IS currently a race to see who plays Fate first." Response: Just like the rules state, you play Fate cards at any time, so attempting to impose some orderly way to do so is a waste of time. In some ways, it IS SUPPOSED to be a race on who plays a Fate card down, but there are always strategies for doing so, from forcing another player to burn cards when they can't afford to do so, etc. If you're really having a problem over who gets to play a card (if attempted simultaneously), have the conflicting players draw a card for RR and the highest RR gets to play his/her card first. Cards that cancel the effects of other Fate cards are used and then discarded. If you play a Pandemonium Madness on a Warlord, that Warlord's player can play a Crown of Protection or a Protection vs. Fate out of his Command Hand to cancel it; the Fate cards go to discard after use. Items played out of a Command Hand like the Crown (or Amulet or Ring) are assumed to be used by a Warlord---they are not limited to use only by Legions (like the Scepter of Shekelor), and they do not force a Warlord to discard. Topic: From: PDate: Misc. Info on Cards Jason Grundy (firstname.lastname@example.org) 8 March 1995
Question: "Why are there all these things on the cards that have no effect?" Response: Be patient---there will be. . . . Battlefield alignments, races, home planes and home realms, and particular alignment groups are noted on each card for flavor and to tie it with the PLANESCAPE(TM) Campaign Setting. They are also all factors that are being used in future Escalation Packs as well as some variant rules that I'm trying to work on in my none-too-copious spare time. . . . . Topic: From: Combat Challenge Wins & Losses Baywee (AOL)
9 March 1995
Question: "If the Challenger wins the Combat, but doesn't win by enough CS to capture the Battlefield (Greater than or equal to its VP), what happens to the Battlefield?" Response: The Battlefield is discarded; thematically, you didn't have enough troops to occupy the area so you couldn't hold it after the battle concluded. Remember though---the Challenger won the Combat, so the Defender does not gain Spoils of Victory (RR amt. of cards). The Defender simply sacrificed his army to weaken his foe enough to prevent him from holding the territory in question--an admittedly annoying tactic that I've enjoyed doing immensely! Topic: From: PDate: Flipped Battle Hands Jeremy York (email@example.com) 10 March 1995
Question: "How are you supposed to indicate that a battle hand is flipped?" Response: Flip the battle hand over so all you can see is the card backs. That's what we intended for both flipping Warlords and Battle Hands---if you can't see the cards, you obviously can't play them. You cannot do anything with a flipped Battle Hand (no additional stacking, no action, etc.) except wait to unflip it during Resolution Phase. Topic: From: PDate: Fate card play Michael Peceny (peceny@Informatik.TU-Muenchen.DE) 10 March 1995
Question: "[Fate cards] can only be played from the Command Hand, don't they? . . . Are only card that use a Combat Power showed by putting them on the table? . . . how am I to decide whether to use this ability and on what Items?" Response: The majority of Fate card play will come from the Command Hand, that's true. But, during Combat, you only have access to what you have in your Battle Hand (your Command Hand is off-limits once the Challenge is accepted), so if you want to use Fates in Combat Challenges, that's where they go. Oh, by the way, other players can launch Fate card powers at you or each other at any time (this assumes that a card's effects do take effect at that time). Yes, this does mean they can throw an Assassination Plot at both Warlords in a Challenge, even if they're not involved directly. For that matter, they could help or hinder you by cancelling Fates or Warlord powers with other Fate play. Yes, it adds to the confusion, but that's part of the fun. Use of card powers is always a gamble. You've got to choose blindly if you think a card's power is worth sacrificing it to discard or flipping; most often, your opponent chooses which cards of his own are affected by powers---your choice is in forfeiting
higher Combat Strengths for alternate powers of Legions et al. To use the power, the card is placed out to determine effect and then is flipped or discarded as noted, along with its target cards. Most of the Legion powers that target other Legions are played against a blind Battle Hand, and the opponent adjusts his hand according to the power effects; Battle Hands are not fully revealed until the final Combat Strength totalling is done at the end of Combat. Topic: From: PDate: Unused Fate cards in a Battle Hand Michael Peceny (peceny@Informatik.TU-Muenchen.DE) 10 March 1995
Question: " . . . Have I understood correctly that unplayed Fate Cards in a Battle Hand when CS is added up count as 1 CS?" Response: Yup. If you don't end up using the particular Fate card's powers at any time during the Combat Challenge, simply flip the card over and have it count as a 1 CS Legion. It's going to the discard anyway, so it ought to have some use. This happens quite often when I've got a bunch of Fate cards that prevent powers to protect Legions that never get powers used on them--use `em as 1CS Legions. Topic: From: PDate: Shield Maidens of Odin Jason Grundy (firstname.lastname@example.org) 10 March 1995
Question: " . . . the Shield Maidens' power has to be Combat, at the very least they're Dead-Booked when they use it. . . . " Response: Not to argue, Jason, but you're a bit off here. Here's what's what. THE CARD IN QUESTION: The Shield Maidens of Odin, a.k.a. the Valkyries, are a Legion card with a specific Intrigue power. As the card states, "The Shield maidens can retrieve Legions from the discard pile to the Command Hand. Draw and discard a card, checking its RR for the number of Legions." This is followed by the discard activator symbol. THE CARD IN ACTION & INTENT: I simply wanted a card that mimicked the valkyries' collecting the dead souls of fallen warriors (i.e. Legions in discard). I also meant to allow players a last chance to supplement their Command Hands with Legions. So, an Intrigue Challenge is set up, and a player gets involved with one Warlord. Warlord powers are used after all Warlords are committed to the Intrigue. Then, Legion powers can be activated; use the Shield Maidens' power as stated, restoring an RR number of Legions to your Command Hand, and then discard the Shield Maidens. Sure, if you bring up a number of Terrorist cards or other Intrigue-effective Legions, you can wreak havoc---THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS CARD! As another aspect of strategy, use this card during Intrigue to stall for time, pull in a lot of Legions, and then follow up with a Upper Planar Recruitment or Lower Planar Conscription Fate card to place the Legions in another Battle Hand entirely, and replace those cards with more from the draw pile. It's a cheap way to build an army out of sequence, prevent yourself from having to discard,
and another chance to dig up some potentially devastating Fate card for use in the still-ongoing Intrigue Challenge. Topic: From: PDate: Questions & Answers, the Self-Help Method Douglas Limmer (email@example.com) 10 March 1995
Mr. Limmer posted a number of questions and answered them himself. I'm simply clarifying any answers that were incorrect or defining exactly what was meant on a particular card. Question: "Is the discard pile shuffled to make a new draw deck at any time or only during the Opening Phase?" Response: The discard pile is reshuffled immediately after you run out of your draw pile. No questions about it; the note's at the beginning of the turn sequence as it's the best place to note it. Question: "When a Legion uses the Martyr power, it is flipped. How do you unflip it?" Response: You don't, since it's a Combat power, and after the Combat concludes, the card should go to the discard, barring any special card play. After Combat, all that is left of a Battle Hand is the Warlord and any Legions with the Spirit power (or those protected by Fate cards), and they're all flipped until the Resolution Phase. Question: "Acolyte/Factions . . . How does this mix with the alignment restrictions?" Response: Repeat after me: BATTLE HANDS MUST BE UNIFIED BY ONLY ONE CONCEPT, WHETHER IT'S ETHICS (L/N/C), MORALS (G/N/E), FULL ALIGNMENT, OR WORSHIP/FOLLOWING OF A POWERFUL WARLORD AVATAR/FACTOL. Six Legions can stack if they are all of one alignment or if they are all Acolytes of the Warlord (whether worshipers or Faction members). You cannot mix these links up without limiting the Battle Hand to four Legions. In other words, a LG Warlord-Avatar can have these Legion combinations in a Battle Hand: 4 Lawful Legions, 4 Good Legions, 6 LG Legions, or up to 6 Legion-Acolytes of whatever alignment possible (The Converted card allows any Legion to become a worshiper of an Avatar, so it breaks alignment restrictions.). Legion-Acolytes can be part of other groupings if they follow the alignment restrictions (i.e. a LG Acolyte could be in any BHand.). Question: "The Hawk Lord says 6 Legions can go into her Battle Hand; are there any alignment restrictions at all?" Response: Nope; she's a wild-card Warlord with a great power that allows easy Battle Hand construction, no matter what the Legions' alignments. Every now and again, we thought we'd give you a simple power that
chucked the normal rules, just to throw you off. Question: "When does [the battlefield Arborea] unflip?" Response: On page 18, under the "Regroup" part of the Resolution Phase, it should state "Any flipped Warlords (and their Battle Hands) or Battlefields the Acting Player has are now turned face up, ready for use again." In other words, when you unflip everything else, unflip the Battlefields. Response: The rest of your self-tutored Q&A is dead-on; thanks for the help in answering all those questions that you anticipated. Topic: From: PDate: BLOOD WARS(TM) Card List firstname.lastname@example.org 11 March 1995
Response: This kind person managed to type in the entire card list as printed in DRAGON(TM) Magazine #215. I just wanted to say send a huge thank you for that public service. That same list should see print in SCRYE(TM) Magazine within the forseeable future, and there will be successive lists for each of the Escalation Packs. Topic: From: PDate: BLOOD WARS(TM) Suggestions Patrick Dolan (pat_dolan@BIX.com) 12 March 1995
These are my responses to Mr. Dolan's suggestions on how to avoid confusion within your BW games. While I appreciate his zeal in wanting to help his fellow players, I thought I'd clarify and comment on some of these suggestions. Statement: "Unflip your Warlords immediately after the Assembly Phase. . . ." Response: Do not do this at all, and just follow the rules as they're laid out! Yes, it seems a little odd to unflip a Warlord you've just used, but it was more my intention to allow folks to do as much out of their turns as possible, with that price paid during your turn. Remember, you can only conquer Battlefields during your turn as the Acting Player/Challenger, so if you're keeping everyone else from gaining Battlefields, you're stopping yourself as well (unless you've a far greater amount of Warlords). Statement: "Players can use any of their Warlords' powers during a Challenge, even if they aren't the Challenger or Defender . . . " Response: Wrong---unless the power specifically states itself as a Personal Power, all are marked for use during a Combat or Intrigue Challenge. For that power to be used, the Warlord must be within the Challenge on one side or the other. Personal powers tend to be
automatic powers that apply at all times (like the Hawk Lord's stacking power), not just in Challenges. When you're in a Challenge, you've only got one Warlord as your representative (unless you use the Conclave of Generals card which changes that rule and has a price if you lose: 2 Warlords to discard). Statement: "Only Fate: Items and Fate: Support cards may be placed with Legions under a Battle Hand . . . but Spells and Orders can be added . . . just before a combat begins." Response: While your reasoning is correct, there's no particular limit to what Fates are in a Battle Hand before going to Combat. Yes, the most logical ones are the Items and Support, since almost all are useless without a Legion, but it's not limited to them. Think of the Battle Hand as an army standing at ready, but they can guard additional Spells, Orders, ad infinitum for the Warlords until you need them. Battle Hands, especially for Intrigue decks, are simply added storage to avoid discarding until you need to go to Combat. Your suggestion is very sensible, but it's a little limiting at the same time; don't sweat it though, `cuz your tactic is exactly how I tend to play. Statement: "Unless specified, Warlord powers may be used at any point during the Combat." Response: Warlord powers have very specific points where they can be activated, and any differences are stated on their cards. To quote page 16 of the rules: "The Challenger has the option to use his Combat Power first, then the Defender may use his. But some special Combat Powers may be used at other times in the Challenge, as indicated on their Warlord's card." In Intrigue, Warlord powers can be activated after all players have either abstained or committed to Intrigue, and follows in a counter-clockwise order; like Combat, any Warlords that work at different times are noted on their cards. Statement: "Players take turns laying down one legion at a time to total their CS. . . Legion powers may be used at any time during combat . . .." Response: Just like the Warlord powers, Legion powers have their very specific moments to be used as well (see pages 14 & 17 in the rules), though some may be used at different points as well (and such exceptions are noted on the cards). Statement: "If an Intrigue Challenge has no opposition, the Challenger must draw for an RR. If the RR is 0, the Challenge still fails." Response: While this isn't discard a Hidden I like the idea. folks can use if in the official rules (where you'd still draw and Ally, opposed or not, and claim the Battlefield), This is certainly a good, stable house rule that they wish.
Topic: From: PDate:
Powers of (Whatever) Intervene! Jason Grundy (email@example.com) 13 March 1995
Question: ". . what happens if two people both pull a Powers of card? . . " Response: Once the first card is played, the Challenge is over, the Battlefield is lost or claimed, and no further card play affects the claiming of spoils unless the Powers of Whatever card is cancelled by something which cancels Fates. Another Powers of (Whatever) card cannot change the outcome of the just-ended Challenge unless the previous Fate is cancelled. The simplest way to understand the use of these cards is to add four words to the start of each card that reads: "The Challenge ends, and . . . " Topic: From: PDate: Use of Battle Hands during Intrigue Jeremy York (firstname.lastname@example.org) 13 March 1995
Question/Statement: " . . . our interpretation was that a Warlord in an Intrigue Challenge could use Legions from her Battle Hand if they had appropriate Intrigue abilities. . . . " Response: Sorry, Jeremy, but that's incorrect. Just like when a Command Hand is out of play during a Combat Challenge (only Battle Hands in use here), a Battle Hand under a Warlord is out of play during an Intrigue Challenge (only Command Hands in use here). Think of it as the Warlord's at the negotiating table and the army's outside, and in Combat, the Warlord's on top of the hill sipping mint juleps while the Legions charge into battle. This is the general rule, but there are powers and cards that alter that status quo; if a Warlord's power relies on cards from its Battle Hand, it will say so on the card and that, of course, takes precedence over the standing rule. Such Warlords include the powers of Faerie Queen Morwel or Darktome the Arcanaloth. Topic: From: PDate: Various & Sundry Questions Hogan Long (email@example.com) 13 March 1995
Hogan had a number of questions that needed answering, so I'm lumping them under a single Q&A setup with his numbers. Question(s): "(1) Can you play a Fate card if you are not involved in a Combat? (2) If you have the Spirit ability and you have an Item during Combat, does the Item come back with you to the Command Hand? (3&4) What the heck are Battlefield Gates? Why do Battlefields have alignments? (5) What are layers . . . ? (7&8) Is it legal to count how many . . cards a player has in his/her Command Hand? . . . in your own discard/Dead-Book? (9) Does the alignment of a Legion need to match the player's Warlord . . to use the Legion's Intrigue power (esp. Terrorists)?
Response: Well, I didn't reiterate all your questions, as a few were covered in the answers above, but that still leaves us with a hefty amount. Here goes. . . . (1) Sure! Fate cards from players outside of a Combat are almost guaranteed to really spice things up (as intended) and some of the cards were truly written for this purpose; let's be honest: you don't really want to be on a Battlefield when you throw down a Rain of Fire (destroys all Legions of 5/7CS or less on BF), do you? Bear in mind that you can't throw in Items or Support to help Legions, but you can play Orders and Spells if they apply to Combat or those particulars involved. (2) No, the Item is still discarded (unless it works otherwise, and that's stated on the card) and the Legion with Spirit returns to the Battle Hand under the Warlord (not the Command Hand). (3&4) The Battlefields with the Gate Towns of the Outlands are simply 6-point Battlefield towns with gates leading to other planes; as with Battlefield alignments, these are strictly for thematic purposes to tie it with the PLANESCAPE(TM) setting, though there may be rules or special cards for them in the future. (5) Layers are (thematically) a large subdivision of a plane, but they are not the seat of power for a deity or the homeland of a particular race. Layers include the Plain of Infinite Portals and (coming in later packs) the nine layers of Baator, etc. (7&8) Your questions here got a little similar, hence the paraphrasing. The legality of counting cards in Command or Battle Hands is up to individual house/table rules--I for one have no problem with people counting the cards in my Command Hand (heck, it's in plain view at all times), but the Battle Hand is off-limits for counting (at least here at TSR). In general, we've just eyeballed the stacks of cards under a Warlord to gauge its effectiveness in Combat rather than ask for specific counts (Helpful tip: A big stack of Horde Legions will scare off most Defenders, even though it's very often a pitiful army!). Can you look through your discard pile or Dead-Book? Sure, why not? Just make sure you don't reshuffle how the cards are placed, since some cards allow players to redraw from said piles, and people shouldn't be able to "fix" their discards for such effects. (9) [Mechanic] The alignment of a Legion does not need to match the player's Warlord to use its Intrigue power. If it's in your Command Hand and you want to use it, do so at the proper time. [Thematic] The Command Hand represents the general forces and powers aligned to work with a consortium of Warlords (those active on the table), and even a Terrorist could be found to work for a LG Warlord if it's among the general forces he can recruit from. Battle Hands are the personal armies assembled under specific Warlords and recruited from those general forces in the Command Hand and Draw Pile. Topic: From: PDate: Assassination Plots & Other "Killer" Cards [That faceless bunch of folks] 14 March 1995
Response: This is a general response to those people out there believing that there's no way to stop "killer" cards like Assassination Plot. Well, that card in particular and others in general are balanced out in play by Spell Mirrors, Protection vs. Fate, and a number of
other cards that either cancel or shift the targets of such nasty effects. Yes, they are mean and powerful effects, and they should be. Should they be banned from games? No---simply find other cards that defend against them. Besides, you shouldn't get continually hit by them unless these cards are not getting sent to the DeadBook like their activators say they should. . . . Closing Comments from SES: Well, I think I've answered as many questions as I had on my desk immediately, and I'm about ready to pack it up and get back to my other projects. Thanks for all the commentary, no matter what you had to say, and keep it coming. I'm reading everything that's posted on AOL and the Internet--even though my machine doesn't have a modem, enough folks around TSR are hooked up that I've gotten over 35 pages of postings in eight release days. Yes, a number of cards could use clarification when put under certain constraints by other Fate cards and such. However, to list all the possible conditions a card or its power might come under would require us to create cards roughly the size of newspapers, given all the possible permutations of Fate cards et al. If a really weird situation crops up, the best way to resolve it is to vote amongst yourselves how to best solve the situation and get past it---don't let one really weird, unplanned bit of card play disrupt your games, just keep having fun. Most of the questions within the postings are solved by simply following the rules booklet closely; a lot of questions on when something is resolved or when something is used are taken care of by close scrutiny of cards and rules. Obviously, any real problems should still be posted and we'll cover them ASAP; just be patient with me on responses----I'm getting back to you as quickly as my overbearing schedule allows me to do so. For those who want to ensure that I (and Lester and David Wise and the other Blood Wars pundits) see this quickly, here's the addresses where we're most apt to find your comments (in order of priority viewing, i.e. where we're likely to look first): On TSR's America On-Line forum: Keyword: TSR, in the Q&A area Blood Wars On Internet: rec.games.trading-card.misc On Internet: rec.games.frp.dnd & via listservers everywhere
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